Watching John Travolta in the padded suit and dressed like a woman never does seem quite natural, but despite this, Hairspray is one of my favorite movies from the summer season. Based on the stage musical (which was based on John Waters' 1988 film), Hairspray tells the story of the endearing Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), a curvacious Baltimore teen who wants nothing more than to dance on The Corny Collins Show. Once she makes her way on the show, however, she starts tackling even bigger problems, from racial tensions to weight issues — all while belting out songs and beaming her bright smile. Check out my full review of the movie and my interview with Nikki Blonsky and director Adam Shankman.
Two more new DVDs if you read more
Nirvana Unplugged in New York
This title is not yet available on Netflix, but it is available for purchase. As this is one of my November must-haves, I am thrilled that the DVDs of Nirvana's acoustic MTV show are finally being released. It's only been 14 years, after all. In addition to the MTV concert, the DVD includes four tracks from the band's soundcheck, two unaired songs they performed, and previously unreleased behind-the-scenes footage.
Director Werner Herzog was so fascinated with the story of Dieter Dengler he told it twice: first with his documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly and then this year with his feature film Rescue Dawn starring Christian Bale. Dieter was a German-born American pilot who escaped from a Laotian POW camp in 1965. As a Vietnam War-era saga, Rescue Dawn follows the soldier from his first mission, when he survives a plane crash only to be tortured and starved by Laotian soldiers before fleeing into the even more superhuman hardships of the jungle. It's a phenomenal story, artfully told.