(Relatively) Recent Releases on DVD

A lot of catching up to do…

Boys Town (1938)
It’s been many years since I last saw this, but I remember it fondly. Now that it’s available on DVD, some snowy Saturday afternoon, I’ll pop up a big bowl of corn and take a trip back to Boys Town with Spencer Tracy.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
see my review

The Kingdom – Series One (1993)
It’s been a long wait, but Lars von Trier’s creepy psychological horror drama set in a strange hospital is finally available on DVD. I saw this at the Music Box a good ten years ago and was blown away. Let me put it another way: I saw The Kingdom on the same marathon movie day that I saw Casino. At 178 minutes, Casino felt like the three hour movie that it is. The Kingdom on the other hand, clocking in at 4.5 hours, flew by. Utterly original and thoroughly engrossing, this Danish TV miniseries, part soap opera, part ghost story, is like Twin Peaks meets ER. Now, if they’d just release The Kingdom 2.

Batman Begins (2005)
Take Katie “I’m a District Attorney” (my ass) Holmes out of this movie and it’s just about the perfect super-hero movie. The look, the style, the tone, the emphasis on character development, Christian Bale as the troubled Bruce Wayne, Michael Caine as Alfred. Okay, the stuff with Liam Neeson was a bit much, but Batman Begins was still the most fun I had at the movies all year.

Lifeboat (1944)
This has long been my favorite Hitchcock film. The entire film takes place in a life boat, filled with a diverse collection of survivors from a ship torpedoed during WWII. One among the group, (which includes Hume Cronyn and Tallulah Bankhead in a rare film appearance), was responsible for the ship’s sinking and suspicions boil as the lifeboat bobs around on the Atlantic for days. Hitchcock was challenged by the extreme confined space, as well as a way to sneak in his regular cameo appearance. From a story by John Steinbeck.

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
see my review

Arrested Development – Season Two
Watching the second season of this ground-breaking TV series will leave you in tears. When you’re not crying from laughter you’ll be shedding a tear that the program never gained enough of an audience to keep it on the air. Alas, Bluth family, we hardly new ya.

March of the Penguins (2005)
A truly amazing nature documentary, not to mention an amazing feat of filmmaking. While I thought the narration anthropomorphizing the animal behavior was a bit much, the visuals were stunning and the story as gripping as any adventure story set in a wild, untamed location.

Grizzly Man (2005)
Talk about your gripping documentaries, this one is a real nail biter. The story of Timothy Treadwell, a man who lived among the wild grizzlies in Alaska and loved them to death, literally, is a real edge-of-your-seat experience, even though you know how it ends. A prime example of truth being stranger than fiction, German filmmaker Werner Herzog uses Treadwell’s own footage to tell his bizarre and tragic story.

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