Large William's Picks:
THE PAOLO SORRENTINO COLLECTION (Region 2 PAL DVD; Artificial Eye)
Technically, this release is from a few weeks ago, but I believe so strongly in spreading the word, that I'm breaking our own rules to discuss it. Paolo Sorrentino is absolutely the BEST filmmaker hardly anyone knows about. For me, he came out of the gates with a crushing home run, Il Divo; the labyrinthine tale of corruption and back door dealing where criminals and politicians mingle and jockey for power. Il Divo was my number 1 film of 2009, ahead of Enter the Void, Inglourious Basterds, City of Life and Death, and a slew of others. He'll remind you of Scorsese, Tarantino, and still feel like a breath of dizzying fresh air. This region 2 box set features 4 of his films, including Il Divo, and 2 more films of his I've had the distinct pleasure of seeing, The consequences of love and One man up(both of which, along with Il Divo, feature master turns from the best actor you've never heard of, Toni Servillo). I cannot recommend this set highly enough. Outside of Il Divo, Sorrentino's films have never been officially released with English subtitles, until now. BUY BUY BUY!
SMALL TOWN MURDER SONGS (Region 1 DVD; Monterey Video)
Now that I've caught my breath, and let my boner for the Italian combo of Sorrentino and Servillo subside, allow me to recommend a film that I've not yet seen, but really wanted to at TIFF this past year; Small Town Murder Songs takes place in a small Northern Ontario(Canada) town, and stars sublime character actor Peter Stormare as a chief of a town made up primarily of Mennonites, where the body of a strange woman washes up on the shore... Nice and tight at 72 minutes, this one should be rock solid, and a nice peek into some Canadiana.
hugs and kisses,
Aaron's Pick: DARK DAYS - 10th Anniversary (Region 1 DVD; Oscilloscope Laboratories)
"Dark Days" is the multi-award winning documentary from Marc Singer about a community of homeless people living in a train tunnel beneath Manhattan. The film depicts a way of life that is unimaginable to most of those who walk the streets above. In the pitch black of the tunnel, rats swarm through piles of garbage as high-speed trains leaving Penn Station tear through the darkness. For some of those who have gone underground, it has been home for as long as twenty-five years. The director abandoned life on the outside to spend all of his time in the tunnels, making it his home for two years. Surprisingly entertaining and deeply moving, "Dark Days" is an eye-opening experience that shatters the myths of homelessness with the strength and universality of the people the film represents."
If your thirst for Bumsploitation wasn't quenched by the recent DVD/Blu-Ray release of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, you're in luck, because the folks at Oscilloscope Laboratories are re-releasing the fascinating OOP documentary DARK DAYS as a 10th anniversary special edition. It's a 2-disc set packed with bonus features - some of which have never been available on previous prints. I recommend the documentary highly to anyone who hasn't seen it, and even if the subject matter doesn't necessarily appeal to you, anyone with an appreciation for artistic filmmaking should be won over by the ironically-beautiful grainy black & white footage, as well as the original haunting score by DJ Shadow. I know I've recommended some duds in the past (DRIVE ANGRY), but trust me on this one.
They Call Him Chad's Pick: TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT (Region 1 Blu-Ray; 20th Century Fox)
And I just shot my cult movie lovin' street cred in the foot with the pick...you've heard the Gents talk about all of us having cinematic blind spots, right? Well, I think we all have cinematic soft spots, too. For me, one of those soft spots happens to be John Hughesian style teen/college coming-of-age stories. Hey, what can I say, I'm a child of the 80s that grew up in Illinois. These films are in my DNA. Now, that's not to say Take Me Home Tonight ranks with Hughes' best works, because it doesn't. It's a solid entry in that territory, and one that I enjoyed far more anticipated. If you're a fan of this subgenre, you know what to expect; the Eighties, parties, popped collars, cheesy synth rock and an uncool guy finally getting a shot at his unattainable high school crush. Oh, and this one sprinkles in a little bit of cocaine. It even makes me nostalgic for Suncoast Video, sniff.
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