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February '23 Digital Week V

In-Theater/Streaming Releases of the Week 
The Quiet Girl 
The first film from Ireland to be nominated for the best international film Oscar, writer-director Colm Bairéad’s warm character study follows Cáit, a 9-year-old girl sent home to her pregnant mother’s cousin and husband so Cáit’s parents can deal with the impending birth of their latest child.
Bairéad burrows into the daily life of this girl in scenes of intimacy and insight, and Catherine Clinch’s acting rings unerringly true in every sequence. The film ultimately falls victim to melodrama but remains touching thanks to Bairéad, Clinch and two other pitch-perfect performances: by Carrie Crowley as Eibhlína and Andrew Bennett as Seán, her summer guardians, who are harboring a secret.
(Shout Studios)
In this tantalizingly ambitious comic drama, a sympathetic Jim Gaffigan plays Cameron, a put-upon husband and father hosting a failing late-night children’s science show whose midlife crisis manifests itself in ever stranger ways after a relic from the space race falls into his backyard.
Although director-writer Colin West has a few potentially interesting ideas, the surreal events that pile up lead to a finale that is more jumbled than organic; nonetheless, Gaffigan (in two roles) and Rhea Seehorn as Cameron’s exasperated wife lead a fine cast that keeps Linoleum from jumping the proverbial shark.
(Breaking Glass Pictures)
Middle-aged Felice returns to his native Naples neighborhood after being away for 40 years—he left at age 15 for Egypt, built a business, got married, became Muslim and learned Arabic—and that causes his long-dormant relationships—especially with the head of the local crime syndicate, his best friend decades ago—to come to a head in Mario Martone’s intermittently powerful drama.
While skillfully put together, and featuring a strong Gianfrancesco Favino in the lead, Martone’s film is so singlemindedly insistent on pounding the title idea into every frame that it cannot see the forest for the trees. It also doesn’t help that it all leads to a final sequence that can be seen coming from a mile away, which ends the film on a less than scintillating note. 
4K Releases of the Week
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 
(Dark Sky Films)
Tobe Hooper's 1974 low-budget shocker—made when the world was to going to hell in a handbasket (Vietnam, Nixon, Watergate, for starters)—is anything but artful, but it has much less gore than one thought it had and its tidy 83 minutes strip away anything extraneous, which keeps the shocks coming right until the nervy ending.
The new 4K edition features a superb new transfer and four (!) commentaries, including two with Hooper. There’s also an accompanying Blu-ray with the film, commentaries, several vintage featurettes, deleted scenes, outtakes, blooper reel and an all-new retrospective documentary, The Legacy of ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’.
Training Day 
(Warner Brothers)
Denzel Washington won a best actor Oscar for his flashy portrayal of Alonzo, an arrogant renegade L.A. narcotics officer showing the ropes to new partner Jake, played with quiet confidence by Ethan Hawke, in Antoine Fuqua’s exciting if overblown 2001 crime drama.
Memorably frenzied moments abut more risible ones, but Washington, Hawke and a solid supporting cast led by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Eva Mendes keep things interesting. The 4K transfer looks splendid; Fuqua’s commentary is on both the 4K and Blu-ray, which also includes Pharoahe Monch’s and Nelly’s music videos, deleted scenes, a making-of featurette and alternative ending.
Blu-ray Release of the Week
The Inspection 
Writer-director Elegance Bratton’s intensely personal film based on his own life concerns Ellis, a gay Black man misunderstood by his own mother, Inez, and bullied and feeling out of place, joins the Marines almost on a whim and finds that, despite entrenched armed-forces homophobia, he can succeed in life on his own terms.
Although the boot camp sequences mine territory familiar to anyone who’s seen other war movies, there’s a self-analytical honesty that overcomes any obstacles, along with towering portrayals by Jeremy Pope as Ellis and Gabrielle Union complicated Inez. The film looks fine on Blu-ray; extras are Bratton’s commentary, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.
CD Release of the Week 
Kurt Weill—Symphonies 1 & 2
German composer Kurt Weill (1900-50) is best known for his theater music, from Mahagonny and Street Scene to his most famous work, The Threepenny Opera. But his concert music also has the confident wit and spiky rhythms that his stage music does, and this disc represents the best of both worlds. It begins with excerpts from his 1933 stage work Der Silbersee—Ein Wintermärchen (The Silver Lake—A Winter's Fairy Tale): the sprightly overture and two vocal pieces.
Then we storm into his compact but propulsive first symphony, followed by a second symphony, Fantaisie symphonique, that’s filled with jazzy and bluesy invention. HK Gruber not only adroitly conducts the Swedish Chamber Orchestra but also gruffly intones the Silbersee vocal pieces.

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