DVD RELEASES 2010/6/29
Well this sure is a meaty week with lots to choose from:
Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be The Same (Factory 25) — In the same way that so many directors have recently adopted a lazy, pseudo-documentary style to realize their no-budget DV narrative features, [Jody Lee] Lipes has reversed that concept and shot his actual documentary to look like a European art film. This is certain to shock viewers’ senses. For those who like their documentaries to adhere to familiar tenets of the form, this won’t be a welcome shock (many, in fact, will refuse to believe this footage isn’t 100% fabricated—I’ve already spoken to some of them). But for me, Lipes’ film feels like a reinvention of the wheel. I never doubted that this footage wasn’t at least in some way genuine; that it has been photographed with such care and precision makes it all the more stunning. The question viewers should actually be asking themselves is: why hasn’t anyone done this before? Read the rest of my review, then buy it on DVD or Blu-ray (Blu-Ray/DVD also include Blackgoat (69 min. film by Enright) / Video Loops by Enright / A conversation w/artist Robert Longo / Essay about the film by artist Carroll Dunham; Limited Edition DVD also includes the LP Torben with individually hand drawn record labels by Enright and a 2 sided film poster).
Bass Ackwards (New Video) — Don’t be fooled by the description. Linas Phillips’s narrative debut is as charming, inquisitive, and creative as his nonfiction work (Walking to Werner, Great Speeches From A Dying World). The kernel of the idea was a tiny VW bus—just wait until you see this thing in action—and a drive across country. But in Phillips’s hands, it becomes an inventive addition to the coming-of-age/road movie canon. What makes Phillips’s vision so special is that there is an innocent charm to his decision-making that feels superficially familiar yet is wholly unique. It’s as if he didn’t go to film school and never absorbed the lessons of “what not to do.” Bass Ackwards is a fine lesson in the power of creative intuition. It’s a special little treat. Visit the official website to learn more, then buy it on DVD (full disclosure: Phillips asked me to moderate the DVD’s audio commentary with him, actor/co-writer Davie-Blue, and cinematographer Sean Porter).
Everlasting Moments (Criterion) — Everlasting Moments is like Hollywood gone right, a sweeping memoir picture that feels like it shouldn’t work (i.e., too familiar, too sentimental), yet it does. Director Jan Troell sets a lived-in, personal tone with just about every element, to the point where it feels like the film really is unfolding in present-day, turn-of-the-century Sweden. He also chooses not to overdue the creative awakening of mother and wife Maria (Maria Heiskanen). Maybe this was too subtle for the Academy? Gorgeously composed and tenderly wrought, Everlasting Moments deserves to find a nice little groove in the middle-ground marketplace. Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.
The Eclipse (Magnolia) — Conor McPherson’s strange little picture might not always be successful, but it remains interesting throughout, thanks to solid performances by Ciaran Hinds and Iben Hjejle. Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.
The White Ribbon (Sony Classics) — I personally felt like Michael Haneke was flicking me in the face with his latest film, but from the awards and reviews it’s received, it sounds like I’m in the minority. Either way, I would still say it’s worth checking out. Just don’t let everybody’s gushing raise your bar of expectation too inappropriately high. Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.
Criterion Reissues Of The Week
Television-On-Home-Video Pick Of The Week
Have Not Seen But Appear To Have Some Sort Of Appeal
Wild Card of the Week
Avoid At All Costs
Once More With Feeling (MPI Home Video) — There are only two valid reasons to watch this movie, in which Chazz Palminteri stars as a husband and father drifting into a midlife crisis in which karaoke and his ‘mentor’ (Linda Fiorentino) are his mistresses: 1) If you are over 70 years old and are bored to near death levels; 2) If you want to teach a course in how to make an independent picture that doesn’t seem to have one drip of actual soul. Buy it on DVD.