Monday, May 23, 2022

Archive for the ‘DVD Triage’ Category

Last week I was complaining because there were hardly any releases worth glancing at; this week I opted to put in a second row of highlighted covers because there are a LOT of releases, including a bunch of last year’s festival circuit films that I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle. Still a slow week on the Instant Watch front, for both new additions and expirations, but there are a few gems in there you won’t want to miss.

New Release Pick of the Week

Chronicle
A nice surprise in the midst of February doldrums to find this small but satisfying take on what would happen if a group of high-schoolers got the power of telekinesis. Both the “ordinary people get superpowers” and found footage genres are getting stale, but Chronicle uses both to good advantage, chiefly by being spot on in how teenagers would react to their new-found powers.
2012 USA. Director: Josh Trank. Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan.

Other New Releases

Afghan Luke (2011 USA, dir Mike Clattenburg, stars Nick Stahl)
Agent Vinod (2012 India, dir Sriram Raghavan, stars Kareena Kapoor)
Chained: Code 207 (2012 USA, dir Tino Struckmann, stars John Greer)
The Devil Inside (2012 USA, dir William Brent Bell, stars Fernanda Andrade)
Dragonslayer (2011 USA, dir Tristan Patterson, stars Josh ‘Skreech’ Sandoval)
eCupid (2011 USA, dir J.C. Calciano, stars Andy Anderson)
Flashpoint: Season 4 (2011 USA, stars Amy Jo Johnson, Hugh Dillon)
Golf in the Kingdom (2010 USA, dir Susan Streitfeld, stars David O’Hara)
Hell on Wheels: Season 1 (2011 USA, stars Anson Mount, Colm Meaney)
Mortuary (2005 USA, dir Tobe Hooper, stars Dan Byrd)
My Perestroika (1010 USA/UK/Russia, dir Robin Hessman)
My Piece of the Pie (2011 France, dir Cédric Klapisch, stars Karin Viard)
The Tenants (2009 Brazil, dir Sergio Bianchi, stars Fernando Alves Pinto)
The Universe: Season 6 (2007 USA)
Victorious: Season 2 (2011 USA, stars Victoria Justice)
We Were Here (2011 USA, dir David Weissman, Bill Weber)
Windfall (2011 USA, dir Laura Israel)
The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake (2011 Hong Kong, dir Herman Yau, stars Rose Chan)

Catalog Pick of the Week

Being John Malkovich Criterion
There are no films that define “mindfuck” quite like Being John Malkovich, and yes, I pretty much mean that literally. When John Cusack discovers a door that leads inside the brain of John Malkovich, it’s only the beginning of one of the most bizarre and brilliant films I’ve ever seen. I’m glad to see Criterion honoring newer, deserving films like this.
1999 USA. Director: Spike Jonze. Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich, Catherine Keener.

 

Other Catalog Releases

Before and After Blu-ray (1996 USA, dir Barbet Schroeder, stars Meryl Streep)
Born Yesterday Blu-ray (1993 USA, dir Luis Mandoki, stars Melanie Griffith)
Bringing Down the House Blu-ray (2003 USA, dir Adam Shankman, stars Steve Martin)
Caravan (1946 USA, dir Arthur Crabtree, stars Stewart Granger)
D.O.A. Blu-ray (1988 USA, dir Annabel Jankel, Rocky Morton, stars Dennis Quaid)
Duets Blu-ray (2000 USA, dir Bruce Paltrow, stars Gwyneth Paltrow)
Eagle’s Wing (1979 USA, dir Anthony Harvey, stars Martin Sheen)
Fanny by Gaslight, aka Man of Evil (1945 UK, dir Anthony Asquith, stars James Mason)
Forbidden Zone Blu-ray (1982 USA, dir Richard Elfman, stars Hervé Villechaize)
Gone Fishin’ Blu-ray (1997 USA, dir Christopher Cain, stars Joe Pesci)
Hazel: Season 3 (1963 USA, stars Shirley Booth)
Holy Man Blu-ray (1998 USA, dir Stephen Herek, stars Eddie Murphy)
Love Story, aka A Lady Surrenders (1944 UK, dir Leslie Arliss, stars Margaret Lockwood)
Mr. Wrong Blu-ray (1996 USA, dir Nick Castle, stars Ellen DeGeneres)
The Odessa File Blu-ray (1974 UK, dir Ronald Neame, stars Jon Voight)
The Order Blu-ray (2001 USA, dir Sheldon Lettich, stars Jean-Claude Van Damme)
Riverboat: Complete Series (1959-61 USA, stars Darren McGavin, Dick Wessel)
Spaghetti Western Double Feature: Grand Duel / Keoma (1972/1976 Italy, dir Giancarlo Santi/Enzo G. Castellari, stars Lee Van Cleef/Franco Nero)
Terminal Velocity Blu-ray (1994 USA, dir Deran Sarafian, stars Charlie Sheen)
Walking Tall Trilogy (1973-1977 USA, stars Joe Don Baker / Bo Svenson)
White Squall Blu-ray (1996 USA, dir Ridley Scott, stars Jeff Bridges)

Click here to read more!

New Release Pick of the Week

Haywire
So far, Haywire is still sitting at the top of my Best of 2012 list; granted, I’ve only seen five or six 2012 films so far, but still. Steven Soderbergh’s old-school take on the action genre doesn’t waste any time getting to the point, and lets Gina Carano loose to do her thing, and her thing is pretty awesome.
2012 USA. Director: Steven Soderbergh. Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas.

Other New Releases

Suits Season 1 (2011 USA, creator Aaron Korsh, stars Gabriel Macht)
W.E. (2011 UK, dir Madonna, stars Abbie Cornish, James D’Arcy)

Catalog Pick of the Week

Tim Burton Collection Blu-ray
A pretty nice-looking Amazon-exclusive set of Tim Burton Blus, mainly focusing on his early career, which is a very good thing. Although I would’ve included Edward Scissorhands over Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for sure (or a number of others). Still, if you don’t have these already, it’s a decent box.
Includes Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Mars Attacks!, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Other Catalog Releases

WARNER ARCHIVE
Bridge to the Sun (1961 USA, dir Etienne Périer, stars Carroll Baker)
Flareup (1969 USA, dir James Neilson, stars Raquel Welch)
Hullabaloo (1940 USA, dir Edwin L. Marin, stars Frank Morgan)
This Could Be the Night (1957 USA, dir Robert Wise, stars Jean Simmons)

About a Boy Blu-ray (2002 UK, dir Chris & Paul Weitz, stars Hugh Grant)
Jeremiah Johnson Blu-ray (1972 USA, dir Sydney Pollack, stars Robert Redford)
Meet Joe Black Blu-ray (1998 USA, dir Martin Brest, stars Brad Pitt)
Men in Black II Blu-ray (2002 USA, dir Barry Sonnenfeld, stars Will Smith)
Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997 USA, dir Michael Cohn, stars Sigourney Weaver)
The Virginian Season 6 (1968 USA, stars James Drury)
Wagon Train Season 5 (1961 USA, stars Frank McGrath)

Click here to read more!

New Release Pick of the Week

The Innkeepers
Easily one of my favorite films of last year (it even made my top ten list), Ti West’s take on the haunted house is equal parts well-played comedy and atmospheric horror, and both parts work perfectly. I loved every second of this film, and I’m looking forward to revisiting the Yankee Pedlar soon.
2011 USA. Director: Ti West. Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis.

Other New Releases

11-11-11 (2011 USA, dir Darren Lynn Bousman, stars Timothy Gibbs)
Albatross (2011 UK, dir Niall MacCormick, stars Felicity Jones)
Cinema Verite (2011 USA, dir Shari Springer Berman, stars Diane Lane)
Dark Tide (2012 USA, dir John Stockwell, stars Halle Berry)
The Fields (2011 USA, dir Tom Mattera/David Mazzoni, stars Tara Reid)
Let the Bullets Fly (2010 Hong Kong, dir Wen Jiang, stars Chow Yun-Fat)
Night Wolf (2012 USA, dir Jonathan Glendening, stars Gemma Atkinson)
Return (2011 USA, dir Liza Johnson, stars Linda Cardinelli)
Some Days are Better than Others (2010 USA, dir Matt McCormick, stars Carrie Brownstein)
The Theatre Bizarre (2011 USA, dir various, stars Udo Kier)
Titanic (2012 USA, stars Peter McDonald)
Young Goethe in Love (2010 Germany, dir Philipp Stölzl, stars Alexander Fehling)

Click here to read more!

