September 11, 2009 in Features

DVD reviews: The snobby (only) side of Valentino

The Washington Post

Coming up

Among upcoming DVD releases (schedule subject to change):

Tuesday: “Easy Virtue,” “Next Day Air,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

Sept. 22: “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” “Battle for Terra,” “O’Horten,” “Observe and Report”

Sept. 29: “Away We Go,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” “Monsters Vs. Aliens,” “Up”

Oct. 6: “My Life in Ruins,” “Year One”

“Valentino: The Last Emperor”

Legendary fashion designer Valentino Garavani glides through this documentary in expensive suits and with the facial expression of one who has just smelled unwashed feet.

Accompanied almost everywhere by his silver-haired business partner and ex-boyfriend, Giancarlo Giammetti, and a retinue of five Shar-Peis, he’s given to making such pronouncements as, “An evening gown that reveals a woman’s ankles while she’s walking is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”

It’s not surprising, though, given the fact that Valentino created – during a 45-year run in the rag biz that lasted until his retirement from fashion in 2007 – what Giammetti calls “a world unto himself.” Calling him the last emperor may be hyperbolic, but he certainly is the last of a breed.

DVD extras include previously deleted scenes and extra footage. (2:16; rated PG for some nudity and language)

“The Country Teacher”

Two-thirds of the way into “The Country Teacher” we see country-bumpkin mom Marie, a weathered, loveless woman with loose red pigtails and overalls, cleaning up a vomit-splattered floor. We get the feeling that quite a few of the characters in Czech director Bohdan Slama’s latest film have been wiping up vomit all their lives.

When a young schoolteacher, Peter (Pavel Liska, a Slama regular), comes from Prague to teach the backwoods local kids, Peter and Marie become fast friends, distracting each other from their loneliness.

“The Country Teacher” ambles along like a herd of anxious cattle. Despite all the pain and self-loathing of its wounded characters, it’s a pretty, heartwarming picture that tells us everybody needs somebody to help shatter that ol’ boulder for good, and maybe clean up some vomit along the away. (1:43; not rated, contains adult themes and two calf birthings)

Also available: “Crank 2: High Voltage,” “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency: The Complete First Season,” “Fringe: The Complete First Season,” “Important Things with Demetri Martin: Season One,” “Requiem for a Dream (Blu-ray),” “Snakes on a Plane (Blu-ray)”

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