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Entries in DVD (67)

Wednesday
Aug262015

11 Questions For You: This Week's DVD/BluRay Releases

Eleven questions about this week's newly released titles.
Q1: Which of these titles are you planning to catch up with or revisit at home?

Aloha (Reviewed) Cameron Crowe directs Bradley Cooper & Emma Stone in Hawaii.
Q2: Are you the type who rubbernecks at car crashes?
Citizen Four (Oscar Discussion / Podcasted) 2014's Oscar winning Documentary on Edward Snowden
Q3: Do you try to see all nominees in the doc category each year and if so do you succeed?
Iris Albert Maysles is no longer with us but before he left us, he made one last documentary about an eccentric old lady (which you might say is a specialty)
Q4: Do you love Grey Gardens (rhetorical question) and if so did you watch "Sandy Passage" on Documentary Now this week?
Lila & Eve Viola Davis & JLo are out to avenge the murder of their sons
Q5: Has Viola moved into her trashy B-phase with this revenge thriller and How to Get Away With Murder and if so are you eager for something classy again?
October Gale Director Ruba Nadda and Goddess Patricia Clarkson reunite post Cairo Time for this drama about a doctor (Patricia Clarkson) and a man who washes up on her shore wounded (Scott Speedman). Is a killer coming to finish the job?
Q6: Do the words "Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman" in combination make you suddenly hungry because that sounds delicious to me?
The Runner Nicolas Cage is a politician with a sex scandal problem. With Sarah Paulson and Connie Nielsen and the BP Oil Spill in supporting.
Q7: What did Sarah Paulson ever do to deserve this?

Save him, Patricia!Action Flickers: Tony Jaa & Dolph Lundgren

Skin Trade Giant powerhouse Dolph Lundgren hunts his family's killer down in Southeast Asia with tiny powerhouse Tony Jaa by his side.
Q8: Dolph or Tony?
Two Days One Night Oscar nominated Marion Cotillard tries to save her job in this wrenching smart drama from Belgium's Dardennes brothers.
Q9: On a scale of 10-10, how utterly amazing do you think Cotillard is in this movie?
Where Hope Grows an athlete befriends a man with Down's Syndrome
Q10: Are you even reading this post?
TV Season Releases
Elementary (3rd), Revenge (4th), The Walking Dead (5th), Good Wife (6th), Criminal Minds (10th)
Q11: Do you still buy TV seasons on DVD or did you give that up with the rise of streaming options? 

Wednesday
Aug122015

New DVD: The Knick, Hot Pursuit


Still annoyed that Reese Witherspoon blew her post Wild goodwill on Hot Pursuit, to be honest. Was hoping for a Legally Blonde level mainstream comedy, though that's an admittedly high bar to clear. It's too strenuously acted to be truly fun though it might well play better on cable and DVD when it will likely be seen in pieces because some of it is funny. Its part of this week's DVD/BluRay batch which includes:

But the big news this week is that The Knick's 1st Season is finally available which means that if you don't get Cinemax you can finally see what the fuss was about Steven Soderbergh's series and why TFE was so thrilled to have Cara Seymour guest blogging earlier this summer to celebrate her terrific work as a tough talking complicated nun

It's a hospital show but not, thankfully, a procedural. Instead it's about scientific advances, urban madness, and the state of public heaelth and medicine at the turn of the 20th century. Clive Owen plays a brilliant Chief of Medicine who is also a junkie. It's an uneven show all told (though the design team does a super 1900s New York, not all of the performances are eager to go for period texture so it sometimes feels out of time) but when its on it's really on. Perhaps the show aired too long ago to catch Emmy's attention or perhaps Emmy votesr just won't look at Cinemax when they're too busy with HBO and Showtime series, but it did win a Globe nod for Clive's performance and one Emmy nomination for Soderbergh's direction of the pilot. 

Saturday
Aug082015

17 Thoughts I Had While Watching "Woman in Gold"

Have you seen Woman in Gold which has been out on DVD for a bit now? It's about an old Austrian Jew (Helen Mirren) who immigrated to America during the Holocaust and attempts to get her family's original Gustav Klimt paintings back which were stolen by the Nazis and now "belong" to a museum in Austria.

Here are a dozen plus thoughts I had while watching it...

What do you know about art restitution?

• Nothing? It's okay. I didn't either. Helen Mirren will teach us. She speaks most of her lines as if to a small child. In fact, a lot of the characters do. They're constantly explaining the movie's plot and conflicts to us. And after explaining things there's sometimes bits of dialogue like...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug052015

New DVD: Is this unofficial costume drama week or something?

Question: Do you ever look to the left sidebar to see "new on dvd"? That's our handy way of referencing older articles once a movie reemerges in its new format. Release dates used to be so much simpler. Now in addition to tortured theatrical patterns, it's super complicated afterwards, too: rental before or during theatrical, streaming only, digital release, cable release, exclusive rental windows at one place before it's available elsewhere, blu-Ray/DVD editions (sometimes on separate dates), etc. It's all so exhausting. Movies are meant to be seen; they shouldn't be playing hide & seek or 'Where am I now?' games. This is why we gave up trying to have a devoted DVD column.

This is all a long way to say that a weird coincidence prompted this post. This week's DVD releases are heavy on the actressy costume dramas. Unofficial Corset Convention! So, naturally our eyes here at TFE flashed a little. You've got Kate Winslet in A Little Chaos, Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd, and Mia Wasikowska in Madame Bovary all at once.

It's like a spontaneous Who Wore It Best party. 

