This week on DVD/Blu-ray: One of last year's contenders for the Best Foreign Feature Oscar; a slow-burning crime thriller; a film to steer you away from the woods; the black-and-white phenonmenon that brought back the silent film; and one of Alfred Hitchcock's all-time greats.
In 2010, Belgian filmmaker Michael R. Roskam came to the Berlin Film Festival with his first feature "Bullhead" as an unknown. Cut to two years later and Roskam's an Academy Award nominee, who went up against world-renowned directors Phillipe Falardeau ("Monsieur Lazhar"), Joseph Cedar ("Footnote"), Asghar Farhadi ("A Separation") and Agnieska Holland ("In Darkness"), for the Best Foreign Feature Oscar at this year's show. In the end Roskam lost out to Farhadi, but don't let that sway you from catching his blistering and promising debut.
The Drafthouse Films release stars up-and-comer Matthias Schoenaerts ("Rust and Bone") as Jacky Vanmarsenille, a steroid-addicted cattle farmer with a mysterious past. When he intiates a shady deal with a notorious mafioso meat trader, things go haywire, forcing Jacky to face his demons in order to deal with the present.
"With each needle that penetrates Jacky's skin, the movie teeters on the edge of a wild exploitation movie where the souped-up hero engages on a warpath aided by superhuman abilities," Eric Kohn wrote in his review. "That it never goes that route, favoring understatement and patient character development over excess, is a testament to Roskam's respect for the world he's created. Demonstrating an awareness that even crazy people live, breathe and think, "Bullhead" moves with an intelligence that never wanders off-track, identifying Roskam as a talent to watch."
Go HERE for our interview with Roskam and Schoenaerts.
Extras: A making-of documentary; video interview with Roskam; video interview with Schoenaerts; "The One Thing to Do," a 2005 short film by Roskam that stars Schoenaerts; a special collector's edition booklet with an introduction by Michael Mann; and the film's theatrical trailer.
A co-winner of the Grand Priz at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" is not for those with short attention spans. Clocking in at a robust 157-minutes, "Anatolia" is full of long, pregnant takes with minimal action, but for those willing to go along with the ride, the payoff is plentiful. The film's plot centers on a police procedural and then men whose job it is to crack the case.
"A slow-burn study of investigatory obsession and police bureaucracy, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's mesmerizing "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" plays like "Zodiac" meets "Police, Adjective,"" wrote Kohn in his review. "That's a tough combination to pull off: Neither David Fincher's epic tale of the infamous decade-spanning serial killer hunt nor Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu's minimalist cop drama come with easy answers. But Ceylan has made a similarly analytical brain teaser, rendered in patient and sharply philosophical terms."
Extras: A feature-length making-of documentary (exclusive to Blu-ray) that includes interviews with everyone involved; a 49-minute featurette on the film's reception in Cannes; a video interview with Ceylan; a visual essay by Haden Guest, director of the Harvard Film Archive; the film's theatrical trailer; and trailers for other Cinema Guild releases.