DVD RELEASES 2010/7/27
If you haven’t seen any of the following ‘very recommended’ movies, you need to change that nay to a yay before we speak again. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.
The Secret of the Grain (Criterion) — At two-and-a-half hours, The Secret of the Grain unfolds with a Cassavetes-like disregard for conventional cinematic time; here, scenes are extended beyond their normal length to create a more lived-in and realistic air. Abdellatif Kechiche’s gritty fable isn’t just a refreshing antidote to the much more common, artificially optimistic cinema that treads similar narrative terrain. It is also a poignant family drama convincingly set inside France’s ever-changing cultural borders, as well as a profound universal commentary on the curse of being poor and uneducated in this, or any other, era. The Secret of the Grain gives foreign films a very good name. Read the rest of my review, then buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.
Home (Lorber Films) — Ursula Meier’s Home does not have many cinematic precedents that readily spring to mind when trying to describe it, although there is something Dogtooth-esque about it, for both of these strange, striking works are family dramas at their core that are also laced with black humor and an almost sci-fi pitch-bending of reality. In Home, Isabelle Huppert and Olivier Gourmet are parents whose quiet life is shattered when a highway is reopened just steps from their front door. Once that happens, things only get weirder. Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.
The Art of the Steal (IFC Films) — Don Argott’s The Art of the Steal is a kind of crime thriller about the violation of a dead man’s wishes and the theft of a great art collection. Argott and his team have pulled off a coup of investigative journalism. They name several names, and produce more than one smoking gun. The main achievement of the film comes in the way it anatomizes the circulation of money, power, and influence through a number of American social structures: politics, higher education, the justice system, the museum world, charitable foundations, and more. Rare is the documentary that gives such a clear sense of how these worlds operate. And all this is carried off with impressive filmmaking skill and storytelling panache; the movie is a fun, fast-paced whodunit that before long gives us the answer: here’s whodunit, and why, and how. Read the rest of Nelson Kim’s review, then buy it on DVD.
We Fun: Atlanta, GA Inside/Out (Music Video Distributors) — I’ve finally become a hardcore believer in the scarily prolific Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound, Deerhunter), but I’m not too familiar with this particular music scene on a whole. Which is why I found Matthew Robison’s We Fun to be so unexpectedly rich (full disclosure: Robison and I made the documentary Silver Jew together—so, yes, there’s that). More than just a sloppily fun chronicle of Atlanta, Georgia’s burgeoning indie rock scene (Black Lips, King Khan & The Shrines, and many, many more), We Fun actually provides genuine insight into how regional music scenes like this are born: organically, without any overarching manifesto, more out of boredom and youthful creative energy than anything else. In a positive way, We Fun isn’t even about Atlanta, per se. This could be Baltimore, this could be Albuquerque, this could be Minneapolis. If you don’t think this type of music interests you, I suggest watching it from a broader, more cultural perspective. This documentary is deeper than it seems. Buy it on DVD.
Have Not Seen But Want To
Wild Card of the Week (Or Is It A Wild Card?)
21 Jump Street: The Complete Series — Buy the 18-Disc DVD Set.