Proposition: Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia, while not a great movie, is one of 2009’s most personal movies, expressing Ephron’s admiration for old-school get-shit-done ladies like Julia Child in tandem with her disgust at self-indulgent navel-gazers like Julie Powell, the blogger whose book inspired the film. The result is a movie that’s half a delight (when it’s dealing with Child) and half an irritant (whenever it’s about Powell), but one that at least aspires to a point of view.

Another proposition: Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, which is a great movie, was misinterpreted by many critics, who seem to have been expecting jittery realism rather than Mann’s formalist study of myth vs. truth, life vs. death, and fame vs. anonymity. In years to come, Public Enemies will get its due.


Want to weigh those propositions more fully? Good news! Both Julie & Julia and Public Enemies are in stores today. You can also take a closer look at two movies likely to land on a few Top 10 lists in the coming weeks: Bob Goldthwait’s pitch-black comedy World’s Greatest Dad and the dolphin-saving documentary The Cove. And for those who have the coin, today’s the day when Criterion drops AK 100: 25 Films Of Akira Kurosawa. (Stand clear; it’s heavy.) For those who don’t have the coin, but would still like to experience the kind of sweeping adventure, desperate human drama and genre-hopping facility of Kurosawa, there’s always Lost: The Complete Fifth Season. At the least, you will (eventually) find out what lies in the shadow of the statue.

AK 100: 25 Films Of Akira Kurosawa
Criterion, $399.95

American Experience: The Civilian Conversation Corps
PBS, $24.99

Beautiful Losers
Oscilloscope, $29.99

Brick City
First Run, $29.95

The Brigitte Bardot Classic Collection
Image, $29.98

The Cinder Path
E1, $19.98

Coraline Gift Set
Universal Blu-ray, $69.98

The Cove
Lionsgate, $27.98

Destroyed In Seconds
Discovery, $19.98

Dog Eat Dog
MPI, $19.98

The Dog Who Saved Christmas
Anchor Bay, $19.97

A Finished Life
First Run, $24.95

Friday: The Complete Animated Series
Image, $19.98

The Fugitive: Season Three, Vol. 2
Paramount, $39.98

Get Smart: Season Five
HBO, $24.98

First Run, $24.95

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Warner, $28.98/$34.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Harry Potter: Years 1-6 Giftset
Warner, $69.98; Blu-ray, $134.99

Home Movie
MPI, $19.98

Starz/Anchor Bay, $19.97

Johnny Mercer: The Dream’s On Me
Turner, $29.98

Julia Child: The Way To Cook
Knopf, $24.95

Julie & Julia
Sony, $28.96; Blu-ray, $39.95

Landslide: A Portrait Of President Herbert Hoover
PBS, $24.99

Lion’s Den
Strand, $27.99

Lost: The Complete Fifth Season
ABC, $59.99/$119.99; Blu-ray, $79.99/$134.00

The Marc Pease Experience
Paramount, $19.95

Moonlight Serenade
Magnolia, $26.98

The National Tree
Genius, $19.95

Perry Mason: Season Four, Vol. 2
Paramount, $39.98

Image, $27.98

Prima Ballerina
First Run, $24.95

Public Enemies
Universal, $29.98/$34.98; Blu-ray, $36.98

Rescue Me: Season Five, Vol. 2
Sony, $49.95

E1, $24.98

Secrets Of The Dead: The Airmen And The Headhunters
PBS, $24.99

The Skeptic
MPI, $19.98

Somers Town
Film Movement, $24.95

SpongeBob SquarePants: Season Six, Vol. 1
Nickelodeon, $26.98

Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks
E1, $39.98

World’s Greatest Dad
Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $34.98