Videodrone's thumbnail guide to what's new, notable and recommended (or not) this week.
Here's our thumbnail guide to what's new, notable and recommended (or not) this week for home viewing. Just click on the titles and links for full reviews and more information.
The New Release Rack
It's not too early to start handicapping your Oscars. This week, weigh the chances of Brad Pitt for Best Actor and Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian for Best Adapted Screenplay for "Moneyball" (Sony), a drama about the business of baseball in the era of multi-million dollar payrolls. On DVD, Blu-ray, Digital Download and VOD, and available on Redbox.
Indie pick this week is "Higher Ground" (Sony), the directorial debut of the fiercely talented actress Vera Farmiga. Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack, Digital Download and VOD, available on Redbox.
Also new this week:
"The Killer Elite" (Universal) - the action thriller with Jason Statham and Robert De Niro. DVD, Blu-ray and Digital.
"What's Your Number" (Fox) - a crude romantic comedy with Anna Faris. DVD, Blu-ray and Digital.
"Film Socialisme" (Lorber) - Jean-Luc Godard's typically challenging film essay, on Blu-ray and DVD,
"Night and Day" (Zeitgeist) – a wry, meandering character study from South Korean director Hong Sang-soo, DVD only.
TV on DVD
Director/producer Martin Scorsese teams up with "The Sopranos" writer/producer Terence Winter for "Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season" (HBO), HBO's gangster drama set in the Atlantic City of the prohibition era. The second season already ran on HBO, but this the first time the show has been available to non-subscribers. DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download.
Also new this week:
"Primeval: Volume Three" (BBC) features the fourth and fifth series from the British sci-fi action series about dinosaurs, holes in time and human conspiracies. DVD and Blu-ray.
"Hawaii Five-O: The Twelfth and Final Season" (Paramount) - Jack Lord is the last man standing in the final season of the original series. DVD only.
Off the Rack – Classic, Cult and Blu-ray Debuts
"The Hellstrom Chronicle" (Olive) won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1972, but this look at the savage world insects is not your typical documentary. On DVD and Blu-ray.
"Sid & Nancy" (Fox), Alex Cox's tribute to the strange real-life love story of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, was Gary Oldman's breakthrough role. It debuts on Blu-ray.
Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy," starring Juliette Binoche, was hailed as one of the best films of the year. It's not on DVD yet, but you can stream it on Netflix and there is an HD edition available.
Also new on Netflix Instant Streaming
"The African Queen" (1951) - John Huston's classic romantic adventure with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.
"True Grit (1969)" - the original with John Wayne
"True Grit (2010)" - the Coen Bros.' remake with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon
"Tucker & Dale vs. Evil" – the absurdly gory horror-comedy
New at Redbox
"The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (Fox), the superb reworking of the classic science fiction series, is smart, exciting and built on the most vivid simian star since King Kong (courtesy of Andy Serkis), and it's now available through Redbox.
Arriving day and date with stores at Redbox:
"Moneyball" (see above)
"Higher Ground" (see above)
Coming next week:
"The Ides of March" (Sony)
"Dirty Girl" (Anchor Bay)
"Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star" (Sony)
"Mysteries of Lisbon" (Music Box)
"Killing Bono" (Arc Entertainment)
"Merlin: The Complete Third Season" (BBC)
"Belle de Jour" (Criterion)
"The Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin (Eclipse Series 31)" (Criterion)
"Traffic" (Blu-ray) (Criterion)
|Tags:||Week in review|
Plus both versions of 'True Grit,' and the hilariously gory horror spoof 'Tucker and Dale vs. Evil' and more
Here's a new addition to Videodrone, a rundown of a few recent and recommended additions to Netflix Instant, the streaming video portion of the Netflix service. We open with a handful of title added in the past couple of weeks…
Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy," starring Juliette Binoche, placed on numerous top ten lists (including MSN's critics poll) and end-of-the-year awards. Both a delicate romance and a complex portrait, you could describe it as the cinematic equivalent of a Picasso cubist portrait, presenting multiple experiences along the timeline of a relationship in a single day. While you can lose yourself in the tangle of identity, it's more rewarding to simply give in to the rich pageant of experience and the vibrant and fluid emotional life churning in Binoche's performance. It's not on DVD yet, but you can stream it on Netflix and there is an HD edition available. I review it for MSN here.
