One of the most critically acclaimed films of 2008, Lance Hammer’s “Ballast” comes to DVD this week, courtesy of Kino. “Superficially, Ballast is a distinctly American work, but Hammer infuses it with a European sensibility that separates it from the rest of the pack,” writes Michael Tully at Hammer to Nail in his survey of the week’s DVD releases.
Watch the DVD trailer for “Ballast” on YouTube.
Another of the finest independent films of the last year, Fernando Eimbcke’s “Lake Tahoe,” hits shelves this week. Dennis Lim takes a “second look” at the film in the LA Times: “‘Lake Tahoe,’ which takes shape around its somber young hero’s encounters with a series of quirky strangers, seems in particular to be emulating the funny-sad hangdog tales of Jim Jarmusch and his Finnish brother-in-arms Aki Kaurismaki,” writes Lim. “But this supremely poised film, which arrives on DVD this week from Film Movement (a company that also releases its titles via a disc-of-the-month club for subscribers), becomes richer and less familiar as it goes along.”
The New York Times’ Dave Kehr runs down more of this week’s DVD offerings, including a collection of Samuel Fuller’s films from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “‘The Samuel Fuller Collection,’ offers seven films with Fuller’s name attached to them, all appearing on DVD for the first time. For those new to his work this may not be the place to start an acquaintance. Restricted to films released by Columbia Pictures, this set offers only two full-fledged Fuller directorial efforts, along with five films on which he contributed as a writer, always as one collaborator among many,” writes Kehr who also notes, however, that “Fuller’s voice can be heard loud and clear in ‘Power of the Press’ (1943), efficiently directed by Lew Landers and perhaps the one real discovery in the Sony collection.”
More on “The Samuel Fuller Collection” from the Boston Globe’s Tom Russo.
Also on DVD this week, is a reissue of Michael Mann’s “Heat,” starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer. Andre Dellamorte at Collider calls “Heat” “one of the great American films.” Todd Gilchrist at Cinematical breaks down the DVD’s offerings.
Over at GreenCine Daily, Aaron Hillis picks the Ashton Kutcher vehicle, “Spread,” as his DVD of the week. “Scottish director David Mackenzie and writer Jason Dean Hall’s clever, pruriently entertaining satire about a sociopathic hipster grifter deserves a better shot at exposure—no pun intended—after the damning reviews it’s had since Sundance,” writes Hillis. “It’s a film that’s easy to misread and dismiss as superficial pap simply because its characters are prone to repulsively opportunistic behavior.”
Watch the trailer for “Spread” on YouTube.
The LA Times’ Susan King discusses two new box sets: one featuring the films of Claudette Colbert and the other a collection of 1950s film noir, including Fritz Lang’s “The Big Heat.”