Music Feature

DVD Splurge: February 2012

by Piers Marchant
A round-up of some of this month's home release highlights.
The Debt
The Skinny: This is the original Israeli film from 2007 that spawned the American re-make of the same name last year. What we lose with Jessica Chastain and Jesper Christensen, we gain in grittier texture. In many ways, with its depiction of corrupt special units and an shadowy past that puts Mossad in the crosshairs, it remains a brave film for Israel to have made in the first place.
Studio: MPI
Linkage: The Debt

Fort Apache: Blu-ray Edition
The Skinny: Despite its age (made in 1948), director (John Ford) and stars (John Wayne, Henry Fonda), the film is surprisingly deconstructionist, demythologizing the idea of Western Hero, even as it was building Wayne up to be a superstar of the genre.
Studio: Warner
Linkage: Fort Apache

Human Centipede II: Full Sequence - Blu-ray Edition
The Skinny: On many critics' shortlist as the worst film of 2011, while simultaneously being hailed (?) as possibly "the sickest B movie ever made," you get the impression Tom Six' sequel to the original Centipede might have gone just a wee bit too far. Fortunately, you get to be the judge of your visual pain threshold.
Studio: MPI
Linkage: Human Centipede II: Full Sequence

The Interrupters
The Skinny: No, it's not a film about sugar-fed six-year-olds, it's a powerful documentary about a successful gang-prevention program in Chicago, with "successful" being, of course, a relative term. Many considered it one of the best docs of 2011.
Studio: PBS
Linkage: The Interrupters

La Jetée/Sans Soleil: Criterion Blu-ray Edition
The Skinny: Easily one of the most influential sci-fi shorts ever filmed, Chris Marker's La Jetée captured the imagination of Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, among others; and Marker's experimental travelogue, Sans Soleil, which feels almost entirely improvised, is also not to be missed.
Studio: Criterion
Linkage: La Jetée/Sans Soliel

Mozart's Sister
The Skinny: Amadeus got most of the pub, and for damn good reason, but his older sister, Nannerl, was a music prodigy in her own right and got almost nothing for it, next to her deified bro. René Féret's imagined bio-pic would seem to set the fictitious record a bit more straight.
Studio: Music Box
Linkage: Music Box

The Myth of the American Sleepover
The Skinny: In the canon of teen-coming-of-age classics, there can be but one seminal high-school edition, and that would be Dazed & Confused, but writer/director David Robert Mitchell's ode to the young is a nice addendum to the form. This last night of summer is packed to bursting with every erg of adolescent angst and befuddlement.
Studio: MPI

The Town - Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray
The Skinny: Ben Affleck's absorbing thriller gets the full-on opus treatment here, with a giant package of goodies that include a map of the Charlestown neighborhood in Boston in which the action mostly takes place; a photo-book; various other goodies, and an alternate ending, which we won't give away here.
Studio: Warner
Linkage: The Town

Unforgiven: Blu-ray Edition
The Skinny: Clint Eastwood's re-imagining of the western showdown represents some of his best work as an actor/director. Moody, violent and poignant, it injected a bit of life into what is all-too typically a rundown and spent genre, and gave Gene Hackman another Academy Award.
Studio: Warner
Linkage: Unforgiven

Vanya on 42nd Street: Criterion Blu-ray Edition
The Skinny: Louis Malle's brilliant part-doc/partChekhov adaptation, works along some of the same lines as his earlier My Dinner With Andre, which also co-starred Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory
. Filming the actors who were in the process of putting together a kind of unofficial production of Chekhov's masterful play Uncle Vanya, Malle creates a mesmerizing mosaic of the interplay of artist, actor and director. Studio: Criterion
Linkage: Vanya on 42nd Street
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