'3:10 to Yuma' and 'Jubal' get the Criterion treatment
"3:10 to Yuma" (Criterion)
Delmer Daves was a Hollywood pro with a long career and an impressive filmography. He established himself as a screenwriter with a series of light comedies and romantic melodramas (including the original 1939 "Love Affair") before stepping behind the camera with the World War II adventure "Destination Tokyo." Like most directors of his era, he moved easily between all genres – war pictures, romances, melodrama, and a few noir-inflected dramas (notably "The Red House" and "Dark Passage"), but he proved his affinity for the western from his very first effort in the genre, the 1950 classic "Broken Arrow." Along with his fine eye for imagery, Daves brought a psychological dimension and an adult sensibility to his westerns. In his best films, his characters had relationships and emotions that came out of real life.
Criterion's stamp on two of his most interesting westerns may help bring a little more attention to the director. "Jubal" (Criterion) is the first of three westerns Daves made with actor Glenn Ford, already a seasoned western presence by 1956. Here he's an itinerate cowhand and a wary loner hired by rancher Ernest Borgnine, a garrulous, generous guy who becomes both father figure and best friend to the emotionally bottled up cowhand. It's been called "Othello" on the range, with Rod Steiger as the bitter ranch hand playing Iago to Borgnine's Othello, but the Desdemona of this piece is no innocent victim but a dark, exotic beauty (she's Canadian, apparently to explain away Valerie French's accent) in a stifling marriage to the sincere but crude and boisterous cattleman. Young and deeply disenchanted, she sets her eyes on the simple, stoic cowboy.
This is less a Shakespeare western than a Hollywood melodrama in chaps and Daves was a seasoned hand at both genres. He favors suspense to action and violence, tightening the tension until Steiger (himself spurned by French) finally pushes his boss over the edge and the cycle of violence begins. Even then, the violence is brief and abrupt and Daves leaves the most brutal assault offscreen. Noah Beery Jr. and John Dierkes offer easy-going support as Ford's friendly bunkmates and fellow cowhands and Charles Bronson takes a small but key role as a plain-speaking cowhand whose loyalty to Ford's Jubal is unshakable even when Steiger turns the town against him. Daves brings out Bronson's easy-going humor and understated style, a side so rarely tapped by other directors.
The sprawling, dazzling, ambitious epic gets a second life on home video
"Cloud Atlas" (Warner) wants nothing for ambition. Jumping between six distinctive stories in six different eras, with a cast that plays different (yet connected) parts in the various storyline, it's at once literal and evasive, 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. Which it does for almost three hours, in stories that span centuries, from the slave trade of the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic culture centuries into the future.
Lana and Andy Wachowski ("The Matrix" trilogy) collaborate with Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run" and "Perfume"), adapting David Mitchell's novel together and splitting the directing duties. They all seem to be on the same page here, charting both the best and worst in mankind through the ages and into the future. The continuity of character throughout can be comic (see Hugo Weaving as the eternal thug through ages, as if Agent Smith escaped the Matrix to infect history) and glaringly obvious (Hugh Grant as tyranny with the face of authority), and of all people Tom Hanks stumbles through some of the clumsiest caricatures ever foisted upon a star-studded production, but it's clever enough to keep you dancing through the changes. And at its best, "Cloud Atlas" is sprawling, inventive, ambitious, naïve, and thrilling. The momentum never lets up and sometimes it alone is all that keeps you moving through the weave of stories, but it can be enough. The images are dazzling and the transitions witty, sometime turning on a line, sometimes an image, sometimes it's not clear at all what the trigger is until later. But obvious or not, it’s all connected. Check out MSN's exclusive "Cloud Atlas" infographic for more on the different stories, characters, and time periods, and the connections between them.
MSN film critic Glenn Kenny isn't as taken with the film as I was. Though he calls it "the most sprawlingly ambitious ostensibly mainstream motion picture I've seen in years," he admits that "the filmmaking itself, while incredibly advanced on a technological level, is kind of mind-numbingly literal." Filling in the leads and key supporting roles across the stories are Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, and James D'Arcy.
