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Armstrong

A thorough and thoroughly conventional, look at the first astronaut to set foot on the moon.

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Sword of Trust

A likable throwback to the kind of rambling, character-driven 1990s indie comedies that the U.S. film industry barely releases to theaters anymore.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Home Entertainment Consumer Guide: July 11, 2019

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
"The American"
"Caddyshack"
"Cloverfield"
"Frozen River"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Mean Streets"
"Philadelphia"
"Rain Man"
"Taxi Driver"

3 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"The BRD Trilogy" (Criterion)

The Criterion Collection has a few artists that they admire so much that it feels like they strive to include as many of their films as possible. There are dozens of films in the collection by Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman, for example. They're two of the best directors of all time, so it makes sense that a company like Criterion would want to be as comprehensive as possible when it comes to their catalog. They've reached a similar threshold with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the legendary pioneer of New German Cinema, who has so many movies in the Criterion Collection that the company has basically started repackaging them. That's basically what happened this week with "The BRD Trilogy," a collection of three of the final films by Fassbinder: "The Marriage of Maria Braun," "Veronika Voss," and "Lola". They have long been thematically connected as they are each about a woman in West Germany after WWII and "BRD" stands for "Bunderepublik Deutschland." The box set allows fans to own all three films at a discounted rate and includes the previously available special features along with new 4K restoration transfers of two of the films. 

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Special Features
New 4K digital restorations of The Marriage of Maria Braun and Lola, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
High-definition digital restoration of Veronika Voss, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Audio commentaries from 2003 featuring filmmaker Wim Wenders and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (The Marriage of Maria Braun), film critic and author Tony Rayns (Veronika Voss), and film scholar Christian Braad Thomsen (Lola)
Interviews from 2003 with actors Hanna Schygulla, Rosel Zech, and Barbara Sukowa
Interviews from 2003 with cinematographer Xaver Schwarzenberger, screenwriter Peter Märthesheimer, and film scholar Eric Rentschler
Life Stories: A Conversation with R. W. Fassbinder, an interview filmed for German television in 1978
I Don’t Just Want You to Love Me, a feature-length 1992 documentary on director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s life and career
Dance with Death, a program from 2000 about Ufa studios star Sybille Schmitz, Fassbinder’s inspiration for the character Veronika Voss
Conversation from 2003 between author and curator Laurence Kardish and film editor Juliane Lorenz
Trailers
PLUS: An essay by film critic Kent Jones and production histories by author Michael Töteberg (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

"Europa, Europa" (Criterion)

It does not seem coincidental to me that Criterion chose to time the release of "The BRD Trilogy" and Agnieszka Holland's excellent "Europa, Europa" on the same weekend given they both tell stories about the impact of World War II, even if they tell them in very different ways. Based on Holocaust survivor Solomon Perel's autobiography, "Europa, Europa" was a worldwide hit, winning the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and even landing a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination (it didn't get a foreign film nod because Germany didn't submit it). Criterion not only offers a director-approved new transfer but interviews with several of the key players, including Holland and even Perel himself. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Agnieszka Holland, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2008 featuring Holland
New interviews with Holland and actor Marco Hofschneider
New interview with Solomon Perel, on whose autobiography the film is loosely based
New video essay by film scholar Annette Insdorf
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by film critic Amy Taubin

"Silent Hill"

Critics and audience brought the baggage associated with the ignominious subgenre of "video game movie" into the theater when they saw Christophe Gans' 2006 adaptation of the hit Konami series. There was a belief that went something like, "Oh, you have to play the game to understand this." While the games added some depth to the imagery and some back story, it misses the quality of the film to so closely tie them. This is surreal horror. There is no "explainer." And if you approach it, especially on this excellently-transferred Scream Factory edition, as you approach something like "Twin Peaks," then you're far more likely to appreciate it. I liked it when it came out (enough that it's the first movie I was pull-quoted on) but I was hesitant to see it since. Now, I love it. 

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Special Features
NEW Audio Commentary with cinematographer Dan Laustsen
NEW Interview with director Christophe Gans
NEW A Tale of Two Jodelles – an interview with actress Jodelle Ferland
NEW Dance of the Pyramid – an interview with actor Roberto Campanella
NEW Interview with makeup-effects artist Paul Jones
Path of Darkness: The Making of SILENT HILL – a six-part documentary
The Making of SILENT HILL vintage featurette
On set interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
Photo Galleries – still photos and posters
Theatrical Trailer

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