New Release Picks of the Week

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
This film got much better reviews than I ever expected it to, and that’s after I was already interested due to Brad Bird and Jeremy Renner (sorry, Tom). Busy holidays kept me from it, though, so I’ll have to catch it on DVD…which is sadly not IMAX-sized.
2011 USA. Director: Brad Bird. Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner.

Shame
A divisive film in many ways, with some praising Fassbender and the film’s style, while other were put off by its lack of depth. I didn’t manage to get out to see it in theatres, but I definitely want to catch up with it before too long.
2011 UK. Director: Steve McQueen. Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan.

Other New Releases

After the Banquet (2009 South Korea, dir Kim Yoon-cheol, stars Sin Seong-woo)
American Dad!: Volume 7 (2011 USA, creator Seth MacFarlane)
Bob’s Burgers: Season 1 (2011 USA, stars H. Jon Benjamin)
The Divide (2012 USA, dir Xavier Gens, stars Lauren German, Michael Biehn)
Garbo: The Spy (2009 UK, dir Edmon Roch, stars Nigel West)
Girlfight (2011 USA, dir Stephen Gyllenhaal, stars Anne Heche)
A Heavenly Vintage (2009 New Zealand, dir Niki Caro, stars Keisha Castle-Hughes)
Hell’s Labyrinth (2011 USA, dir Drew Maxwell, stars Leah Rose)
The Last Rites of Joe May (2010 USA, dir Joe Maggio, stars Dennis Farina)
Man on the Train (2011 USA, dir Mary McGuickian, stars Donald Sutherland)
7 Below (2012 USA, dir Kevin Carraway, stars Val Kilmer)
Up from Slavery (2011 USA, dir Kevin R. Hershberger)

Click here to read more!

Another week in a row of extremely solid DVD releases! Studios are really cranking out their end-of-the-year Oscar-type films like crazy, so there are lots of good things to choose from. Even on the catalog release front, there are some really great early older films coming out, including some outstanding Frank Capra and some better-known-than-usual pre-codes from the Warner Archive. See the full list of releases here on Row Three.

New Release Pick of the Week

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
This may have been an unnecessary remake, and it may have been something Fincher could do in his sleep, but regardless, this still came out as one of the most satisfying thrillers of the year, even improving on the original film in subtle ways and more than earning its right to existence.
2011 USA. Director: David Fincher. Starring: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig.

Other New Releases

Catalog Pick of the Week

Lady for a Day DVD & Blu
When Cinefamily did an early Capra retrospective a couple of years ago, this one easily came out on top – a perfect combination of character actor-driven humor and Depression-era hardship, Lady for a Day has it all, and in spades. Simply a gem that ought to be remembered as much as any of Capra’s other classics.
1933 USA. Director: Frank Capra. Starring: May Robson, Warren William, Guy Kibbee, Glenda Farrell, Ned Sparks, Walter Connolly, Jean Parker, Nat Pendleton.

 

Other Catalog Releases

WARNER ARCHIVE
Blessed Event (1932 USA, dir Roy Del Ruth, stars Lee Tracy, Mary Brian)
Dangerous (1935 USA, dir Alfred E. Green, stars Bette Davis, Franchot Tone)
The Steel Trap (1952 USA, dir Andrew L. Stone, stars Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright)
Thirteen Women (1932 USA, dir George Archainbaud, stars Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy)
Untamed (1929 USA, dir Jack Conway, stars Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery)

Instant Watch Picks of the Week

Mysteries of Lisbon
Daunting runtime notwithstanding, I still hold Mysteries of Lisbon as one of my favorites from the LA Film Fest last year. An intricate story weaving through Europe in the 18th century, it’s a marvel of plotting any way you look at it, and I’m looking forward to looking at it again.
2010 Portugal. Director: Raul Ruiz. Starring: Adriano Luz, Maria Jo&atild;o Bastos, Ricardo Pereira.

