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DVD+Digital

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DVD+Digital: Dirty jokes, Danish bacchanals and Klown

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 1:36 PM

courtesy of Drafthouse Films The comedy of the idiot man-child has been a running theme in American movies of late, with an endless parade of films celebrating the joys of perpetual adolescence. The 2010 Danish hit KLOWN, new to DVD and Blu-ray this week, proves that the trend isn't a strictly American phenomenon, and there's plenty of room to riff on the theme. Written by and starring Danish TV stars Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen, the film is based on a sitcom in which the actors play exaggerated versions of themselves. It's similar in approach to the very funny 2010...

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DVD+Digital: Sex, death and Steve Martin

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 12:53 PM

courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment This week's Cognitive Dissonance Double Feature begins with THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, a twisty and postmodern horror movie from writer/producer Joss Whedon and his posse. New this week to DVD and Blu-ray, the film has been available via select video-on-demand for a while following its theatrical run this summer. Whedon co-wrote the script with director Drew Goddard, a collaborator from back in the days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Cabin shares some tonal DNA with Buffy and its mix of horror, comedy and imaginative rethinking of geek culture tropes. The film begins with a...

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DVD+Digital: H.P. Lovecraft, Lovely Molly and Halloween in August

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 9:42 AM

courtesy of Image Entertainment When The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999, it broke all sorts of molds. The creepy faux-documentary, about three student filmmakers who get lost in the woods, was the first to leverage the “found footage” idea into a full-length, mainstream horror movie. The film also employed new digital age promotion techniques, using fake websites and viral marketing strategies to build buzz. By some accounts, it's still the single most profitable movie ever made, earning $240 million worldwide off a $50,000 production budget. Blair Witch co-director Eduardo Sanchez is back this week with the home video...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DVD+Digital: Anniversary reissues, Hollywood lore and Good Will Hunting

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 11:38 AM

courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment Believe it or not, it's been 15 years since Good Will Hunting came out of nowhere to turn Matt Damon and Ben Affleck into Oscar winners and ginormous movie stars. The story behind the 1997 film has since become filmmaking legend; the kind of thing aspiring actors tell to one another late at night in cramped West Hollywood apartments: If we write our own script and say his name three times, Harvey Weinstein will appear at midnight and make us famous! New to Blu-ray this week, GOOD WILL HUNTING: 15th ANNIVERSARY EDITION adds some terrific...

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DVD+Digital: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory and the agonizing story of the West Memphis Three

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM

The disturbing saga of the West Memphis Three has been playing out for nearly 20 years now. In 1993, three teenagers in West Memphis, Arkansas — Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley — were tried and convicted for the horrific murder of three young boys. The teens were accused of performing a Satanic ritual in the woods, and implicated as much for their black clothes and heavy metal records as anything else. No physical evidence tied them to the scene, and later revelations would raise multiple red flags on the trial, including suggestions of false testimony, coerced confessions...

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DVD+Digital: The melancholy comedy of Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection Writer/director Whit Stillman's films are populated by wealthy young people—preppies, snobs, One Percenters in the larval stage—and we shouldn't really like them. And yet we do. In fact, we come to sort of love them, and if Whit Stillman can claim anything on his deathbed, it's that: He made yuppies loveable. Stillman's loosely connected 1990s trilogy of films—Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco—feature young members of the privileged classes making their way into the wider world. Stillman returned to theaters earlier this year with Damsels in Distress, a more broadly funny take on...

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DVD+Digital: Anna Paquin, teenage wastelands and Margaret

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

courtesy of Fox Searchlight With its heavyweight themes, three-hour running time and addled sense of focus, director Kenneth Lonergan's MARGARET is a glorious mess of a movie. Originally intended for theatrical release in 2006, the film was to be Lonergan's directorial follow-up to his Oscar-nominated debut, You Can Count On Me. The project languished in post-production hell, however, as Lonergan and the producers fought over the final edit. Margaret had a very limited theatrical run late last year and has now been issued to home video in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack with both the shorter theatrical cut and Lonergan's own...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DVD+Digital: The Graduate, Spinal Tap and adventures in direct-to-DVD

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 1:30 PM

courtesy of MGM The doldrums of summer continue on the home video beat—July and August are traditionally the horse latitudes of DVD and digital distribution. This week's most high-profile release is AMERICAN REUNION, the latest installment of the sex and bathroom humor franchise that I've been studiously avoiding for 13 years. I tried to make time to watch Reunion this week, but things just kept coming up. Like napping and staring at the wall. American Reunion is actually the eighth movie in the series, if you count the direct-to-DVD spinoffs (and I do). These are the kinds of titles that...

