This week on DVD and Blu-ray Natalie Portman dances her way to an Oscar, Sally Hawkins shows the men how it’s done, Naomi Watts takes on the C.I.A. and a doc asks us to “Cool It.”
This Week’s Top Pick:
“Black Swan” Takes Flight on DVD and Blu-ray
The Deal: Darren Aronofsky is on roll. Following his Oscar-nominated wrestling drama “The Wrestler,” the indie provocateur nabbed a whole new legion of followers with his dark ballet thriller, “Black Swan,” which makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray following its win at the Oscars for its star, Natalie Portman.
Portman plays prima ballerina Nina, a perfectionist to the max, who lands the lead role in a production of “Swan Lake,” only to struggle with the dualities demanded of the part.
“As a sensory experience for the eyes and ears, “Black Swan” provides bountiful stimulation,” Todd McCarthy wrote in his review of the film for indieWIRE. “Aronofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique choreograph the camera in beautiful counterpoint to Portman’s dance moves, especially in rehearsals, and the muted color scheme on rather grainy stock look like a more refined version of what the director did on “The Wrestler.” Tchaikovsky’s ever-present music supplies plenty of its own drama and the dance world details seem plausible enough.”
Extras: This bird doesn’t disappoint! Included on this packed disc: a 49-minute doc on the making of the film, a slew of individual featurettes that go into everything from the fluid cinematography to Portman’s training for the role, the film’s creepy tailer and much more. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Clip from the film:
Other Hot Picks:
“Made in Dagenham” Rouses and Uplifts
The Deal: Academy Award-nominees Sally Hawkins and Miranda Richardson head an impressive ensemble in this uplifting true tale of female empowerment from “Calendar Girls” director Nigel Cole. Hawkins plays Rita O’Grady, a determined little spitfire who rallies her female co-workers at a Ford Dagenham car plant to go on strike for equal pay.
Extras: An audio commentary with Cole, deleted scenes, some funny outtakes, a making-of-featurette and the film’s trailer in high-def. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Doug Liman Gets All Riled Up in “Fair Game”
The Deal: Naomi Watts gives a typically riveting performance as real life ex CIA operative Valerie Plame in Doug Liman’s (“The Bourne Identity”) hot-button conspiracy thriller. Based on Plame’s shocking tell all memoir, “Fair Game” goes into why Plame’s identity was leaked and the aftermath of the whole debacle.
Extras: Sadly only a audio commentary by Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson is included on this disc. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
A Doc Asks Us to “Cool It”
The Deal: Controversial author, Bjorn Lomborg’s viewpoints on global warming take center stage in the doc “Cool It,” from acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner. “Cool It” follows Lomborg on his mission to bring the smartest possible solutions to climate change and other major problems in the world.
Extras: 15 minutes of deleted scenes and the film’s trailer. Available on DVD.
Criterion Goes All “Topsy-Turvy”
The Deal: Mike Leigh’s hilarious take on the first staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1885 comic opera, “The Mekado,” gets a sparkling new transfer courtesy of the Criterion Collection.
Extras: As with all Criterion releases, this is one hefty disc. Included: audio commentary featuring director Mike Leigh, a new video conversation between Leigh and musical director, Gary Yershon, Leigh’s 1992 short film “A Sense of History,” written by and starring actor Jim Broadbent, deleted scenes, a featurette from 1999 including interviews with Leigh and cast members, the theatrical trailer and TV spots, plus a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Amy Taubin Available on DVD and Blu-ray.