Slacker
Richard Linklater is known for making conversation-driven films, and that’s pretty much all this one is – a nearly plotless wandering around the streets of Austin, picking up unrelated conversations here and there, then moving on to the next one. A pioneer of Austin’s indie film scene, Linklater manages to capture Austin’s character perfectly here, and the film is much more engrossing than you’d expect.
1991 USA. Director: Richard Linklater. Starring: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine.

Other Instant Watch Releases

Expiring Picks of the Week

All About Eve [4/1]
I recently put this film atop my list of favorite Academy Award winners, and I stand by that decision. It’s a classic of double-dealing show business people, all caught up in the roles they play onstage and off, with some of the best dialogue and ensemble performances ever put on film. Don’t miss this one.
1950 USA. Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe.

Black Adder [4/1]
Rowan Atkinson may be best known in the States as Mr. Bean (or other dumb-playing roles like Johnny English), but for my money, his absolute best series is Black Adder, where he plays a series of British noblemen (each season is set in a different century) with dry wit and an unfortunate lot of idiotic hangers-on. Throw in Hugh Laurie as a ditzy courtier and Miranda Richardson as a childish Queen Elizabeth in some seasons, and this never gets old.
1982-1989 UK. Starring: Rowan Atkinson.

Firefly [4/1]
I’m pretty sure I feature Firefly every time it goes on or off Instant, but I don’t care, I love it that much, and I’m going to keep talking about how much I love it until every breathing person on this planet has seen it. As much as I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and consider it central to my media tastes and life, Firefly is Joss Whedon’s masterpiece.
2002 USA. Creator: Joss Whedon. Starring: Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Ron Glass.

Le doulos [4/1]
One of Jean-Pierre Melville’s many incredible crime films, with Jean-Paul Belmondo standing in for frequent Melville star Alain Delon. The cool factor is maintained. I have particular love for this one simply because it’s the one that made me sit up and notice Melville, especially when the plot and themes come together at the end, making everything that went before seem that much better than it initially did. Vague, I know, but you’ll understand when you see it. Which you should.
1962 France. Director: Jean-Pierre Melvill. Starring: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Raggiani, Jean Dasailly, René Lefèvre.

Other Instant Watch Expirations

New Release Pick of the Week

Game of Thrones: Season 1
Yep, I’m featuring a TV show this week. Game of Thrones quickly sped to the top of my list of must-see shows last year, and rewatching some of it this week has only solidified that. Both in terms of an adaptation from the books and taken on its own, this show is fantastic, a perfect combination of medieval-style court intrigue and menacing fantasy.
2011 USA. Starring: Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley.

Other New Releases

Catalog Pick of the Week

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Blu-ray
I’m not sure whether this film is worth the Blu-ray upgrade if you already have the DVD, but it’s certainly a movie worth owning in SOME format. Definitely one of my most-quoted movies, its sheer absurdity keeps me watching it over and over, and enjoying it every time.
1974 UK. Director: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam. Starring: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin.

 

Other Catalog Releases

Universal is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year with a new logo and a raft of DVD and Blu-ray releases tagged “Universal’s 100th Anniversary Collection.” Since there’s a fair chance that readers here are interested in the classic stuff, I’ve included the more notable Universal and Warner Archive releases below – see the full list at Row Three. Note: I probably would’ve featured Sullivan’s Travels, because that’s the best movie releasing this week, but it’s only a DVD release (not Blu-ray), and it’s already out from Criterion, so I’m not sure why you’d want this version.

