Lucky, which features Harry Dean Stanton’s final (and, if not his best) performance, hits DVD January 2 via Magnolia Home Entertainment.
The feature centers on Lucky (Stanton), a 90-year-old atheist who’s living a seemingly mundane life in a desert town. Upon closer inspection, however, Lucky has enough friends at his local diner and bar to get him through the day. But Lucky understands his final days on this Earth may be just around the corner, and he’s having an understandably rough time facing his own mortality. Along with Stanton’s evocative work, the picture also features wonderful performances from David Lynch, Ron Livingston and Tom Skerritt.
Special features on the DVD include the segments “A Few Words from Harry Dean Stanton,” “Behind the Scenes: Harry Dean Stanton’s Final Film Take,” the theatrical trailer, and interviews with director John Carroll Lynch and writers/producers Logan Sparks and Dargo Sumonja.
In a career that started back in the 1950s, 91-year-old Harry Dean Stanton is considered one of cinema’s finest character actors. Whether it’s working with Wim Wenders in Paris, Texas or delivering a moving cameo in David Lynch’s The Straight Story, Stanton’s presence is undeniable. He’s front and center with actor John Carroll Lynch’s feature directing debut Lucky as he plays an elderly man who’s essentially outlived most of his friends. Living off the grid in a desert town, Lucky (Dean Stanton) is up for conversation for any person who comes his way (David Lynch also stars in the feature).
The movie received rounds of praise at this year’s SXSW Festival, and considering John Carroll Lynch (Zodiac,Fargo) is also an excellent character actor, their bond is probably one of the film’s strengths. Check out the trailer below and feel free to comment below!
Lucky, co-starring Ron Livingston and Tom Skerritt, hits theaters September 29.
The Founder centers on Ray Kroc, a struggling Illinois businessman whose life is forever changed after meeting brothers Dick and Mac McDonald (Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch). Kroc’s vision is to franchise McDonald’s across the U.S., but his grand vision is initially met with hesitation by the hard working siblings.
Directed by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks, The Blind Side), The Founder features a layered performance from Keaton as the ambitious and complex Kroc, a man who had to sever his share of relationships while climbing to the top. Laura Dern co-stars as Kroc’s wife Ethel, a woman who wishes her husband spent a bit more time with their marriage and less time on the road.
The movie also takes a complex look at how one views the American Dream. Is it all about making a ton of money and reaching for the brass ring? Click on the media bar below to hear Keaton talk about his thoughts on the American Dream.
To give an in-depth summary behind the story of The Invitation would do a disservice to its taut, unexpected, and ultimately nightmarish narrative, as director Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux, Girlfight) has crafted a thriller of the highest order. Thus the less said the better, since being surprised and shocked is one of the many ways to enjoy this Los Angeles set nail-biter.
Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his loving girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi, who’s fabulous in Miles Ahead) are invited to a Hollywood Hills dinner party hosted by Will’s ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and new husband David (Game of Thrones’ Michiel Huisman). A tragedy shared by Will and Eden continues to haunt the ex-couple, and the manner in which they separately deal with their grief presumably put a wedge in their relationship. Though the dinner party begins as a reunion of old friends (Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jay Larson play several of the invitees), two strangers (John Carroll Lynch, Lindsay Burdge) known only to Will and Eden bring an immediate unease to the gathering, and Will immediately suspects there’s something rotten in Denmark.
On the way to the party, Will accidentally hits a coyote, stops his vehicle on the hill, and immediately puts the animal out of its misery. Coyotes live side by side with many Los Angeles residents, and thanks to such films as Nightcrawlerthey’ve come to symbolize the predatory and ravenous nature behind the city’s bright lights. Kusama, working on a script by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi envisions a town that feeds upon itself, where cults and fads can be an all too seductive palliative for people looking for a quick fix answer. Though Will may be the only person who is correctly piecing things together, Kusama cooks her thriller to a slow boil, and there’s enough twists and misdirection to keep viewers guessing until the story’s shocking denouement.
Shot for just $1 million, most of The Invitation takes place in Eden’s spacious domicile. Thanks to several flashbacks and using the perfect residence for shooting, the movie’s claustrophobic feel doesn’t exist from any closed off spaces, but rather that mounting dread is palpable thanks to Will’s suspicion and the gradual creepiness behind an all too accommodating David and the subtly menacing Pruitt (John Carroll Lynch).
It’s an absolute travesty that Kusama, even with perceived misfires like Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body (I actually dug both films), hasn’t had the shot to direct another high profile film for the past 6-7 years. She’s directed her share of top notch television (The Man in the High Castle, Halt and Catch Fire), but big ticket film offers haven’t exactly landed on their doorstep. Blessed with top notch pacing and a precision for tightfisted storytelling, The Invitation is a celebration of a filmmaker at the top of her game, and if the powers that be learn to put two and two together, Kusama may have a few more dinner parties on the horizon.
The Invitation is now playing in select theaters and is available On Demand.
After her run on the Twilight films and Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart has focused her work on more independent driven material, as evidenced with Still Alice and Clouds of Sils Maria.
The actress also worked with first-time writer/director Peter Sattler in Camp X-Ray (Rated R, 115 minutes), a feature which also stars A Separation actor Payman Maadi.
Amy Cole (Stewart) is a dedicated and initially gung-ho soldier who serves as a guard at the Guantanamo Navy Base. Though she split her lip in a confrontation with a detainee during her first day on the job, Cole is actually enervated by the experience, as military life suits her to a tee.
Her initial perceptions of Guantanamo, as well as her job, are forever changed after striking up a friendship with Ali (Maadi), a well-read detainee who, after years of living in a cramped cell, simply wants a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (he’s been waiting for the book for two years, a broken promise that was issued by a previous guard).
With an abusive commander named Ransdell (Prison Break’s Lane Garrison) making her days a living hell (John Carroll Lynch also does fine work as Ransdell’s superior), Cole is biding her time until she’s transferred to her next detail. Both Stewart and Maadi turn in memorable performances as strangers who attempt to find common ground even in the most dire of circumstances, while filmmaker Peter Sattler brings a strong visual eye to the proceedings.
Iconic filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein wrote that “the most important thing is to have the vision,” and that certainly applies to Sattler. Doing away with any of the politics or religious issues that could have bogged down an otherwise tight narrative, Sattler opts for a more intimate look at the flourishing of a surprising friendship.
Special Features: The Blu-ray and DVD versions both come with a Featurette (12:30 minutes) which contains interviews with Kirsten Stewart, Lane Garrison, John Carroll Lynch, Peter Sattler, and Payman Maadi. One of the takeaways from the featurette is that Stewart actually is a solid golfer (she and Garrison hit golf balls during production breaks, and the actress definitely knows how to drive a ball).
Camp X-Ray Facts: Fans of the 1980s TV series Newhart and Designing will also be treated to a cameo from actress Julia Duffy, who plays Cole’s mother. Director David Gordon Green (Manglehorn, Joe, Pineapple Express) executive produced the film.
Camp X-Ray is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download from IFC Films via MPI Media Group.