It’s an absolutely stacked week for fantastic new releases. Josef von Sternberg and Joseph Gordon-Levitt headline a line-up that sees Eureka’s Masters Of Cinema imprint returns for 2013 with a pair of releases that threaten to overshadow the rest of the year to come, while Warner Bros. have decided to put out a great deal of long-demanded titles, while one of the best films of 2012 punctuates the celebration of the archival.
Disc Of The Week
The Blue Angel – Josef von Sternberg has proved somewhat allusive on home video in the UK. This Dual-format edition of The Blue Angel, the director’s most highly appreciated film, marks the first extensive celebration of the director’s work in high definition. The set features both the original German-language version of the film, as well as a version shot in English alongside it. Transfer quality is excellent, while a solid line-up of extra features back up the feature, the highlight of which is one of Tag Gallagher’s brilliant video essay.
Fear & Desire – Stanley Kubrick’s long out-of-circulation debut feature makes a controversial appearance on Blu-ray and DVD, alongside the two shorts that led to the film, and a promo-piece that was produced alongside it. While it’d be somewhat unfair to judge the film on it’s own terms, given the director’s ambivalence towards it ever seeing the light of day, the complete package makes for a fascinating prologue to one of the great oeuvres in all of the cinema. Extras include an extensive booklet and great video appreciation from Bill Krohn.
Holy Motors – Leos Carax’s masterpiece was a heavy presence in our year end celebrations, with the films central performance(s) from Denis Lavant in particularly garnering attention. While it remains to be seen whether the transition away from the big screen threatens to see the film lose some of that great impact the opportunity to revisit the film at will is a worthy enticement.
Looper – Rian Johnson returned from several years in the wilderness with one of 2012’s smartest science-fiction movies. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play different iterations of the same man, with the younger charged with assassinating the older. Competent world building and a plot that manages to surprise in spite of the well-trodden subject matter ensures that Looper is well worth seeking out.
Check out our review of Looper here.
Classic Warner Wave – Warner Bros. have seen it fit to release a great number of classic titles in deluxe packaging this week. At the top of the pile of pleasant surprises is John Huston’s The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, which has never had a standalone release on disc in the UK. Other highlights include Huston’s The Maltese Falcon, Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer.