Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March '11 New Films on Disc


Father of My Children (IFC) is writer-director Mia Hanson-Love’s deeply felt, intensely personal drama about love and the deepening miseries of grief. Following a French film producer whose 24/7 business life is equaled only by his attachment to his wife and three daughters, Hanson-Love uses a buildup toward a fatally tragic event to present an emotionally devastating look at how relationships evolve and the physical and emotional wreckage resulting from the loss of a loved one. With a superlative cast that’s led by an amazing trio of young actresses as the daughters, Hanson-Love’s mesmerizing study knows exactly what it means to be truly, madly, deeply human. Even the film’s one potential misstep—using the pop chestnut “Que Sera Sera” at the end—works, since the facile irony is outweighed by the emotions involved. Unfortunately, there are no extras.


The too-melodramatic A Beautiful Life (Image) stars Angela Sarafyan in an enormously likable performance as a newcomer to L.A. who learns quickly what it means to survive in the big city; Cannes Man and Waiting for Dublin (Cinema Libre Blu-ray) are low-budget flicks that are opposite in their charms: simply put, the witless, unfunny spoof Cannes is charmless, while the gently beguiling Dublin sneaks up to put the viewer in a sunny mood; billed as an “urban thriller,” Consinsual (e one) is a rote knock-off of Basic Instinct with very little dramatic or sexual excitement; Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (Image) is the latest IMAX feature that, no matter how good your home entertainment system is, looks and sounds much less imposing than it does on the giant IMAX screen for which it was conceived; Every Day (Image Blu-ray) is a small but nicely-turned adult drama with a top cast of stage and TV veterans: Liev Schreiber, Brian Dennehy, Helen Hunt and Carla Gugino (lone extra: cast interviews); narrated by Ed Asner, The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It (First Run) chronicles the 40,000 Americans who didn’t support their country during World War II—the subject of conscientious objectors has been little raised about this war, so this documentary is most welcome (best extra: additional interviews); though uncomfortably reminiscent of other ensemble films like The Anniversary Party and Margot at the Wedding, the quirky indie comedy Helena from the Wedding (Film Movement) is less irritating than either, thanks to fine ensemble work and sharp writing (lone extra: Swedish short film, Awaiting Examination); the slight but diverting The Owls (First Run) follows former bandmates from an all-lesbian rock group as they form hesitant new relationships and try and patch up old ones; The Switch (LionsGate Blu-ray), yet another Jennifer Aniston vehicle that comes up short, is a routine sperm-donor-switching romantic comedy that remains old-hat despite her chemistry with costar Jerry O’Connell (best extra: deleted scenes); The Windmill Movie (Zeitgeist/KimStim) is a daring if not always successful biography of experimental filmmaker Richard P. Rogers, utilizing footage from his own treasure trove of celluloid images (lone extra: related Rogers short films); the hit-or-miss live-action, computer-animated hybrid Yogi Bear (Warners Blu) stars the voices of Dan Aykroyd as everyone’s favorite bear and Justin Timberlake as his sidekick Boo Boo and the uncomfortable-looking Anna Faris and Tom Cavanagh in the flesh (best extra: interactive games for the kiddies).

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