Music Feature

DVD Splurge: April 2012

by Piers Marchant
From Brando to Mastroianni, a month of thespian heavyweights.

The Skinny: Robert Young's 1977 immigration drama gets the royal Criterion treatment. The story, which concerns a young father who sneaks across the border in order to better provide for his family, has never been more poignant and relevant.
Studio: Criterion
Linkage: ¬°Alambrista!: Criterion BD Edition

A Hollis Frampton Odyssey
The Skinny: The avant garde filmmaker, who made his bones in the mid-sixties into the seventies, made experimental shorts, some of which -- including Surface Tension, which revolves entirely around a staccato romp through New York -- are oddly hypnotic.
Studio: Criterion
Linkage: A Hollis Frampton Odyssey: Criterion BD Edition

A Streetcar Named Desire
The Skinny: A new restoration highlights this cinema classic from 1951, featuring one of Marlon Brando's most iconic performances. This uncensored version restores Tennessee Williams' masterpiece to all its overpowering sexual id glory.
Studio: Warner
Linkage: A Streetcar Named Desire: BD Edition

The Innkeepers
The Skinny: Ti West's ghost story has more going on than you might expect. Standout performances from leads Sara Paxton and Pat Healy -- who share a good deal of comedic chemistry -- add depth to this haunting tale of ghostly goings-on in an old Connecticut hotel.
Studio: Dark Sky Films
Linkage: The Innkeepers: BD Edition

Late Spring: Criterion BD Edition
The Skinny: A widowed father attempts to induce his devoted daughter into marriage, severing some of their ties together in Yasujiro Ozu's post-war meditation on the structure of Japanese family life. The film remains as visually vibrant and emotionally acute as ever.
Studio: Criterion
Linkage: Late Spring: Criterion BD Edition

The Skinny: One of the more divisive films of 2011, Steve McQueen's harrowing story of a sex addict and his sister is either coldly intimate and moving, or pretentious and overblown, you'll have to see it for yourself to determine your camp.
Studio: Fox
Linkage: Shame: BD Edition

Sleeping Beauty
The Skinny: Anything but a Walt Disney movie, Julia Leigh's tale takes the literal idea of the fairy tale and twists it into a modern fable about sex, feminism and absolute submission.
Studio: IFC
Linkage: Sleeping Beauty

The Conquest
The Skinny: The rise of France's Nicolas Sarkozy, as imagined by filmmaker Xavier Durringer. The result is a part farce and part drama with this most unlikely of politicos suddenly schmoozing his way into the presidency even as his marriage crumbles.
Studio: Music Box
Linkage: The Conquest

The Organizer
The Skinny: An uprising of textile factory workers gets an unexpected boost with the help of a visiting professor in Mario Monicello's pro-union drama. Featuring a stand-out performance from Marcello Mastroianni, and the warm glow of humanity at its most stalwart, the film remains a testament to the power of collective bargaining.
Studio: Criterion
Linkage: The Organizer: Criterion BD Edition

Treme: The Complete Second Season
The Skinny: The second season of David Simon's far-reaching New Orlean's drama finds the stakes slightly upped from the more meandering first season. Which is not to say the show becomes strident or action packed, the slow pace and multi-layered, splintered storytelling remain its hallmarks.
Studio: HBO
Linkage: Treme: The Complete Second Season

The Skinny: An unflinching story of two lost and lonely older people who need each other more than they realize never goes soft and mushy. Peter Mullen's brutal take as the quick-tempered and miserable Joseph will sear itself into your brain.
Studio: Strand Releasing
Linkage: Tyrannosaur

Young Goethe in Love
The Skinny: The poet as a young, affectless man. Phillip Stolzl's quasi-bio pic of the famous German romanticist has a good deal of fun with its protagonist -- who considers himself an entirely failed poet until he falls in love -- right up until things get more tragic.
Studio: Music Box
Linkage: Young Goethe In Love

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