April 8, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II, III & IV • Page 19 Time travel with a cast of five in ‘Timecrimes’ by Dennis Seuling Time travel movies are cool. I have been hooked on them ever since seeing “The Time Machine” many years ago and marveling at the then-spectacular special effects. These movies provide directors with the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild as time jumpers find themselves in a set designer’s dream world of the future, or a historically accurate past. Hollywood has traditionally been the primary producer of sci-fi movies because of its huge coffers, but a little Spanish film new on DVD more than holds its own. “Timecrimes” (Magnolia Home Entertainment) taps into the time travel theme and is surprisingly good considering its modest budget and limited cast. Middle-aged Hector (Karra Elejalde) spies a beautiful woman in the woods, heads out for a closer look, and discovers that she is unconscious. He is attacked by a hulking figure swathed in bloody bandages, tries to escape, and winds up at an ominous laboratory complex. He hides in a tank that sends him on what may be his first trip -- about an hour back in time. Like “Memento,” “Timecrimes” avoids traditional plot structure, as reality constantly is altered. The question of whether time travel can change events in the present is addressed interestingly, and the film relies less on sets and effects, more on characterization and plot. The best part of this 92-minute thriller is its pace. Writer/director Nacho Vigalondo moves things along briskly, leaving little time for the viewer to nitpick about logic. That is just fine, since “Timecrimes” simultaneously creates excitement and lays out puzzles, enticing the viewer. Vigalondo deftly sets and sustains mood, building suspense and incorporating ele- The mysterious, bandaged man from ‘Timecrimes.’ ments of horror. Extras include cast and crew interviews, a making-of featurette, and an examination of the film’s makeup effects. “The TCM Doris Day Spotlight Collection” (Warner Home Video) is a five-disc box set featuring five of the singer/actress’ movies made between 1949 and 1958. Day was Warner’s biggest star during the 1950s and would become one of the top female box office attractions of the 1960s in comedies for Universal. “April in Paris” (1952) finds Day starring as Ethel “Dynamite” Jackson, a brassy chorus girl who is mistakenly sent an invitation by the U.S. State Department, which wants Ethel Barrymore to represent the American theater at an arts exposition in Paris. Hoofer Ray Bolger is on hand as the stuffy bureaucrat who sent the wrong invitation and must cope with the consequences. “It’s a Great Feeling” (1949) and “Starlift” (1951) both take advantage of big-name contract players working on the lot. Look for cameos by Joan Crawford, James Cagney, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, Virginia Mayo, Jane Wyman, Errol Flynn, Danny Kaye, Ronald Reagan, and Edward G. Robinson. The other films in the collection are “Tea for Two,” costarring Gordon MacRae, and “The Tunnel of Love,” with Richard Widmark. Extras include theatrical shorts, period cartoons, and trailers. The movie that should have starred Doris Day but didn’t -- “South Pacific” (20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment) -- has just been released in Blu-ray. Sometimes Hollywood gets it wrong and this is one example of how a marvelous stage production was undermined by miscasting, wrongheaded direction, and visual tampering. Day would have been perfect as Nellie Forbush, the Alabama nurse serving on a Pacific island military installation during World War II. Instead, the role went to Mitzi Gaynor, who is age-appropriate and attractive but never captures the warmth and high spirits of Nellie. Her costar is the stiff Rossano Brazzi. A dull John Kerr and France Nuyen star as the young lovers. The cast is salvaged by Ray Walston and Juanita Hall, who repeat their Broadway roles and inject life into the moribund proceedings whenever they are on screen. Director Joshua Logan made the decision to use color filters to enhance mood, rendering the actors malariayellow, sunburn-orange, or inky-purple, depending on the scene. The music, of course, is sensational. It is a pity that nearly everything else about the screen version is so wrong. Blu-ray extras in this two-disc set include Gaynor’s screen (continued on Crossword page) Authentic Cuisine from Spain ������������������������������ �������������������������������������� � �������������� ���������������������������� ��� and up includes soup or salad, potatoes, rice or vegetable and coffee Mon-Fri 11:30-3 �������������������� � � �� � � � � � �� � �� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � SANGRIA • WINE • COCKTAILS ���� ���������� ������������ ������������� � � �� � � � � � �� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Open 7 Days a Week • Mon-Thurs 11:30-10, Fri 11:30-11, Sat 12-11, Sun 12-10 ������������������������������������������ ����������������� ������������������������������������������� � � � � � � � � � � �� � � � � � � � ��������������� � � ��� � � � �� � � � � � � � �� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �� � � � � � � ��� � � �� � � � �� � � � � � � � � � �� � � � � � � � � ��������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������