This week's biggest news on the small screen may be that Netflix is unveiling new plans for 2011, which include price hikes and a streaming-only option (The Wall Street Journal has the story and analysis). While this has many spelling the beginning of the end of the DVD, many of our small screen top 5 this week are still only available on those shiny discs. Here's this week's list:
Two very buzzy films from street artist Banksy and actor Casey Affleck hit the home market today. Banksy's profile of street art and one artist in particular, a Mr. Brainwash, is available on iTunes and cable VOD today. The film, which was recently named to the shortlist of fifteen films eligible for nomination for Best Documentary at this year's Academy Awards, premiered at this year's Sundance and was distributed by sales company Cinetic to big numbers. indieWIRE's Eric Kohn sums up the controversy surrounding the film in his review, saying, "A blend of talking heads and dubious home video footage, “Exit” centers on relentless video diarist Thierry Guetta [Mr. Brainwash], a jolly Los Angeles-based Frenchman whose aimless interest in shooting street artists led him to become chummy with Banksy himself - or so we’re led to believe." Affleck's profile of Joaquin Phoenix's year as a recluse, "I'm Still Here," may have been a ruse all along, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. It comes out on DVD this week.
2. Lucy Walker's "Countdown to Zero" (criticWIRE rating: B)
Also on the Oscar doc shortlist is Lucy Walker's Brazilian landfill film "Waste Land." Conspicuously absent is her other film from this year, "Countdown to Zero." "Countdown" is a doc that investigates the worldwide rush to nuclear proliferation. iW's Kohn sums up the film's tone: "The movie functions less as an expose than a wake-up call: Walker outlines, in layman’s terms, the process that any country must go through to obtain a nuke, thus making it look pretty simple. As the title suggests, the filmmaker depicts the current global climate as more vulnerable to a grisly atomic fate than any decade in the second half of the twentieth century."
3. "The Disappearance of Alice Creed" (criticWIRE rating: B-) on DVD
In the British thriller "The Disappearance of Alice Creed," the abduction of Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton), the daughter of a wealthy family, becomes complicated when Creed herself gains some power over her abductors. Calling the film a "cute genre exercise," Mike D'Angelo comments, "much of the movie seems to offer only whatever seems the most superficially diverting, without delving much or asking anything of the viewer save for occasional surprise. You certainly won’t be bored while it’s in front of you, but neither will you necessarily remember it long once it isn’t anymore." See an exclusive clip on indieWIRE here. Today marks the U.S. release of the film on DVD.
4. BBC's "Luther" heads to DVD in US
After "The Wire," Idris Elba headed across the pond to star as Luther in the BBC series of the same name. The show's first series of six episodes aired this summer in the UK and on BBC America. John Luther is a detective that runs the risk of getting too involved in his job. After dealing with the case of a child killer, he becomes deeply affected and risks harming his relationship with his wife. The show has been picked up for another series, so now's the time to catch up.
5. "Deep Down" on PBS's Independent Lens
At PBS's Independent Lens series, Sally Rubin and Jen Gilomen's "Deep Down" airs tonight at 10PM. The film examines a community's response to a plan to develop a mountaintop removal coal mine in Eastern Kentucky. Clips and a discussion about the issue are available on the film's Independent Lens website.