UNIVERSAL’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION
The Blues Brothers DVD & BD (1980 USA, dir John Landis, stars John Belushi)
Charade DVD (1963 USA, dir Stanley Donen, stars Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn)
The Deer Hunter DVD & BD (1978 USA, dir Michael Cimino, stars Robert De Niro)
Destry Rides Again DVD (1939 USA, dir George Marshall, stars James Stewart)
The Egg and I DVD (1947 USA, dir Chester Erskine, stars Claudette Colbert)
Francis the Talking Mule DVD (1950 USA, dir Arthur Lubin, stars Donald O’Connor)
The Jerk DVD (1979 USA, dir Carl Reiner, stars Steve Martin)
The Last Temptation of Christ DVD (1986 USA, dir Martin Scorsese, stars Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel)
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life DVD (1983 UK, dir Terry Jones, stars John Cleese)
Out of Africa DVD & BD (1985 USA, dir Sydney Pollack, stars Meryl Streep)
Three Smart Girls DVD (1936 USA, dir Henry Koster, stars Deanna Durbin)
Screen Couples Spotlight Collection (Charade, Double Indemnity, Pillow Talk, My Little Chickadee)
Classic Monsters Spotlight Collection (Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon)
Hollywood Legends Spotlight Collection (Harvey, Spartacus, Touch of Evil)
Best Picture Winners Spotlight Collection (Out of Africa, A Beautiful Mind, All Quiet on the Western Front, Going My Way)
Westerns Spotlight Collection (High Plains Drifter, Destry Rides Again, Winchester ’73)

WARNER ARCHIVE COLLECTION
Balalaika (1939 USA, dir Reinhold Schünzel, stars Nelson Eddy, Ilona Massey)
Broadway Serenade (1939 USA, dir Robert Z. Leonard, stars Jeanette MacDonald)
The Firefly (1937 USA, dir Robert Z. Leonard, stars Jeanette MacDonald)
I Married an Angel (1942 USA, dir W.S. Van Dyke, stars Jeanette MacDonald)

Instant Watch Picks of the Week

Outrage
One of my first exposures to the yakuza film, and I enjoyed it quite a lot – lots of twists and turns and double-crosses, and plenty of brutal and interestingly-shot kills. Definitely got me interested in more of Kitano’s work.
2010 Japan. Director: Takeshi Kitano. Starring: Takeshi Kitano, Kippei Shiina, Ryo Kase.

The Adventures of Tintin
I haven’t sat down to watch this animated TV version of the Tintin comics yet, but I really want to after enjoying the Spielberg movie as much as I did. My husband grew up with them, and he was pretty excited at the opportunity to catch them again on Netflix.
1991-1992 France/Canada. Starring: Colin O’Meara, Thierry Wermuth, Christian Pellissier.

Other Instant Watch Releases

Oh, look, The Lady Eve and Bedazzled are back after their recent expirations. Thanks, Netflix! How about you just leave stuff on instead of expiring them for a week?

Expiring Picks of the Week

Le cercle rouge [3/15]
This was hands down my favorite movie of everything I watched last year, with a fantastic crime plot shown from every angle and one of the best heists ever on screen – it’s been on Netflix Instant for quite a while, but it’s expiring soon, so catch it while you can.
1967 France. Director: Jean-Pierre Melville. Starring: Alain Delon, Yves Montand, Bourvil.

Other Instant Watch Expirations

Not too many expirations this week, which is a good thing; still some very good films, with most of the notable ones coming from the French, British, and American New Waves of the 1960s and 1970s.

Posting hasn’t been as frequent as I intended the past week or so, and I’ve got several things sitting on the back burner, but this time I have a fairly decent excuse. My site got hacked sometime last week, with some bad code inserted into a bunch of php files. I *think* I’ve gotten everything on this site cleared up, though I’m still working on a few of my other sites (thankfully most of them aren’t really in use right now – abandoned test sites and whatnot). If you clicked a link here and ended up redirected to a weird URL, I deeply apologize. Hopefully that doesn’t happen anymore. If you do notice anything weird going on, please let me know. In the meantime, here’s what’s out on DVD and Netflix Instant this week. As always, click through to Row Three for more detailed lists.

New Release Pick of the Week

The Myth of the American Sleepover
Of course Hugo is the obvious pick of the week, an excellent film to be sure, but why be obvious? You all know about that one already. I saw The Myth of the American Sleepover on a whim at a festival over a year ago, and it crept its little way right into my heart. An unassuming coming of age drama that utilizes its ensemble cast perfectly, the film has been on Instant Watch for a few months now, but if you don’t have Netflix or want a hard copy, here it is. Give it a chance.
2010 USA. Director: David Robert Mitchell. Starring: Claire Sloma, Marlon Morton, Amanda Bauer, Brett Jacobsen.

