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Why 'Chico & Rita' Tops Indiewire's 5 DVD/Blu-ray Picks This Week

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire September 18, 2012 at 10:01AM

This week on DVD/Blu-ray: An animated film strictly for grown ups; one of the biggest indie hits of the year; the long-delayed latest from the Duplass brothers; a comedy about the birth of the vibrator; and a dark thriller headlined by Ethan Hawke and a fiesty Kristin Scott Thomas.
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"Chico and Rita"
"Chico and Rita"

This week on DVD/Blu-ray: An animated film strictly for grown ups; one of the biggest indie hits of the year; the long-delayed latest from the Duplass brothers; a comedy about the birth of the vibrator; and a dark thriller headlined by Ethan Hawke and a fiesty Kristin Scott Thomas.

#1. "Chico & Rita"

If you're of the mindset that cartoons are for kids, then prepare for a shock. Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Academy Award this year (it lost out to "Rango"), "Chico & Rita" tells the very adult story of a young piano player in Cuba circa 1948, who falls for Rita, a beautiful and sultry singer. Spanning six decades from their first encounter to their heartfelt reunion, "Chica & Rita" charts the couple's tumultuous relationship from the streets of Havana to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

"You've never seen anything like 'Chico & Rita,'" wrote Eric Kohn in his glowing review, "simply because that jubilant palette and likeminded jazz soundtrack embraces its predictability with such vitality. The lush animated environment sustains each standard twist, resulting in the rare case of a movie that yearns for a time when a swooning period piece felt fresh. Looks can be deceiving; in the case of 'Chico & Rita,' they're a first-rate coup."

Extras: Included is the full-length Latin Grammy-winning soundtrack; an excerpt from the bestselling graphic novel; a making-of featurette; audio commentary with the film's directors; and the U.S. trailer.


#2. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

It's little wonder the British retiree dramedy "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is one of the biggest indie successes of the summer season. The film follows the template similar to the one that made "Mamma Mia!" a massive hit: Transplant a top tier crop of actors over the age of 50 to an exotic locale and let them loose (minus the Abba tunes). Based on Deborah Moggach's book "These Foolish Things," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" brings together some of Britain's finest thespians (Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton and Tom Wilkinson) for a life-affirming lark about a group of old Brits who venture off to India to take up residence at the Marigold Hotel, an establishment set up to host retirees and run by a young man in over his head (a hammy Dev Patel). With a cast this large, the plot at times feels more suited for a BBC miniseries, but thanks to reliable director John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love," "The Debt") -- who's proven himself adept at handling big ensembles -- "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is a charming diversion that wears it's crowd-pleasing ambitions on its sleeve.

Extras: The featurettes "Behind the Story: Lights, Colors and Smiles," "Casting Legends," "Welcome to the Real Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Trekking to India," and "Tuk Tuk Travels." You'll also find the U.S. trailer.


#3. "The Do-Deca-Pentathlon"

It's been a long time coming, but Mark and Jay Duplass' comedy "The Do-Deca Pentathlon" finally lands on DVD and Blu-ray today, four years after being completed. Shot after their last low-budget effort "Baghead" in 2008, and put to rest while the duo worked on "Cyrus" and "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" for Fox Searchlight, "The Do-Deca Pentathlon" world premiered to solid notices at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, proving that the film wasn't shelved because it's no good -- it was just bad timing. The microbudget comedy centers on a pair of warring brothers (Mark Kelly and Steve Zissis) engaged in their own private 25-event Olympics. "'Do-Deca' focuses on the difficulty of leaving youth behind to face more advanced challenges," Kohn wrote in his review out of SXSW. "The movie illustrates two certainties: Nobody stops growing up and the Duplass brothers still have the skills to prove it."

Extras: Two featurettes -- "Meet the Real Brothers" and "Rock, Paper, Scissors with the Real Brothers."

This article is related to: Small Screens