This week on DVD/Blu-ray: Two of Whit Stillman's most beloved films; the latest Oscar-nominated film by Joseph Cedar; Terrence Davies' fifth narrative feature in over two decades; one of the year's most successful documentaries; and the film that made a scream queen out of Elizabeth Olsen.
#1."The Last Days of Disco" / "Metropolitan" (Criterion Collection)
After a 14-year absence from feature filmmaking, Whit Stillman — the beloved chronicler of preppy, privileged and highly literate youth — made his comeback earlier this year with the release of "Damsels in Distress, his fourth feature. In case "Damsels" was your first taste of the writer/director's brand of wordy quirk and left you wanting more, then the folks over at The Criterion Collection have you covered. Before "Damsels" lands on shelves, the label today releases Blu-ray editions of two of his strongest works: "The Last Days of Disco" and "Metropolitan."
"Metropolitan," Stillman's first feature, earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Considered by many to be one of the best indies of the 1990s, the comedy chronicles a young man’s romantic misadventures while trying to fit in to New York City’s debutante society. "The Last Days of Disco," Stillman's third feature completed eight years after his breakout, pairs Kate Beckinsale up with Chloë Sevigny as two publishing house assistants living in 1980s Manhattan, who party most nights away at a Studio 54-like club.
Go HERE for our recent interview with Stillman.
Extras: "The Last Days of Disco" — Audio commentary by Stillman and actors Chris Eigeman and Chloë Sevigny; four deleted scenes, with commentary by Stillman, Eigeman, and Sevigny; behind-the-scenes featurette; stills gallery, with captions by Stillman; trailer; plus an essay by novelist David Schickler. "Metropolitan" — Audio commentary by Stillman, editor Christopher Tellefsen, and actors Christopher Eigeman and Taylor Nichols; rare outtakes and alternate casting, with commentary by Stillman; plus an essay by critic Luc Sante.
Israeli writer/director Joseph Cedar, Oscar-nominated for his tense war movie "Beaufort," returned to the Kodak Theater for a second time this year for "Footnote," his latest acclaimed feature. The drama concerns a father and his grown son, both professors, who work in Talmudic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The father, Eliezer (Shlomo Bar-Aba), is a stubborn purist, while his son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi) is anything but. Despite Eliezer's seniority, Uriel is more popular among academics and students. So imagine the surprise when it's announced that Eliezer will receive the Israel Prize, the most valuable honor for scholarship in the country, over his more successful son. But as it turns out, everything is not as it seems.
Go HERE for our interview with Cedar.
Extras: A 25-minute behind the scenes featurette; trailer; and a recorded Q&A with Cedar.
#3. "The Deep Blue Sea"
"The Deep Blue Sea" — which only marks Terrence Davies' fifth narrative feature in over two decades — is a personal and radical take on Terence Rattigan's classic play. It also serves as stunning showcase for Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz. In the drama, Weisz plays Hester, a woman torn between her barrister husband and a younger lover (Tom Hiddleston). Her sexual awakening is at odds with the climate of Davies' masterfully recreated 1950's London.
Go HERE for our joint interview with Davies and Weisz.
Extras: A collector's booklet; audio commentary with Davies; video interviews with Weisz and Hiddleston; and two featurettes, "Terence Davies' Master Class" and "Realizing the Director's Vision."
#4. "Jiro Dreams of Sushi"
"Jiro Dreams of Sushi," a visually stunning portrait of Jiro Ono, the chef of what is often called the greatest sushi restaurant on the planet, marks the feature film debut of director David Gelb. He worked alone for several weeks in Jiro's kitchen with just a camera and a translator, capturing Jiro's dedicated routine and artistry. The resulting film is an eloquent look at one of Japan's living national treasures; a treat for food and film lovers alike. The film's gone on to become one of the indie box office success stories of 2012, having made over $2 million domestically since opening in May.
Go HERE for our interview with Gelb.
Extras: Deleted Scenes; audio commentary with Gelb and editor Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer; and trailer.
#5. "Silent House"
The latest of 'indie it girl' Elizabeth Olsen's films to hit DVD/Blu-ray shelves is "Silent House," a remake of the Spanish horror picture, "La Casa Muda." Like the original, it was shot to look like it's one continuous take. (The poster promises "88 minutes of real fear captured in real time.") Olsen plays a young woman who becomes trapped inside her family's lakeside retreat under mysterious circumstances. The less we say about the plot, the better. Just know that Olsen delivers on the promise she showed in her breakout film, "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
Go HERE for our interview with Olsen.
Extras: Audio commentary with directors Chris Kenson and Laura Lau.