Other New Releases

Catalog Pick of the Week

Scarlet Street Blu-ray
After the success of 1944’s film noir The Woman in the Window, Lang reunited with the cast from that film to make Scarlet Street, which I actually like a little bit better, if you force me to choose. Robinson is always solid, never more so than here, as a henpecked husband who sees Joan Bennett as a way to rejuvenate himself a bit, but she’s only playing him for the money she thinks he has.
1945 USA. Director: Fritz Lang. Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea.

 

Instant Watch Pick of the Week

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
Now an Academy Award-winning actor-director team, Michel Hazanavicius, Jean Dujardin, and Bérénice Bejo are no strangers to each other – they’re best known in France for their collaboration on a pair of spy parodies, of which this is the first. I haven’t seen these, but after the success of The Artist, I’m sure I’m not the only one curious to check them out. OSS 117: Lost in Rio is due to expire from Instant on 3/15, so for a couple of weeks, you can see them both.
2006 France. Director: Michel Hazanavicius. Starring: François Damiens, Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.

Expiring Picks of the Week

Pictured films all expire on 3/1. Which is tomorrow.

Here are the highlights of this week’s DVD and Netflix Instant releases. I’ve only included the ones that I chose as “picks of the week”; you can click over to Row Three to see everything – including a disheartening number of Netflix Instant expirations. Looks like the expiring Starz contract is being felt quite hard this month.

New Release Pick of the Week

Martha Marcy May Marlene
I didn’t make it out to see the Sundance darling psychological thriller about a woman struggling after leaving a cult, and I know it inspired some heated debates on the Cinecast, but I’m definitely still very interested in checking it out. Not only to see what the Olsen twins’ little sister can do (apparently a lot), but anytime John Hawkes is on screen seems like a good thing to me.
2011 USA. Director: Sean Durkin. Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes.

Other New Releases

Catalog Pick of the Week

Anatomy of a Murder: Criterion Collection
I often throw Criterion releases up here out of habit, because it’s usually worthwhile trusting Criterion, but in this case, I can actually wholeheartedly recommend this film – one of the best courtroom dramas ever made, with James Stewart going toe-to-toe with George C. Scott over a murder case with a self-defense plea. Oh yeah, there’s rape in there, too. Director Preminger was known for pushing the Hays Code buttons, and this is no different. Some great performances all around backed up by a fantastic Duke Ellington jazz score.
1959 USA. Director: Otto Preminger. Starring: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, George C. Scott.

Other Catalog Releases

Instant Watch Picks of the Week

Pretty slow week for new Instant Watches, so you might want to drop down and get in some of the expiring ones before they, well, expire. There’s a bunch down there that are well worth watching.

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
I wasn’t too big a fan of this film (currently Brazil’s number one box office hit) when I saw it, but I think it would improve for me on rewatch. The all-out action I was expecting based on descriptions of the first Elite Squad film, which I still haven’t seen, is muted here, as the film focuses in on corruption in the police force. It still has its moments of quick-cut intensity, but the measured parts of the film probably deserve more credit than I originally gave them.
2010 Brazil. Director: José Padilha. Starring: Wagner Moura, Irandhir Santos, André Ramiro

Possession
There’s no comparison between this film and the fantastic and extremely literary novel it’s based on, but that’s not how we judge movies, and after rewatching this not too long ago, I appreciated it for what it is on its own. Its dual story between academics and the Victorian poets they study doesn’t balance quite as well as it should, but Jennifer Ehle and Jeremy Northam impress enough to overcome the rather bland turns by Paltrow and Eckhart.
2002 USA. Director: Neil LaBute. Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jeremy Northam, Jennifer Ehle.

Expiring Picks of the Week

Looks like we’re feeling the heat of Starz! departure from Netflix this month, as a whole bunch of stuff expires on the 29th, most of it Starz! content. There are also a bunch leaving on March 1st, so keep an eye out.

The Lady Eve (expires 2/28)
One of the few films I can rewatch over and over again (and easily my favorite of Preston Sturges’ comedies); I simply never get tired of Barbara Stanwyck’s dual performance as card sharp Jean and her refined alter-ego Eve Sidwich. Add in a hapless Henry Fonda, a cunning Charles Coburn, a suspicious William Demarest, and an exasperated Eugene Pallette, and more, and you’ve got one of the finest casts in classic comedy all at the height of their powers, and with a script to match them.
1941 USA. Director: Preston Sturges. Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, William Demarest, Eugene Pallette, Eric Blore.

