Nostalgia for what year and decade, again?

One of the weirder trends these days is the one that has studios releasing DVDs of older films with CDs of music that came out during the same decade but otherwise have nothing to do with the movies in question.

As luck would have it, my first exposure to this trend came a few weeks ago when I saw the “Decades Collection” editions of The Graduate (1967), Fiddler on the Roof (1971; my comments) and When Harry Met Sally… (1989) at the local Superstore.

Now, apparently, there are lots of other films in this series too, but these particular films all happen to be famous for their music: The Graduate has a classic soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel; Fiddler on the Roof was the longest-running Broadway musical of all time at that time; and the original soundtrack album for When Harry Met Sally… introduced Harry Connick Jr. to the world, featuring nothing but his covers of classic songs made famous by Sinatra etc.

But do the CDs that accompany these DVDs reflect any of this? Do they contain any music that is featured within the films themselves? No, no, of course not, no. Instead, each disc is a miscellanous grab bag of whatever was popular on the radio at some point in that decade; if memory serves, the songs included on each disc are not even necessarily tied to the specific year in which the film came out.

The “Decades Collection” is put out by MGM. And now, according to Lou Lumenick, Paramount is getting in on the act too, releasing new “I Love the ’80s” editions of Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981) and various other films, each of which will come with a CD that includes a-ha’s ‘Take On Me’, Echo & the Bunnymen’s ‘Lips Like Sugar’, INXS’s ‘Need You Tonight’ and Erasure’s ‘Chains Of Love’.

Note: all of these songs were originally released between 1984 and 1988, which in pop-culture terms is a whole different era from the one that produced films like Reds.

The decade thing becomes even more absurd when you consider titles like, well, Fiddler on the Roof and Reds, both of which may have been produced in my lifetime but take place at least partly before my 93-year-old grandmother was born — and in a foreign country where the American popular culture of that time might not have had that much of an impact to begin with.

Journey to the Center of the Earth — the review’s up!

My review of Journey to the Center of the Earth is now up at CT Movies.

The barbarians are storming the theatres.

The good news: The young generation that consumes all sorts of entertainment via iPods and the internet is doing more than anyone else to keep the big-screen experience alive. Rather than undermine the movie industry, these “third-screen” technologies are actually supporting it.

The bad news: Theatres are increasingly catering to this generation by creating “rowdier, text-friendly auditoriums” that encourage this generation to do all sorts of rude but increasingly common things like chatting and sending text messages while the movie is still in progress.

So says Metro Times Detroit, via Jeffrey Wells.

I am vaguely reminded of how, at the Wanted screening I attended a couple weeks back, a guy sitting across the aisle and a few rows down from me pulled out his cell phone and lit up its screen, and a security guard came up to him and asked him to turn it off. “But it’s silent,” the guy replied, as though that were the point. Never mind that the phosphorescent glow of his cell-phone screen was taking my eyes and many other people’s eyes off of the movie that we were all there supposedly to watch.

See also this recent comment by my CT Movies colleague Todd Hertz.

Same director. Similar costumes. Hmmm.

Jeffrey Wells ponders the similarities between the outfits worn by James Dean in Rebel without a Cause (1955) and by Jesus in King of Kings (1961), both of which were directed by Nicholas Ray.

Frakkin’ toasters.

For the serious Battlestar Galactica fan, a limited-edition toaster that “brands” your toast with an image of a Cylon. And it’s only $65. Sweet. Hat tip to Mark Verheiden.

WALL•E — not exactly perfect, y’know.

I’ve been meaning to post something about WALL•E for a while now — and I will post something, I hope, in the near future — but life has been busy and the mountain of WALL•E commentary to sift through has grown impossibly large.

In the meantime, however, I commend to you this piece by Noah Millman, who lists many of the flaws with this film that had occurred to me already as well as many that hadn’t, before concluding:

I may be grading WALL•E too hard, measuring it by the apparent scale of its ambitions rather than rating it against other kiddie flicks of the season, but that’s what higher ambitions will get you: more serious critical attention. And WALL•E, while it has wonderful things about it – just for having brought back the silent movie, it deserves high praise – just didn’t impress me as the work of art it’s being praised as.

There is some interesting discussion in the comments, too.

I am also somewhat relieved to find that as esteemed an animation expert as Jerry Beck seems to share my mild reaction to the film, acknowledging that there is much to “admire” in the film, as there usually is in a Pixar movie, but that it also left him “a little cold” and “a little disappointed”.