Blu-ray and DVD, with the featurette "A Film Like No Other," an overview that plays more like a promotional featurette than a behind-the-scenes piece. The Blu-ray features six additional featurettes, plus a bonus DVD and UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming. Also On Demand
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.
"Liz and Dick" (eOne, DVD) is the Lifetime original movie starring Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor and Grant Bowler as Richard Burton and "Dance Academy: Season One" (Flatiron, DVD) is the Australian teen drama about first-year students at a ballet school in Sydney that debuted stateside on TeenNick.
Cool and Classic:
Two pair of smart adult westerns from director Delmer Daves get the Criterion treatment: the original "3:10 to Yuma" (Criterion) with Glenn Ford as a cunning outlaw and Van Heflin as the farmer who takes him to prison, and "Jubal" (Criterion), a reworking of "Othello" on a frontier ranch with Ford, Ernest Borgnine, and Rod Steiger. Both on Blu-ray and DVD with minimal supplements. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
"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," and two director by Jacques Feyder, "Gribiche" and 'The New Gentlemen." Videodrone's review is here.
"The Henry Fonda Film Collection" (Fox) collects ten features from 1939 to 1958, including "Drums Along the Mohawk" (1939), "The Grapes of Wrath" (1941), and "My Darling Clementine" (1946). DVD
More Hal Hartley comes back to disc, including his feature debut "The Unbelievable Truth" (Olive, Blu-ray and DVD) and the double feature "The Book of Life / The Girl from Monday" (Olive, DVD). Reviewed on Videodrone here.
John Stahl's noir-tinged Technicolor melodrama "Leave Her to Heaven" (Twilight Time) debuts on Blu-ray.
The MOD Movies round-up this week looks at a selection of films by the great directors debuting on disc through manufacture-on-demand.
New on Netflix Instant:
Horror films take top honors on Netflix new releases, from "House at the End of the Street" (2012) with newly-anointed Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence to the Norwegian Nazi zombie film "Dead Snow" (2009) to Ben Wheatley's "Kill List" (2011), a hitman thriller that swerves into a jangly horror film.
For fans of extreme cinema, here are a couple that will shake up even the hardiest souls: Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" (2009) with Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg and Gaspar Noe's violent "Irreversible" (2002). Much lighter is the action comedy "Hit & Run" (2012) with Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell and the Bollywood musical "Lagaan" (2001).
Plenty of classics have also recently arrived, including the 1941 swashbuckler "The Corsican Brothers" (1941) and a number of film noirs and dramas with darker edges, like "Raw Deal" (1948), "99 River Street" (1953), and "The Gun Runners" (1958).
New On Demand:
Available from Redbox this week:
"A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan III" (Lionsgate, DVD), a comedy starring Charlie Sheen as a hedonistic graphic designer in the seventies, and the "Texas Chainsaw" (Lionsgate, Blu-ray and DVD) topline the new arrivals in the kiosks this week.
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Plus Lars von Trier's 'Antichrist,' the original 'The Corsican Brothers,' classic film noir and more
Horror films take top honors in the Netflix new releases this week.
Newly-anointed Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence takes a detour into horror in "House at the End of the Street" (2012), playing the new girl in a neighborhood where a grisly crime wiped out an entire family except for the enigmatic teenage son. Ill-advised curiosity ensues. In words of MSN film critic Glenn Kenny, "originality, or lack thereof, isn't really the movie's problem. Execution is."
"Dead Snow" (2009) – There's blood on the snow when Nazi zombies rise from the powder of the Norwegian Alps to feed on the flesh vacationing innocents in this dryly hilarious horror comedy. Writer/director Tommy Wirkola gives it a macabre sense of splatter humor a la "Evil Dead 2" (complete with zombie hunters armed with chainsaws and other deep woods implements of destruction) without self-conscious wisecracking of the genre, and accomplishes it all with a crisp professionalism.
