VOD is all the rage right now, and for good reason (check out of June 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 and money.
VOD is all the rage right now, and for good reason (check out of June 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
Korean maestro Park Chan-wook's first English-language film is a family
drama that calls to mind Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" in its
unsettling portrayal of small-town life and family secrets. Mia
Wasikowska plays India, a teenager who has just lost her father to a
freak car accident. From the moment her mysterious Uncle Charlie turns
up, he begins inserting himself into her life and that of her mother
(Nicole Kidman) in various toxic ways. Fans of the director will
surely recognize and appreciate his signature stylist and disturbing
style transplanted onto an American setting and a Hollywood cast.
Extras: Deleted scenes; a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film; a featurette centered on Chan-wook; footage from the red carpet premiere; image galleries; a free song download; and a digital copy of the film.
latest shocker from horror duo Jen and Sylvia Soska, aka the "Twisted
Twins," "American Mary" follows medical student Mary Mason, who is
facing financial stress and boredom from her studies. This leads her
into the world of underground surgery and extreme body modification,
taking on a demented and increasingly demanding set of customers.
Extras: Commentary with the directors; a 17-minute making of featurette; the theatrical trailer; and additional trailers.
"The Brass Teapot"
In this unique comedy, Juno Temple and Michael Angarano
play a young couple plagued with financial uncertainty whose problems
are solved when they come across a brass teapot that magically releases
money. The only catch is that they must hurt themselves in order for it
to spit out cash, which leads them on an uncertain journey of how far
they are willing to go in order to maintain their increasingly lavish
lifestyle. Also featuring Alexis Bledel and Bobby Moynihan, "The Brass
Teapot" has a premise that is both fantastical and bracingly relevant in
our unsure financial times.
Extras: Audio commentary with director Ramaa Mosley and executive producer P. Jennifer Dana; an interview with Angarano; an interview with Mosley; a special TV look at "The Brass Teapot"; and the theatrical trailer.
"Marketa Lazarova" (Criterion)
the best Czech film of all time by a critic's poll in its native
country, "Marketa Lazarova" is finally receiving a proper and
substantial release in the US. Based on a novel by Vladislav Vancura,
the film evocatively captures the violence and religion of the Middle
Ages, as a feud between two medieval lords begins to escalate.
Extras: A new and restored 4K digital transfer; interviews with actors Magda Vasaryova, Ivan Paluch, Vlastimil Harapes and
costumer designer Theodor Pistek; interviews with film historian Peter
Hames and film journbalist Antonin Liehm; a short documentary about
director Frantisek Vlacil's directing process; storyboard gallery and
Dustin Hoffman goes behind
the camera to direct this charming comedy about a home for retired
musicians whose annual tribute concert on Verdi's birthday is made
complicated by the unexpected arrival of the ex-wife of one of the
guests (Maggie Smith, who received a Golden Globe nomination for her
performance), a former soprano who may be able to take part in the
concert's quartet. With this film, as well as the success of last year's
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and the upcoming film "An Unfinished
Song," it seems that films for and about characters of a certain age are
more successful and prominent than ever.
Extras: Feature commentary with Hoffman and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Sundance Channel's first wholly owned original scripted series comes to DVD/Blu-ray today after wrapping up its first season earlier this year. The show follows the first
week of freedom for Daniel Holden (Aden Young) when he's released from
prison when DNA evidence exonerates him after almost two decades behind
bars. The deliberate, intimate series, created by Ray McKinnon, has
attracted serious critical praise for its content and performances, as
well as enough attention that Sundance Channel has renewed it for a
second and longer 10-episode season.
Extras: An on-set featurette; a behind-the-scenes short doc; "Inside the Episode With Ray McKinoon"; and the featurette "Behind the Screen."