“Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Only two.” “Only two who?” “Only two new DVD releases worth digging into this week.” Though one of them is a 6-movie set, that helps to fill things out a bit more. Anyway, let’s get to it:
The Missing Person (Strand Releasing) — Lest you think we’re treading in nepotistic waters here, I would like to state, for the record, that I had never had any interaction with writer/director Noah Buschel before I wrote the following plug for his latest film The Missing Person when it was released theatrically back in November of 2009: Though it might sound strange, the movie The Missing Person most reminds me of—more than any of the noir films it superficially resembles—is Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. On paper, it sounds like a horrible idea, mixing the tragedy of September 11th with the spicy noir genre, but Buschel shows a respect for both sources that adds up to something genuine and sincere. It also helps that he cast Michael Shannon as John Rosow, the down-on-his-luck private dick who finds himself caught up in a mystery that has deeper consequences every step of the way. The Missing Person is one of the more daringly original American narrative features of 2009. Since that time, Buschel has become an invaluable member of the Hammer to Nail team, producing some of the more excellent film essays I’ve read in a long, long time (go here to read them). So you can cry nepotism if you want, but I’d win this one in court. All you have to do is watch The Missing Person to see that it’s the most exciting new release of the week. Buy it on DVD.
Essential Art House, Volume 5 (Criterion) — The latest Criterion release in the Essential Art House collection is a miniature film history class all by itself. Even if you’ve already seen all of the included titles, they are the types of classics that get better and better on subsequent viewings: Loves Of A Blonde, Brief Encounter, Floating Weeds, 8 1/2, Jules and Jim, Kapo Buy the 6-disc DVD set.