Plus "Good Will Hunting" debuts on HD
"The Twilight Zone: Season 5" (Image) presents the complete final season of Rod Serling’s brilliant series of the fantastic, where social politics and barbed human dramas were slipped in behind the façade of fantasy: 36 episodes (including "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," the only episode not produced for the series) plus hours of commentaries, interviews and other supplements. Videodrone's review is here. The Blu-ray release of Lindsay Anderson's "If…" (Criterion) did not arrive in time for review.
Maverick naval air force pilot Tom Cruise flies into the danger zone in "Top Gun" (Paramount), Tony Scott’s macho adventure of hot-shot pilots. With his best friend and wingman Goose (Anthony Edwards), he plays daredevil games with Russian jet pilots and lands a spot in the Naval Air Force Top Gun program, where he proceeds to romance his gorgeous instructor (Kelly McGillis). Produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, this became a smash hit, a cultural touchstone of the era, and the best recruitment ad the Naval Air Force ever had. Entertainment Weekly critic Chris Nashawaty reflects on the film at 25: "Whether you love "Top Gun" or hate it — or hate yourself for loving it — the fact is that when it became the top-grossing film of 1986, Hollywood in its infinite wisdom took all of the worst lessons from its success and overlooked what made it so...fun. Which is, sadly, where we find ourselves 25 years down the road."
The 25th Anniversary edition basically repackages the 2008 version in a new slipsleeve, complete with the same supplements. The highlights are commentary by director Tony Scott, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, co-screenwriter Jack Epps Jr., real life instructor Captain Mike Galpin, technical advisor Peter Pettigrew, and Vice-Admiral Mike McCabe, and the comprehensive six-part documentary "Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun," which runs almost two-and-a-half hours. It is quite comprehensive. Also includes multi-angle storyboards with optional commentary by Tony Scott, a gallery of vintage interviews and featurettes, music videos, TV spots and trailers. But there is one new element to this edition: a bonus digital copy of the film on a second disc.
"Good Will Hunting" (Lionsgate) won two Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay for tyro writers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who also star as blue collar genius Will Hunting and his best friend and co-pilot. The performances are terrific all around (Robin Williams won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) and the screenplay sound – perhaps a little too smart for its own good. Which is where director Gus Van Sant comes in, injecting that necessary element of spontaneity, helping shape real people out of the characters on the page, capturing the working class Boston milieu. Features commentary by director Van Sant and writers/actors Damon and Affleck, 11 deleted scenes and a production featurette, all from the DVD special edition. New to this edition is a bonus digital copy.
Plus Hong Kong martial arts classics and George C. Scott as 'The Flim-Flam Man'
Based on a manga and subsequent anime series, the Japanese live-action "Gantz" (New People) is gonzo sci-fi fantasy that combines video-game aesthetics, gladiator games and classic Japanese monsters with a metaphysical mystery. Reviewed on Videodrone here. Two Criterion editions due this week -- "The Complete Jean Vigo" (Criterion) and a new special edition of Jean Cocteau's 1949 "Orpheus" (Criterion) -- did not arrive in time for review, but look forward to reviews next week.
"Strike" (Kino), the landmark debut feature of Soviet master Sergei Eisenstein, is the story of a worker’s strike in pre-Revolutionary Russia as an experiment in revolutionary cinema, with “the masses” as the hero and intricate montage sequences to illustrate the collision of capital and labor. His mix of avant-garde effects and striking images are edited into a series of chapters that teaches its Marxist lesson with all the energy of a Hollywood gangster film. In between his action sequences are quiet, poetic observations of street life and weekend idylls. Think of it like a piece of celluloid jazz: the familiar story of proletariat struggle is simply a melodic structure for stylistic soloing. In 1925, it was revolutionary.
The new Kino edition is newly mastered for DVD and Blu-ray from a recent restoration by the Cinemateque de Toulouse (though it has replaced the original intertitles with English language titles) and features a newly-recorded score by the Mont Alto Orchestra, plus Eisenstein's first film "Glumov's Diary" (1923), a short film long thought lost, and the 2008 documentary "Eisenstein and the Revolutionary Spirit," a Russian production featuring film historian Natacha Laurent.
