September 9, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II, III & IV • Page 23 Quirky ‘Sunshine Cleaning’ details unusual career choice by Dennis Seuling “Sunshine Cleaning” (Anchor Bay Entertainment) is a quirky comedy/drama built around an interesting, though repellent, career choice. There are darkly amusing moments scattered throughout this film, which takes on a bit too much plot-wise. Broadly speaking, it is about a dysfunctional family: sisters Rose (Amy Adams) and Norah (Emily Blunt), and their eccentric father Joe (Alan Arkin). All are in need of money. Rose, who cleans people’s homes for a living, is depressed at the comparison between herself and her former classmates who now have successful careers and happy marriages. Norah seems stuck in a state of adolescence as she cannot hold down a job, prefers getting high with friends, and has never learned one of the hallmarks of maturity: personal responsibility. When the young women hear about a crime-scene cleanup operation, they are intrigued by how lucrative this dirty business can be. With a combination of horror and amusement, they start their own cleanup company and learn that there are strict laws governing the disposal of biohazards. (The cleanup sequences are filmed so they will not disgust the viewer.) Adams’ performance is first-rate, but director Christine Jeffs never fully taps Blunt’s potential and allows Arkin to rehash the eccentric patriarch he played in “Little Miss Sunshine” with no new embellishments. The script runs on without sufficient dramatic peaks and is about too many things: Rose’s affair with a married man, Joe’s relationship with his grandson, Norah’s history with Rose, Rose’s son Oscar’s behavioral problems, the day-today life of a team that cleans up crime scenes, Joe’s schemes to make some money, and Rose’s self-deprecation. “Sunshine Cleaning” is a pleasant movie that never really takes off. DVD extras include audio commentary with writer Megan Holley and producer Glenn Williamson and the featurette “A Fresh Look at a Dirty Business.” The best part of the latter is input from an actual biohazard team. Repackaging has been a lucrative boon for the DVD industry since its inception. Studios look into their vaults, unearth older films, and market them under a new, catchy banner. Such is the case with the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment series “Martini Movies.” Defined as “one part top-shelf martini, two parts celluloid history and garnished with a hint of camp,” the films have no relationship to each other except that they were made between 1969 and 1973. The publicity material refers to the films as “gems,” but that is an overstatement. They are all well made, but never achieved the critical praise or popularity of their contemporaries. Made on small budgets with Class-A directors, they reflect concerns of a specific era and star up-and-coming actors. Directed by Robert Mulligan (“To Kill a Mockingbird”), Emily Blunt and Amy Adams star as sisters who clean up crime scenes in ‘Sunshine Cleaning.’ “The Pursuit of Happiness” (1971) stars early ‘70s leading man Michael Sarazin and Barbara Hershey. Sarazin plays William Popper, who comes from a wealthy, privileged background and has his eyes opened to social activism on the college campus of his girlfriend Jane (Hershey). When a traffic accident forces Popper to come face-to-face with the judicial system, his principles and counterculture lifestyle are put on trial. “Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing” (1973), directed by Alan J. Pakula (“All the President’s Men”), is a road trip movie and character study about the alienation and isolation felt by the younger generation in the 1960s. Awkward and shy Walter Ebbetson (Timothy Bottoms) is exiled by his rich father to a bicycle tour across Spain. Walter, unhappy with his own life, makes those around him equally miserable as he suffers through the ordeal of the tour. He escapes the cyclists and becomes involved in the life of a fellow tourist, introverted Lila (Maggie Smith), who suffers from her own insecurities. They enter into a clumsy affair as two social misfits who find solace in unlikely partners. “Model Shop” (1969), directed by French New Wave director Jacques Demy (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”), stars Anouk Aimee. This was Demy’s first movie made in America. Gary Lockwood plays the shiftless George Matthews, who cannot seem to get himself worked up about anything: the girlfriend he is about to lose, his soon-tobe repossessed car, or even his draft notice. One day, he sees the beautiful, aloof model Lola (Aimee) and begins to follow her through Los Angeles, the beach at Malibu, the mansions of Beverly Hills, and the cheap strip joints along Santa Monica Boulevard. Ultimately, the film is about George’s search for the meaning of life, and reflects the alienation that was so widespread among young people in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. “Summertree” (1971), starring Michael Douglas and Brenda Vaccaro, examines the effects of the Vietnam War on the soldiers and the families they left behind. “The Buttercup Chain” (1970), starring Hywel Bennett, Leigh Taylor-Young, and Jane Asher, is a coming-of-age tale set during a time of changing attitudes and sexual mores. The only extra on each of the Martini Movies is the original theatrical trailer. In anticipation of the Halloween season, New Line Home Entertainment has just released on Blu-ray a trio of (continued on Crossword page) #1 German Restaurant in Bergen & Passaic Counties! STEVBEN FESTIVAL September 10, 11, 12 & 14 8 Different Schnitzels, Sauerbraten, German Sausages, Fresh Seafood, Prime Rib & Steaks... 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