The classic of the week is "The African Queen" (1951), John Huston's magnificent big screen adventure starring Humphrey Bogart as a hard-drinking caption of a sputtering steam-powered boat and Katharine Hepburn as a spirited missionary. The film is a classic journey adventure, with a series of obstacles that they meet with resilience and resourcefulness, but the story is how they move from "Mr. Allnut" and "Miss" to Charlie and Rosie, opposites who find strength, support and unexpected love in one another. Huston is arguably the greatest Hollywood writer/director of literary adaptations and Bogart and Hepburn stoke the fires of this unlikely romance the way only stars of that magnitude can.
John Wayne earned his one and only Academy Award for Best Actor in the original "True Grit (1969)," playing the grizzled, hard-drinking U.S. Marshall hired by a feisty 14-year-old girl (Kim Darby) to hunt the no-account who murdered her pa. Henry Hathaway, an old-Hollywood western hand, plays it out on a clean, bright canvas in lush wilderness with boisterous humor, an old-school western with sixties production values. The Coen Brothers insisted that their "True Grit (2010)," with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, was not a remake of the 1969 film but a faithful adaptation of the Charles Portis novel. Whether or not it's true that they had not seen the Henry Hathaway film since they were kids, it is interesting to see how close both hew to the story and the dialogue of the Portis novel, and how the difference in the details makes the Coens' film uniquely their vision, and the most accessible and successful (financially speaking) film of their career. Both are now available for streaming so you can make judge for yourself. More at Videodrone here.
For more offbeat tastes there is "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil," not so much a horror comedy as a comedy where most of the characters are convinced they're in a horror film and act accordingly. Think of it as a comedy of errors with a body count: a group of frat boys and sorority girls in the woods the eponymous Dale (Tyler Labine), a sweetly stupid idiot savant, and his best friend Tucker (Alan Tudyk), as backwoods psychos and end up doing themselves in during ill-conceived attacks on the oblivious duo. The gore is epic and hilarious and Labine and Tudyk sell it all with their gob-smacked reactions to the unprovoked attacks, but it's their best-buddy chemistry that makes them so much fun to hang around. More from Kat Murphy at MSN Movies.
"The Good Thief," Neil Jordan’s 2003 reworking of Jean-Pierre Melville’s classic heist picture "Bob Le Flambeur," may not be his best film, but it's my pick for his most purely enjoyable. The payoffs are many: Nick Nolte’s shaggy performance as Bob, the heroine addicted gambler whose innate dignity and gentlemanly manners come through whether he’s high or straight; the effortless filmmaking that gives the film a momentum you never even notice as it succinctly covers its ornate web of narrative complications; a cast of multi-racial characters and performers creating a rich and varied underworld; and a delicious plot of feints, heists, and cons all upstaged by the greatest run of luck in the history of gambling. Nolte, whose smoky, creaky baritone sounds like a longtime addict survivor, tosses his lines off as if he’s skating through life without a care in the world, or rather he’s gone past caring and is simply about existing.
From China comes "City of Life and Death," an epic recreation of the Rape of Nanking in 1937 from the perspective of the Chinese soldiers and civilians (and one Japanese soldier disgusted with his army's behavior). It's a stark, grueling film, shot in black and white, short on dialogue and big on the atmosphere of chaos and terror as civilians are treated as inconveniences at best and spoils of war at worst. Which is still a far sight better than the treatment of the soldiers.
Gary Oldman is Sid Vicious in the film that announced the actor's arrival
Gary Oldman is self-destructive punk icon Sid Vicious, bass player of the Sex Pistols, and Chloe Webb his drug addicted girlfriend Nancy Spungen in "Sid & Nancy" (Fox), Alex Cox's tribute to a strange real-life love story.
"The astonishing thing about "Sid and Nancy" is the amount of subtle information it gives us about their relationship, given the fact that the surface of the movie is all tumult and violence, pain and confusion," wrote Roger Ebert in 1986. "It sees beneath their leather and chains, their torn T-shirts and steel-toed boots, to a basically conventional relationship between an ambitious woman and a man who was still a boy."
