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Blu-rays of the Week
In French provocateur Francois Ozon’s free adaptation of a story by Joyce Carol Oates, a beautiful young woman (Marine Vacth) falls in love with her handsome shrink (Jeremie Renier), which is only the beginning of a strangely enveloping erotic thriller that showcases Ozon’s creepy-slash-stylish aesthetic.
Vacth is tremendous in what amounts to a dual role, as she more than consolidates her terrific debut in Ozon’s Young and Beautiful a few years back. There’s a quality hi-def transfer; lone extra is an interview with Ozon and Vacth.
This glitteringly empty 1957 romantic comedy has a first-rate pedigree—director Vincente Minnelli, stars Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall, composer Andre Previn—which helps immensely as it travels a well-worn path for two hours, driven by George Wells’ clever (but Oscar-winning?!?) script.
Silly moments are balanced by funny ones, and some grandly overdone supporting performances by Dolores Grey, Chuck Connors and Mickey Schaughnessy. The film looks great on Blu; lone extra is an interview with costume designer Helen Rose.
The Great Silence
(Film Movement Classics)
An Italian western set in snowswept mountain country, Sergio Corbucci’s 1968 genre classic has oodles of atmosphere, fine star turns by then-heartthrobs Jean-Louis Trintingant and Klaus Kinski, and fantastic photography by Silvano Ippolitti.
Still, that this was an obvious influence on Quentin Tarantino’s execrable The Hateful Eight is reason enough to knock it down a peg, however entertaining it is. The restored hi-def print is spectacularly grainy; extras are an Alex Cox intro; a 1968 documentary, Western Italian Style; and two alternate endings.
Man in an Orange Shirt
Patrick Gale’s scattershot script for this two-part film dramatizes how gay men dealt with oppressive British laws in the 1940s as well as their relative freedom in today’s world. Despite strong acting—especially by Laura Carmichael as a post-war wife who discovers that her husband is in love with his best male friend—it never truly coheres, as the difficulties encountered in the earlier half smother relatively carping contemporary problems.
Even the connections (two paintings, particularly) don’t provide much enrichment. The hi-def transfer is excellent; extras are on-
Orange Is the New Black—Complete 5th Season
This show jumped the shark a couple of seasons back, so opening with the prison riot that erupted at the end of season four is a chance for the series to slow down and take stock of how it should go forward, and that means a renewed focus on characters rather than “characters,” at least for the first few episodes.
The acting remains sharp and the writing is choppy but often witty, which is enough…some of the time. The hi-def transfer is first-rate; extras include a gag reel, featurettes and commentaries.
Pacific Rim: Uprising
In this frantic sequel which mindlessly repeats what made the first movie dopey fun, a bunch of wisecracking and bickering young pilots come together to help save the world—again!—as gargantuan good robots battle more malevolent monsters. Despite zippiness in the heavily CGIed action sequences, there’s nothing to suggest that we will ever need another Pacific Rim sequel.
The highly digitized film looks terrific on Blu; extras include deleted scenes with director’s commentary and several featurettes.
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