DVD of the Week – Sampling the Sunshine State in Cinema
by HELEN GEIB
The local forecast for Thursday is an unseasonable 60 degrees, ironic since that’s the day I leave for a long weekend in Florida. While the temperature in Sarasota may not have anything on home, I’ll be soaking up the humidity and, with luck, some of that famous sunshine. To put myself even more in the mood, I’ve chosen a few Florida-set movies to spotlight in this week’s DVD post.
Sunshine State (2002)
The title demands the lead-off slot. Set in a northern beachfront town, Sunshine State is one of indie filmmaker John Sayles’ community cross-section dramas, and has the strong sense of place characteristic of his work. The ensemble cast includes Angela Bassett, Mary Steenburgen, Edie Falco, Timothy Hutton, Mary Alice, and Alex Lewis.
Miami Vice (2006)
Michael Mann’s re-imagining of his iconic ’80s TV show is an art film masquerading as a blockbuster. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx star as the new Crockett and Tubbs, and Miami stars as itself.
The Perez Family (1995)
Mann’s digital photography renders a sun-bleached cityscape blurred by heat haze. Miami in The Perez Family is a sensual city in vibrant color. Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei are Cuban refugees from the 1980 Mariel boatlift who, with two others who share their common surname of Perez, pretend to be a family to jump the line for re-settlement housing. Angelica Huston is the wife Molina’s political prisoner has been separated from for 20 years and Chazz Palminteri her diffident suitor.
Heartbreakers is a lively comedy set in and around Palm Beach. Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt are the titular conwomen, a mother-daughter pair specializing in quickie marriages and quicker divorces, but it’s the marks who steal the movie: Ray Liotta as a crooked, heartbroken New Jersey auto-dealer; Gene Hackman as a positively appalling tobacco tycoon; and Jason Lee as the sweet-natured owner of a beachfront bar that contributes a glimpse of the old Florida.
New releases this week: Unstoppable, Waiting for Superman, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger