VOD is all the rage right now, and for good reason (check out our July VOD list).
But while it’s gratifying to know that you can watch pretty much
anything with the simple click of a button, there’s something comforting
about tearing into a DVD/Blu-ray case and popping the disc into your
player. That, and not even a VOD film in HD can rival the clarity a
Blu-ray disc offers. To keep you up to date with the current goings-on
in the home video marketplace, here are the new releases worth your time
Danny Boyle’s latest mind-bender stars James McAvoy as Simon, an art auctioneer who becomes involved with illicit art thievery from his own gallery. When a nasty blow to the head leaves Simon with a case of amnesia, he finds himself caught up in an elaborate conspiracy where what is real and what is imagined quickly become ambiguous.
Extras: The standard DVD includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and theatrical trailer, while the BD also includes deleted scenes and a short film.
“The Ice Storm” (Criterion Collection – Blu-ray)
Ang Lee’s engrossing depiction of a barely-together pair of families that comes unravelling at the seams over the course of one day finally gets the BD treatment. It’s Thanksgiving 1973 in a wasp-y Connecticut town, and the members of the seemingly normal Carver and Hood families are harboring a great deal of tension, resentment and confusion. When an ice storm approaches late one night, all these emotions seemingly reach a fever pitch, ensuring that nothing will ever be quite the same once dawn breaks.
Extras: A restored high-definition digital transfer approved by Lee, commentary by Lee and producer/screenwriter James Schamus, a behind-the-scenes documentary, deleted scenes, interview with novelist Rick Moody, trailer, and a booklet with an essay by critic Bill Krohn.
“Ginger and Rosa”
Elle Fanning gives a revelatory performance as Ginger, a teenager growing up in London in 1962, when the Cold War and sexual revolution met up for a very confusing cultural time. She is inseparable from Rosa (Alice Englert), until Ginger’s free-thinking, progressive father Roland (Alessandro Nivola) comes in between them when he follows through on his attraction to Rosa.
Extras: Audio commentary with writer/director Sally Potter, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and cast and crew interviews on the making of the film.
Francis Ford Coppola’s foray into both self-financed filmmaking and 3D technology features Val Kilmer as Hall Baltimore, a writer of horror novels who comes across a potential inspiration for his next work while on a book tour. As he uncovers the disturbing incident, he finds himself plagued by hallucinatory nightmares and discovers his shocking relation to the murder.
Extras: A making-of documentary by Gia Coppola Dual Layer.
Marlon Villar is a family man and longtime chauffeur to a corrupt Fillipino politician. One day, when his daughter rides along with him while he drives the politician’s daughter home, they find themselves ambushed by kidnappers. When they end up taking the wrong daughter, Marlon must risk everything to save her, leaving no one unscathed.
Extras: Audio commentaries with director Ron Morales and sound mixer Nikola Chapelle, a making-of, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending.
Patrick Huard stars in this French-Canadian comedy as David Wozniak, a forty-something slacker whose life gets shaken up when he learns that his past stint as a sperm donor has led to over 500 successful inseminations. With over 100 of his offspring now suing the clinic to reveal his identity, David tries to avoid letting himself known while still trying to make contact with his biological children. “Starbuck” is actually the inspiration for “The Delivery Man,” an upcoming remake starring Vince Vaughn and Chris Pine set to be released later this year.
Extras: Interviews with Patrick Huard and Director Ken Scott; deleted Scenes, bloopers and a music video.
“Kiss of the Damned”
A tale of forbidden love, “Kiss of the Damned” marks the
writing-directing debut of Xan Cassavetes, daughter to John Cassavetes
and Gena Rowlands. In the full blooded romance, Milo Ventimiglia plays a
screenwriter who falls for a beautiful vampire named Djuna (Josephine de
La Baume). While initially trying to resist her feelings for Paolo,
Djuna eventually gives into their passion and leads him into the dark
world of vampires. Their love is tested when Djuna’s sister Mimi (Roxane
Mesquida) comes to visit to stir up trouble.
Extras: Interviews with Cassavetes and her stars, plus a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Ki-Duk’s Golden Lion winner “Pieta,” Lee Jung-jin stars as a brutal
loan shark gathering from the impoverished residents of a small town
who is forced to rethink his violent path after a women claiming to be
his mother (Cho Min-soo) enters his life. Indiewire’s Eric Kohn called the film a “curiously engaging &
wickedly twisted tale of crime and punishment on multiple levels,” in
his review from the film’s Toronto premiere (read his full review here).
Extras: Audio commentary with Ki-Duk and stars Min-Soo and Jung-Jin God; a Vehicle Film Festival behind-the-scenes segments; trailers and a 16-page booklet.