Also new from Kino this week (on DVD only) is the much more lighthearted Russian silent "The Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom" (Kino), a comedy about love, movies, American decadence and the cigarette girl who wins the heart of everyone. It's perfectly entertaining and completely inconsequential, a minor production with a sense of humor that one doesn't often see in Soviet silents. No overt political lessons (at least not apart from the fat cat American on display here) or montage exercises, and not much shape to the meandering tale, just a silly little romance on the streets of Moscow. Charlotte Castellat and David Lefebvre trade off on a variety of instruments in their jazzy original score.
Liv Ullmann is a dedicated psychiatrist who slips into depression and attempts suicide in Ingmar Bergman's 1976 "Face to Face" (Olive). Ullman goes through a primal regression to her childhood to dredge up the fears and guilt and shame of her past, delivering a harrowing and vulnerable performance in what is her film.
Erland Josephson (who co-starred with Ullman in Bergman's "Scenes From a Marriage") plays a fellow psychiatrist who flirts with her and then looks after her devotedly during her recovery (her husband and daughter tellingly remain peripheral figures). It was nominated for two Academy Awards -- for Best Actress (Liv Ullmann) and Best Director (Bergman), a rarity for foreign language film -- but is not what you might call one of his more viewer friendly movies. Think of it as Freudian psychodrama as cinema therapy: demanding, austere, emotionally confrontational. It debuts on DVD in an edition that appears to be a pre-HD master of an unrestored print, with soft image, weak colors and a harsh, lo-fidelity soundtrack. It is adequate but hardly definitive. Swedish with English subtitles, no supplements.
Shaolin Martial Arts of Liu Chia-Liang:
The Weinstein Company continues rolling out remastered editions of classic Shaw Brothers martial arts movies under it "Dragon Dynasty" banner. Four more arrived earlier this month, top-lined by "Martial Arts Of Shaolin" (ARC Entertainment), the 1986 feature from director Liu Chia-Liang (of "36th Chamber of Shaolin" fame) featuring the up-and-coming young fighter-turned-screen star Jet Li. Liu also directs "Mad Monkey Kung Fu" (ARC Entertainment), which takes a more comic approach to martial arts spectacle, and "Executioners From Shaolin" (ARC Entertainment) and featuring Lo Lieh as the white-haired priest Pai Mei, a characters resurrected by Quentin Tarantino in "Kill Bill 2." Chang Cheh's 1974 "Five Shaolin Masters" (ARC Entertainment), starring David Chiang and featuring fight choreography by Liu Chia-Liang, completes the releases this round.
Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak directs "A River Called Titus" (Facets), a 1973 adaptation of an autobiographical novel by Advaita Malla Barman about life in a poor fishing village in the 1930s each Bengal. In Bengal with English subtitles. This edition comes to the U.S. via the BFI.
George C. Scott is "The Flim-Flam Man" (Twilight Time), a con man working the rural South with a protégé (Michael Sarrazin), in the 1967 comedy directed by Irvin Kershner. The Twilight Time release (available exclusively from the Screen Archives website) is limited to a run of 3,000 units and features Jerry Goldsmith's score on an isolated audio track and a booklet with notes by Julie Kirgo.
Gene Barry is a nuclear physicist whose son is kidnapped in the 1952 thriller "The Atomic City" (Olive). His ransom is the secrets of the H-bomb.
And the rest:
Francesco Rosi directs Placido Domingo and Julia Migenes-Johnson in "Carmen" (Olive), the lavish 1984 big screen treatment of the Georges Bizet opera. Available on both DVD and Blu-ray. Rachid Bouchareb directs "Little Senegal" (Cinema Libre), a 2001 drama of immigrants in the Senegalese community of Harlem in New York City.
Robert Patrick stars in "Red Faction: Origins" (Universal), a direct-to-DVD science fiction thriller based on the popular video game. Panna Rittikrai, stunt coordinator of "Ong-Bak" and "Chocolate," directs the Thai action thriller "BKO: Bangkok Knockout" (Magnolia). Stephen Rea stars in the SyFy original monster movie "Roadkill" (Vivendi).
Submitted for your approval: the fifth and final season of Rod Serling’s masterpiece
"The Twilight Zone: Season 5" (Image) - Submitted for your approval: the fifth final season of Rod Serling’s brilliant series of the fantastic, where social politics and barbed human dramas were slipped in behind the façade of fantasy.
After Season Four's misguided attempt to revamp itself in the hour-long format, the show returned to the familiar and more effective half-hour format and the quality of the shows improves along with it. The season opens with a trio of highlights: "In Praise of Pip," a classic Serling tale of remembrance and redemption; "Steel," a Richard Matheson-scripted drama with Lee Marvin as the manager of a broken down android boxer; and Matheson’s "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," a paranoid thriller with William Shatner as a terrified airline passenger who sees a gremlin tearing apart the jet’s wing.
Other highlights include "Living Doll" with Telly Savalas (“I’m Talky Tina and I’m going to kill you”), "The Masks" directed by Ida Lupino; "The Encounter," one of the most overt pieces of social commentary in the series, and the classic "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," the award winning short film directed by Robert Enrico (based on the short story by Ambrose Bierce) about a civil war prisoner’s delirious escape. It was the only program not made for the show and it was only shown once.
36 episodes on five discs in a double-wide case with hinged trays, in superbly remastered editions. The Blu-ray features the supplements of the 2005 DVD release, which include commentary on select episodes by actors Bill Mumy, Mickey Rooney, June Foray, Mariette Hartley, Alan Sues and Martin Landau and historian Mark Scott Zicree, interviews with Mumy and Foray, writers Richard Matheson, George Clayton Johnson and Earl Hamner Jr., and actors Michael Forest, Terry Becker and Nancy Malone, "Twilight Zone" radio show adaptations of various episodes, isolated music scores on numerous episodes, "The Mike Wallace Interview" from 1959, an excerpt from Rod Serling's Sherwood Oaks College lecture, George Clayton Thomas home movies and Rod Serling's promos for "Next Week's Show."
New to the Blu-ray edition are 20 new commentary tracks (featuring "The Twilight Zone Companion" author Marc Scott Zicree, "Twilight Zone" directors Ted Post, Richard Donner and Robert Butler, writer Earl Hamner, actors George Takei and Peter Mark Richman, film/TV historians Gary Gerani, Martin Grams, Jr., Jim Benson, Scott Skelton, Bill Warren, author Neil Gaiman and others), 22 radio drama adaptations, "Conversations with Rod Serling" (parts 2 and 3), and a vintage audio interview with director of photography George T. Clemens.
New seasons of 'Sons of Anarchy,' 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Parenthood' and many, many more
"Nikita: The Complete First Season" (Warner) arrives in time to catch up with the sleek super-spy series, starring Maggie Q as the sultry rogue agent at war with the corrupt rogue government agency that turned her into a killer, before the second season begins in late September. Videodrone's review is here. "House: Season Seven" (Universal) changes things up with a romance for House and the inevitable self-destructive spiral back to his old ways. Diagnosed on Videodrone here. And "Wonders of the Universe" (BBC), the latest in a run of superb BBC natural history documentaries, explores the building blocks of the universe and how they shaped the Earth. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
"Detroit 1-8-7: The Complete First Season" (Lionsgate) did not get picked up for a second season, which is a terrible shame as the first season of the precinct-style cop show is probably the best of its kind with "NYPD Blue," and the best role Michael Imperioli has had since "The Sopranos." This is a classic-style cop show, every episode focused on the cases divvied up through the partners in the squad with only echoes of personal lives echoing around the edges, well written and tightly directed, which is rare enough on TV these days.
