The Dark Crystal, a fantasy epic which featured the iconic team of filmmakers Jim Henson and Frank Oz, hits Blu-Ray and digital March 6 via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The feature, which centers on a young hero in search of a relic that will restore order to the universe, has continued to grow in acclaim since its 1982 release.
The Blu-ray edition, which has been fully restored in 4K from the original camera negative, contains a 24-page Digibook containing rare photos and behind-the-scenes stories. The new featurette “The Myth, Magic and Henson Legacy” takes a deeper look at the film with additional interviews from producer Lisa Henson (Jim’s daughter) and Toby Froud (his father Brian Froud was the conceptual designer of The Dark Crystal). Also included in the collection are deleted scenes, a picture-in-picture storyboard track, photo galleries, and commentary with Brian Froud.
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The Dark Tower, an epic adventure that is based on the acclaimed Stephen King series, hits Blu-ray and DVD via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on October 31.
The storyline centers on Roland (Idris Elba), aka the last Gunsliner, and his attempts to stop the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) from destroying the Dark Tower. If the Man in Black is successful in his mission, the universe will be destroyed. Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children) are part of the film’s ensemble.
Special features on the Blu-ray included deleted scenes, a blooper reel, a segment titled “A Look Through the Keyhole,” and five featurettes (“Last Time Around,” “The World Has Moved On..,” “The Man in Black,” “The Gunslinger in Action,” and “Stephen King Inspirations.” The DVD comes with the blooper reel and the “The Man in Black” and “The Gunslinger in Action” segments.
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The Salesman, Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, is yet another gripping and acclaimed story from director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Past). The storyline centers on Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidootsi), a couple whose life in Tehran takes a turn for the worse after Rana is the victim of a violent crime. Emad, a schoolteacher who by night is partaking in a production of The Death of a Salesman with his wife, feels helpless over his wife’s understandable descent into depression. Feeling hemmed in by his environment and wanting revenge, Emad concocts a plan to lure Rana’s attacker back into his world and dole out his own brand of justice.
Under the hands of a lesser filmmaker, The Salesman would have been constructed as a by the numbers revenge thriller, but Farhadi is exploring many more layers with this seemingly straightforward narrative. Death of a Salesman’s own themes of hopelessness and despair and subtly woven into the day to day realities of Emad and Rana’s life, as the dream they had for a better life may never come to fruition. Farhadi also flips this revenge narrative on its head, as we get a deeper look at the attacker’s own life and, by the film’s closing moments, our own judgments about Emad’s actions may shift in an entirely different direction.
Running 125 minutes and rated PG-13, The Salesman is an immersive narrative that makes us see a tragic act from many different angles, and thanks to first rate directing from Farhadi and a talented ensemble, the picture is an unforgettable experience.
The Blu-ray comes with just one special feature (A Conversation with Asghar Farhadi), but this segment gives viewers a clear cut look at the aforementioned themes discussed in the narrative. It’s a worthwhile look at the creative process behind The Salesman, but make sure you watch this interview after checking out the picture!
Now out on Blu-ra via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 100 Streets is an ensemble driven narrative that’s headlined by Idris Elba and Gemma Arterton. Although the indie drama is powered by the star power of its leads, the feature’s most arresting moments come from co-stars Charlie Creed-Miles and Franz Drameh.
Set within one square mile of a London area, 100 Streets tells three seemingly disparate stories that eventually thread together. Max (Elba), a retired rugby player who’s struggling to save his crumbling marriage to Emily (Arterton), is further detoured by womanizing and drug abuse. George (Charlie Creed-Miles) is a cab driver who seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and his seemingly strong bond with his wife Kathy (Kierston Wareing) may be forever altered due to a recent tragedy.
Serving as the de facto anchor of the narrative is Kingsley (Drameh), a troubled youth who makes money as a drug dealer. Kingsley’s life may take a turn for the better after befriending a theater director (Ken Stott) and Emily (tired of being just a sportsman’s wife, Emily is resuming her acting career).
Director Jim O’Hanlon, a veteran TV director (Shameless, Sleepy Hollow), brings a seamless efficiency to the proceedings and never lets these interweaving narratives go off the rails. Elba and Arterton do solid work within their respective stories, but it’s the sheer desperation and turmoil that Drameh and Creed-Miles that makes 100 Streets a memorable experience. Drameh, in particular, is a talent to look out for, and his natural charisma and talent is probably one huge reason he’s a regular on the CW series Legends of Tomorrow (he plays Firestorm).
Although an audio commentary from O’Hanlon would have been welcome, the Blu-ray comes with the 15-minute featurette “A Look Inside 100 Streets.” It’s an in-depth look at the logistical challenges of making the ensemble drama (the picture was shot in just 35 days). O’Hanlon, the producers, Elba, Arterton, and Drameh are among the cast and crew that’s interviewed in the featurette.
One of this year’s egregious Oscar nominations came with the omission of The Handmaiden, director Park Chan-wook’svisually stunning adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith. Cinephiles can now check out the film at their leisure, as the film has been released on DVD via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Set in 1930s colonial Korea, the narrative centers on Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri), a woman who conspires with a con artist (Jung-Woo Ha) to swindle a Japanese woman (Min-hee Kim) from her inheritance. Sook-Hee becomes the rich woman’s handmaiden, and the pair develop a gradual attraction for on another.
Director Park, whose twist-laden takes on family are borne to full effect with Oldboy and Stoker, paints his finest masterpiece with The Handmaiden. Although it runs at 145 minutes, the movie never drags thanks to the director’s seductively fluid camerawork and attention to detail. The story also takes the point of view from the three main characters, thus always keeping viewers on their toes. Both Kim Tae-ri and Min-Hee Kim give inspired performances, and a huge part of The Handmaiden’s success centers on their finely tuned work.
Although the DVD doesn’t come with special features (hopefully a deluxe edition will come out down the road), The Handmaiden is still worth grabbing, especially if you’re a fan of cinema.