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The Manichean at the Alley Theatre this Saturday
June 15, 2012 – 12:01 am | No Comment

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DVD slight return: Venus transit edition

Submitted by MBergeron on June 5, 2012 – 8:33 pmNo Comment
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Charlotte Rampling: The Look (Blu Ray from Kino Lorber) takes an in-depth look at an actress who constantly takes on roles that challenge the status quo. The emphasis is on ground breaking 70s titles like The Night Porter and Max Mon Amour; the dialogue presents itself as a conversation between friends of and with Rampling. This documentary puts a personal spin on candid introspection. The same cannot be said for Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (E One) a charming hagiography that unfolds through a series of testimonials. Hard to believe they discuss her few actual films and leave out Skidoo. Also from E One, Worried About The Boy is a fictionalized version of Boy George (a.k.a. George O’Dowd) that first ran on British television, and follows his then fledgling career up to the time of his first hit single.

One of my favorite genres, talking animal films, gets a make over in the Dutch fantasy Miss Minoes (from Music Box Films, also released in an English version as Undercover Kitty). Carice Van Houten (The Black Book, Game of Thrones) plays a feline that’s been turned into an adult woman and proceeds to expose the shenanigans of the town’s despicable factory owner. What more do you need to know? Includes kitty blooper extras.

Silver Tongues, a con game movie, has so many twists its better to go in cold and experience the path firsthand; and experience you must. A married couple commit a series of elaborate swindle scenarios involving sex, religion and even murder. Some of their schemes are harmless as when they cock block a newlywed couple, and then bizarre as they mockingly take over a religious service with fake accusations. The ending will leave you both perplexed and satisfied. Perfect Sense (IFC on Blu Ray) also offers adult fare with a cerebral twist. A strange virus robs people of their various senses. Ewan McGregor and Eva Green star under David Mackenzie’s direction. At times the storyline was a bit like the 2008 flick Blindness but Mackenzie isn’t exploring end of the world scenarios so much as the dynamics of couples caught in crisis.

A couple of theatrical releases from The Weinstein Company got the short end of the stick at the end of last year: W. E. and Coriolanus (both on Blu Ray from Anchor Bay). Is seems Weinstein put the majority of their promotion behind The Artist and let the former titles swing in the wind. You’d never know W. E. was helmed by Madge, so exacting in period detail and sleek design as to suggest a more refined director. Ditto with Coriolanus, the directorial debut of star Ralph Fiennes. For people unafraid of Shakespearean interpretation it’s a film that just washes over the viewer with waves of iambic delight.

A documentary on Ray Romano’s stand up tour (that originally ran a few years back on HBO) 95 Miles To Go has some food for thought concerning fame, and being on the road. In some ways 95 Miles reminded me of the British made The Trip (itself more of a mockumentary). Romano offers some sincere insight into being a celebrity and how far that luxury can be used for advantage when touring small town America. The best moment has to be when Ray pops for a hotel room just so he can take a shit after a big meal at Cracker Barrel. The Swedish television detective series Henning Mankell’s Wallander (Music Box Films) is available via streaming downloads and DVD with the first episode The Revenge also being released theatrically in select theaters. Kenneth Branagh also played the steely detective in a British version of this series; this current edition offers a steady performance by Krister Henriksson as the titular sleuth.

The Beatles Yellow Submarine (Blu Ray from EMI) looks immaculate due to a frame-by-frame 4K restoration. The disc includes a featurette also made in the 60s called Mod Odyssey in addition to interviews with various animators and actors who voiced the parts of the different Beatles. A soundtrack CD includes all the songs heard in the film, as opposed to the original domestic soundtrack that included a handful of songs with additional George Martin orchestral cuts. Yellow Submarine has always been a phantasmagoric visual pleasure but to see it anew reminds of how revolutionary the various forms of animation were in 1968; all techniques that hold up to this day.

- Michael Bergeron

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