Imperioli stars as a ten-year homicide vet Detective Louis Fitch, the flinty old-school cop who barely speaks to his partner and stares through suspects as if boring through to the truth, and he dominates the squad room and the show as he guides his young partner (Michael Hill), a tyro homicide detective who gets shot on his first day on the job, through the realities of detective work on the streets of Detroit. James McDaniel (of the original cast of "NYPD Blue") co-stars as the squad's most veteran officer, partnered up with Shaun Majumder, Natalie Martinez and D.J. Cotrona fill out the squad and Aisha Hinds commands the squad.
18 episodes on four discs in a standard case with hinged trays. No supplements, but for a show that, despite glowing reviews, got cancelled, the fact that it got a release at all is quite a victory.
SAMCRO takes on the IRA and the FBI in "Sons of Anarchy: Season Three" (Fox), the terribly addictive drama of motorcycle outlaws in a small California town, when the infant son of the club's heir apparent Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is kidnapped by Irish gun runners. That's no mean feat, even for a motorcycle mafia run by aging lion Clay (Ron Perlman) and his wife Gemma (Katey Sagal -- where is this woman's Emmy?), the club's fierce den mother. When a cutthroat FBI agent (Ally Walker) more concerned with covering up her own disastrous missteps than solving cases gets tangled in everything, the choices they make to save the club look like they may tear it apart. Parallel to their story is that of the hospital surgeon (Maggie Siff) feeling out her place in the outlaw culture of the club when she becomes
On the one hand, it's a pulp drama with a desert western sensibility in black leather jackets, but on the other it has Shakespeare-in-a-small-town dimensions thanks to the sense of family and clan that holds the ferocious characters together, and the expansive storytelling that spans the entire season, which ultimately takes them to Ireland and back, complete with a revised version of the theme song to mark the event.
13 episodes on four discs on DVD and three discs on Blu-ray, with three presented in extended versions. Features commentary on three episodes by creator Kurt Sutter and members of the cast and creative staff, a "Writer's Round Table" answering questions submitted by the fans, a table read of the season final script and four scenes from the upcoming season among the supplements.
"The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season" (Warner) - It's the second season of a vampire teen romance melodrama, so you know what that means: time to bring in the werewolves! Yes, the Cain and Abel vampire duo (Paul Wesley as the good Stefan and Ian Somerhalder as the bad, darkly seductive Damon), the doppelganger drama between the good high school girl Elena (Nina Dobrev) and her scheming, ageless vampire ancestor Katherine (also Dobrev) who turned both boys into vampires, and the various witches circling around the edges are joined by a werewolf clan. And apparently, there's a blood feud between the supernatural races. But of course! This supernatural soap opera arrives on both DVD and Blu-ray – something that usually only comes out for shows with passionate (if small) followings anymore – with the commensurate level of supplements. Along with the 22 episodes (on five discs on DVD and four on Blu-ray) is commentary on one episode ("Masquerade"), three featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.
"Parenthood: Season Two" (Universal), the second series based on the 1989 family comedy by Ron Howard, stars Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard and Erika Christensen as the children (and struggling parents) of Braverman clan elders Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia. 22 episodes of the hour-long dramedy on five discs in a fold-out digipak, plus commentary on three episodes, deleted scenes and featurette.
It's official: "Desperate Housewives: The Complete Seventh Season" (Disney) is the penultimate season of the show, which begins its eighth and final season next month, and this season features Vanessa Williams as Wisteria Lane's newest resident. 23 episodes on five discs, plus a featurette on the child actors of the cast, deleted scenes, blooper, outtakes and trivia.
Title aside, the Courtney Cox sitcom "Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season" (Disney) has long stopped being a comedy about older women and younger men and eased into a very funny show about single parenthood and life after divorce, with the trademark humor of adult childishness and rapid-fire ensemble banter of creator Bill Lawrence's "Scrubs." 22 episodes on three discs, plus a featurette, webisodes, deleted scenes and outtakes.
"90120: The Third Season" (Paramount) features 22 episodes of the Beverly Hills high school student soap opera on six discs, plus commentary on three episodes, deleted scenes and featurettes. "iCarly: The Complete Third Season" (Paramount) features 10 episodes of the hit tweener sitcom made for Nickelodeon.
