A superb Robin Wright dominates Ari Folman's trippy Hollywood satire
The Coen Brothers' latest film brings the '60s NYC folk scene back to life with a lot of love
Five features celebrating the glories of French silent cinema
"French Masterworks: Russian Émigrés in Paris 1923-1928" (Flicker Alley) presents of the DVD debut of five silent classics from Film Albatros, a French studio founded by Russian artists: "The Burning Crucible," "Kean," "The Late Mathias Pascal," "Gribiche," and "The New Gentlemen."
Three of the films star Ivan Mosjoukine, the great Russian actor who fled the revolution and landed in Paris, and the other two are directed by Jacques Feyder. All of them are examples of the sophisticated filmmaking coming out of France in the twenties.
Which is not to say that they are all masterpieces -- "The Burning Crucible" (1923), which not only stars Mosjoukine but is written and directed by the actor, is inventive and full of lively images and playful techniques but is all over the place and jumps willy-nilly through styles and episodes -- but they are all tremendously entertaining and full of filmmaking energy. Mosjoukine plays eleven roles in "The Burning Crucible," including the leading role of Detective Z, a man of many disguises, and Mosjoukine the director rolls Russian formalism, German expressionism, and French surrealism together in a simplistic but richly imaginative story that at times borders on craziness of Louis Feuillade's serials of the previous decade.
Mosjoukine also stars in "Kean" (1924) as the great 19th century stage actor Edmund Kean and in "The Late Mathias Pascal" (1926), the fantasy epic directed by Marcel L'Herbier that Flicker Alley released on Blu-ray earlier this year. I reviewed it for Videodrone here.
The final pair of films in the set are from Jacques Feyder.
The fest's first full day offers tricks, teens, trains and technological wonderment
Sofia Coppola takes on the kid crooks who both exploited and embraced tabloid culture
Of course it will be in 3D
Sony Pictures Entertainment announced this week via press release that they've picked up the worldwide distribution rights to the "eagerly anticipated" film from Rovio Entertainment, which will unsurprisingly be an animated 3D feature (want to get us interested in an "Angry Birds" movie? make it live action). The film does not yet have a writer, director, or voice cast in place, but while we'll make fun of such a film until the pigs come home, Sony has certainly had great luck with their other animated properties, including "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," "Arthur Christmas," and "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," so they will likely trot out some big name talent to puff up their new prize property.
There's also no word on the finer plot details of the film, but we can only assume that it will center on some pissed off birds, desperate to exact revenge on the green pigs who have stolen their eggs. Perhaps the film will be an origin story of sorts, one that explains why the pigs are green and why they would steal oodles of eggs from some birds with anger issues. There's so many questions to answer!
Remember all the good times? And also that other movie?
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist releases of the week
"Cloud Atlas" (Warner), the sprawling, dazzling, ambitious collaboration between "Matrix" makers Lana and Andy Wachowski and Germany's Tom Tykwer weaves together the six distinctive stories in six different eras with a cast that reappears throughout the timelines. At once literal and evasive, this is a film that wears its heart on its beautifully stitched sleeve and its meaning in its design and yet finds so many facets in which to mirror its ideas throughout its incarnations. It failed to connect with audiences on its initial release, but gets a second chance on home video, where its 170-minute length may not be such an issue. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Videodrone's review is here.
"A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan III" (Lionsgate), the first feature from Roman Coppola since "CQ" more than a decade ago, stars Charlie Sheen as a hedonistic, ego-fueled graphic artist facing an early-life crisis. Blu-ray and DVD, also at Redbox.
"Frankie Go Boom" (Universal), a comedy about sibling rivalry and practical joking gone awry starring Charlie Hunnam and Chris O'Dowd "possesses a surprisingly sweet heart," recommends MSN film critic Kat Murphy. Blu-ray and DVD
Plus: the latest reboot of the landmark horror film titled simply "Texas Chainsaw" (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, On Demand and at Redbox) and the historical epic "Back to 1942" (Well Go, Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand) from China.
Most releases are also available as digital download and VOD via iTunes, Amazon, and other web retailers and video services.
TV on Disc:
The central conflict of "Dexter: The Seventh Season" (Paramount), Showtime's blackly-comic series about TV's favorite serial-killer hero, isn't with another killer. This season Dexter's (Michael C. Hall) adoptive sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), who happens to be a police detective, discovers his secret and has to come to terms with the fact that her brother is the killer she's been hunting all these seasons. Family secrets can be so divisive. Blu-ray and DVD. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Bletchley Circle" (PBS) is a self-contained British mystery mini-series set in 1950s London, but it could easily launch a continuing series based on the strength of its characters, a quartet of women who were code breakers during World War II, and its setting. Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.