"Kill List" (2011) is a British hit-man thriller that swerves into a jangly horror film. Directed by Ben Wheatley ("Down Terrace"), the film is "harrowing, inventive, disturbing and shudderingly brisk," in the words of MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. It's also pretty darn dark and very unsettling as it takes viewers down unexpected alleys.
For fans of extreme cinema, here are a couple that will shake up even the hardiest souls. Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" (2009) with Willen Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg is a harrowing portrait of marriage and mourning as a morass of anger, suspicion and power in a diseased world, a vision both beautiful and sour, serious and seriously screwed up. Gaspar Noe's violent "Irreversible" uses the cinema as an assault weapon to tell the story of a loving couple (Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel) destroyed by a random rape and the rage-fueled revenge, in reverse: a fever-induced nightmare reimagining of “Memento.”
On the lighter side is "Lagaan" (2001), a sweeping epic-length Bollywood musical that spins romantic triangles, solidarity through teamwork, and simple melodramatic clashes of good and evil into explosions of color, song, and happy endings and climaxes with a three day long cricket match (!) between arrogant British colonial rulers and a scruffy team of underdogs in 19th century India.
Dax Shepard writes, co-directs, and stars in "Hit & Run" (Universal), and action comedy with Kristen Bell, Kristen Chenoweth, and Tom Arnold. MSN film critic Glenn Kenny calls it "one of the summer's most enjoyable surprises, a consistently disarming romantic comedy…"
For non-fiction fans, there is "Brooklyn Castle" (2012), about the championship chess team from an impoverished inner-city junior high school (arriving before disc) and Jonathan Caouette's "Walk Away Renee" (2012), centered on the director's road trip to move his mentally ill mother from Texas to New York.
Disney's "TRON: Uprising – Season 1," the animated spin-off of the recent big screen reboot, and "American Dad!: Season 7" and "Bob's Burgers: Season 2" from Seth McFarlane's Sunday night animation block are the newest seasons to arrive.
The lively swashbuckler "The Corsican Brothers" (1941) stars Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in the dual roles of Lucien and Mario Franchi, twin brothers who were conjoined at birth but raised apart. The first sound film adaptation of the Alexander Dumas novel, handsomely directed by Gregory Ratoff and described as a "free adaptation of the novel" in the credits, is very much a spirited swashbuckler and dark romance, with Fairbanks playing the gypsy-raised Lucien as a devil-may-care bandit prince and the society-raised Mario as a gentleman rogue with a gift for swards and romance.
"Kit Carson" (Hen's Tooth), starring Jon Hall and Dana Andrews, is an old-fashioned western with great landscapes and a marvelous supporting turn by Ward Bond.
Film Noir and other dark dramas:
"Raw Deal" (1948), a B-movie crime thriller from Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton, is a haunting revenge noir built around a prison break and punctuated by brutal explosions of violence. Alton’s moody, fog-bound visuals and Claire Trevor’s melancholy narration create a tough edged noir suffused with doomed romanticism.
"99 River Street" (1953) is from Phil Karlson, to my mind the toughest of the film noir directors, and star John Payne, who plays a taxi driver set up to take the fall for a jewel robbery. Karlson gives this brawny noir a shot of theatrical flair and makes it one of the great urban noirs of the anonymous city, filled with shadows and shady characters and a long shot second chance. Read my full review here.
"The Gun Runners" (1958), Don Siegel's low-budget remake of "To Have and Have Not," is a stock thriller premise brought to life with clever screenwriting, deftly turned characters, a terrific supporting cast and delightfully sexy rapport and physical intimacy between Audie Murphy (talking the Bogart role) and Patricia Owens, who plays his wife. A longer review is here.
More dark dramas and crime movies from the fifties: "The Killer is Loose" (1956) with Joseph Cotten as a police detective and Wendell Corey as an escaped convict out for revenge; "Monkey on My Back" (1957) with Cameron Mitchell as a pro boxer with a morphine addiction; and "Crime of Passion" (1957) with Barbara Stanwyck breaking the law to advance the career of her homicide detective husband (Sterling Hayden).
