DVD RELEASES 2010/2/9
Let’s not dilly-dally:
The Pleasure of Being Robbed (IFC Films) — Josh Safdie’s debut feature is a giddy blast of cinematic exhilaration. Starring Eleonore Hendricks as a free spirit who lives from moment to scattered moment, The Pleasure of Being Robbed combines an uptempo French New Wave energy with a gritty New York City flavor (read my full review here). For the home video release, presumably under the guidance of Safdie, IFC has gone all Benten Films with a surprisingly excellent package, featuring three short films shot during production, one of Safdie’s best shorts, We’re Going To The Zoo, and another recent short gem, There Is Nothing You Can Do. But that’s not all. In addition to a screamingly original commentary track—as in, it’s a “musical” as opposed to “audio” commentary—a poster is included, which details the ironic theft of their camera equipment before shooting began (as in, remember what the movie’s called). Buy it on DVD.
A Serious Man (Focus Features) — While it’s often treacherous to throw around the term personal when discussing work in a medium as collaborative as narrative film, the Coen Brothers’ most recent masterpiece, A Serious Man, does little to dispel the impression that it means more to them than much of their recent work. At the height of their powers and popularity, unleashing their technical and syntactical virtuosity on an intimate story with no movie stars is rather ballsy in its own right, but to do so with such clearly self-revelatory material encompasses another level of courageousness entirely. Read the rest of Brandon Harris’s review, then buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.
Bronson (Magnolia Home Entertainment) — Of course, the unchecked brilliance of Tom Hardy’s performance in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson wasn’t going to earn Hardy an Oscar nomination, but at the very least, it deserves a spot in your Netflix queue. Refn threatens to crank up the A Clockwork Orange-esque style knobs too loudly, but Hardy pummels that gripe into submission. In the same way that Chopper turned Eric Bana into a star, this film should do the same for Hardy. Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.
Troubled Water (Film Movement) — Norwegian director Erik Poppe’s third feature, Troubled Water (DeUsynlige), garnered both the Jury and Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature at the 2008 Hamptons International Film Festival. Well deserving of both, it’s an arresting probe into morality and forgiveness that leaves one stunned not only by its emotionally stark performances, but also by the film’s complex, musical structure that quietly underlies the narrative and binds everything together. Read the rest of Cullen Gallagher’s review, then buy it on DVD.
New To Blu-ray Pick Of The Week
Maria Full of Grace (Phantom Sound & Vision) — Joshua Marston’s unexpected Oscar-nominated debut (for Catalina Sandino Moreno’s performance) isn’t as seemingly Blu-ray ready as something like Star Trek or Armageddon, which is why it’s nice to see it available in this format. Buy it on Blu-ray.
Have Not Seen But Plan To Do Just That
David Lean DVD Collection Box Set (101 Distribution) — A year or so ago, I got an invite to participate in one of those silly meme things in which I was challenged to list ten or so movies I was embarrassed to confess I had never seen. I thought it would be more embarrassing to list a celebrated director whose catalog I somehow hadn’t yet encountered. I guess now is the time to come clean. While I have actually seen Brief Encounter, I can’t say the same for the other eight classics in this box set: Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Blithe Spirit, This Happy Breed, Madeleine, The Sound Barrier, Hobson’s Choice. But I have seen Troll 2 about 46 times, which pretty much evens the score. Buy the 9 Disc DVD Collection.
Wild Card of the Week
— Michael Tully