"Running Wilde: Season One" (Lionsgate) is the short lived sitcom starring Will Arnett as a spoiled playboy wooing his childhood sweetheart, an ecological activist played by Keri Russell. Only 13 episodes were made and all are collected on this two-disc set.
"Storage Wars: The Complete Season One" (A&E), one of the top new reality shows on the A&E network, follows four professional buyers as they bid for the contents of abandoned storage lockers, virtually sight unseen. 19 episodes on three discs. "Only In America With Larry The Cable Guy: Volume One" (A&E) is the History Channel's comic travelogue of American landmarks. 10 episodes on two discs.
"Vera: Series One" (Acorn) stars Brenda Blethyn as the hard-bitten (and sometimes hard to work with) DCI Vera Stanhope, an obsessive cop in Northumberland, in the new British detective series based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. The four-disc set features the four 90-minute episodes of the first series and it's reportedly been picked up for a second series, but it has yet to play stateside. Which makes this the rare British mystery series (catnip to PBS viewers!) to debut in the U.S. on DVD.
"Doc Martin: The Movies" (Acorn) presents the two original telefilms that launched the series starring Martin Clunes as the cantankerous Dr. Martin Bamford. "Murphy's Law: Series 4 + 5" (Acorn), starring James Nesbitt as Irish undercover cop Tommy Murphy, brings the series to a close with the final six episodes on two discs.
And the rest:
The original 1973 PBS documentary series is still not available on home video but you can get highlights from the 12-hour show in "An American Family: Anniversary Edition" (PBS), a two-hour special made in 2011. "Royal Wedding Of A Lifetime" (A&E) is the six-part documentary series covering the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton for the Lifetime Network. The programs in "Heifetz: Master Classes" (Kultur) were originally recorded during a series of teaching sessions conducted by Jascha Heifetz at USC in the early 1960s,
Monsters and gladiators and video-game action in a gonzo sci-fi fantasy from Japan
Based on a manga and subsequent anime series, the Japanese live-action "Gantz" (New People) is gonzo sci-fi fantasy that combines video-game aesthetics, gladiator games and classic Japanese monsters with a metaphysical mystery. Two old friends face certain death on the tracks of an oncoming subway and wake up alive, prisoners of a black orb that hands them weapons and exoskeleton combat suits and sets hunting for alien invaders in Tokyo.
It's less science fiction than weird fantasy and more than a little frustrating. These conscripted soldiers are oddly unconcerned with the mystery of their second life and nightly calls to arms and the personal journey of Kurono (Kazunari Ninomiya, who you may recognize as the young baker turned boyish soldier Saigo in "Letter From Iwo Jima") from numb college kid to arrogant self-described hero to disciplined leader is elementary at best. And far too many of the battles are simply sloppy in their conception and execution, even if the special effects are wonderfully offbeat.
What this film has to offer is a weird textural authenticity in a surreal situation far different from American FX "realism." Battling a giant statue is different enough, but its herky-jerky movements and lightning-whip reflexes give the behemoth a strange grounding even as the alien guns blast it to liquid cement. The film ends with a "To Be Continued" and at the end of the credits is a trailer for "Gantz: Perfect Answer," a title that suggests some exposition to the situation is in the offing. Stay tuned…
Features original Japanese and English dub soundtracks with optional subtitles and a separate subtitle track for translating signs and written words. Available on two-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack, each with a bonus DVD featuring a half-hour interview with director Shinsuke Sato and a collection of trailers.
Click through to see a trailer for the film (fan subtitled) I found on YouTube:
Brian Cox explores the basic forces of the universe in the superb BBC documentary series
"Wonders of the Universe" (BBC) is the latest in a run of superb BBC natural history documentaries, this one focusing on the basic forces and laws of the universe and how they shaped the cosmos and the Earth. Each episode tackles one of the four basic forces of the universe -- the nature of time, the laws of matter chemistry, the force of gravity and the properties of light -- with a sense of wonder and scientific curiosity driven by Brian Cox, the series presenter.