Plus 'Leave Her to Heaven' on Blu-ray, Sam Raimi's 'Crimewave' debuts on disc, and more
Two westerns by Delmer Daves -- the original "3:10 to Yuma" (Criterion) with Glenn Ford and Van Heflin and "Jubal" (Criterion) with Ford, Ernest Borgnine, and Rod Steiger -- get the Criterion treatment. Videodrone's review is here.
"French Masterworks: Russian Émigrés in Paris 1923-1928" (Flicker Alley) presents of the DVD debut of five silent classics from Film Albatros. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Unbelievable Truth" (Olive), the 1989 debut feature from Hal Hartley, New York’s modern beatnik cinema laureate, is a romantic comedy skewed through a thoroughly modern perspective. Adrienne Shelly is a glum high school neurotic with a doomsday obsession who falls for the tall, dark, and enigmatically terse Robert Burke, a philosophical mechanic who dresses in black and has served time for murder. An enigmatic, intellectually playful farce played with ironic understatement, Hartley’s austere film was shot on the cheap with a handsome, restrained style and directed with an approach straddling verbal slapstick and modernist irony. The ping-pong dialogue has an almost Becket-like quality by way of a modern beatnik sensibility, but Hartley’s optimism and his cast’s crack performances make the unbelievable believable. For all its hip nineties attitude, the unbelievable truth is that Hartley is a romantic at heart.
Blu-ray and DVD, with the making-of featurette "Tut and Its Consequences" and Hartley's 1994 short "Opera No. 1" with Shelly and Parker Posey.
This is the latest release in Olive's Hal Hartley Collection, and it's accompanied by the DVD only double feature of "The Book of Life / The Girl from Monday" (Olive). The former approaches the biblical apocalypse with Hartley's trademark modernity and backhanded wit – JC (Martin Donovan) is having second thoughts about the end of it all and battles Manhattan lawyers over the small print of the prophesies while Satan Thomas Jay Ryan) hangs in a basement bar and chats on his cell phone – and the latter is a snarky satire of consumerism in the guise of pseudo sci-fi: "1984" by way of "The Man Who Fell To Earth" with Hartley’s trademark dry humor, deadpan delivery, and intellectual word games. Includes featurettes on both films and the 2004 short "Sisters of Mercy" with Parker Posey.
"Leave Her to Heaven" (Twilight Time) - Part Technicolor film noir, part dark romantic melodrama with a psychotic beauty (Gene Tierney at her most dreamy and scary) at its center, John Stahl’s gorgeous 1954 thriller deservedly won the Oscar for Best Color Cinematography. The light caresses Tierney’s perfect cheekbones and the color glows on the screen. Cornel Wilde, usually a serviceable stiff, is well used as the writer who falls hard for Tierney and discovers just how emotionally delicate she is after they marry and she jealously removes everyone in his life who has a hold on his affections. Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price, Ray Collins, Gene Lockhart, and Darryl Hickman co-star.
It debuts on Blu-ray with the supplements from Fox's previous DVD release: commentary by co-star Darryl Hickman and film critic Richard Schickel, "Movietone News" footage from the premiere and Oscar presentations, and the original trailer. Also includes Twilight Time's trademark isolated musical score and an eight-page booklet with an essay by Julie Kirgo. Limited to 3000 copies, available exclusively from Screen Archives.
"The Henry Fonda Collection" (Fox) collects ten features spanning 1939 to 1958 in a compact box set of ten discs, including three of his best films made with director John Ford: as a settler in pre-Revolutionary America in "Drums Along the Mohawk" (1939), a beautiful early Technicolor production where he was second-billed to Claudette Colbert; "The Grapes of Wrath" (1941), the superb adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic which won an Oscar for Ford and earned Fonda his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor; and "My Darling Clementine" (1946), the handsome (and extensively fictionalized) retelling of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral with Fonda as Wyatt Earp.
