Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of his father, his aging mother (Kirin Kiki) and beautiful ex-wife (Yoko Make) seem to be moving on with their lives. Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryota struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son (Taiyo Yoshizawa) – until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again.
Forced to leave their apartment due to a dangerous construction project in a neighboring building, a young Iranian couple moves to the center of Tehran where they become embroiled in a life-altering situation involving the previous tenant. Directed by Asghar Farhadi, who also helmed the Oscar-winning feature A Separation.
The Salesman takes an ambitiously complex look at thought-provoking themes, and the well-acted results prove another consistently absorbing entry in writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s distinguished filmography.
The Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this year went to Germany’s Toni Erdmann. From Sony Pictures Classics,
Winfried doesn’t see much of his working daughter Ines. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It’s an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn’t help the two to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What’s worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy “Toni Erdmann”: Winfried’s smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn’t hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all.
Acclaimed Italian auteur Nanni Moretti finds comedy and pathos in the story of Margherita, a harried film director (Margherita Buy, A Five Star Life) trying to juggle the demands of her latest movie and a personal life in crisis. The star of her film, a charming but hammy American actor (John Turturro) imported for the production, initially presents nothing but headaches and her crew is close to mutiny. Away from the shoot, Margherita tries to hold her life together as her beloved mother’s illness progresses, and her teenage daughter grows ever more distant.
Thanks to Criterion, we have a brand-new remastered copy of the 1973 Czech animation Sci-Fi classic, Fantastic Planet. From Criterion,
Nothing else has ever looked or felt like director René Laloux’s animated marvel Fantastic Planet, a politically minded and visually inventive work of science fiction. The film is set on a distant planet called Ygam, where enslaved humans (Oms) are the playthings of giant blue native inhabitants (Draags). After Terr, kept as a pet since infancy, escapes from his gigantic child captor, he is swept up by a band of radical fellow Oms who are resisting the Draags’ oppression and violence. With its eerie, coolly surreal cutout animation by Roland Topor; brilliant psychedelic jazz score by Alain Goraguer; and wondrous creatures and landscapes, this Cannes-awarded 1973 counterculture classic is a perennially compelling statement against conformity and violence.
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
DVDs continue to be our #2 most circulated item and television series help keep that number very healthy. Here is a sampling of some recent television on DVD including releases from the U.S., Britain, and Ireland,
Archer, Season 6
Doctor Blake Mysteries, Season 1
Doctor Who. Series 9
Fargo, Season 2
Grace and Frankie, Season 1
Hannibal, Season 3
Last Kingdom, Season 1
Leftovers, Season 2
Luther, Season 4
Manhattan, Season 2
Mr. Robot, Season 1
Peaky Blinders, Season 2
Place to Call Home, Season 3
Silk, Season 2
The Americans, Season 3
The Fall, Season 2
TURN, Season 2
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 1
VEEP, Season 4
If you see a series you’d like, you can always call us and have it held for you:
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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.