It was also the break-out role for Oldman, then a young actor making his feature debut, and he carries the picture with a fierce blaze of talent. He captures the addled, impulsive personality of a musician whose spontaneous, reckless stage presence helped define not just a band, but a movement. He was the epitome of live fast and die young.
The Blu-ray debut of the cult film includes the featurettes "For Love of Punk," a short survey of the punk era, and the production featurette "Junk Love," plus the original trailer (see the trailer below, after the jump).
"Greece: Secrets of the Past" (Image) is the 2006 IMAX documentary the Greek Isles, the birthplace of Western Civilization, narrated by Nia Vardalos. Includes a "making of" featurette and a retrospective featurette on production company MacGillivray Freeman.
The Oscar-winning film is not a traditional documentary
"The Hellstrom Chronicle" (Olive) won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1972, but the film, produced and directed by Walon Green and featuring mesmerizing footage of the insect world, is not a typical documentary. The Dr. Hellstrom who narrates the film is actually a fictional creation played by Lawrence Pressman, and his "radical theories" posit that the insects will overcome the human race and claim dominion over the planet. His evidence makes up the body of the film: dynamic micro-photography of the insect world, with an emphasis on the savage efficiency of life at that level. Call it natural history framed by science fiction and speculation on life after global warming. Which is also a reminder that climate change science has also been around a lot longer than the recent election cycles.
You’ll be hard pressed to find better microcinematography than what Walon Green and Helmuth Barth put up on screen—or any that is more gag-inducing," writes Marilyn Ferdinand at Ferdy on Films. "As I watched this film, I was both fascinated and horrified…. Dr. Hellstrom hasn’t proven his thesis… but we have been given a thorough nature lesson." On DVD and Blu-ray. The film has the coarse look of a seventies-era shot-on-16mm documentaries and is presented in squarish 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which the disc explains is the original aspect ratio. That's odd for a 1971 feature, but it looks right on the screen and is likely accurate to the original 16 photography. No supplements.
Also debuting is the 2005 horror film "Gurozuka" (Synapse) from Japan, which presents the classic Japanese horror movie formula of teenage girls, a haunted house, a cursed object and a videotape. Includes a making-of featurette and the original trailer. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Plus the original 'Hawaii Five-O' ends and Ricky Gervais in 'An Idiot Abroad'
Director/producer Martin Scorsese teams up with "The Sopranos" writer/producer Terence Winter for "Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season" (HBO), HBO's gangster drama set in the Atlantic City of the prohibition era. It's a lavishly textured period piece and a smart show, and HBO breaks with release tradition by debuting the first season long after the second season has wrapped on HBO. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
"Primeval: Volume Three" (BBC) features the fourth and fifth series of the British series about a covert team that tracks temporal anomolies -- time cracks between the present and the prehistoric era -- and the creatures (mostly dinosaurs) that wander through them. The third series ended with junior team members Connor and Abby (Andrew-Lee Potts and Hannah Spearritt) trapped in the Cretaceous Period and this collection begins with their return to a whole new ARC team, now led by Matt Anderson (Ciarán McMenamin), and a new set of mysteries and conspiracies.
That makes Connor and Abby the squad veterans, not that their sardonic boss (Ben Miller) gives them any such respect, and Connor almost immediately falls under the sway of private sector entrepreneur and inventor Philip Burton (Alexander Siddig) who has his own plans for manipulating the time-travel technology with the top-secret New Dawn project. That puts Connor is a very awkward position, forced to choose between Abby, who he's been madly in love with since the first episode, and his hero-worship of Philip. And to add spice to the mix, Matt falls in love with a 19th century time-traveler (Ruth Bradley) and third-season star Jason Flemyng (still the liveliest and most entertaining of the show's actors) makes a memorable return appearance.
The budget-minded CGI creatures are good enough for the pulp premise of the show and if the plotting gets a little contrived (how many times can you bend a character's personality to make a plot twist work?), it still hold its own with the average SyFy Channel original. Which is just where this show finds its fan base. 13 episodes on four discs on DVD and Blu-ray, plus the two-part making-of featurette "New Dawn" and prequel webisodes.
