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Small Screen | Top 5 Include Von Trier, Scott Pilgrim, Basquiat…and Conan!

Small Screen | Top 5 Include Von Trier, Scott Pilgrim, Basquiat...and Conan!

Your televisions, laptops, desktops, iPads, and other small screens should all brace themselves for a busy week. Just missing indieWIRE‘s top five this week are an Elia Kazan box set and a 25th anniversary collector’s edition collection of the “Golden Girls,” which includes a quite fancy handbag carrying case. The latest video from the guys at New Left Media (profiled on iW here), which features them interviewing attendees of the Stewart/Colbert rallies. But now, time for the top 5:

1. “Wartorn 1861-2010” on HBO

Jon Alpert and Ellen Goosenberg Kent have worked with executive producer James Gandolfini to make “Wartorn: 1861-2010,” which explores the effects of soldiers in America’s modern wars, from the Civil War to today’s ongoing conflicts. Before Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was named, the film asks, did the effects of war on those that fight it look the same? From the Pennsylvania Civil War soldier Angelo Crapsey, who has written accounts of his descent into madness, to the stories of veterans from WWII and those serving in Baghdad, told through interviews with Gandolfini, a rather frightening trip into the minds of soldiers comes to the network this Thursday.

2. Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” (criticWIRE rating: B-) Comes to Criterion

Like their release of Assayas’s “Summer Hours” before, IFC and Criterion let Netflix viewers stream “Antichrist” before it was available on DVD. Now that its Criterion release has come, viewers can be treated to an enhanced viewing of the chilling horror/psychodrama. The film, which stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe, and chronicles their life after they lose their child in a bizarre accident, is certainly not light viewing. It caused quite a stir at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered. The Criterion edition of the film is high-definition, supervised by von Trier and his DP Anthony Dod Mantle; it includes behind-the-scenes featurette, footage from the Cannes premiere, interviews with von Trier, Dafoe, and Gainsbourg, audio commentary from von Trier and film scholar Murray Smith, and an accompanying book by Ian Christie.

3. The Return of the Conan (!)

“People ask me why I named the show ‘Conan.’ I did it so I’d be harder to replace.” Conan O’Brien is baaaack…and while TV’s other late night hosts continue on with their same old same old, Conan is back in town to shake things up on TBS. Jon Stewart said on his own show, in response to the first night of Coco, “Now I’ll never be able to watch me.” More of the other host’s responses at The Hollywood ReporterAs Joe Coscarelli, writing on the LA Times blog, says, “for all the repetition [incurred by Conan’s time off-air and necessary catching up], the positive energy on “Conan” was undeniable. He managed to kick the room’s elephant in the shins repeatedly, while Leno dawdled like it was any other night. Tuesday night it is, and Conan starts back at Square One.” Conan airs weeknights on TBS.

4. “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child” (criticWIRE rating: B+ on DVD via Arthouse

The life of New York’s neo-expressionist phenom, who lost his life to a drug overdose when he was in his late twenties is rehashed in the Sundance doc “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child.” The film comes out on DVD via Arthouse, and has been generally praised as an able representation of the artist’s life. Says Cynthia Fuchs on Pop Matters, “The film types out one of Basquiat’s most famous self-observations, that ‘I cross out words so you will see them more: the fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.’ Just so, ‘The Radiant Child’ makes you see again and again—in Basquiat’s own words, works, and self-presentations—that your own reading is crucial to the art’s effects.”

5. “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” (criticWIRE rating: B) on DVD

With “Scott Pilgrim,” Michael Cera all of a sudden became a critical darling. A.O. Scott, writing in the New York Times says it’s a film about youth that doesn’t make the older generations feel cripplingly old, “Its speedy, funny, happy-sad spirit is so infectious that the movie makes you feel at home in its world even if the landscape is, at first glance, unfamiliar.” And once you do see it, be sure to check out provocations on the film from Spout‘s Christopher Campbell.

Bonus! A film from our parent company, SnagFilms from the master of direct cinema, Robert Drew, and his wife, Anne. Here is “Militia Man”:

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