The year is not even two weeks old but it already has one electrifyingly brilliant film to its credit.
10 NEW TO NETFLIX
"April and the Extraordinary World"
"The Boy and the World"
"Eyes Wide Shut"
"I Love You, Man"
"Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet"
"My Life as a Zucchini"
"Never Let Me Go"
"Sleeping with Other People"
6 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD
"Cult of Chucky"
Nearly 30 years after his debut, Chucky is one of the few icons of the '80s horror wave who remains relevant. We certainly haven't seen Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees in a decent horror flick lately, and yet here's Chucky in a SEVENTH "Child's Play" film written and directed by the same man who has written all of the films in this series, Don Mancini. Because the "Chucky" films don't get released in theaters, some may not know that they're still chugging along. So how is #7? OK. It's not as clever as some of the recent releases, and doesn't build in a way that's satisfying after a fun opening act. Still, I can't get over the fact that Brad Dourif and Don Mancini are still plugging away at their iconic creation, breathing life into a character who just can't die. The cult is still strong.
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director/Writer/Executive Producer Don Mancini
Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky
Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky
Feature Commentary with Director/Writer/Executive Producer Don Mancini and Head Puppeteer/Associate Producer Tony Gardner
"David Lynch: The Art Life" (Criterion)
One of the few joys of 2017 has been the resurgence of David Lynch as a powerful cultural force, primarily through his stunning "Twin Peaks: The Return," but also as a supporting character in the masterful "Lucky." This documentary isn't like "De Palma" or the upcoming "Spielberg," instead it actually ends at the start of his notable career, not really addressing his film work as much as what would arguably inspire it from his youth. "The Art Life" is about Lynch's formative years, and one can easily draw parallels between that time in his life and the art he would create for the next forty years. I'm just happy he's still going (and hopeful that "The Return" inspired him to make another film, something he has said before he will not do).
High-definition digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview with codirector Jon Nguyen
PLUS: A new essay by critic Dennis Lim
Sean Byrne's clever horror film made its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival but is only now making its way to viewers on Blu-ray. It's a smart flick that I hope finds a big audience on Blu-ray and DVD. The underrated Ethan Embry plays a young artist who becomes overwhelmed by horrific visions of Hell, which make for great art but can be torturous for a family. Meanwhile, a deeply troubled sociopath hears similar voices and seems to be headed for the family at the film's center. This is a challenging, strange film about the thin line between artistic genius and utter madness.
Commentary with Director Sean Byrne
Behind the Scenes - Visual Effects
"Advantage Satan" Short Film
This might still be the best film of 2017, and I saw it back in January at Sundance. Since then, the film had its detractors when it was theatrically released (as movies this unusual always do) but was mostly well-received and admired. David Lowery is one of our best American filmmakers, a man eager to embrace film as an art form for personal expression more than a commodity from which to profit. As such, "A Ghost Story" is a deeply personal movie about loss, grief, and our place in the bigger picture of history. It captures perhaps better than any other film how our actions can mean both nothing against the canvas of the past and future but everything in that small moment to us and our loved ones. It's a beautiful, mesmerizing movie that people will be watching for decades.
"A Ghost Story and the Inevitable Passing of Time" Featurette
"A Composer's Story" Featurette
Audio Commentary with Director David Lowery & Crew
"The Piano Teacher" (Criterion)
Michael Haneke's second film to enter the Criterion Collection after "Code Unknown" earlier this year is arguably what could be called his "breakthrough," 2001's "The Piano Teacher," with arguably Isabelle Huppert's best performance. The star of "Elle" and Haneke's upcoming "Happy End" stars here as Erika, a repressed piano teacher who seems to find little joy in her predictable life at school and at home with her codependent mother. Until she meets a student who's infatuated with her. Eschewing typical expectations for a student-teacher romance, Haneke really finds his voice in this film, and the result is a work that won him the Grand Prix at Cannes (along with acting awards for the stars). The transfer here has been overseen by Haneke, and the release includes a new interview with him and his frequent collaborator Huppert. This is a major turning point in the career of one of our best filmmakers and a worthy addition to the Criterion brand.
New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Michael Haneke, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview with Haneke
New interview with actor Isabelle Huppert
Selected-scene commentary from 2001 featuring Huppert
Behind-the-scenes footage featuring Haneke and Huppert
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by scholar Moira Weigel
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"
Remember when every new Johnny Depp film was an occasion for anticipation? There was a time in the '90s and even into the '00s when he felt like one of our most vibrant and important artists. Five movies into the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, that's just not the case anymore. He sleepwalks through a greatest hits of his facial tics as Jack Sparrow in this dull sequel. Now, you're probably saying—why include it? Isn't this supposed to be highlights only? Two reasons. One, it's better than the last one, believe it or not, largely because the joy gained by watching Geoffrey Rush and Javier Bardem go toe to toe. They're two actors who can do a great deal with very little, and they keep this film more minimally entertaining than the last one. Two, it's Disney, and the holidays are coming up, so you're probably curious about what's available in terms of special features and how to get your own copy for that "Pirate" junkie in your family. You'll find both below. Happy sailing to you.
Dead Man Tell More Tales: The Making of a New Adventure.
- Join the Filmmakers and Cast for an Up-Close Look at the Film's Creation, Encompassing Eerie Ghost Sharks, Astonishing Undersea Set Pieces, Jack Sparrow's Extended Family and Much More, in this Fasinating Collection of Stories.: A Return to the Sea, Telling Tales: A Sit Down with Brenton & Kaya, The Matador & The Bull: Secrets Of Salazar & The Silent Mary, First Mate Confidential, Deconstructing The Ghost Sharks, Wings Over the Caribbean, An Enduring Legacy.
Bloopers of the Caribbean
A report from the 75th annual Golden Globes.
Stop watching movies made by assholes. It'll be OK.
A look at the way Donald Trump's words and images recall the Stanley Kubrick classic.
Gerardo Valero tackles the latest "Star Wars" film.