Also on DVD this week and with links if we've written something about them: The Affair S1, Child 44, Chocolate City - the no-budget urban response to Magic Mike but with even less nudity (it's like they don't even know why people watch cheapie ripoffs), The Divergent Series: Insurgent (the first was too boring to bother with the second), Every Secret Thing an actressy mystery with Diane Lane, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Banks, How to Get Away With Murder S1 - which I gave up on early, True Story, and something called The Salvation which I'll admit I've never heard of but it stars two creepy great actors Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green so for a moment visions of gonzo supernatural fantasy loomed but it turns out it's just a bloody western (sigh). On the other hand the director Kristian Levring did that Dogme 95 movie The King is Alive (2001) back in the day and that was heavy on the ALL CAPS ACTING so maybe we should check this one out? [UPDATE: EEEeeek. We reviewed it right here a full year ago from a festival. Thanks David!]

Thursday
Jul302015

Vintage '95

The Supporting Actress Smackdown 1995 Edition arrives on Sunday so let's talk context since we haven't revisited as much of 1995 as we'd hoped to! We've only hit the Jane Austen trend, Nicole Kidman's breakout year, a Bonus Podcast on Actresses and Films to Revisit, and Dolores Claiborne. Damn, we had planned much more. But many of you will already have your own personal context for the year, which isn't true of many years of "Smackdown" events so it's fine.

In many ways, though, 1995 was a completely different world. The internet was still in its list-serve infancy. The idea of computer generated movies was a joyful novelty. And aside from Batman, superheroes were still mostly relegated to "light" TV shows. Remember Teri Hatcher in Lois & Clark ?

EW photoshoot from June 1995

Great Big Box Office Hits: 1) Toy Story... the first wholly computer generated feature film 2) Batman Forever 3) Apollo 13 4) Pocahontas 4) Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls 6) GoldenEye 7) Jumanji 8) Casper 9) Se7en 10) Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Michelle & Coolio. They had a hit film, smash video, and the year's #1 single. But zero oscar nodsOscar's Best Pictures: Braveheart (10 noms / 5 wins), Apollo 13 (9 noms / 2 wins), Babe (7 noms / 1 win), Sense & Sensibility (7 noms / 1 win), and Il Postino (5 noms / 1 win).

My theories as to what was just outside the shortlist plus more '95 goodies follow...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul302015

Clouds of Sils Maria. Or, How To Act Like a Star.

With Clouds of Sils Maria on DVD now, here's Kyle Stevens on actors playing actors.

If you’re a reader of The Film Experience, then you’re probably no stranger to Juliette Binoche, who arguably has more masterpieces to her name than any other actor in cinema history. Binoche became a bona fide French star with André Téchiné’s Rendez-vous in 1985, which was written by the now celebrated director Olivier Assayas. Last year, Binoche asked Assayas to write something for her so that they might again collaborate. He came up with the astounding Clouds of Sils Maria.

Their film follows the great star Maria Enders as she struggles to accept playing Helena in Maloja Snake, a play written by her recently departed friend. The difficulty for Maria is that she first became famous playing the ingénue role, Sigrid, decades earlier, and so, the role of Helena forces her to confront her feelings about aging, feelings compounded by the fact that, within the play, Helena desires and resents Sigrid. To make matters even more baroquely complicated, Helena and Sigrid’s relationship mirrors Maria’s interactions with Val, her personal assistant, coolly played by Kristin Stewart. (Eventually, Chloe Grace-Moretz appears as a third bone-faced brunette, younger still, to play Sigrid.)

Given the laurels recently heaped upon flamboyantly reflexive turns in Blue Jasmine and Black Swan, is it too much to hope that Binoche will leave the red carpet well-worn come awards season—even if the early release and critical attention for Kristen Stewart make that seem unlikely now? [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul212015

Can we talk about that Second Best Exotic ending?

Manuel here talking about that mouthful of a sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is out on DVD today.

 

I only just got to watching it the weekend before last at the swanky Crosby Hotel which hosts its very own Film Club every Sunday. (I even spied Spider Man v.1.0 Mr Tobey Maguire in the lobby!). Just as with its first, I have to hand it to John Madden, Judi Dench, Lillete Dubey & co. for making a thoroughly predictable film aping Bollywood tropes and focused on India’s exoticized ability to help old white people learn about aging, not only enjoyable but surprisingly melancholy.

Nowhere is that clearer than in the film’s handling of Muriel Donnelly, Dame Maggie Smith’s character, and especially her ending (obviously, SPOILERS ahead). At this point in her career, Smith has arguably become a parody of her own self. And yet, that's harder to say if you actually watch her work. Sure, she’s got the grouchy old bitter hag thing spouting prickly witticisms down pat, but there’s always something else lurking in the quiet moments in her performances. There’s a weariness married to a nimble sense of emoting that goes on behind those weathered if sprightly eyes. That's put to best effect in the final moments of Madden's film which gives us the happy ending we always knew we'd get but spiked with an ambivalent sense of loss:

It makes sense that the heavy lifting (read: the dramatic and non-comedy-of-errors part of the film) would fall on Smith's sturdy shoulders; she can turn even the slightest of complaints about tea into resonant character bits, commentary on US/British relations and even a meditation on her own sense of mortality. 

As soon as we left the 90-seat theater at the Crosby (I did say it was swanky, yes? what with its free popcorn and all) my friend asked “So, does she die?” which seemed to be both the type of obvious question I usually hate (“did the top stop spinning?!”) but which seemed precisely the right one to ask, especially if one follows it with “will she kill herself?” a melodramatic, though not for this film, inappropriate question.

We feel the weight of Mrs Donnelly’s life and it somehow strikes me that the film’s ambivalence about her demise, even amidst an ending that ties everything else in a pretty bow is rather transgressive and pretty much all wrapped up in Smith's final close-up which ends the film.

Did this sequel leave you wanting a Third Best Exotic Hotel and mentally casting which other British acting royalty could join Dev Patel in a trilogy closer? (My vote is for Vanessa Redgrave, obviously)