This week, a Palme d’Or-winning oddity drops, Mike Leigh gets kinky, the makers of “Saw” go paranormal and much more.
DVD/Blu-rays This Week
What to Buy
“Naked: The Criterion Collection”
Why It’s a Must Own: Mike Leigh’s 1993 award-winning “Naked” hit the Criterion Collection in 2005. Today the folks over at Criterion finally give his brutal drama the Blu-ray treatment it deserves plus some more goodies in the extras department. “Naked” hit after Leigh’s big breakthrough “Life is Sweet” and before his Academy Award-nominated hit “Secrets and Lies,” and stands out to this day as Leigh’s most daring work. It stars David Thewlis (who won the Cannes Best Actor award for his performance) as Johnny, an eloquent but vicious London-night drifter with no care for whoever he messes with on his path.
Extras: Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Mike Leigh (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition); audio commentary by Leigh, Thewlis and Katrin Cartlidge; video interview with director Neil LaBute; an episode of the BBC program The Art Zone in which author Will Self interviews Leigh; “The Short and Curlies,” a short comedy from 1987 directed by Leigh and starring Thewlis, with audio commentary by Leigh; the original theatrical trailer; plus a booklet featuring essays by film critics Derek Malcolm and Amy Taubin.
What to Rent
Why Rent? Because this gem of an oddity beat out its naysayers to win the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first Thai film to be awarded the honor. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s sixth feature film follows its title character’s final days. It’s a meditative, existential and wholly fantastical drama that defies easy categorization. Suffice to say, it’s a must see.
Extras: Deleted scenes; an interview with Weerasethakul; and trailers for Weerasethakul’s other work.
Why Rent? Seven years after launching the horror franchise “Saw,” director James Wan sought to revitalize the genre once more with his haunted house thriller, “Insidious.” Like “Saw,” it was an independent production and written by his long-time collaborator Leigh Whanell. “Insidious” boasts none of the gore that defines their biggest hit and comes with a PG-13 rating, but it still serves up the scares in a big way. Don’t watch this one alone.
Extras: The 10-minute featurette ‘Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar,’ in which Wan and writer Leigh Whannel discuss the horror films that inspired “Insidious;” an 8-minute piece about the production; some bonus previews; and the film’s theatrical trailer.
Why Rent? Julian Schnabel’s follow-up to “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “Miral,” wasn’t met with the same praise as his last effort, but it’s still worth a watch for its subject matter alone. The film, shot beautifully by Eric Gautier, stars “Slumdog Millionaire” breakout Freida Pinto in her first starring role as Miral, a Palestinian girl coming of age amidst the war zone of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave round out the impressive cast.
Extras: Feature-length audio commentary with Schnabel and producer Jon Kilik; over three-minutes of deleted scenes; a 14-minute making of documentary; a tour of Schnabel’s studio; and a 30-minute Q&A with the director.
VOD Pick of the Week
Why Watch? Remember the McDonald’s coffee case? How could you not! Susan Saladoff’s entertaining documentary reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck (the woman who spilled scalding hot coffee oh herself and sued McDonald’s) and demystifies why her case garnered so much media attention.
Where to Find It: HBO On Demand