Another week in a row of extremely solid DVD releases! Studios are really cranking out their end-of-the-year Oscar-type films like crazy, so there are lots of good things to choose from. Even on the catalog release front, there are some really great early older films coming out, including some outstanding Frank Capra and some better-known-than-usual pre-codes from the Warner Archive. See the full list of releases here on Row Three.
New Release Pick of the Week
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
This may have been an unnecessary remake, and it may have been something Fincher could do in his sleep, but regardless, this still came out as one of the most satisfying thrillers of the year, even improving on the original film in subtle ways and more than earning its right to existence.
2011 USA. Director: David Fincher. Starring: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig.
Other New Releases
Catalog Pick of the Week
Lady for a Day DVD & Blu
When Cinefamily did an early Capra retrospective a couple of years ago, this one easily came out on top – a perfect combination of character actor-driven humor and Depression-era hardship, Lady for a Day has it all, and in spades. Simply a gem that ought to be remembered as much as any of Capra’s other classics.
1933 USA. Director: Frank Capra. Starring: May Robson, Warren William, Guy Kibbee, Glenda Farrell, Ned Sparks, Walter Connolly, Jean Parker, Nat Pendleton.
Other Catalog Releases
Blessed Event (1932 USA, dir Roy Del Ruth, stars Lee Tracy, Mary Brian)
Dangerous (1935 USA, dir Alfred E. Green, stars Bette Davis, Franchot Tone)
The Steel Trap (1952 USA, dir Andrew L. Stone, stars Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright)
Thirteen Women (1932 USA, dir George Archainbaud, stars Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy)
Untamed (1929 USA, dir Jack Conway, stars Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery)
Instant Watch Picks of the Week
Mysteries of Lisbon
Daunting runtime notwithstanding, I still hold Mysteries of Lisbon as one of my favorites from the LA Film Fest last year. An intricate story weaving through Europe in the 18th century, it’s a marvel of plotting any way you look at it, and I’m looking forward to looking at it again.
2010 Portugal. Director: Raul Ruiz. Starring: Adriano Luz, Maria Jo&atild;o Bastos, Ricardo Pereira.
Richard Linklater is known for making conversation-driven films, and that’s pretty much all this one is – a nearly plotless wandering around the streets of Austin, picking up unrelated conversations here and there, then moving on to the next one. A pioneer of Austin’s indie film scene, Linklater manages to capture Austin’s character perfectly here, and the film is much more engrossing than you’d expect.
1991 USA. Director: Richard Linklater. Starring: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine.
Other Instant Watch Releases
Expiring Picks of the Week
All About Eve [4/1]
I recently put this film atop my list of favorite Academy Award winners, and I stand by that decision. It’s a classic of double-dealing show business people, all caught up in the roles they play onstage and off, with some of the best dialogue and ensemble performances ever put on film. Don’t miss this one.
1950 USA. Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe.
Black Adder [4/1]
Rowan Atkinson may be best known in the States as Mr. Bean (or other dumb-playing roles like Johnny English), but for my money, his absolute best series is Black Adder, where he plays a series of British noblemen (each season is set in a different century) with dry wit and an unfortunate lot of idiotic hangers-on. Throw in Hugh Laurie as a ditzy courtier and Miranda Richardson as a childish Queen Elizabeth in some seasons, and this never gets old.
1982-1989 UK. Starring: Rowan Atkinson.
I’m pretty sure I feature Firefly every time it goes on or off Instant, but I don’t care, I love it that much, and I’m going to keep talking about how much I love it until every breathing person on this planet has seen it. As much as I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and consider it central to my media tastes and life, Firefly is Joss Whedon’s masterpiece.
2002 USA. Creator: Joss Whedon. Starring: Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Ron Glass.
Le doulos [4/1]
One of Jean-Pierre Melville’s many incredible crime films, with Jean-Paul Belmondo standing in for frequent Melville star Alain Delon. The cool factor is maintained. I have particular love for this one simply because it’s the one that made me sit up and notice Melville, especially when the plot and themes come together at the end, making everything that went before seem that much better than it initially did. Vague, I know, but you’ll understand when you see it. Which you should.
1962 France. Director: Jean-Pierre Melvill. Starring: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Raggiani, Jean Dasailly, René Lefèvre.