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At Home This Week: “Precious,” “Up In The Air,” “Capitalism” and More

At Home This Week: "Precious," "Up In The Air," "Capitalism" and More

It’s a crowded week for releases on DVD, Blu-Ray and iTunes that included five notable 2009 films – two of them big players in awards season – finding their way into living rooms and computer screens. Likely the most anticipated are the aforementioned friends of Oscar – Jason Reitman’s “Up In The Air” and Lee Daniels’ “Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” both attempting to cash in on the exposure Sunday night’s telecast gave them (though for “Air” things didn’t exactly turn out as planned). There’s also a trio of other releases that could very well suit your home viewing needs: Michael Moore’s latest doc, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Cyrus Nowrasteh’s critically acclaimed “”The Stoning of Soraya M.,” and cult DVD classic sequel “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.”

FIve options for the week:

Option #1:
“Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
Director: Lee Daniels
Featuring: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz
Synopsis: Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is a high-school girl with nothing working in her favor. She is pregnant with her father’s child—for the second time. She can’t read or write, and her schoolmates tease her for being fat. Her home life is a horror, ruled by a mother (Mo’Nique) who keeps her imprisoned both emotionally and physically. Precious’s instincts tell her one thing: if she’s ever going to break from the chains of ignorance, she will have to dig deeply into her own resources. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
iW Film Page: Click here
CriticWIRE Score: B
Major Awards: Academy Awards for best supporting actress Mo’Nique and best original screenplay Geoffrey Fletcher; Independent Spirit Awards for best feature, director, actress, supporting actress and first screenplay, Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance; Audience Award at Toronto; Dozens of critics awards for Mo’Nique’s performance.
Box Office Gross: $47,414,490 (US/CAN); $5,918,705 (Foreign)
DVD Extras: Conversations and interviews with Daniels, Sapphire and most of the cast, commentary, a deleted scene, Sidibe’s audition tape and a featurette on the cast.
indieWIRE Coverage:
9 Questions For Lee Daniels
Gabourey Sidibe: “People look at me and don’t expect much. I Expect a Lot”
Eugene Hernandez: “Precious,” $1 Million or $100 Million?
REVIEW | Bold Strokes: Lee Daniels’ “Precious”
“Precious” Tops Spirit Awards

Option #2:
“Up In The Air” (Paramount)
Director: Jason Reitman
Featuring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Batemen
Synopsis: A professional who specializes in “career transition counseling” (a euphemism for firing people) looks to accomplish his two main goals in life: to accumulate 1 million frequent flier miles, and to land a job at a mysterious management company called MythTech. [Synopsis courtesy of imdb]
iW Film Page: Click here
CriticWIRE Score: B+
Major Awards: Dozens of awards for Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s screenplay from Golden Globe to Critics Choice (though not that Oscar), as well as numerous critics awards or mentions for stars Clooney, Farmiga and Kendrick.
Box Office Gross: $83,055,601 (US/CAN); $70,438,794 (Foreign)
DVD Extras: Both standard and Blu-ray packages include deleted scenes and commentary from Reitman and a couple of crewmembers. Blu-ray discs include additional odds and ends.
indieWIRE Coverage:
REVIEW | Drifting Through Layoffs: Clooney Plays his Trumpcard in Reitman’s “Up in the Air”
Anna Kendrick on Clooney, Reitman and Heading “Up In The Air”

Option #3:
“Capitalism: A Love Story” (Overture)
Director: Michael Moore
Featuring: Michael Moore
Synopsis: This documentary will explore the root causes of the global economic meltdown and take a comical look at the corporate and political shenanigans that culminated in what Moore has described as “the biggest robbery in the history of this country” – the massive transfer of U.S. taxpayer money to private financial institutions.
iW Film Page: Click here
CriticWIRE Score: B-
Major Awards: Won the Little Golden Lion and the Open Prize at the Venice Film Festival, Phoenix Film Critics’ Best Documentary award and the St. Louis Film Critics’ Best Documentary award, and received nods from a few others (though was snubbed by Oscar’s shortlist). [NOTE: The information list here was originally incorrect and has since been changed.]
Box Office Gross: $14,363,397 (US/CAN); $2,624,458 (Foreign)
DVD Extras: See here
indieWIRE Coverage:
Michael Moore: “The true believers of socialism in America are the Wall Street executives”
REVIEW | Simplistically Charming “Capitalism” Doesn’t Quite Add Up
Michael Moore Offers Surprises and a “Capitalism” Tease in Traverse City

Option #4:
“Boondock Saints II: All Saint’s Day” (Apparition)
Director: Troy Duffy
Featuring: Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery, Julie Benz, Clifton Collins Jr.
Synopsis: “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” is the much-anticipated sequel to the indie cult classic, The Boondock Saints. The film is the continuation of writer/director Troy Duffy’s tough, stylized cutting edge saga of the MacManus brothers (Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery). The two have been in deep hiding with their father, Il Duce (Billy Connolly), in the quiet valleys of Ireland, far removed from their former vigilante lives. When word comes that a beloved priest has been killed by sinister forces from deep within the mob, the brothers return to Boston to mount a violent and bloody crusade to bring justice to those responsible. With a new partner in crime (Clifton Collins Jr., “Star Trek”) and a sexy FBI operative (Julie Benz, TV’s “Dexter”) hot on their trail…the Saints are back!
iW Film Page: Click here
Major Awards: None, but that’s probably not what they were going for.
Box Office Gross: $10,273,188 (US/CAN)
DVD Extras: Behind the scenes peek at the making of the film, deleted scenes, commentary and a conversation with Duffy and Connolly.

Option #5:
“The Stoning of Soraya M.” (Roadside Attractions)
Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh
Featuring: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jim Caviezel, Mozhan Marno, Ali Pourtash, Navid Negahban, David Diaan, Parviz Sayyad
Synopsis: Stranded in a remote Iranian village, a French journalist is approached by Zahra, a woman who has a harrowing tale to tell about her niece, Soraya, and the bloody circumstances of her death the day before… As the journalist turns on his tape recorder, Zahra takes us back to the beginning of her story which involves Soraya’s husband, the local phony mullah, and a town all too easily led down a path of deceit, coercion, and hysteria. The women, stripped of all rights and without recourse, nobly confront the overwhelming desires of corrupt men who use and abuse their authority to condemn Soraya, an innocent but inconvenient wife, to an unjust and torturous death. A shocking and true drama, it exposes the dark power of mob rule, uncivil law, and the utter lack of human rights for women. The last and only hope for some measure of justice lies in the hands of the journalist who must escape with the story — and his life — so the world will know. [Synopsis courtesy of film’s official website]
iW Film Page: Click here
Major Awards: Surprised by winning the best actress award at the Golden Satellite Awards.
Box Office Gross: $14,363,397 (US/CAN); $2,624,458 (Foreign)
DVD Extras: Commentary and a making-of documentary.
indieWIRE Coverage:
TORONTO ‘08 DISCOVERY INTERVIEW | “The Stoning of Soraya M” Director Cyrus Nowrasteh

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