The big budget Hollywood drone film, Eye in the Sky starring the luminous Helen Mirren and featuring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and Alan Rickman’s final performance hovers onto DVD and streaming this week. From Metacritic,
Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from “capture” toThrough remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from “capture” to “kill.” But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of US and British government, over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.
When Doris Miller meets John Fremont, her company’s hip new art director, sparks fly-at least for Doris. In the cluttered house she shared with her late mother, Doris mines the Internet for information on her one-and-only, guided by the 13-year-old granddaughter of her best pal Roz. When Doris begins showing up at John’s regular haunts, she wins over his Williamsburg friends. Her new life brings Doris a thrilling perspective, but also creates a rift between her and her longtime friends and family, who believe she’s making a fool of herself over a guy half her age. Eager for all the experiences she has missed out on, Doris throws caution to the wind and follows her heart for the very first time.
German director Christian Petzold’s Phoenix releases on DVD today. From IFC,
A spellbinding mystery of identity, illusion, and deception unfolds against the turmoil of post-World War II Germany in the stunning new film from acclaimed director Christian Petzold (Barbara, Jerichow). Nelly (Nina Hoss), a German-Jewish nightclub singer, has survived a concentration camp, but with her face disfigured by a bullet wound. After undergoing reconstructive surgery, Nelly emerges with a new face, one similar but different enough that her former husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), doesn’t recognize her. Rather than reveal herself, Nelly walks into a dangerous game of duplicity and disguise as she tries to figure out if the man she loves may have been the one who betrayed her to the Nazis. Evoking the shadows and haunted mood of post-war Berlin, Phoenix weaves a complex tale of a nation’s tragedy and a woman’s search for answers as it builds towards an unforgettable, heart-stopping climax.
Alfonso Cuarón directed and co-wrote this sexy art-house hit from Mexico. The funny and moving coming-of-age story centers on two immature teens who get an education in love when they take a sexy road trip with a liberated, unhappily married woman
Many filmmakers have attempted to create a film using only one cut. Hitchcock managed only ten edits in Rope. Alexander Sokurov mastered one 96 minute take in his 2002 Russian Ark. Alejandro Iñárritu created the illusion of one take in Birdman. And now we are treated with Sebastian Schipper’s German film, Victoria who ups the ante in his 2 hour and 20 minute epic film all shot in one take. From the film’s website,
A movie shot in a single take about Victoria, a runaway party girl, who’s asked by three friendly men to join them as they hit the town. Their wild night of partying turns into a bank robbery.
Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is an actress at the peak of her international career who is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years earlier. Back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young woman who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, that of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant (Kristen Stewart) to rehearse in Sils Maria, a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal (Chloë Grace Moretz) is to take on the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself.
Noah Boaumbach’s comedy While We’re Young stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as Josh and Cornelia, a childless New York married couple in their mid-forties. As their other friends all start having children, the couple gravitates toward a young hipster couple named Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried). He’s an aspiring documentary filmmaker, a vocation Josh already has. Soon the older couple begins enjoying the energy they feel haging out with the younger generation, but eventually Josh begins to suspect his new best friend might not be as straightforward and trustworthy as he thought. While We’re Young screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
Never seen a Preston Sturges film? Boy are you are in for a rare treat! From American Masters,
Considered the father of the screwball comedy, Preston Sturges was recognized as one of the great early writers in Hollywood… Sturges, however, had been consistently dissatisfied with director’s interpretations of his work, and in 1939 convinced his employers, Paramount Pictures, to let him direct his own script. For the opportunity to direct, Sturges sold “THE GREAT MCGINTY”, his newest script, for $1. The film earned him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (the first time this award had been handed out). Sturges followed this by writing and directing a handful of other big hits including “CHRISTMAS IN JULY” (1940) and “THE LADY EVE” (1941). The success of these films set the precedent for other writers to become directors.
Charles Pike is the son of a beer magnate who becomes the target of the father-daughter team of card sharps ‘Colonel’ Harry and Jean Harrington. Their plan to rob the naive man blind hits a snag, however, when Jean falls head over heels for an equally-smitten Pike.
And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t get much better in the classic movie world than the pairing up of Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.
We are nearing the end of the DVD release dates for Oscar winners. Still Alice was released last week. American Sniper – the final big film gets released on Tuesday, May 19th. Julianne Moore won the coveted Best Actress award for her portrayal of Alice Howland, a linguistics professor who is diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s at age 50. Based on the novel by Lisa Genova, Still Alice is Moore’s tour de force. She is reflective, nuanced, and brave as we watch her mind and world diminish. Alec Baldwin and Kristin Stewart play Moore’s husband and youngest child. Stewart in particular holds her own beautifully next to a powerhouse Moore. A beautiful, tragic film that will linger with you for days.
Danish television focused on the government and media? Are you serious? Yes, we are. Borgen is one of the best television shows released in any country in the past five years. Based on historical facts, Borgen begins with the election of the first female Prime Minister. Featuring powerhouse performances from Sidse Babett Knudsen as Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg Christensen and featuring Pilou Asbæk as spin doctor Kasper Juul, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as news anchor Katrine Fønsmark, Mikael Birkkjær as Birgitte’s husband Phillip Christensen and Søren Malling as Torben Friis, editor-in-chief for TV1 News, Borgen has you on the edge of your seat. You’re certain to finish Borgen wishing our political system worked a little more like Denmark’s – who knew politicians and political parties could actually work towards common good? Inspiring, exciting, full of intrigue and suspense, Borgen is sure to please anyone interested in contemporary international politics and the media’s role in our society. Oh, and it just happens to be author Stephen King’s favorite television series.