Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DVD releases for December 9

Man on Wire (2008) directed by James Marsh
Easily one of the best films of the year. This profile of Philippe Petit and his high wire feat between the Twin Towers is not only heart-warming and amazing, but inspiring and moving. Petit demonstrates that the world is only as big and life is only as grand as you make it. All the more interesting is Petit the man—the antithesis of the "extreme sport" stereotype. If you have not seen this documentary, it will play just as well on DVD; if you have seen it, the DVD contains plenty of extras for those looking or more.

Woman on the Beach (2006) directed by Hong Sang-soo
Hong Sang-soo's seventh film in his oeuvre, but the first to ever screen theatrically in the Twin Cities. Woman on the Beach played once at the MSPIFF. Hong is one of the best directors working today with a body of work that is largely ignored here in the US. No one does romantic drama like this guy—subtle yet in your face simultaneously. Woman on the Beach is no different.

Europa (1991) directed by Lars von Trier
It is hard not to think about Lars von Trier's career starting with Breaking the Waves. But there was oh-so-much that came before that, most notably the first installment of The Kingdom, The Element of Crime, Medea and this film, Europa (or Zentropa, as the VHS was released.) Now Criterion has resurrected this surreal film from the ashes. No doubt this looks worlds better than the VHS, but the second disc in this set has more documentaries and interviews than you can shake a stick at.

Flow: For the Love of Water (2008) directed by Irena Salina
Missed this bugger when it was at the Walker and it did not get the release at Landmark that was promised. As everyone who has seen Quantum of Solace knows, water equals the next world power. I'm sure this doc explores the worlds problems with water in a much more meaningful and interesting way than the aforementioned crappy Bond movie.

The Quare Fellow (1962) directed by Arthur Dreifuss
Because I know nothing about this film: "Dublin's Mountjoy Prison is abuzz in anticipation of an inmate's pending execution, a convicted murderer known simply as "the quare fellow." But as death looms over the prison walls, life on the inside can't help but plod along. Patrick McGoohan co-stars as a prison guard learning the ropes amid a cloud of tragic duty and inevitability in this faithful adaptation of Brendan Behan's stage play by the same name."

A Hole in a Fence (2008) directed by D.W. Young
Jeez, here's another that looks interesting but will simply do the service of giving you the plot description: "The changing face of Red Hook -- a one-of-a-kind neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. -- is the subject of this rich examination of city living by filmmaker D.W. Young. The documentary peeks in on an urban farm run by local kids; an uphill struggle to save a portion of the waterfront; the infamous arrival of an IKEA store; and more. The film was an official selection at the 2008 San Francisco International Documentary Film Festival.

Early Works of Cheryl Dunye
This DVD contains six short films from the independently minded Cheryl Dunye: Greetings from America, The Potluck and the Passion, An Untitled Portrait, Vanilla Sex, She Don't Fade and Janine. Although Dunye's feature Watermelon Woman is her most well known work, she made her name in the realm of video art in the early 90s.


Sandy Nawrot said...

OK, I have made peace with the idea that I will NEVER see any movie before you do, unless it is an inane child-friendly movie. Man on Wire is very high on my Netflix Q...I have to see it, bearing in mind your original review and the EW review. I'm also interested in your opinion on Valkyrie.

Kathie Smith said...

Valkyrie opinion = vomit. I'll post a review when it hits theaters, but it is really bad in terms of script and acting.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Well, hell. I am always intrigued by Hitler and WWII-related films, and I had some hopes for the film. I had heard that it started and stalled and struggled to be made, which is never a good sign...Tom Cruise isn't necessarily a good sign either.