This week on DVD and Blu-ray Stephen Frears turns in one of his sexy romps, a crop of the some of the finest working actresses band together and an Italian classic comes back to life.
This Week’s Top Pick:
The Frothy, Biting “Tamara Drewe”
The Deal: Based on the popular graphic novel of the same name by Posy Simmonds, “Tamara Drewe” finds veteran British director Stephen Frears’ (“The Queen,” “Dangerous Liasons”) doing what he does best: crafting a bawdy comedy with a touch of English class.
Set in a fictions village in Dorset, England, the film concerns itself with Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton), a young, gorgeous journalist who returns home to sell her mother’s house and in the process becomes the talk of the town – for all the wrong reasons.
“While the dry humor occasionally wears thin, Frears avoids the all-inclusive and fairly unlikely series of twists in the original book in favor of a conventional, focused structure that’s persistently funny,” wrote indieWIRE’s Eric Kohn of the film, which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. “Frears admirably juggles a series of interlocking stories while boiling them down to a small ensemble of competent performances. Arterton does a solid job as the dominant object of desire, but Allam’s cranky, pompous Nicholas stands out. “Tamara Drewe” has little staying power, but plenty of whip-smart entertainment value. Appropriately enough, the movie embodies an attitude as self-satisfied as the mopey authors it puts in unflattering close-up.”
Extras: A feature-length audio commentary with Arterton and Luke Evans; the 13-minute “The Making of ‘Tamara Drewe'” behind-the-scenes featurette; “Reconstructing ‘Tamara Drewe'” which looks at the connections between the film and the comic; and the film’s theatrical trailer. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Other Hot Picks:
“Thelma & Louise” Celebrate Their 20th Anniversary on Blu-ray
The Deal: The ultimate women’s all American road movie, starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis as two best friends on the run, roars onto Blu-ray for the first time in a souped up 20th anniversary edition, loaded with extras and a crisp transfer.
Extras: Two separate audio commentaries, one with director Ridley Scott, the other with Sarandon, Davis and writer Callie Khouri; a slew of deleted and extended scenes; an extended ending with commentary from Scott; a number of documentaries and featurettes, including “Thelma and Louise: The Last Journey;” multi-angle storyboards that break down the film’s climax; “Part of You, Part of Me” music video by Glenn Frey; and some trailers and TV spots. Available on Blu-ray.
Give “For Colored Girls” a Chance
The Deal: Tyler Perry’s film adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 stage play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” was largely derided by the nation’s top critics upon its theatrical release. And while the film is far from perfect, there’s no better new release on DVD and Blu-ray that offers up such a sensational cast as the one Perry has assembled for his drama. To see Loretta Devine, Anika Noni Rose, Thandi Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, and yes, Janet Jackson show off their chops, be sure to check this out.
Extras: The original interactive documentary “Span of the Rainbow;” the featurettes “Prism of Poems,” “Transformation: Movie Magic,” “Living Portraits” and “Music For Colored Girls;” and the film’s theatrical trailer. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
“Amarcord” Gets the Criterion Treatment on Blu-ray
The Deal: Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age masterpiece finally gets the transfer it deserves in Criterion’s new Blu-ray treatment of the film. For the uninitiated, the Oscar-winning “Amarcord” recounts a year in the life of a slew of zany characters living in the fictional coastal town of Borgo, based on Fellini’s own hometown of Rimini.
Extras: Audio commentary by film scholars Peter Brunette and Frank Burke; “Fellini’s Homecoming,” a 45-minute documentary and the director and his complicated relationship to his hometown and past; a video interview with sat Magali Noel; archival audio interviews with Fellini and his friends and family; a deleted scene; plus a booklet featuring an essay by scholar Sam Rohdie and the full text of Fellini’s 1967 essay, “My Rimini.” Available on Blu-ray.
“Still Waking” Gets Personal on Criterion
The Deal: After well over a year long wait, the moving family drama “Still Walking,” from celebrated Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, finally makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray via Criterion. Created as a tribute to his late mother, “Still Walking” finds Kore-eda portraying one day in life of a family gathered together for a commemorative ritual.
Extras: New video interviews with Kore-era and Yamazaki; a documentary on the making of the film, featuring on-set footage; the film’s trailer; a new and improved English translation; plus a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dennis Lim and recipes for the food prepared in the film. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.