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by Nigel M Smith
April 19, 2011 2:03 AM
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Small Screens: indieWIRE's Top 5 Releases This Week

John Cameron Mitchell's "Rabbit Hole." Lionsgate.

DVD/Blu-ray Top Pick:
Title: "Rabbit Hole"
Director: John Cameron Mitchell

The Deal: Indie provocateur John Cameron Mitchell ("Shortbus") tamed things down with his film adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Rabbit Hole" and met some of the best reviews of his career, including an Academy Award nomination for his star (and producer), Nicole Kidman.

Kidman plays Becca, a mother trying to cope with the loss of her young son. Unable to fully tap into her emotions and deal with the grieving process, Becca begins to erase all traces of him, which takes a huge strain on her marriage to Howie (Aaron Eckhart).

"Where movies with delusions of grandeur would aim for a sappy climax, “Rabbit Hole” hugs the ground," wrote Eric Kohn in his review following the film's world premiere at last year's Toronto International Film Festival. "Mitchell only turns up the volume for a confrontational screaming match between the couple, the kind of angry throwdown that can prove a challenge for any two actors. Fortunately, they handle it with incredible dexterity, ably avoiding the danger of sounding shrill. To his credit, Mitchell works his way around the pratfalls of extreme sentimentalism. The sobbing is kept to a minimum, with nobody delivering a tell-all monologue in the concluding scenes. Despite his Broadway pedigree, Mitchell nimbly dodges a stagey approach."

Extras: Audio commentary with Mitchell, Lindsay-Abaire and the director of photography, deleted scenes and the film's theatrical trailer.

Trailer:


VOD Picks for This Week:
All synopses courtesy distributors

Title: "The Princess of Montpensier"
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
The Deal: In "The Princess of Montpensier," acclaimed filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier directs a spectacular cast in a riveting, lush romantic drama set in the high courts of 16th Century France. Against the backdrop of the savage Catholic/Protestant wars, Marie de Mézières (Mélanie Thierry), a beautiful young aristocrat, finds herself married to a young prince (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet) she does not love, haunted by a rakish suitor Gaspard Ulliel from her childhood, and advised by an aging nobleman Lambert Wilson, harboring his own forbidden desire for her. The Princess of Montpensier must struggle passionately to stay alive in the intrigue of this corrupt political and romantic web of duty, passion, religion and war.
Where to Find: IFC Films On Demand, starting April 20th.
Trailer:


Title: "Last Night"
Director: Massy Tadjedin
The Deal: Set in New York City, "Last Night" is the story of a married couple, who, while, apart for one night, are confronted by temptation that may decide the fate of their marriage. Joanna (Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley) and Michael Reed (Sam Worthington) are seven years into a successful and happy relationship. They are moving along in their lives together until Joanna meets Laura (Eva Mendes), the stunningly beautiful work colleague whom Michael never mentioned. While Michael is away with Laura on a business trip, Joanna runs into an old but never quite forgotten love, Alex (Guillaume Canet), and agrees to have drinks with him. As the night progresses and temptation increases for the couple, each must confront who they are inside and outside of their relationship. "Last Night" is ultimately a film about choices – the choice you make to be with someone, to give yourself to them physically, and emotionally, and how to survive after you’ve made your choice.
Where to Find: Tribeca Film On Demand, starting April 20th.
First Five Minutes:


Title: "King of Pastry"
Director: Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker
The Deal: Imagine a scene never before witnessed: Sixteen French pastry chefs gathered in Lyon for three intense days of mixing, piping and sculpting everything from delicate chocolates to six-foot sugar sculptures in hopes of being declared by President Nicolas Sarkozy one of the best. This is the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition (Best Craftsmen in France). The blue, white and red striped collar worn on the jackets of the winners is more than the ultimate recognition for every pastry chef – it is a dream and an obsession.
Where to Find: Various Platforms.
Trailer:


New VOD Label
IndiePix's VOD label, Indie Pix Unlimited, launched today. Click here to view the 200 films on display.

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