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DVD RELEASES 2009/8/11

There’s really only one DVD release worth talking about this week, but just for good measure, we’ll give you two.

thegoodtimeskidthumbThe GoodTimesKid (Benten Films) — The boys at Benten Films absolutely crush it out of the park for the long overdue home video release of Azazel Jacobs’ enchanting second feature. A deadpan noir breakup comedy involving mistaken identities, The GoodTimesKid feels like it was shot in an earlier, more innocent time, before the words “hip” and “quirk” were plundered by Sundance hopefuls and mutilated into their current trite, grating form. As if the film itself weren’t proof enough, the disc’s supplemental materials should be taught in film schools everywhere as a lesson in production ingenuity and guilefulness (though one might not want to take things as far as literally stealing their film stock). Though Jacobs is credited as the director, the incredible trailer—worth the price of admission alone, I kid you not—as well as an accompanying slide show of production stills, establishes just how small a crew this really was, as the core unit consisted of just Jacobs, co-writer/co-star Gerardo Naranjo, co-star/costume designer Sara Diaz, and additional cameraman Eric Curtis (remember, this is a 35mm production, not a mini-DV one). The modest story is best left discovered for oneself, but suffice to say, Jacobs isn’t coasting on style and charm alone, as the ultimate gift of this dryly funny breakup tale is that it isn’t a breakup tale at all. Buy the DVD at Amazon right now if you care about independent cinema.

The Class (Sony Pictures Classics) — With The Class, Laurent Cantet (Time Out, Human Resources) reaffirms his status as one of world cinema’s most important social humanist filmmakers. Brandon Harris wrote about the film in conjunction with its appearance as opening night film of last year’s NYFF. Says Harris: Quietly heartbreaking while maintaining both intimacy and reserve in its documentary aesthetic, The Class, surprise winner of this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes, is the most accomplished film about modern eduction since Frederick Wiseman’s masterpiece High School. It is that all too rare movie that leaves our assumptions and prejudices thoroughly tested. Read the full review here. Then buy the DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.

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Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

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