By Bryce J. Renninger | feelingsoblahg.blogspot.com December 7, 2010 at 5:40AM
From Leonardo Dicaprio's turn as a dream worker to Carrie Fisher on stage and a profile of Hugh Hefner, this week's at-home lineup will do plenty to keep you warm this week. Here's this week's top 5 in DVD/Blu-Ray, VOD, and TV.
1. "Inception"'s Dream Worlds Now Available At Home
Put on your thinking cap and prepare to take notes. With Christopher Nolan's "Inception" coming home on DVD and Blu-Ray, we all have a chance to figure out exactly which dream worlds we're in throughout the course of the film. As the awards season kicks in to full steam, the film (criticWIRE rating: B) looks like a big contender. So far, it's been on the National Board of Review's list of the year's best films and the nomination leader for this year's Satellite Awards. And while you're at it, if you've seen it once, it might be worthwhile to revisit the film so you can still pass some ideas around at Spout's water cooler conversation for the film, which is bound to stay relevant as we go into awards season.
2. "Wishful Drinking" on HBO
From a family tree titled "Hollywood Inbreeding 101" to more stories of sobering up than you can shake a stick at, Carrie Fisher's touring show "Wishful Drinking," based on a memoir she wrote about her life of fame, substance abuse, and mental illness. The film, which mixes a live performance of the one-woman play interspersed with newly shot footage, debuts on HBO this Sunday. An interview with Fisher's mother Debbie Reynolds will also be made available on HBO On Demand.
3. Life at War: "Restrepo" (criticWIRE Rating: B+) on DVD"
Directors Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington were embedded with the men of the Second Platoon in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. We see the soldiers day in and day out, doing the most quotidian, smoking and joking, and the most somber, as they mourn the loss of one of their own. As part of our year-end wrap-up, indieWIRE has re-visited our Sundance interview with "Restrepo" directors here.
4. Del Toro's "Cronos" on Criterion
Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy"), before he got big mainstream contracts and was inundated with "Hobbit" rumors, made his feature debut with "Cronos." Today, the Criterion Collection memorializes the film with its own DVD/Blu-Ray release. In "Cronos" (1993), an alchemist finds a scarab in an angel statue, and immediately, the beetle sticks itself into his skin. From there, the alchemist, Jesus (Federico Lupi), gains immortality and a penchant for blood. With high compliments to the Criterion package, which includes commentary from del Toro, an unreleased del Toro short from the 80's, and a booklet with original film notes, PopMatters' David Ensminger says, "In our current geo-political climate, including gang-land and government agency tortures, devastating drug wars and aberrant foreign policies, the harvesting of body parts from exploited poor and downtrodden people, and harrowing tales of mutations due to disasters (like Chernobyl, Bhopal, the gulf oil spill, etc.) and chemicals reeking throughout our biosphere, not to mention DNA experiments, Cronos is both a poetic commentary and genuinely frightening lens."
5. Doc Profiles "Hugh Hefner" (criticWIRE rating: C) and "Big River Man"
Two profiles of idiosyncratic subjects come home today: Writing at "Big River Man"'s Sundance premiere, iW's Brian Brooks notes, "Multiple gold medalist Michael Phelps may have the money, glory, fame and looks, but Slovenian Martin Strel has to be the world’s greatest swimmer. Not only has the 52 year-old swum the Danube, but he has also plunged into the Mississippi and the heavily polluted Yangtze, swimming the entire lengths of all. So does Strel have a “swimmers bod” to match his world record-making swims? Well - hell no! He’s fat, drinks two bottles of wine a day and has high blood pressure, yet Strel decides to take on the world’s mightiest river, the Amazon." And a man that needs no introduction, Hugh Hefner, is the subject of a film that has gotten middling reviews, but earns a measured evaluation from the L.A. Times' Gary Goldstein: "Unfortunately, Berman skips past the darker implications of Hefner's sexual universe and omits discussion of how the periodical business — and access to erotic imagery — has changed in the Internet age. Still, the movie remains an involving look at an American icon as well as an adept snapshot of our national zeitgeist from the McCarthy era through the Reagan years."