Also in the set are three more westerns: "Jesse James" (1939) with Tyrone Power as Jesse to Fonda's Frank; "The Return of Frank James" (1940) from director Fritz Lang; and the classic lynch drama "The Ox-Bow Incident" (1943). The set is filled out by war drama "Immortal Sergeant" (1943), the romantic drama "Daisy Kenyon" (1947) with Joan Crawford, the sprawling war epic "The Longest Day" (1962) with an all-star cast, and "The Boston Strangler" (1968) with Tony Curtis. Ten discs on DVD in a compact box set of two paperboard cases, with the same supplements of the original DVD releases.
Sam Raimi made "Crimewave" (Shout Factory), a screwball take on murder for hire with Paul L. Smith and Brion James as the dim-witted hitmen and Louise Lasser as the unfortunate witness added to their long list of targets, from a script he wrote with his buddies Ethan and Joel Coen, themselves fresh off feature debut, "Blood Simple." His follow-up to "The Evil Dead" was a flop and the film pretty disappeared after a nominal VHS release. The Blu-ray+DVD Combo is the film's disc debut, and it features commentary by co-star Bruce Campbell and new interviews with Campbell, actor Reed Birney, and producer / co-star Edward Pressman.
"Philadelphia" (Twilight Time), starring Tom Hanks as a corporate lawyer who sues his law firm for AIDS discrimination Denzel Washington as his homophobic civil lawyer, earned Oscars for Hanks and Bruce Springsteen’s song "Streets of Philadelphia." The Blu-ray features commentary by director Jonathan Demme and writer Ron Nyswaner, a featurette, deleted scenes, and protest footage. Also includes Twilight Time's trademark isolated musical score and an eight-page booklet with an essay by Julie Kirgo. Limited to 3000 copies, available exclusively from Screen Archives.
"The Miracle of the Bells" (Olive), starring Fred MacMurray, Alida Valli, Frank Sinatra, and Lee J. Cobb, is a story of Hollywood publicity colliding with small town values. It debuts on both Blu-ray and DVD.
Also from Olive is the 1940 John Wayne Dust Bowl drama "Three Faces West" with Charles Coburn and Sigrid Gurie. Blu-ray and DVD
Plus Lindsay Lohan in 'Liz and Dick,' Australia's 'Dance Academy,' and more
In "Dexter: The Seventh Season" (Paramount), Showtime's blackly-comic series about TV's favorite serial-killer hero, Dexter's (Michael C. Hall) adoptive sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) learns his secret. Which puts a strain on things, to say the least. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Bletchley Circle" (PBS) is a self-contained British mystery mini-series that could easily launch a continuing series. Set in early 1950s London, it brings a rich culture to a familiar genre of TV mystery: the specialist who brings their unique talents to solving murders. In this case, it's actually four women who worked together in the code-breaking division of British Intelligence in World War II and are reunited by Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), the team's puzzlemaster who has been following the unsolved case of a London serial killer.
This casts a darker shadow over the material than the British mysteries of old while tackling a little social commentary. All of the women are expected to return to docile lives and housewives and mothers and no one (at least no man) seems prepared to even acknowledge their intelligence and talent, let alone their frustration with society's dismal of their potential. But they are also characters in their own right, taking on this private investigation not for the thrill of it, but out of anger, frustration, and the knowledge that thanks to their analytical skills they see a pattern that the police ignore. They are, after all, just women and investigation is best left to the men.
Blu-ray and DVD, with cast and crew interviews.
"Liz and Dick" (eOne) debuted last year as the Lifetime Network's most watched original movie, thanks to the celebrity casting of Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor: one paparazzi-hounded celebrity portraying another. Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McNamara brands it "a wildly graceless biopic that careens through the decades-long relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton with more petulance than passion, knocking down gin bottles and rumpling silk sheets for no better reason than that's what it says to do in the script." Grant Bowler plays Burton to her Taylor and Theresa Russell and David Hunt co-star. DVD with cast interviews.