See the Series 4 trailer below, after the jump.
Jack Lord is the last man standing from the original cast in "Hawaii Five-O: The Twelfth and Final Season" (Paramount), which concluded in 1980 after more than 250 episodes. William Smith and Moe Keale join his team as James 'Kimo' Carew (it's not quite Dan-O but it'll do) and Truck Kealoha in the first episode of the final season, a terrific double-length episode with a guest cast including Paul L. Smith, Harry Guardino and Ross Martin, and Sharon Farell joined in the second episode as Lori Wilson. And for fans looking for closure, know that the finale finally pits McGarrett against international crime kingpin and arch-nemesis Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh) in an undercover mission and a mano-a-mano showdown. 19 episodes on five discs, no supplements to speak of.
"An Idiot Abroad" (BBC) is a new BBC comedy series with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (co-creators of "The Office" and "Extras") bringing their dim-witted pal (Karl Pinkerton) on a trip to the wonders of the world… against his will. 8 episodes on two discs, plus supplements.
"Dennis the Menace: The Final Season" (Shout! Factory), starring Jay North as the tow-haired hurricane of a schoolkid and gale Gordon stepping in as the new Mr. Wilson, features all 38 episodes from the fourth season on five discs. No supplements.
"Diary of a Single Mom" (Image) presents a feature-length version of Robert Townsend's web-series starring Monica Calhoun as the single mom and co-starring Leon, Richard Roundtree, Billy Dee Williams and Diahann Carroll.
"Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs" (BBC) features Jon Pertwee as The Doctor and "Doctor Who: The Android Invasion" (BBC) is a Tom Baker adventure. Both releases feature a complete story, plus commentary, featurettes and other supplements.
"G.I. Joe: Series 2, Season 1" (Shout! Factory) features 24 episodes of the 1989 incarnation of the animated series.
Non-fiction TV this week includes two collections of History Channel specials -- "Frozen World: The Story of the Ice Age" (History Channel) and "King Arthur and Medieval Britain" (History Channel) -- and the 2011 public TV documentary "Nova: Finding Life Beyond Earth" (PBS).
Plus Jason Statham and Robert DeNiro as 'The Killer Elite' and the historical drama 'There Be Dragons'
Brad Pitt makes it look effortless in "Moneyball" (Sony), a drama about the business of baseball in the era of multi-million dollar payrolls based on the non-fiction bestseller by Michael Lewis. Videodrone's review is here. "What's Your Number" (Fox) offers the very talented Anna Faris in a very unfunny romantic comedy. Videodrone offers a quick review and talks with Faris here.
Vera Farmiga stars in and makes her directorial debut in "Higher Ground" (Sony), a drama about a woman struggling with her faith. The film "stakes out a fairly complicated set of conflicts for itself and, in doing so, ventures into subtly lit places that too few films about faith explore," explains MSN film critic James Rocchi. "At its best, "Higher Ground" stands apart in a territory few films have the intelligence, courage and, yes, faith, to even try to explore." It arrives on a DVD/Blu-ray Combo pack, with commentary by Farmiga, co-star Joshua Leonard and co-producer Renn Hawkey, "The Making of Higher Ground," a Q&A from the L.A. Film Festival screening and deleted scenes.
"The Killer Elite" (Universal) is not a remake of the Sam Peckinpah thriller but it does pit elite killers in a fight to the death. Jason Statham stars as a retired contract killer who teams up with his mentor (Robert DeNiro) to hunt down the leader (Clive Owen) of a secret military society of assassins. It's supposedly based on a true story, though this globe-trotting thriller is moved from the 1980s of the book to the modern geopolitical landscape.MSN film critic Glenn Kenny calls it "quite the cliché-ridden desultory mess." On DVD, Blu-ray and digital download. DVD features deleted scenes and the Blu-ray adds an UltraViolet digital copy for download and streaming and the usual BDLive supplements. See the trailer below, after the jump.
"There Be Dragons" (Fox), from two-time Oscar nominee Roland Joffé ("The Killing Fields"), takes us to the Spanish Civil War for the story of a journalist (Dougray Scott), his father (Wes Bentley in old age make-up) and the origins of the controversial Opus Dei. Entertainment Weekly film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum calls it a "florid, convoluted historical drama." On DVD and Blu-ray, both with deleted scenes and a featurette.
