DVD/Blu-Ray Picks of the Week for August 25, 2009:
Sunshine Cleaning (2009)
Directed By: Christine Jeffs
I missed this one when it was in theatres, but it remains one of my most anticipated of the year. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are a match made in quirky actress heaven. Add in Alan Arkin to give it a nice balance and the movie has major potential. The story is about a pair of sisters who start a cleaning business that specializes in cleaning up after dead bodies. They decide to also use their positions to reach out to the people who have just lost a loved one. Special features on the DVD/Blu-Ray include commentary with writer Megan Holley and producer Glenn Williamson and a special look at a dirty business.
The Last Days of Disco (1998)
Directed By: Whit Stillman
One of the most overlooked films of the 90s, this serio-comic look at the disco night life in the early 80s gets the Criterion treatment this week. Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny star as publishing house assistants by day, but at night they party at a Studio 54-like night club browsing for romance. This director approved special edition includes audio commentary featuring director Whit Stillman and actors Chloe Sevigny and Chris Eigeman, four deleted scenes, audio of Stillman reading a chapter from the book The Last Days of Disco, a behind-the-scenes featurette, stills gallery, and an essay by novelist David Schickler.
Directed By: Tony Gilroy
A smarter version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Duplicity was one of the best movies of the first third of the year. Starring Clive Owen and Julia Roberts as spies for different agencies, the film is a cat and mouse game where each tries to outwit the other in their own spy games. Tony Gilroy, who wrote the Bourne series and wrote and directed the Best Picture nominated Michael Clayton, also wrote and directed Duplicity. Special features on the DVD and Blu-Ray include commentary from writer/director Tony Gilroy and editor/co-producer John Gilroy. Special features on the Blu-Ray only include My Scenes.
Trouble the Water (2008)
Directed By: Carl Deal and Tia Lessin
This Oscar nominated HBO documentary chronicles the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of aspiring rap artist, Kimberly Roberts. She picked up a camera and filmed anything and everything she could while stranded after the devastation occurred. The result is a story of survival that is harsh and passionate. Directors Carl Deal and Tia Lessin were collaborators on Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11, so it is unsurprising that the film also manages to point a big middle finger at the Bush administration’s mismanagement of the whole affair.
Directed By: Greg Mottola
I missed this one when it was in theatres and honestly don’t have that strong of desire now that it is on DVD. The angsty summer-time comedy stars Jesse Eisenberg as a recent college grad who can’t find a real job and ends up working a mindless job at an amusement park. The film also stars Kristen Stewart, Bill Hader, Ryan Reynolds and Kristen Wiig. Special features on the DVD and Blu-Ray include deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurette “Just My Life: The Making of Adventureland“, and a picture music selection. Special features on the Blu-Ray only include “Frigo’s Ball Tap”.
Directed By: Dito Montiel
I feel like Channing Tatum is gradually developing his own genre – the street thug with a heart of gold who turns to a new activity that brings out all of his redeeming qualities. This plot will probably continue to get recycled and probably continue to be horrible.