Digital Week – December 20th

Blu-rays of the Week

creepshow-2-bluCreepshow 2 / The Driller Killer (Arrow)

The first Creepshow (1982) was fun, but its 1987 follow-up Creepshow 2 is far less memorably more of the same: its three segments have their moments (especially the third, with Lois Chiles’s manic performance as an adulterous wife who keeps running over the same man), but the overall effect is of desperation and a far cry from the original. Abel Ferrara’s insane Driller Killer (1979) stars the director himself as a tortured artist turned title murderer: if you’re into Ferrara’s twisted worldview, by all means help yourself. Both films have excellent restored transfers; extras are interviews, commentaries and features, with Ferrara’s documentary, Mulberry St., on Driller.

in-order-bluIn Order of Disappearance (Magnet)

Stellan Skarsgard’s intense performance as a grieving father who tracks down those drug dealers responsible for his son’s fatal overdose is the obvious reason to watch director Hans Petter Moland’s muddled but entertaining black comedy. The violence seems real, pouring out of the father’s sorrow and revenge, which Skarsgard plays perfectly, even during the film’s final (and intentionally ridiculous) shootout. There’s a superior hi-def transfer; extras are brief interviews.

man-bluThe Man Who Skied Down Everest (Film Detective)

Bruce Nydnik and Lawrence Schiller’s Oscar-winning 1975 Best Documentary is a still-astonishing chronicle of the 1970 quest by Japanese daredevil Yuichiro Miura to climb and ski down the world’s highest mountain. Douglas Rain’s narration (from Miura’s own diaries) is at times redundant, but the incredible camerawork, which catches seemingly every moment of this superhuman attempt—including some of the most amazing feats ever shot—is what makes this a classic of its kind. The film looks splendid on Blu-ray.

otello-bluOtello (Sony Classical)

Giuseppe Verdi’s classic opera might even outdo Shakespeare’s play for dramatic intensity and sorrowful tragedy, and Bartlett Sher’s new Met Opera staging catches all of that, thanks to sensitive conducting by Yannick Nezet-Segun and exceptional playing by the Met Orchestra. Then there are the emotionally rich portrayals of Aleksandrs Antonenko as Othello, Zeljko Lucic as Iago and Sonya Yoncheva as a heartbreaking Desdemona. Both the hi-def video and audio are impressive.

sully-bluSully (Warner Bros)

In Clint Eastwood’s absorbing if not particularly resonant reconstruction of the celebrated “Miracle on the Hudson” in 2009, Tom Hanks gives a functional but unilluminating portrayal of one of America’s most celebrated heroes, airline pilot Sully Sullenberger. Far better because less encumbered by hero worship is Aaron Eckhart as the unsung co-pilot; in the thankless role of the worried wife phoning husband Sully, Laura Linney is all classy understatement. The film, a relatively brief but still padded 96 minutes, looks fine on Blu; extras comprise three making-of featurettes.

DVDs of the Week

disorder-dvdDisorder (IFC)

Alice Winocour’s involving thriller centers around a wonderfully complicated central relationship: a French Iraq war vet with PTSD becomes a bodyguard for the trophy wife of a wealthy businessman, and when deadly home invaders arrive, his skills come in handy to save her, her child and himself. Deftly combining action with introspection, Winocour has made a volatile drama buoyed by superb performances by Matthias Schoenaerts and Diane Kruger.

little-dvdLittle Men (Magnolia)

Ira Sachs’ latest New York City-set comic drama is a well-observed but meandering study of teenagers who become friends amid the linked difficulties of their family lives: even at 85 minutes, the film feels stretched out, as if it’s little more than a sketch turned into feature length. Sachs’ usual strength is his cast, and Little Men is no exception: the boys are truthfully played by newcomers Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri, and there’s good work from Alfred Molina, Talia Balsam, Jennifer Ehle and Greg Kinnear as the adults in their lives.


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