Bedazzled (expires 2/28)
Not to be confused with the terrible remake with Brendan Fraser, the original Bedazzled is a delightful slice out of London’s Swinging Sixties, with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook making a hilarious dry comedy team as the put-upon everyman Stanley and the Devil who gives him a Faustian bargain to get the woman of his dreams. Director Stanley Donen had a number of finest hours, and this is definitely one of them.
1967 UK. Director: Stanley Donen. Starring: Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron, Raquel Welch.

In the Mood for Love (expires 2/29)
Director Wong Kar Wai has made a number of gorgeous-looking, wistfully romantic films, and none more so than this quiet tale of forbidden love between two people in adjoining apartments who gradually spend more and more time together while their respective spouses are away from home for long periods of time. It’s one of the most understated romances ever, so subtle at first it’s easy to miss what’s going on. But it’s achingly real and true. One of those films that when you watch it, you know it’s going to be with you for a long time.
2000 Hong Kong. Director: Wong Kar Wai. Starring: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu, Tung Cho ‘Joe’ Cheung, Rebecca Pan.

Party Down (expires 2/29)
You might not expect Starz! to have hosted one of the best sitcoms on TV, but there it is. Underseen and canceled too soon, Party Down‘s milieu of a Hollywood catering company filled with managers dreaming of bigger things and aspiring actors waiting for the next big thing is ripe for comedy, and showrunner Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars) has the writing and cast to pull it off. Definitely check it out before it expires.
2009-2010 USA. Creator: Rob Thomas. Starring: Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Ryan Hansen,Martin Starr, Megan Mullally, Jane Lynch, Kristen Bell.

Black Snake Moan (expires 3/1)
A blues-singing black man chains up a nubile white girl to prevent her from satisfying her nymphomaniac urges. Sounds like prime material for an exploitation film, right? Yet while this film definitely skirts those waters, it’s much, much better than you’d expect given the premise. It’s Southern Gothic through and through, but with a depth of character, emotion, and even story that sets it apart as one of the best surprises of its year.
2006 USA. Director: Craig Brewer. Starring: Christina Ricci, Samuel L. Jackson, Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson, John Cothran Jr.

Trying a slightly different format here, as I come back from a much-longer-than-intended hiatus from this column. I’m sorry about that. Apparently getting married takes up some significant time. Who knew? Anyway. I’m also moving the bulk of this post over to Row Three, with just highlights here. So click here to read the full post, though I will warn you, in the interest of time, I’ve had to cut down the amount of obscure films I include as well as some of the links.

New Release Pick of the Week

Take Shelter
A man starts having premonitions, vision, and dreams of an impending storm and begins going to great lengths to prepare for what he senses is coming. His family is already fragile; will they be able to withstand what his paranoia does to them, or is he perhaps right in his fears? A striking central performance from Michael Shannon grounds this film, both a devastating depiction of depression and a legitimately intense impending doom film. An impressive second film from Jeff Nichols, with yet another solid turn from Chastain.
2011 USA. Director: Jeff Nichols. Starring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain.

Catalog Pick of the Week

All Quiet on the Western Front Collector’s Series
One of the greatest anti-war films ever made, and only showing its age a little bit around the edges. The story of an idealistic German schoolboy who enthusiastically joins the army (along with his classmates) at the beginning of WWI discovers that war is not glory, it’s hell. This collector’s edition includes a brand-new restoration of the film on both DVD and Blu-ray and a 40-page hardcover book with reproductions of rare memorabilia, posters, promo materials, and stills. Special features also include an introduction by Robert Osborne, a rare silent version presented by Library of Congress, and two Universal featurettes.
1930 USA. Director: Lewis Milestone. Starring: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim.

Netflix Instant Catchup

On Row Three, I’ve included highlights from the past several weeks, since DVD Triage went on hiatus. Here’s just the top two rows of those. Lots of good stuff.

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