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

DVD+Digital: It's indie quirk madness with Jesus Henry Christ

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM

courtesy of Entertainment One The Fourth of July holiday is traditionally a slow week for DVD releases. Studios and distributors assume everyone is out grilling or watching fireworks, and not interested in home videos. I'm what you call an indoorsy person, though, and so have dutifully gone through this week's slim pickings. JESUS HENRY CHRIST is an indie comedy in the Little Miss Sunshine vein, featuring eccentric family relations, flamboyantly dark humor and precocious little kids. It's quirk overkill, frankly, and painfully self-conscious. But if you can get past all the conspicuous indie-ness, you'll find a sweet minor-key comedy with...

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DVD+Digital: The quiet brilliance of The Artist

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 1:56 PM

courtesy of the Weinstein Company It all seems a little too cute, doesn't it? THE ARTIST is a black-and-white silent film, shot in the archaic 4:3 aspect ratio, about the Old Hollywood silent film era. And it's French! And it won the Best Picture Oscar! I was skeptical, too—this seemed like the sort of artsy, delightfully impertinent gesture the Academy likes to make every few years. But I was wrong. The Artist is a pure delight from beginning to end; a genuinely inspired piece of popular entertainment with bonus resonance for movie history geeks. (Read Laura Boyes's review for the...

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DVD+Digital: The comic genius of Louis C.K.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Courtesy of FX Too much good TV, that's the problem. It's impossible to keep up with all the quality series on television these days – Mad Men, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Girls. Well, not impossible, but certainly tricky, and you have to give up things like family and daylight. One show I never miss, though, is LOUIE, the verite-style situation comedy from veteran alt-comic Louis C.K. Season two of the hit FX show is out this week on DVD and Blu-ray, and it's a good opportunity to catch up with this genre-busting endeavor....

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DVD+Digital: Suicide solutions as Harold and Maude gets the Criterion treatment

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Paramount Pictures The original indie quirk movie, director Hal Ashby's HAROLD AND MAUDE has been re-issued this week on DVD and Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection, whose boutique home video releases are little artifacts of film goodness in and of themselves. The special edition features new digital restoration, a remastered soundtrack and a booklet of archival interviews and essays. Watching the movie again for the first time in 20 years, I must admit my first thought was, “Hey! Wes Anderson made a movie in 1971!” Anderson has long acknowledged Ashby as an influence, but the connection is never more conspicuous...

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DVD+Digital: Machine Gun Preacher and Curb Your Enthusiasm

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 10:14 AM

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment One of the great joys of home video is inducing cognitive dissonance by scheduling an ambitious double feature night. Pick the right two films, and you can work alchemical wonders in your own mind. I was once talked into a Halloween double feature bill of Monsters, Inc. and The Exorcist. My dreams that night put me on medication for the next three years. Still, it's good fun. This week's Cognitive Dissonance Double Feature begins with MACHINE GUN PREACHER, among the stranger movies to see semi-wide theatrical release last year. Despite the title, this is no...

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DVD+Digital: Ralph Fiennes' violent, modern version of Shakespeare's Coriolanus

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Larry D. Horricks/ The Weinstein Company In the rather startling CORIOLANUS, new to DVD, Blu-ray and standard digital platforms this week, actor-turned-director Ralph Fiennes smuggles an obscure Shakespeare tragedy into the contemporary war movie genre. Epic and bloody, Coriolanus tells the tale of Caius Martius (Fiennes), a fierce military general in “a place calling itself Rome.” In the Bard's original play, Rome is actually Rome (and Martius a historical Roman general). In Fiennes' update, though, Rome is a depressingly modern and familiar sight: a city in the midst of war, coming apart at the seams. Time and place are deliberately...

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DVD+Digital: Perfect Sense

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Photo by Neil Davidson/ IFC FilmsGood science fiction premises are hard to come by. It's just math, really. Ever since Mary Shelley kicked it all off with Frankenstein, countless authors and screenwriters have mapped the terrain of speculative fiction—examining issues, projecting trends and otherwise scouring the collective superconsciousness for story hooks. So when you find a new science fiction movie with a relatively fresh concept, it becomes a kind of commodity in and of itself. Such is the case with the apocalyptic romance PERFECT SENSE, new to DVD and various digital platforms this week. Starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green,...

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DVD+Digital: Norwegian Wood

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Soda PicturesBased on a hugely popular 1987 Japanese novel, the quiet drama NORWEGIAN WOOD is a haunting coming-of-age story that explores love and loss against the backdrop of 1960s Tokyo. As his fellow students protest and march—Tokyo had its '60s radicals, too—brooding college student Toru Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) falls into a romantic affair with the delicate, damaged Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi). The two come together in unspoken grief after the suicide of their mutual friend, Kizuki, who was also Naoko's first love. The young couple's first sexual encounter leads to a emotional breakdown for Naoko, who retreats to a countryside sanitarium....

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