This week, one of the highlights of 2019 joins the Criterion Collection. Not only is that a moment to celebrate on its own, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is also easily the highlight among this week’s Blu-ray/DVD releases. Read on for more.
PICK OF THE WEEK
One of last year’s most critically acclaimed titles goes straight to the Criterion Collection — always a sign of high quality. Céline Sciamma‘s romance has a wonderful performance from Adèle Haenel at its center, as well as luminous cinematography. Our rave review from the Telluride Film Festival includes this bit:
In this contemplative movie, what matters most is that you allow yourself to feel what may have been previously hidden within.
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is a perfect addition to Criterion’s shelves. If you missed it during its initial release, be sure to pick it up now.
Total Box Office: $3,759,854
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language at the Golden Globe Awards
For this week’s Vintage pick, we look to the great outdoors. These days, we’re all a little sick of staying inside, so Sean Penn‘s “Into the Wild” may speak to you in a whole new way. Penn’s tribute to living a simple life, armed with Emile Hirsch‘s crowning achievement, remains a truly moving experience. USA Today put forth this rave, paying special note to the songs from Eddie Vedder that Penn included:
Captivating and multifaceted. Written and directed by Sean Penn, the film is a haunting and moving experience, highlighted by evocative original music by Eddie Vedder.
Even removed from the current way of life we’re dealing with, this is an undisputed modern classic.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
A dance-filled drama, “And Then We Danced” fell through the cracks, unfortunately. Those who saw it, however, saw an emotional, if somewhat flawed, melodrama with an aching pain at its core. Here’s a bit from our Film Fest 919 review:
This melodrama dovetails into a number of unnecessary tangents, but the central issue is one that’s compelling enough to warrant a recommendation.
Though undeniably timely, this look at a white man finally seeing the error of his racist ways is sloppier than it should have been. Still, Garrett Hedlund is quite good and the message is a strong one. Back at the Sundance Film Festival, Karen found that to be more than worthwhile, as you can see from her take below:
Overall, this is a story that is infuriating and beautiful. The fact that it’s true makes the journey worth it. Even when it is hard to watch—and it sometimes is—this is a story we need right now. In a world that is becoming increasingly divided over arbitrary things, it’s good to see an example of love overcoming hate.
Hedlund alone almost makes this one worth checking out.
This runner-up to “Parasite” at the Academy Awards in the Best International Feature category had a number of fans. One such fan is our own Karen Peterson, who made an impassioned plea for it to be remembered by Oscar voters. In that piece, she included this exclamation point:
“Corpus Christi” is beautifully photographed, with lovely performances. But above all else, it tells a story that we need to hear.
Another one of last year’s international contenders to potentially check out.
A title meant to have played at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, this thriller is never boring, though often ridiculous. Just shy of a B-movie, it flirts with insanity, all while keeping at least one toe in the waters of melodrama. The Hollywood Reporter was mixed on it, overall, though saw fit to include this small compliment:
Inheritance contains the kernel of an involving sins-of-the-father saga
If you’re in the mood for some genre entertainment, this will do the trick.
Special Criterion Collection Section
Our other Criterion option today is this 1965 sports documentary classic. “Tokyo Olympiad” is filmmaker Kon Ichikawa‘s look at the 1964 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo, truly putting you into the minds of the athletes. The Collection sells it to you like so:
Drawn equally to the psychology of losers and winners—including the legendary Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila, who receives the film’s most exalted tribute—Ichikawa captures the triumph, passion, and suffering of competition with a singular humanistic vision, and in doing so effected a transformative influence on the art of documentary filmmaking.
Something to definitely consider this week!