Pick of the Week
Take Shelter (Sony Classics) — If you haven’t seen Hammer To Nail’s number one film of 2011, you better fix that right now, for Take Shelter is a modern American masterpiece. Jeff Nichols’ fusion of everyday, real world concerns with a classical approach to storytelling and cinema does more than just distinguish him from the rest of his peers. While he displayed a confidence and control in his pitch-perfect debut feature Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter finds Nichols working on an altogether more accomplished level. In light of Hurricane Irene—to name just one recent natural calamity—and the continually shrinking economy, this film couldn’t be timelier. As if the devastating emotional impact weren’t enough, the actual production means with which this Hollywood-ready production was made truly boggles the mind. Adam Stone’s typically excellent wide-screen 35mm cinematography, David Wingo’s foreboding orchestral soundtrack, the CGI work by visual effects giants Colin and Greg Strause, the assured performances from outright movie stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain (as well as highest-bar supporting actors like Shea Whigham, Kathy Baker, and this year’s Silver Nail winner Longstreet), all make Take Shelter more than just Spirit Awards ready. They make it Oscar worthy. Read the full HTN Review. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
How To Die in Oregon (New Video) — Make sure you have a new box of tissues handy before pressing play on Peter Richardson’s Sundance winner. Even thinking about it makes me start to cry. Available on DVD.
The Interrupters (Frontline/PBS) — Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz’s phenomenal documentary about a group of citizens in Chicago who have banded together to stop the violence from the inside-out was last year’s The Wire. A very deserving winner of multiple awards at the Cinema Eye Honors—including Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking—The Interrupters is cinema at its most engaging, vital, and inspiring. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
New/Old to DVD/Blu-ray
Three Outlaw Samurai (Criterion) — There’s a certain ironic nostalgia that comes with watching Hideo Gosha’s 1964 film, not least because on some level the eponymous samurai seem as aware as we are that their efforts will ultimately amount to little. Read Michael Nordine’s full HTN review. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Have Not Seen Yet But Really/Kinda/Sorta/Maybe Wanna
Wild Card of the Week