Legendary film director Jean-Luc Godard has stated that "Film Socialisme" (Lorber) will be his final film. The typically dense, discursive and idiosyncratic film is, in classic Godard mode, not a narrative in any conventional sense but it's a challenge in a way that fans of Godard will enjoy grappling with. Videodrone's review is here.
Other notable foreign releases this week: "Night and Day" (Zeitgeist), another wry character study from South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo; "The Man From London" (Zeitgeist), a stylized thriller from Hungarian director Bela Tarr, and "1911" (Well Go), a war drama from China starring Jackie Chan. More at Videodrone here.
And the rest:
"Sinners and Saints" (Anchor Bay) sets international mercenaries against New Orleans gangbangers. The action film, which arrives directed to DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S., has a B-movie cast that includes Sean Patrick Flanery, Jolene Blalock, Kim Coates, Method Man, Tom Berenger and Jürgen Prochnow.
Also arriving direct-to-DVD and Blu-ray is "The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption" (Universal), with Billy Zane and Ron Perlman joining the spectacle. And Christopher Gorham, Arielle Kebbel and Chris Parnell star in the college trivia comedy "Answer This!" (Lionsgate).
How prohibition brought about the birth of modern organized crime
"To those beautiful, ignorant bastards!"
"Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season" (HBO) opens with Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), the treasurer of Atlantic City and the man who runs the town -- and the graft -- from behind the pose of public service, toasting the U.S. Congress and the new possibilities that the twenties will bring, thanks to the utterly disastrous "noble experiment" known as Prohibition. Everything changes from that moment.
Created by "The Sopranos" writer/producer Terence Winter, based on the book by Nelson Johnson, and co-produced by Martin Scorsese (who directs the pilot episode), "Boardwalk Empire" is a lavish period drama that chronicles the birth of the modern organized crime syndicate, built on the fortunes made bootlegging liquor and running illegal imports of the real stuff from out of country. Nucky isn't a gangster per se, merely a thoroughly corrupt politician with his fingers in everything and a gift for keeping a harmonious balance, but the competition for territory by rivals pushes him to more violent methods, and more volatile partnerships: Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg of "A Simple Man"), Lucky Luciano and a young Al Capone among them.
This is a grand canvas of characters, both real and historical, with the quasi-fictional Nucky (based loosely on real life Atlantic City treasure Enoch "Nucky" Johnson) as the low-key power broker at the center. Michael Pitt co-stars as Nucky's would-be protégé Jimmy Darmody, a young World War I vet serving as muscle but with the ambition and smarts for much more, and Kelly Macdonald is a poor Irish immigrant who becomes a widow (thanks to Nucky) and, later, Nucky's mistress. Michael Shannon rounds out the primary characters as the pious FBI Agent Nelson Van Alden, who treats his job like a holy crusade but has his own demons, but dozens of characters and stories weave through their journeys, including Shea Whigham as Nucky's brother and the county sheriff, Paz de la Huerta as Nucky's showgirl mistress, Michael Kenneth Williams (of "The Wire") as Nucky's opposite in the black community and Dabney Coleman as The Commodore, the retired boss of Atlantic City.
It's also a magnificently mounted piece of television centered on a fabulous recreation of the old Boardwalk (built in Brooklyn as a standing set and extended / filled out via the magic of CGI). It's where Nucky conducts business and it's the social center of the city and the show, but be the end of the first season, the show's reach extends to Chicago and New York as the networks are established and the pipelines of liquor established.
The second season of the show ran on HBO in the fall of 2011. HBO breaks with release tradition by debuting the first season long after the second season has wrapped, one assumes as an added incentive to subscribe to HBO and make use of HBOGO, which gives subscribers access to the entire library of original series and specials. This is the first chance for non-subscribers to see the show.
