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Pick of the Week

The Unspeakable Act (Cinema Guild) — In the alternate reality I wish our actual reality was living in, Tallie Medel would get a Best Actress Spirit Award nomination for her borderline miraculously convincing performance in Dan Sallitt’s latest film. From the description, you might be thinking that The Unspeakable Act is going to be a twisted Happiness-esque exploration of brother-and-sister incest. But Sallitt merely uses the premise of a sister who is in love with her brother to thoughtfully—and very, very uniquely, I might add—explore sibling dynamics and broader themes of growing up and letting go of one’s childhood worldview. Full confession: a second viewing was needed for me to fully appreciate what Sallitt pulled off with this film. Available on DVD.

Highly Recommended

Radio Unnameable (Alive Mind) — If you’ve never heard the name Bob Fass before, this documentary will right that wrong in a jiffy. Fass is the legendary radio personality at Manhattan’s WBAI whose radio show has entertained and invigorated audiences for the past five decades. In the 1960s, Fass was more than a mere entertainer. His studio was a hub for some of the most influential American artists of that era (do the names Bob Dylan, Abbie Hoffman, and Yoko Ono ring a bell?), and his show was responsible for uniting listeners in a way that could never have been done otherwise. Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson incorporate a staggering amount of archival footage into their film, which is equal parts vital history lesson and touching love letter to an unheralded American hero. [Full disclosure: I have an “additional camera” credit on this movie, but my participation was minimal to the point of nil—only one of my shots made it into the final cut—which is why I have no shame whatsoever recommending it here.] Available on DVD and at Amazon Instant.

War Witch (New Video) — Kim Nguyen’s harrowing fable about a young girl’s time spent as a child soldier in the Congo impressively blends reality with fantasy, and features a remarkable lead performance from first-timer (?!) Rachel Mwanza. Available on DVD and at Amazon Instant.

Chasing Ice (New Video) — Anti-Global warmers should be forced to watch Jeff Orlowski’s disturbing documentary with their eyelids splayed open, A Clockwork Orange-style. The work that photographer and activist James Balog is doing with his time-lapse photography is both gorgeous and terrifying. Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and at Amazon Instant.

Mildly Recommended

Ping Pong (Docurama) — This documentary portrait of several young-at-heart-but-old-in-body folks who share their life stories while gearing up for a ping pong competition is slight, but endearing. Available on DVD.

Three Worlds (Film Movement) — French director Catherine Corsini’s drama is firmly rooted in the Babel-ian school of global storytelling, in which the lives of several characters from different economic and sociopolitical backgrounds intersect. Of course, the narrative conveniences make for a tough pill to swallow at times, yet the commitment of Corsini’s cast keeps things grounded. Available on DVD.

New/Old to DVD/Blu-ray

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (Criterion) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paramount) — Available on Blu-ray.

La Cage aux Folles (Criterion) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Marathon Man (Paramount) — Available on Blu-ray.

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

Homeland: The Complete Second Season (20th Century Fox) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (Universal) — Available on DVD.

Andre Gregory: Before And After Dinner (Cinema Guild) — Available on DVD.

Phil Spector (HBO) — Available on DVD.

Jess Franco – The Perverse Collection (Severin Films) — Available on DVD.

Wish You Were Here (Entertainment One) — Available on DVD.

Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount) — Available on DVD, Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy, Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy, and at Amazon Instant.

Parade’s End (HBO) — Available on DVD and Blu-ray + Digital Copy.

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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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