Comparisons to "Cosmos" are inevitable and this four-part series measures up. Cox, a celebrated physicist, puts science in perspective by presenting laws and theories in terms laymen can understand, and without speaking down to audiences he simplifies complex ideas with practical examples. And there is something of the showman about Cox, though not in terms one might expect. Where the celebrated natural history shows like "Earth" and "Life" use state of the art photography to capture breathtaking images, "Wonders" is staged almost like a piece of dramatic fiction, with Cox wandering the deserts and mountains like an explorer on the frontier, sketching out formulas on the walls of abandoned, almost timeless buildings. The entire presentation rings with a constant reminder of the passage of time, the laws of entropy and the cycle of rebirth and renewal. The series is an American co-production that ran stateside on the cable channel Science.
Four episodes, running nearly four hours, on two discs on DVD and one disc on Blu-ray.
Plus the acclaimed "Police, Adjective" and more
Susanne Bier's "In a Better World" (Sony), a drama from Denmark that straddles refugee camps in Sudan and a small Danish town, follows the struggles of two families brought together by two troubled, bullied boys who befriend one another and team up to exact some kind of justice.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and MSN film critic James Rocchi maintains that it is "a film well worth seeing even without an Oscar up on the mantel. It's a well-directed, gorgeous, sensitively acted film about some essential human questions: How can we be good? And why should we be?"
Mikael Persbrandt stars as the pacifist father of one boy, who faces his own moral dilemma while on a mission in Africa, and Ulrich Thomsen is the grieving, newly-widowed father of the other, but Rocchi says the film is mostly about "kids trying to make sense of the morals and messages of the adult world, and realizing, in moments of horror that are necessary to growing up, that grown-ups have problems with the morals and messages of the adult world, too."
In Danish with English subtitles. Sony releases the film in a single edition, a Blu-ray+DVD combo pack (an increasingly common solution for foreign releases with limited but passionate interest), featuring commentary by director Susanne Bier and editor Pernille Bech Christensen, a bonus interview with Bier and deleted scenes.
The satirical Romanian cop drama "Police, Adjective" (Zeitgeist), from director Corneliu Porumboiu ("12:08 East of Bucharest"), is a dryly funny satire of the absurdity of bureaucratic literalism triumphing over human justice. The plot ostensibly revolves around a young cop shadowing a group of kids who smoke dope after school to track the source and the director follows him following them, and then putting together his reports, with a scrupulous attention to mundane detail that takes on a life of its own. Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman describes the film as "a philosophical crime film that, as the investigation of an investigation, substitutes irony for suspense." He continues: "
With its series of apparently absurd routines, shot (Romanian-style) in long takes and real-time, Police, Adjective has something of the deadpan theatricality of early Jim Jarmusch—not only in its framing, but its dialogue: Words are carefully parsed; every conversation has its own logic." Romanian with English subtitles. The disc comes with an accompanying booklet featuring an interview with the director
The release is a collaboration between KimStim and Zeitgeist, as is "Cell 211" (Zeitgeist), a smart, visceral and volatile thriller from Spain about a young guard trapped in the midst of a prison riot, which is reviewed on Videodrone here.
"Norwegian Ninja" (Dark Sky) turns a real-life political scandal into a Cold War spy fantasy with Ninja action. Thomas Cappellen Malling writes and directs. The DVD includes featurettes, deleted and bonus scenes and a music video among the supplements.
Til Schweiger stars in the German drama "Phantom Pain" (eOne) as a passionate cyclist and urban slacker who loses a leg in an accident and sinks into self-pity until falls in love. In German with English subtitles, plus interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. "Me Too (Yo, también)" (Olive), an award-winning, feel-good drama from Spain, charts the unlikely romance between a college graduate with Down’s syndrome and a neurotic but "normal" co-worker. In Spanish with English subtitles.
And check out the foreign classics in the "Cool, Classic and Cult" section this week as well.