12 episodes on five discs on DVD and Blu-ray. The 20-minute featurette "Making Boardwalk Empire" provides the usual overview with great detail and lots of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews (including Scorsese, who does not participate in the commentary tracks). There are cast and crew commentaries on six episodes, a 30-minute documentary on culture of Atlantic City of the twenties, a short piece on creating the Boardwalk, a very extensive character dossier and a speakeasy tour.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray is the "Enhanced Viewing" mode, which runs picture-in-picture video interview clips (some of it repurposed from the featurettes), stills and other footage through the episodes, as well as trivia, historical notes and notes on the music.
See the Season One trailer below, after the jump.
Plus Hong Sang-soo's 'Night and Day,' Bela Tarr's 'The Man From London' and Jackie Chan in '1911'
Legendary film director Jean-Luc Godard has stated that "Film Socialisme" (Lorber) will be his final film. The typically dense, discursive and idiosyncratic film is, in classic Godard mode, not a narrative in any conventional sense but an essay, a contemplation of social politics in the capitalist world of today, and an often dryly witty play with idea of storytelling and character and the way we expect movies to, well, move.
"In "Film Socialisme" what's crucial is less the words -- printed, spoken, sung -- and the images themselves, than the way they're layered, juxtaposed, delivered," explains MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "There's the usual Godardian polemics and punning, the obsessive sifting through the ash heap of 20th century (and further back than that) history, the attitudinizing, the cameos by philosophers and artists (nice to see Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye pitching in). But then there are the various textures of conveyance, which go back to, and take in, imagery and grain from Eisenstein's "Potemkin" and Ford's "Cheyenne Autumn," among others."
The film is spoken in numerous languages (French, German, Spanish, Russian and more) and Godard created his own tongue-in-cheek "Navajo" English subtitles for export (which offers its own added layer of commentary). The DVD and Blu-ray feature both Godard's subtitles and alternate subtitles with a literal English translation. No other supplements of note (a stills gallery and trailers from Kino releases) but there is an insert with an essay by Godard biographer Richard Brody.
"Night and Day" (Zeitgeist), another wry character study from South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo, sends his typically self-absorbed artist hero (this time played by Yeong-ho Kim) to Paris, where he lays low in the Korean ex-pat community and proceeds to engage in casual flings and hard-drinking evenings. Film critic Scott Foundas, writing in The Village Voice, observes that the "emphasis on dialogue, combined with an unapologetically stationary camera, gives Hong's work a casual, "artless" façade that belies his carefully plotted, novelistic structure—of which "Night and Day" may be the most ambitious to date." The DVD release, from the KimStim Collection, is in Korean and French with English subtitles. No supplements.
Also from the KinStim Collection is "The Man From London" (Zeitgeist), a stylized, contemplative thriller from Hungarian director Bela Tarr. Based on a novel by George Simenon, the stark black-and-white production follows a guilt-ridden railroad switchman (Miroslav Krobot) after he finds a suitcase of money left behind after a murder. It "feels like no other film that you've seen before," writes Slate film critic Dana Stevens. "It's cerebral and lugubrious, yet simple as a fairy tale." Tilda Swinton co-stars as the hard-bitten wife. In Hungarian, French and English with English subtitles, no supplements.
"1911" (Well Go) is a Chinese military epic starring Jackie Chan (who also carries a "general direction" credit) as a general in the Qinq Dynasty who picks up the sword to lead rebellions against the out-of-touch emperor. Los Angeles Times film critic Mark Olsen complains that "the sense of dutiful intentions blocks any building momentum. When an English-speaking character appears to declare that history is being made, it only underlines the obvious." On DVD and Blu-ray, in standard and Collector's Editions, the latter featuring interviews with Chan and co-star Li BingBing, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette (with no subtitles) and a press conference (with subtitles). In Mandarin with option English dub soundtrack and English and Chinese subtitles.
"Protektor" (Film Movement), from the Czech Republic, is built around fame, compromise and the marriage of a Jewish actress and a gentile reporter in 1938 Prague, weathering the rise of Nazism. The film, from Marek Najbert, won 9 Czech Lions (the country's equivalent to the Academy Awards) and the DVD also features the animated short "I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors" from Australia.
From Mexico comes the comedy "Saving Private Perez" (Pantelion), about a crimelord who puts together a team to rescue his brother from Iraq. Also new this week is "Aurora" (Cinema Guild) from Romania, which I hear is very good but I never received a review copy.