A Taste for Hunger (Magnolia Pictures)

Digital Week – February 1


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This week’s roundup features a fine new Danish film, “A Taste of Hunger,” in theaters and streaming, along with—on Blu-ray—a terrific French documentary, “Little Girl” and a minor Hitchcock thriller, “Stage Fright,” the latter from Warner Archive.

In-Theater/Streaming Release of the Week

A Taste of Hunger (Magnolia Pictures)

A Taste for Hunger (Magnolia Pictures)Danish actress Katrine Greis-Rosenthal is one of the subtlest performers around today, with a remarkable ability to find the truth in her characters with a minimum of seeming effort, like her presence in Bille August’s masterly “A Fortunate Man” and here as Maggie, a brilliant foodie but unfulfilled wife in Cristoffer Boe’s smart, sassy anti-romcom about a top chef gunning for a Michelin star and the woman who was his muse and now is an anchor. Greis-Rosenthal works superbly with the equally fine Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who makes the chef, Carsten, a captivating if bemusing mixture of talent, charisma and narcissism—but Boe shrewdly keeps the shifting dynamics of their relationship front and center rather than grounding the food, however tempting that may have been. The resulting fun, fulfilling fare is worth at least a few Michelin stars.

Blu-ray Releases of the Week

The Capture (Film Detective)

The Capture (Film Detective)John Sturges, a director of sturdy if unexceptional westerns like Bad Day at Black Rock and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, helmed this ordinary but diverting 1950 genre piece that throws together a widow, Ellen, with a young son and Lin, the man who accidentally killed her husband. The storyline is certainly intriguing, but once Lin convinces Ellen he didn’t murder her husband in cold blood, she falls into arms even quicker than Lady Anne does with Shakespeare’s Richard III. Still, this is tidy, respectable filmmaking with an only semi-happy ending for purists. Too bad the film doesn’t look that spiffy in hi-def; extras are short featurettes on Sturges and actress Teresa Wright.

Little Girl (Music Box)

Little Girl (Music Box)Sébastien Lifshitz’s astonishing documentary follows a French family for a year to chart their lives as the youngest daughter Sasha deals with the fallout of her gender dysphoria, which includes stonewalling school administrators—who refuse to accept her “new” gender—and sympathetic doctors. At the heart of the film, though, is a remarkably loving family whose acceptance gives Sasha what she needs at a very difficult time. The film looks terrific on Blu; extras include deleted scenes and three different interviews with Lifshitz.

Stage Fright (Warner Archive)

Stage Fright (Warner Archive)This minor but entertaining 1950 Hitchcock mystery is the very definition of old-fashioned: Eve, an American drama student in London, hoping to clear Jonathan, an actor friend, of being framed for a murder, starts working as a maid for Charlotte, the legendary actress whose husband was suspiciously killed. Hitchcock’s lean, economical direction makes this straightforward, unsurprising story workable, with fine performances from Jane Wyman (Eve), Marlene Dietrich (Charlotte) and even Alastair Sim (Eve’s father). There’s an excellent hi-def transfer; lone extra is a retrospective featurette.

DVD/Streaming Release of the Week

The Great Postal Heist (Cinema Libre)

The Great Postal Heist (Cinema Libre)Jay Galione—whose father retired from a 30-year career at the US Post Office that was marred by accusations of wrongdoing he fought against—has made a polemical documentary that does exactly when it sets out to do: outrage viewers over how the USPS treats longtime employees (leading to some “going postal,” committing murder or suicide at work) and show how Congress—led by Republicans, of course—has been undermining the post office’s mandate and try and privatize it despite the Constitution’s specifically saying otherwise. Through emotional interviews with current and former postal employees, family members, experts, executives and politicians, Galione paints an urgent portrait of another American institution that needs saving, not scrapping.

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