Plus 'Sympathy For Delicious,' 'Forks Over Knives' and more documentaries
"Prom" (Disney) offers the world of high school romance and the magic of prom night as a cute, colorful, altogether PG experience. It may not transcend the clichés, but it delivers them all with just enough mushy fun to make it, if not quite timeless, at least familiar to every generation. Videodrone's review is here.
You can continue the journey from youth to adulthood in the indie drama "Skateland" (Fox), starring Shiloh Fernandez as the manager of a roller rink on a small Texas town and Ashley Greene as a young woman trying to nudge him out of his rut of complacency as she prepares to leave for college. Los Angeles Times film critic Kevin Thomas writes that the film "covers familiar territory — the first summer out of high school, which for some teens is a time wracked with uncertainty and confusion " but "still manages to offer a particularly affecting, well-observed portrait of young people coming of age in an east Texas town in the 1980s." On DVD and Blu-ray, with no supplements beyond deleted scenes.
"True Adolescents" (Flatiron) stars Mark Duplass as a 34-year-old Seattle slacker who moves in with his aunt (Melissa Leo) and volunteers to take two adolescent boys on a camping trip in the Cascade Mountains. New York Times film critic Stephen Holden writes that the film, "like most indie movies related to the mumblecore school, is a delicate piece of machinery. Its truth lies in the tiniest details: the pauses, the stricken looks, the false bravado, the pathetically redundant slang (so many "dudes")." On DVD only, with two commentary tracks (one by writer/director Craig Johnson, producer Thomas Woodrow and co-producer/editor Jennifer Lee, the other by actor Mark Duplass), deleted scenes with optional commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Mark Ruffalo directs and stars in "Sympathy for Delicious" (Maya), from a script by star Christopher Thornton, based on his real-life experiences as a paraplegic in the world of faith healing. Village Voice critic Michelle Orange complains that "a script that favors incident over story and direction that crowds scenes instead of letting them breathe make for curiously rough going." Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney and Orlando Bloom co-star. On DVD and Blu-ray, with director commentary, a featurette and deleted scenes.
Susanne Bier's "In a Better World" (Sony), a drama from Denmark about two Danish families brought together by two troubled boys, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Two other imports also stand out these week: "Cell 211" (Zeitgeist), a volatile thriller from Spain about a young guard trapped in the midst of a prison riot (reviewed on Videodrone here), and "Police, Adjective" (Zeitgeist), a dryly funny satire of the absurdity of bureaucratic literalism triumphing over human justice. More in the "Foreign Affairs" wrap up.
The Horrors, the horrors
In "Wrecked" (IFC), Adrien Brody wakes up trapped in a crashed car with surrounded by two dead passengers, a pile of cash and a gun, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. David Hyde Pierce is "The Perfect Host" (Magnolia), who turns the tables on an unexpected guest to his meticulously-planned dinner party. "Bereavement" (Anchor Bay), starring Michael Biehn and John Savage, is the prequel to the 2005 horror "Malevolence." All three available on DVD and Blu-ray, with a making-of featurette.
"Forks Over Knives" (Virgil) is "a film that could save your life," in the words of film critic Roger Ebert. A documentary on how the American diet of animal-based protein, dairy products, and processed foods is killing the population, it makes a common sense (and medically proven many times over) argument on how turning to a whole-foods, plant-based diet can do more than give us better figures and stronger bodies, it can reduce disease including cancer. On DVD and Blu-ray, with bonus featurettes, deleted scenes and discussions.
"Freedom" (Green Planet), a film by Josh and Rebecca Tickell, offers solutions to America’s addiction to foreign oil. "If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Liberation Front" (Oscilloscope) chronicles the rise and fall of the ecological activist organization that turned to eco-terrorism in its tactics. "Trimpin: The Sound of Invention" (Microcinema) is a portrait of the artist/inventor/engineer/composer who creates sonic sculptures. "The Hermitage: A Journey in Time and Space" (Kultur) is a tour of the great Russian art museum.
And the rest:
"The 5th Quarter" (Fox) is a faith-based inspirational sports drama starring Aidan Quinn and Andie MacDowell.