This is rare, nuanced storytelling, anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career-best performances and remarkable technical elements on every level. It’s a special film.
1 NEW TO NETFLIX
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse"
7 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD
Few reviews in my time at RogerEbert.com have raised more eyebrows than my three-star acclaim for "The Beach Bum," Harmony Korine's stoner odyssey about a man literally smoking and humping his way through life. What can I say? It's a movie that's tough to sell to people who can't find their way to its very laid-back wavelength, and will never work for people dependent on things like plot or moral messages. Don't rent this for that. Rent it for an inspired vision of Florida culture and distillation of McConaughey's on- and off-screen persona. Also don't discount Korine's eye, one that captures the sun-kissed coast in ways we haven't really seen before, as well as his remarkably ability to choose music for his films. This may not be the accomplishment that "Spring Breakers" was, but I stand by thinking that it works. Sorry again if you don't.
Original trailer and TV spots
There was a time in my life when Tim Burton was everything. His run from "Pee-Wee Herman's Big Adventure" into "Edward Scissorhands," the "Batman" movies and "Ed Wood" is essential for helping to build the foundation for my love of cinema. My reaction to Burton in the last two decades has been notably different as I found his takes on "Alice in Wonderland" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" repulsive monstrosities, among the worst films of their respective years. So consider the surprise in my voice when I say that Burton's take on "Dumbo" mostly worked for me. It's Burton's most visually imaginative film in years, and the whole thing is buoyed by one of the best scores of the year from Danny Elfman. It's not prime era major Burton, but it shows signs that the filmmaker I once loved so much may still be in there.
The Elephant in the Room
Built to Amaze
Easter Eggs on Parade
"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (Criterion)
John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's 2001 musical felt like a splash of cold water on the cultural scene when it was released almost two decades ago. The culture it reflects is more prominently a part of our pop culture in 2019 than it was then, and so it can be hard to convey how transcendent this film felt when it first hit arthouse theatres. It's an even more remarkable film now, a confident, daring, brilliant piece of self-expression wrapped up in the unforgettable persona of Hedwig. It's an ode to the power of art to convey things that life and traditional human interaction couldn't possibly do. It's a fantastic choice to enter the Criterion Collection, which will hopefully allow more to realize that it is one of the most unforgettable films of its era.
New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Cameron Mitchell and cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2001 featuring Mitchell and DeMarco
New conversation among members of the cast and crew
New conversation between composer and lyricist Stephen Trask and rock critic David Fricke about the soundtrack
Documentary from 2003 tracing the development of the project
Close look at the film’s Adam and Eve sequence
New programs exploring Hedwig's creation, look, and legacy through its memorabilia
Deleted scenes with commentary by Mitchell and DeMarco
PLUS: An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek, and (on the Blu-ray) portraits of Hedwig by photographer Mick Rock, illustrations by animator Emily Hubley, and excerpts from two texts that inspired the film: Plato’s Symposium and The Gospel of Thomas
The long-anticipated release of David Lynch's 1997 thriller on Blu-ray has been a little controversial. First, the filmmaker tweeted that he did not approve of the release, saying that it wasn't a legitimate remaster and that he had nothing to do with it. Kino Lorber responded with a dissection of what happened, claiming that they tried to contact Lynch over and over again, that a 4K remaster was planned, and that they couldn't include planned bonus material because Lynch never responded to requests to approve it. Whether or not you side with Lynch or KL, the disc remains the same. With regards to quality, it looks "fine," closer to DVD quality than what one would want from a long-delayed Blu-ray release, and the complete lack of special features is always disappointing. As for the movie itself, it's still a harrowing nightmare, not exactly top-tier Lynch but closer than you may remember. And the fact is that this is the only way to own "Lost Highway" right now in the United States. At least for now.
It's the week of controversial Blu-ray releases! People angry about my "Beach Bum" review, the fighting between David Lynch and Kino Lorber, and now this neo-noir, a film that A24 dumped with almost no fanfare, and is already available at home after a real brief April theatrical. Trust me when I say this: people will watch "Under the Silver Lake" more than most 2019 films that received actual marketing and promotion. In fact, the bungling of its release may have helped the legacy of this fascinating film, a movie I like more and more as I think about it. Future viewers will be stunned that this ambitious work was buried by a studio known for embracing films like this one. Although maybe they knew it was the best way to ensure it would last.
"What Lies Under the Silver Lake" Featurette
"Beautiful Specter" Featurette
Jordan Peele's sophomore feature is still the best Hollywood film of 2019, a four-star instant classic that also contains the best performance of the year to date. What more could I possibly say about "Us," especially when you have Monica Castillo's masterful review to read? I'll say this—it is incredibly rewarding to revisit at home on repeat viewing. In fact, a second watch reveals how little the twist at the end is actually a twist in that it's hinted at from the very beginning of the movie. Also, there are so many elements of this film to appreciate when you're not just wrapped up in the plot, including spectacular sound design and the performances outside of Lupita Nyong'o's career-best work (Winston Duke is legitimately great too). This is a movie that people will be watching for generations. It's one you don't just rent, you buy.
Buy it here
The Duality of US
The Monsters Within US
Tethered Together: Making US Twice
Redefining a Genre: Jordan Peele's Brand of Horror
We're All Dying
As Above, So Below: Grand Pas de Deux
"War and Peace" (Criterion)
Sergei Bondarchuk's adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy classic is a fascinating piece of international cinema. It was the Soviet Union's attempt to compete with the lavish period pieces of the era being created by Hollywood. It's fascinating to think that this film is a chapter in the Cold War, a way for an enemy country to compete with the art being created by the United States. The epic seven-hour production was a smash hit, winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film and transforming filmmaking in that part of the world. It hasn't been that easy to see in recent year, making Criterion's new restoration an important achievement in film history too. Realizing this is one of their most essential releases of the year, Criterion loads up the release with special features, both archival and new. Seven hours of '60s Russian cinema isn't an easy sell for some people after a long week of work, but this is a very special release for the audience who will appreciate it.
New 2K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interviews with cinematographer Anatoly Petritsky and filmmaker Fedor Bondarchuk, son of director Sergei Bondarchuk
Two documentaries, from 1966 and 1969, about the making of the film
Television program from 1967 on actor Ludmila Savelyeva, featuring Sergei Bondarchuk
New program with historian Denise J. Youngblood (Bondarchuk’s “War and Peace”: Literary Classic to Soviet Cinematic Epic) detailing the cultural and historical contexts for the film
Janus Films rerelease trailer
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by critic Ella Taylor
A review of Netflix's The I-Land, the worst show in the streaming service's history.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
The latest series from revered documentarian Ken Burns premieres on Sunday, September 15 on PBS.
On three films from TIFF, including the latest from Ed Norton.