This week on Blu-ray DVD: A period picture courtesy of David Cronenberg; Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut; a classic about the Titanic that’s not directed by James Cameron; a documentary on filmmaking trailblazer Roger Corman; and a hit French romantic comedy.
You can always count on David Cronenberg (“The Fly,” “A History of Violence”) to leave his mark on whatever he touches — even intellectual period dramas like his latest, “A Dangerous Method.”
Despite its stuffy setting (Vienna and Zurich on the eve of World War I) and a verbose screenplay courtesy of award-winning writer Christopher Hampton (“Dangerous Liasons”), “A Dangerous Method” has more in common with “Crash” (Cronenberg’s dark sex odyssey, not the Oscar-winning Paul Haggis picture) than with anything directed by James Ivory.
Much of that has to do with the plot. “A Dangerous Method” centers on the relationship between psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his mentor Sigmund Freud (Cronenberg favorite Viggo Mortensen). Their friendship is put to the test when word gets out that Jung is having kinky sexual relations with one of his most troubled patients, Sabrian Spielrein (Keira Knightley in top form).
“In the new movie, when Freud asserts that ‘a little neurosis is nothing to be ashamed of,’ he provides a potential tagline for practically all Cronenberg movies at once,” wrote Eric Kohn in his review. “And there’s his counterpart: In the movie’s final shot, Jung’s confidence crumbles and he looks supremely troubled, still uncertain of a world he once believed could be explained with textual prowess. Better than any analysis, his expression sums up the dangerous method at the heart of every Cronenberg movie.”
Go HERE for our interview with Cronenberg.
Extras: Extras are slim, but what’s here should satisfy fans of the director: David Cronenberg provides an extremely informative audio commentary for the film; an AFI Master Seminar with Cronenberg where he talks about making the film and takes questions from film students; a making-of featurette; and the usual theatrical trailer.
Watch Knightley talk about her role in one of the special features from the disc below, exclusive to Indiewire:
Is there anything Angelina Jolie can’t do? “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” which she also scripted, is a harrowing and grim account of the horrors of the Bosnian War. The drama plays like a less sensationalistic cousin to Paul Verhoeven’s WWII thriller “Black Book” by centering on the bond a Serbian soldier forms with a Bosnian prisoner.
“Aided by veteran cinematographer Dean Semler (responsible for lensing the grimy, violent images of ‘The Road Warrior’ and ‘Apocalypto,’ among many other credits), Jolie infuses her star-crossed romantic tragedy with gravitas, particularly with her unsettlingly upfront portrait of the soldiers’ abuse of women,” wrote Kohn in his review.
Go HERE for our coverage of Jolie’s “Blood and Honey” press conference.
Extras: While lacking an audio commentary from its famous writer/director, there is an hour-long interview with Jolie and actress Vanesa Glodjo about the making of the film.Other extras include 16 minutes of deleted scenes and a short making-of featurette. The DVD copy contains an English-language version of the film, while the Blu-ray does not.
#3. “A Night to Remember”
Before James Cameron’s 3D re-tinkering of “Titanic” comes out April 4, check out the 1958 classic. Based on Walter Lord’s book of the same name, “A Night to Remember” powerfully depicts the ship’s last tragic hours with awe and sensitivity. The Criterion Collection has digitally restored the black-and-white film for an extras-packed release.
Extras: As with all Criterion releases, this comes with a gorgeous version of the film and a plethora of extras. The main feature here is the hour-long documentary about the film, which features Lord discussing the research he had to do on the real Titanic for his screenplay. More extras include an audio commentary with Titanic historians; “En Hatt Att MInnas,” a 30-minute documentary made for Swedish TV in 1962 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sinking; an interview with survivor Eva Hart; another documentary on the iceberg that sunk the ship; and the traditional Criterion booklet with additional info on the film.
‘B’ cinema auteur Roger Corman is also a trailblazing producer, responsible for nurturing the talent of names like Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Pam Grier and Jack Nicholson. This entertaining documentary from Alex Stapleton lays bare Corman’s legacy, with insightful and hilarious new interviews from friends and colleagues.
“Through their testimonies (in addition to those of the 80-year-old Corman himself), the movie delivers a compelling argument for appreciating the filmmaker as a major artist who’s both largely responsible for many mainstream Hollywood cinema trends while somehow remaining superior to them,” wrote Kohn in his review.
HERE, the director shares an exclusive scene from the documentary with Indiewire.
Extras: Extras consist largely of the interviewees talking more about Roger Corman and his impact. They include extended interviews, interviewees delivering personlized messages to Corman and a trailer for the film.
A huge hit in France, the French romantic comedy “Romantics Anonymous,” follows a shy but gifted chocolate maker who falls for her new, and similarly afflicted, boss. Fans of “Chocolat,” this is for you.
“I have always suffered from shyness and that’s why this film is the most autobiographical of all my films,” Ameris told Indiewire in a First Person he did for us during last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. “It seems there must be a link between shyness and being a movie lover. At the movies, you’re safe in the darkened theater. You get to live vicariously adventures you’d never dare experience in real life.”
Extras: Bare bones: The only extra is a very brief interview with director Jean-Pierre Ameris. Sorry, folks.