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Pick of the Week

Surrogate Valentine (Indie Blitz) — Dave Boyle’s third feature is a comedy, like his previous film, the 2009 crowd-pleaser White On Rice. But where WOR was a sharp blast of laughing gas, Surrogate Valentine is a mellow buzz that steals up on you slowly. There’s a gently lulling rhythm to the storytelling; scenes unfold with a looseness that feels semi-improvised. This mood fits with the energy level of the main character, who is also the movie’s co-writer (with Boyle and Joel Clark), the talented San Francisco-based singer/songwriter Goh Nakamura. Playing himself or a version thereof in his feature-film debut, Nakamura isn’t an obvious choice for what’s essentially a romantic lead part—soft-bodied and moon-faced, he’s likable enough but doesn’t project much presence until he picks up a guitar and sings, which he does with grace and wit and leisurely command. Read Nelson Kim’s full review. Available on DVD.

Recommended

The Staircase (New Video) — If you haven’t seen Jean-Xavier de Lastrade’s incredibly absorbing documentary that plays like an extended top-notch Hollywood thriller, you must do it as soon as possible. Available on DVD.

Rapt (Lorber Films) — Another Frenchman-directed thriller—this one of the fictional variety—Lucas Belvaux’s taut ride is very worth tracking down. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

New/Old to DVD/Blu-ray

Design For Living (Criterion) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Have Not Seen Yet But Really/Kinda/Sorta/Maybe Wanna

Bobby Fischer Against The World (Docurama) — Available on DVD.

The Found Footage Film Festival: Volume 1 (Lorber Films) — Available on DVD.

The Found Footage Film Festival: Volume 2 (Lorber Films) — Available on DVD.

Histoire(s) Du Cinema (Olive Films) — Available on DVD.

PJ Harvey Let England Shake: 12 Short Films By Seamus Murphy (Universal UK) — Available on DVD.

Milestones/Ice (Icarus Films) — Available on DVD.

Life, Above All (Sony) — Available on 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo.

Portlandia: Season One (Video Serv) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Pack.

Mammuth (Olive Films) — Available on DVD.

Point Blank (Magnolia) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

The Debt (Miramax) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Wild Card of the Week

The Help (Walt Disney) — Available on DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, and Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy.

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Michael Tully was born and raised in Maryland and now lives on Tennis Court in Brooklyn. His most recent narrative feature, Septien, world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Sundance Selects. In addition to directing Cocaine Angel (2006) and Silver Jew (2007), he is also a proud alumni of Filmmaker Magazine's annual "25 New Faces of Independent Film" club (2006). Visit his indieWIRE blog Boredom at its Boredest—http://blogs.indiewire.com/tully—for more sporadic personal updates.

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