This week on Blu-ray/DVD: The feature directorial debut of actor Paddy Considine ("In America"); a love letter to all things Elmo; an Italian thriller sure to leave you speechless; a documentary that uncovers the Madoff Ponzi scheme; and a film that gets to the heart of the Material Girl.
Paddy Considine, the accomplished British actor likely best known Stateside for his turn alongside Samantha Morton in "In America," joins a long roster of actors-turned-directors with his first feature, "Tyrannosaur." The grim love story world premiered at Sundance last spring, netting two awards.
Based on his BAFTA-winning short "Dog Altogether," "Tyrannosaur" stars Peter Mullan as a self-destructive alcoholic who finds redemption in the hands of Hannah (Olivia Colman), a Christian charity shop worker. Together they form an unlikely bond, one that enrages Hannah's abusive husband.
"The discomforting story of a middle-aged drunkard overcoming his booze-fueled woes, Considine announces his directorial vision with a morbid character piece sustained by two remarkably intense performances," wrote Eric Kohn in his review out of Sundance. "Following up his acclaimed short 'Dog Altogether,' Considine's film strikes an alarming note in its very first scene and sustains that uneasiness throughout."
Extras: The best extra featured here is the award wining short "Dog Altogether," that inspired the feature. Also included is an informative audio commentary by Considine, and some pretty strong deleted scenes.
Love or loathe, but almost everyone knows Elmo. And after the release of "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey," audiences will know — and likely love — the man behind the Muppet, Kevin Clash. Constance Marks' acclaimed documentary tracks how Clash went from being a Muppet-obsessed teenager to being noticed by Muppet designer Kermit Love and landing on "Sesame Street," where he's played Elmo since 1985. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, Marks' portrait includes interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O'Donnell and Cheryl Henson. It's a moving behind-the-scenes look at the legacy Clash is trying to leave in honor of his mentor, Jim Henson.
Prior to the film hitting theaters, Clash and Marks caught up with Indiewire to talk all things Elmo. On how he keeps Elmo fresh and relevant after all these years, Clash said, "You know, it’s like humans. We don’t get bored with ourselves, we keep going with whatever’s happening. I think what’s nice is the show evolves with what’s happening around the world. And so there’s always something new to write about that can incorporate the character in what’s happening. We keep it fresh like that. Our characters are in everyday life. It’s not a period piece."
Extras: Those that missed out on the film's world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival will want to check out the 8-minute Q&A following the first screening, included here. Elmo even makes an appearance. Also included: the 14-minute featurette "Some Thoughts from the Filmmakers," in which various people associated with the production talk about making the film; "Tau Performs in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," which sees one of Clash's young proteges make the most out of a very special day; and an interview with "Avenue Q" star John Tartaglia.
Go HERE for Indiewire's review of the documentary.
Last year "Inside Job" and "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer" were among the documentaries to tackle the 2008 financial crisis. The latest to join the pack? Jeff Prosserman's "Chasing Madoff," which hits theaters on August 26. Based on the New York Times best seller "No One Would Listen" by Harry Markopolos, "Chasing Madoff" follows the real-life struggle whistleblower Markopolus faced in his mission to expose the truth behind the infamous Madoff Ponzi scheme.
HERE Prosserman shares an exclusive scene from the film with Indiewire.
Extras: Prosserman takes part in an engaging audio commtary. Also included are some deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and the theatrical trailer.
The less we say about this surprise-packed Italian thriller the better. All you need to know is that it concerns Guido, a former cop with a bad dating history, who finds love with a Slovenian immigrant Sonia (Ksenia Rappoport). When the two embark on a romantic getaway in the country, things take a turn for the weird.
"Capatondi relentlessly explores Sonia's subjectivity, forcing viewers to keep up and then tricking them into reaching the wrong conclusion," wrote Kohn in his review. "With so many possibilities in play, Capotondi can't possibly reach a satisfying payoff. However, the majority of the experience is a remarkably fluid detective story."
Extras: Included is a brief behind-the-scenes featurette, along with some deleted scenes.
#5. "Madonna: Truth or Dare"
Before it became the name of Madonna's first foray into the perfume world, "Truth or Dare" was the seminal documentary on the Material Girl, that followed her across the globe during her controversial "Blond Ambition Tour" in 1990. You know, the one where she masturbated onstage. Timed to coincide with the release of her latest album "MDNA," Lionsgate presents the Blu-ray debut of the film, co-directed by Alek Keshishian who later helped Madonna pen the screenplay to "W.E."
Extras: Sure the film looks better than ever, but some extras would have been nice. All you'll find here are two theatrical trailers for the documentary.