There’s some good stuff coming to DVD on Tuesday, May 10th including an LiC Top 10 of 2010 selection, a terrific thriller from Korea, one of 2010’s greatest disappointments and a nice little under-the-radar surprise.

Of the two best films, Blue Valentine went on to gross nearly $10 million which is fantastic for an intimate drama that only cost $1 million. On the other hand, I Saw the Devil was barely noticed with less than $150 K. Now’s your chance to catch up with both.

Also of note: Something Wild comes to the Criterion Collection.

  • Blue Valentine (**** 1/2). Filmed in an intimate, documentary style, Derek Cianfrance’s quietly devastating account of a marriage derives remarkable power from a couple of honest, penetrating performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Cianfrance’s simple conceit of showing a marriage’s rise and the fall simultaneously subtly heightens the emotional impact of both and perfectly illustrates how the little things can tear us apart even before we realize something is wrong. This is a challenging film mixing joy with sadness, but it’s also invigorating in its unblinking focus on the good, the bad and the ugly sides of love.
    (Opened: 12/29/10) Trailer
    DVD Blu-ray Rent
  • I Saw the Devil (****). A special agent tracks down the serial killer who murdered his beautiful young wife in Kim Jee-woon’s brutal and bloody serial killer/revenge thriller hybrid that delivers on the promise of genre entertainment while also adding a surprising thoughtfulness and philosophical depth. While I Saw the Devil does not necessarily chart new territory, it blazes a thrilling and memorable (if often gruesome) path across familiar terrain.
    (Opened: 3/4/11) Trailer / Review
    Blu-ray Rent

  • The Illusionist (***). Based on an unproduced, semi-autobiographical screenplay by Jacques Tati, Sylvain Chomet’s animated The Illusionist tells the story of a magician increasingly pushed to the entertainment fringe by the rise of youth culture in the 1950s. While performing in a small town off the coast of Scotland, he meets a young girl named Alice who is enraptured by his performance. Animation – you know, for adults! The problem is, it doesn’t quite work and The Illusionist never lives up to its terrific promise. The problem is that an animated figure is no substitute for Tati’s marvelous physicality and presence. The character is a loving and detailed copy right down to the way he walks, but he lacks the vitality of the real thing. So unfortunately does the film. The artistry and craftsmanship of The Illusionist are unassailable, but ultimately the film fails to come to full life.
    (Opened: 12/25/10) Trailer / Review
    DVD Blu-ray/DVD Rent
  • Black Death (*** 1/2). At the height of the fourteenth century Black Plague which devastated Europe, a monk’s faith is put to the test when he joins up with a band of warriors sent by a bishop to find out what sort of witchcraft is protecting an isolated village from the deadly disease. This is a gritty, grimy action film with shades of horror and more than a little to say (none of it good) about human nature. It’s actually pretty effective and keeps you guessing exactly how it’s going to turn out. It would’ve been 100% better had the action sequences been more effectively handled, but I suppose this kind of over-edited chaos is the vogue these days. Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean and Carice van Houten star. Definitely worth a rental if nothing else.
    (Opened: 3/11/11) Trailer
    DVD Blu-ray Rent

Other releases of note:

  • Something Wild (1986). Jonathan Demme’s surprisingly dark 80’s classic comedy starring Jeff Daniels as a button-down businessman who embarks on an impromptu road trip with free spirit Melanie Griffith. Ray Liotta makes a memorable impression as Griffith’s psycho ex-husband. Something Wild was previously only available on a pretty shitty pan and scan MGM DVD but now gets the glorious Criterion treatment in both Blu-ray and regular DVD.

2 Responses to “DVD Pipeline: Something Blue and Something Wild”

  1. Thanks for the early update: I completely forgot to put Illusionist into my Netflix queue and I forgot about Black Death, which sounds interesting.

  2. Black Death is what snobs would call a minor film, but I went into it with zero expectations and had some fun with it. I wish the action had been better and more fully committed, but you can’t win them all.

    Also be curious to hear what you think of Illusionist. There’s so much about it to like (and most critics seemed pretty crazy about it), but it just left me wanting to watch a real Tati movie.

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