The "Thatcher in the Rye" Discs of the Week:
is England (IFC Films)
In this 2007 coming-of-age tale set within the British punk culture of
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's social dystopia, an orphaned
12-year-old befriends a dangerous group of skinheads in northern
England. This is England won the Best Film prize at the British
Independent Film Awards, with Thomas Turgoose, who had never acted
before, winning the Most Promising Newcomer award. With its
ska-influenced score, the powerful reality of its setting and details,
and the strength of the performances and production, here's one of
those gotta-see films that few audiences had a chance to find at the
local mall cineplex.
The DVD's extras spike our hair with a "making of" featurette, an
interview with writer/director Shane Meadows, two essays -- "Skinhead
Culture: Cropped, Braced, & Booted" and "The Falklands: A Pathetic
War" -- and the theatrical trailer.
interview with director Shane Meadows.
The Young Ones: Extra Stoopid Edition (BBC Warner)
Before Beavis and Butthead, before South Park, there was The
Young Ones, an early Eighties BBC sitcom of staggering
boneheadedness that won the 1985 British Academy of Film and Television
Arts award for Best Comedy Series, and became a hit on MTV in the '80s
and again on Comedy Central in the '90s. A cult fave in England and in
college dorms across America, this rude, awesomely violent,
unpredictable, joyously infantile British punk-com followed the
misadventures of four slovenly housemates: loud-mouthed metalhead
Vyvian (Ade Edmonson), lentil-loving hippie Neil (Nigel Planer),
smooth-talking ladies' man Mike (Christopher Ryan), and Cliff Richard
fan and would-be poet Rick (Rik Mayall).
The Young Ones provided a breakthrough for the new generation
of aggressive and forthright "alternative" comedians. With surreal
comedic scenarios and guest stars including Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson,
Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, plus
musical non sequiturs featuring Dexy's Midnight Runners, Madness, The
Damned and Motorhead. "What we need is a large consignment of very hard
All 12 episodes are included in this three-disc set. So are
commentaries on the first and last episodes, a documentary on the
beginning of Britain's alternative comedy scene, a reunion featurette,
"The Making of The Young Ones" (interviews), and "The Guest Stars of
The Young Ones."
The "Last Tango" Discs of the Week:
je t'aime (First Look)
alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>This fitfully
lovely and moving mosaic of 18 short films by 21 directors -- among
them the Coen Brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, Wes Craven, Gus van Sant and
Alexander Payne -- presents different visions of the city of lights
and, especially, love. With each director telling the story of an
unusual encounter in one of the city's neighborhoods, the vignettes go
beyond the "postcard" view of Paris to portray aspects of the city
rarely seen on the big screen.
The cast includes Natalie Portman, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Gena
Rowlands, Nick Nolte, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bob Hoskins, Ben Gazzara,
Julie Bataille, Juliette Binoche, Gerard Depardieu, Julie Depardieu,
Marianne Faithfull, Hippolyte Girardot, Emily Mortimer, Alexander
Payne, Miranda Richardson, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Rufus Sewell,
Leonor Watling and Elijah Wood.
This two-disc box gives us Paris, je t'aime in an anamorphic
1.85:1 image with sound in Dolby stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1
options. In French with optional subtitles in English or Spanish. The
extras menu offers "making of" and "behind the scenes" featurettes,
split-screen storyboards, the theatrical trailer and previews.
Vie En Rose (Warner)
alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>Expect Oscar buzz
about this one, this year's top-grossing foreign film in the U.S. The
troubled life and achingly beautiful voice of French chanteuse Edith
Piaf receives a sumptuously shot and thoroughly candid treatment. Peter
Travers in Rolling Stone said that Piaf's "upbringing in a
brothel, followed by bruising encounters with sex, booze and drugs,
created a voice that touched the world with hits such as 'La Vie en
Rose,' 'Milord' and 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.' Somehow Olivier Dahan's
impressionistic heartbreaker of a movie gets it all in. And Marion
Cotillard, lip-syncing Piaf's songs and digging into her soul with
gale-force urgency, gives a performance for the ages."
The DVD presents an extended edition with footage not shown in
theaters. Extras include the behind-the-scenes feature, "Stepping Into
Character," which includes interviews with Marion Cotillard and
director Oliver Dahan.
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