Welcome to another instalment of our weekly look in to the world of home entertainment, with a round-up of this weeks finest Blu-ray and DVD releases. It’s a fantastic week for new releases, with a film that featured in our top ten of last year hitting disc, and Hitchcock, Mizoguchi and Cassavetes on Blu-ray too.
Disc Of The Week
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – David Fincher took the Stieg Larsson novel du jour and turned it in to one of 2011’s best thrillers. Subverting the Bond legend from the off, with one of the years finest credit-sequences and by casting 007 himself in the male lead role, Fincher took a property already adapted clunkily once before and achieved almost the miraculous. Fincher’s current muse (and relative newcomer) Rooney Mara plays the eponymous figure, surpassing even Noomi Rapace’s semi-iconic performance in the process. The Blu-ray adds several hours worth of extras, and, as anyone even remotely familiar with the home video output of David Fincher, every minute counts. A strong early contender for best contemporary home video release of 2012. Check out our earlier look at the film, in which we compared Fincher’s film to Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the relationship between both films and the Bond franchise can be found here.
The Story Of Film: An Odyssey – Mark Cousins’s landmark film charting the history of film has been discussed in quite a bit detail already on Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second, but it’s worth reiterating just how essential a work this is. Cousins’ film joins the ranks of A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese and Kevin Brownlow and David Gill’s Hollywood as one of the great films about film.
La Grande Illusion – We had the opportunity to see Jean Renoir’s classic humanist war drama on the big screen just a few weeks ago, in an iteration that used the same digital restoration that forms the backbone of this home video release. It’s a crude observation, but Renoir’s film is a relevant today as it was in 1937. Read an earlier piece on the film here.
Lifeboat – Hope Lies favourites the Masters Of Cinema turn their particular gaze towards Alfred Hitchcock, with a healthy package containing this early period War-set drama. The film is perhaps most notable for being an early example of Hitchcock’s adept use of the single locale, a technique he later honed to perfection on Rear Window and Rope. As always MoC put the utmost in to the disc and supplementary materials: the AV aspects of the disc are note perfect, and the extras plentiful.
Four From Kenji Mizoguchi – Elsewhere this week the guys at Masters Of Cinema are putting out four Mizoguchi flicks across two discs. The first one contains Ugetsu (a film previously mused over extensively here) and Oyū-sama, while the second package consists of Sansho Dayu and Gion Bayashi.
Two From John Cassavetes – John Cassavetes is a filmmaker close to our heart, so it warms said heart to see one of America’s finest (and most underappreciated) filmmakers given the Blu-ray treatment, thanks to the British Film Institute. Shadows, Cassavetes’s directorial debut is a remarkable portrayal of race and youth on-screen, while Faces captures the volatility of relationships in a manner quite like no other. Roll on A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie and Opening Night.