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indieWIRE Picks: What to Watch on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD This Week

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire August 9, 2011 at 3:51AM

This week on the small screen, legendary DP Jack Cardiff gets the tribute he deserves, Ellen Page goes a bit crazy and much more.
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This week on the small screen, legendary DP Jack Cardiff gets the tribute he deserves, Ellen Page goes a bit crazy and much more.

DVD/Blu-rays This Week

What to Buy

"Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff"

Why It's a Must Own: Legendary director of photography Jack Cardiff ("The Red Shoes," "The African Queen," "Under Capricorn") gets a comprehensive and fitting tribute in this documentary from Craig McCall, which screened at various film festivals including Cannes, Karlovy Vary and Palm Springs. A number of famous faces pop up to pay their respects to the master's eye for the camera (among them: Kirk Douglas and Martin Scorsese). This is essential viewing for any film buff. Chances are if you're reading this, that means you.

Extras: Interview with Craig McCall by Ian Christie; Jack's actress portraits; Jack's behind-the-scenes movies; a number of featurettes; photo galleries; original theatrical trailer; and other Strand Releasing trailers.

Trailer:


What to Rent

"Super"

Why Rent: This demented indie superhero satire plays like the twisted cousin to "Kick-Ass," which is saying something. In James Gunn's bizarre and bracingly funny film, Rainn Wilson (TV's "The Office") plays a guy who loses his wife (Liv Tyler) to a drug dealer (Kevin Bacon). To deal with the loss and get even, the sad sack assumes the role of the superhero "The Crimson Bolt." His weapon of choice? A massive wrench. Yeah, it gets ugly. Ellen Page also pops in for a great supporting turn as his messed up sidekick.

Extras: Audio commentary with Gunn and Wilson; a 20-minute featurette; a deleted scene; and more.

Trailer:


"The Battle of Algiers"

Why Rent: Gillo Pontecorvo's massively influential political film "The Battle of Algiers" (1966) gets a gorgeous upgrade courtesy of the folks over at the Criterion Collection. The black-and-white film, shot in documentary style, re-creates a year in the Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. It's a troubling and a tough watch, but well worth catching if you haven't seen already.

Extras: High-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Marcello Gatti (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition); "Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth," a documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said; "Marxist Poetry: The Making of “The Battle of Algiers,” a documentary featuring interviews with Pontecorvo, Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, and others; interviews with Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone on the film’s influence, style, and importance; "Remembering History," a documentary reconstructing the Algerian experience of the battle for independence; “États d’armes,” a documentary excerpt featuring senior French military officers recalling the use of torture and execution to combat the Algerian rebellion; “The Battle of Algiers: A Case Study," a video piece featuring U.S. counterterrorism experts; "Gillo Pontecorvo’s Return to Algiers," a documentary in which the filmmaker revisits the country after three decades of independence; production gallery; theatrical and rerelease trailers; plus a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, excerpts from Algeria’s National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef’s original account of his arrest, excerpts from the film’s screenplay, a reprinted interview with cowriter Franco Solinas, and biographical sketches of key figures in the French-Algerian War

Trailer:


"Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam"

Why Rent: This rousing documentary, shot from 2007 though 2009, follows a number of Taqwacore (Islamic punk) bands and performers touring the U.S. and Pakistan. For those unfamiliar with this underground movement in music, this is fascinating stuff.

Trailer:


VOD Pick of the Week

"Burke and Hare"

Why Watch: The latest from John Landis ("The Blues Brothers") is a well-cast black comedy about two 19th century grave robbers who find a lucrative business providing cadavers for an Edinburgh medical school. Among the solid key players in this funny tale: Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Tim Curry, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson and Tim Curry. Catch it on a VOD a month before it lands in theaters.

Where to Find It: IFC Films.

Trailer:

This article is related to: DVD and VOD





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