This week on DVD/Blu-ray: A mother/son drama you should avoid at all costs from watching with your mother; Ralph Fiennes’ stellar directorial debut; a touching documentary on the life of Harry Belafonte; a revealing look at legendary designer Halston; and two Ingmar Bergman classics restored by The Criterion Collection.
The incomparable Tilda Swinton gives one of her most memorable leading turns in “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” Lynne’s Ramsay anticipated follow-up to “Movern Callar,” which came out a decade ago. Luckily Ramsay’s lost none of her edge, and she has her perfect collaborator in Swinton.
Based on Lionel Shriver’s 2003 award-winning novel, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” stars Swinton as a free-spirited and career orientated woman who gives birth to a boy she never warms to. The film is told in flashbacks, leading up to a horrifying incidient of which her son, Kevin (Ezra Miller), is the culprit.
“Swinton delivers a breathtakingly fragile performance as Eva, whose 15-year-old son Kevin sits in jail while she lives in the shadow of his murderous act,” wrote Eric Kohn in his review. “But she’s hardly without culpability, having apparently resented her son’s existence since his birth. Nothing is certain in Ramsay’s version of the events. Following her stylistic tendencies in ‘Ratcatcher’ and the delectable quasi-noir ‘Morvern Callar,’ the director masterfully conveys her troubled protagonist’s subjectivity.”
Go HERE for our interview with Ramsay.
Extras: A 27-minute behind-the-scenes documentary in which cast and crew share thoughts on the story and the film itself; an 18-minute Q&A with Swinton, conducted at the Telluride Film Festival; a red carpet interview with Shriver; along with the film’s trailer.
With the action-packed film adaptation of Shakespeare’s rarely performed political thriller “Coriolanus,” Ralph Fiennes made the leap from two-time Academy Award-nominated actor to rookie director.
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts graduate played Coriolanus in a 2000 London stage production. In his film version, adapted by John Logan (“The Aviator”), Fiennes returns to the lead role, but updates the setting from ancient Rome to a tumultuous 21st century ridden with 24-hour news networks and guerilla insurgencies.
Go HERE for our interview with Fiennes.
Extras: Included you’ll find both a Blu-ray and a DVD copy of the film. Extras include an audio commentary with Fiennes that’s entertaining and very informative, and a short making-of documentary.
There’s never been anyone quite like Harry Belafonte. The trailblazing singer/actor/activist is given an in-depth portrait in this wonderfully archived documentary on his remarkable legacy courtesy of director Susanne Rostock, who saw the film premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. From his rise to fame as a singer, inspired by Paul Robeson, and his experiences touring a segregated country, to his provocative crossover into Hollywood, “Sing Your Song” provides fans with the chance to to get up close and personal with the revolutionary star.
Go HERE for our interview with Rostock.
Extras: Interview with Belafonte and some full-length musical performances.
#4. “Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston”
Halston, the man who was synonymous with fashion in the 1970s, gets the definitive screen treatment in this fascinating documentary that tracks the rise and fall of the legendary artist, considered by many to be America’s first celebrity designer. Director Whitney Sudler-Smith interviews Halston’s friends and acquitainces, including Liza Minnelli, Diane Von Furstenberg and Billy Joel, to provide glimpses into his life and one of the most decadent eras in New York history.
Extras: An interview with Sudler-Smith and producer Adam Bardach, and a deleted scene.
#5. “Summer With Monika” / “Summer Interlude” (The Criterion Collection)
The Criterion Collection knows what their cinephiles want this summer: two Ingmar Bergman black-and-white classics that take place during the hottest season of the year. This week sees “Summer Interlude” and “Summer With Monika” make their way to Blu-ray, with gorgeous transfers and a treasure trove of extras. “Summer Interlude,” his tenth film, stars Maj-Britt Nilsson as an accomplished ballet dancer haunted by her tragic youthful affair with a handsome student. “Summer Interlude,” considered to be one of Bergman’s definitive works, concerns a young working-class couple who run away to spend a romantic summer at the beach, far from parents and responsibilities.
Extras: “Summer Interlude” features a booklet with an essay by film scholar Peter Cowie. “Summer With Monika” comes loaded with a lot more. Included is an introduction by Bergman; new interviews with actress Harriet Andersson and film schollar Eric Schaefer; a half-hour documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage; the trailer; and a booklet with an essay by film scholar Laura Hubner.