This week on DVD/Blu-ray: The best film of Cameron Diaz's career; a powerful AIDS documentary that rocked last year's Sundance Film Festival; the most controversial film to come out Cannes in 2011; Glenn Close's passion project; and the latest collaboration between Woody Harrelson and Oren Moverman.
#1. "Being John Malkovich" (Criterion Collection)
Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's seminal (and completely gonzo) collaboration "Being John Malkovich" gets a spanking new digital transfer (supervised by Jonze himself) courtesy of Criterion, in this long overdue release from the Collection.
Starring John Cusack, Catherine Keener, an unrecognizable Cameron Diaz and of course, Malkovich, "Being John Malkovich" centers on an out-of-work puppeteer (Cusack) in an unhappy marriage to a pet-crazed wife (Diaz), who discovers a portal into Malkovich's mind.
Roger Ebert named it the best film of 1999 and with good reason. "Every once in a long, long while a movie comes along that is like no other. A movie that creates a new world for us and uses it to produce wonderful things," he wrote in his glowing review. "Either 'Being John Malkovich' gets nominated for Best Picture, or the members of the Academy need portals into their brains."
Turns out they do. The film didn't manage to snag a nomination for Best Picture, but it did walk away with three for Best Supporting Actress (Kenner), Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.
Extras: It's been a long wait, but this film finally gets the treatment it deserves thank to the folks at Criterion. Included: selected-scene audio commentary featuring Michel Gondry; a new behind-the-scenes documentary by Lance Bangs; a new conversation between Malkovich and humorist John Hodgman; a new interview with Jonze where he discusses his on-set photos; two films within the film; a documentary by Bangs on the art of puppeteering; the trailer and some TV sports; plus a booklet featuring a conversation between Jonze and pop-culture critic Perkus Tooth.
#2. "We Were Here"
In his powerful documentary "We Were Here," filmmaker David Weissman ("The Cockettes") chronicles the arrival of AIDS in San Francisco and its subsequent aftermath through the eyes of five individuals who were witnesses to history. It world premiered at Sundance last year (where Peter Knegt said it was "one of the standout films at the festival").
"The doc provides a powerful snapshot of a time in American history that few are fully aware of," Knegt said of the film. "Though certainly not the definitive AIDS documentary, Weissman and Weber bring an affecting sense of intimacy by focusing on just five individuals and one city."
Go HERE for our interview with Weissman.
Extras: A video interview with Weissman.