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Picks of the Week

The Catechism Cataclysm (MPI Home Video) — ***Hammer To Nail’s Number 8 Film of 2011*** At the heart of Todd Rohal’s work is a very basic concept lost on today’s major theatrical audience who are hypnotized by the tired routine of familiar narrative structure. It’s so simple that it could be lost in the ether of the week’s releases comprised of cults and the continued ascension of the Catfish crew, but I’ll lay it out: Anything Goes. It’s a mindset that will definitely help you take on The Catechism Cataclysm, which is equally about God, storytelling, instrumental trance music, literature, race, the Internet, growing up, rejection, drinking beer and, ultimately, dealing with the absence of hope when your sister’s ex-boyfriend from high school is reincarnated for a brief second before God performs the equivalent of stating, “LOL! J/k.” Read John Lichman’s full HTN review, as well as A Conversation With Todd Rohal. Available on DVD and at Amazon Instant.

General Orders No. 9 (New Rose Window) — ***Hammer To Nail’s Number 12 Film of 2011*** General Orders No. 9 is one of those films where the adjectives used to describe it—dense, meditative, reflective, confounding—are intended as compliments, yet they will be mistaken by many for pejoratives. And while it would be stubborn and ignorant to think that everyone will respond to it with open arms, its refusal to speak to anyone except itself is what makes it stand proudly on its own mountain. This first film (how is that possible?!) by Robert Persons is a thoroughly absorbing, hypnotizing experience. Persons’s lifelong passion for the arts—painting, poetry, literature, cinema—is reflected in each and every frame. And while one could write tomes about it, ultimately General Orders No. 9 must be experienced for oneself in order to truly grasp what Persons is saying. Read the full HTN review, as well as A Conversation With Robert Persons. Available on DVD. (*Note: The film will be available for purchase on DVD and Blu-ray at Amazon through Passion River Films on March 20th.)

Hugo (Paramount) — I don’t know about you guys, but I personally had a blast watching Martin Scorsese’s sprawling ode to childhood innocence and cinema. Hugo is without question the world’s first ever big-budget work of Celluloid Propaganda!, and for that reason alone, I am 100% on its team. Available on DVD, 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy, 3-disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy, and at Amazon Instant.


Miss Bala (Fox World Cinema) — Read A Conversation With Gerardo Naranjo and Stephanie Sigman. Available on DVD and at Amazon Instant.

The Myth of the American Sleepover (MPI Home Video) — It’s easy to be judgmental about the characters of David Robert Mitchell’s teen drama, The Myth of the American Sleepover, about the escapades of several adolescents on their last night of summer. You can judge one girl for betraying her friend for their shared object of affection; or one guy for stalking a pair of twins whom he once had a crush on. But to do so would be to sell the film and its characters short. The Myth of the American Sleepover isn’t about actions and events, but moments and gestures. Through the impressionable eyes of a handful of youths, we undergo the far-off anxieties of anyone entering adulthood. We witness the unsettling prospect of maturity, inexpressible emotions, small betrayals and large ones, and an underlying excitement in the face of it all. Read Daniel James Scott’s full HTN review, as well as A Conversation With David Robert Mitchell. Available on DVD and at Amazon Instant.

New/Old to DVD/Blu-ray

Vanya on 42nd Street (Criterion) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Wild Card of the Week

I Melt With You (Magnolia) — Or as I prefer to call it: Bro Down In Big Sur. Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and at Amazon Instant.

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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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