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Why ‘La Haine’ Tops Indiewire’s 5 DVD Picks This Week

Why 'La Haine' Tops Indiewire's 5 DVD Picks This Week

This week on DVD/Blu-ray: A black-and-white French classic; one of the craziest comedies to ever play at the Sundance Film Festival; a moving drama from New Zealand; a comedic rush courtesy of Bobcat Goldthwait; and a mother’s day treat for those who didn’t think “Serial Mom” was violent enough.

#1. “La Haine (The Criterion Collection)”

You might know Matthieu Kassovitz best as Audrey Tatou’s bumbling love interest in “Amelie,” but before wooing the hearts of cinemagoers worldwide, Kassovitz directed “La Haine,” a black-and-white explosive expose on the racial and cultural unrest present in modern-day France.

The film, which has gone on to become a landmark of French cinema since first enthralling audiences in 1995, centers on one day in the lives of three friends from immigrant families living in the low-cinome banlieue district on Paris’s outskirts. When a local youth is beaten unconscious by the police, a riot ensues bringing the simmering tension in the area a full on boil. Vincent Cassel (“Black Swan”) headlines the exceptional ensemble cast.

Extras: Criterion never dissapoints in the supplements departments, and this release is no different. Included is an audio commentary by Kassovitz; an introduction by Jodie Foster (!); a documentary that brings together cast and crew a decade after the film’s release; a featurette on the film’s setting; production footage; deleted and extended scenes; a gallery of behind-the-scene videos; trailers; plus a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau. Phew!

#2. “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”

“Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” finds Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim stretching their sketch comedy program “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!,” to feature-length proportions. The result? A total absurdist blast. No point in describing the plot since it plays like a strung together series of sketches; suffice it to say, if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll love their “Billion Dollar Movie.”

“‘Billion Dollar Movie’ opens with a slew of abrupt transitions and goofy exchanges best described as stimuli rather than a more precise kind of humor. It’s only once Heidecker and Wareheim (also the movie’s directors) attempt to tell a story with their onscreen characters that their full aim becomes clear: ‘Billion Dollar Movie,’ at its best, inherits the throne left vacant by ‘Dumb and Dumber,'” wrote Eric Kohn in his review out of Sundance, where the film world premiered earlier this year.

Extras: Fans won’t dissapointed. Included is a raucous audio commentary by the duo; deleted and extended scenes; and interviews with the pair.

#3. “Kawa”

Adapted from “Whale Rider” author Witi Ihimaera’s novel “Nights in the Gardens of Spain,” writer/director Katie Wolfe’s “Kawa” centers on Kawariki (Calvin Tuteao), a successful businessman in New Zealand, who’s forced to become the leader of his family after his father passes away. A husband and a father, Kawariki comes to realize that in order to lead with the right amount of integrity, it’s high time he be honest with those closest with him and come out of the closet. Wolfe’s feature debut offers great insight into Maori traditions, while telling a touching tale of a man finally coming into his own.


#4. “Bobcat Goldthwait: You Don’t Look the Same Either”

Before you check out the latest film helmed by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, “God Bless America,” this weekend (and you really should), get a feel for his standup routine by checking out his gut-busting long-awaited return to the form that made him famous — documented live and uncensored in “Bobcat Goldthwait: You Don’t Look the Same Either.” Over the course of his hour long set, Goldthwait recounts his 30-year career, riffing on politics, divorce and his directorial output.

Below watch Indiewire’s chat with Goldthwait at TIFF 2011:

#5. “Mother’s Day”

What better way to spend Mother’s Day than by watching this demented thriller that stars Rebecca De Mornay (in top manic form) as the sadistic head to a villainous bunch of bank robbers. Based on the 1980 slasher flick of the same name, this “Mother’s Day” is directed by “Saw” sequel helmer Darren Lynn Bousman, so you know what the means — plenty of blood and guts. It’s probabaly best that your mother sits this one out.

Extras: Lots of stuff here. Included is a making-of featurette; audio commentary from director Bousman; some fun deleted scenes; a special effects featurette; a visual effects montage; and the film’s scary/hilarious trailer.

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