"Dance Academy: Season One" (Flatiron), the Australian team drama set among the first-year students at a ballet school in Sydney, made its stateside debut last year on the cable channel TeenNick. As the second season continues on cable, the first arrives on DVD, split over a pair of volumes of two-disc sets with 13 episodes apiece.
"Fraggle Rock: 30th Anniversary Collection" (Vivendi) repackages the entire run of Jim Henson's musical Muppet series for its anniversary in a box set of 21 discs. If that's bigger than you're looking for, you can also get the single-disc "Fraggle Rock: Meet the Fraggles" (Lionsgate), a six-episode collection that includes the pilot episode. Both DVD.
And more for the kids: "Taz-Mania: Taz on the Loose" (Warner) presents 13 episodes from the first season of the animated series on two discs. And on the live-action side, "VR Troopers: Season Two, Volume One" collects 20 half-hour episodes on three discs and "Power Rangers Samurai Vol. 4: The Sixth Ranger" (Lionsgate) features four episodes on one disc. Both DVD.
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.
Plus 'Frankie Go Boom,' 'Texas Chainsaw,' 'Back to 1942,' and more
"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. Check out MSN's exclusive "Cloud Atlas" infographic and enter to win a Blu-ray combo pack from MSN and Warner Home Video. 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 when his girlfriend (Katheryn Winnick) dumps him over his philandering ways. Because he can't fathom why she would leave him over a couple of dozen affairs. The film "means to wed an examination of questionable human behavior to a fizzy pop-art ethos, and possibly to examine the connection between the two," explains MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "It doesn't quite make it, alas."
Coppola is a longtime Wes Anderson friend and collaborator and he drafts a couple of other Anderson compatriots, Jason Schwartzbaum and Bill Murray, to co-star as Swan's friends and equally oblivious support group, while Patricia Arquette plays his supportive sister.
Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary by Coppola, a featurette on the film, and an interview with real-life L.A. artist Charles White III (whose life and career inspired Coppola's screenplay). Also at Redbox
"Frankie Go Boom" (Universal), a comedy about sibling rivalry and practical joking gone awry, stars Charlie Hunnam as Frankie, eternally tormented by brother Chris O'Dowd who finally goes too far when he posts a sex tape of Frankie's disastrous one-night-stand with Lizzy Caplan. "Though deliciously rude and crude, [it] possesses a surprisingly sweet heart," recommends MSN film critic Kat Murphy. ""Boom"'s script is rife with wit and raunch, and the clearly all-in cast deftly pitch one gagline after another, creating over-the-top characters who nonetheless project genuine, if grotesque, humanity." Blu-ray and DVD, with featurettes and deleted and alternate scenes.
"Texas Chainsaw" (Lionsgate), the most recent low-budget reboot of the horror series, picks up where the 1974 original leaves off… sort of. It was originally released in 3D and arrives on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD, with two commentary tracks and lots of featurettes, plus a digital copy of the film for portable media players and an UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming. Also On Demand and at Redbox. Reviews here.
"Leonie" (Monterey, DVD) stars Emily Mortimer as an American translator in Japan at the turn-of-the-20th Century (reviews here) and "If I Were You" (Kino Lorber, DVD) is an indie romantic comedy starring Marcia Gay Harden, Leonor Watling, and Adain Quinn (reviews here).
"Back to 1942" (Well Go), directed by Feng Xiaogang, looks at the Henan province disaster, a drought that devastated the region and led to an exodus and mass starvation. This big-budget production his headlined by Chinese stars Zhang Guoli, Chen Daoming and Xu Fan and features Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins in supporting roles. Chinese with some English dialogue and English subtitles, Blu-ray and DVD, also On Demand. Reviews here.
"Escape" (eOne) is a Norwegian thriller set in the dark ages, ten years after the Black Death, where a teenage traveler is hunted by a pack of brigands who slaughtered her family. Director Roar Uthaug previously made the acclaimed "Cold Prey." Blu-ray and DVD, with a featurette, deleted scenes, and bloopers. Reviews here.
Most releases are also available as digital download and VOD via iTunes, Amazon, and other web retailers and video services.