New to DVD and Blu-ray: Baby Drama and Olympic Hopefuls
New on DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming this week, a nearly-lost masterpiece with 'Margaret,' Olympic glory with 'Chariots of Fire,' an urban and urbane comedy on video-on-demand and a newly-streaming comedy classic …
The story behind Kenneth Lonergan's 'Margaret' coming to Blu-ray is, in many ways, as strange and startling as the drama in the film itself. Held up for years by lawsuits, 'Margaret,' the follow-up to Lonergan's acclaimed 'You Can Count on Me,' dribbled its way to theaters in a two-and-a-half hour cut the writer-director was legally prohibited from talking about. But now, Fox isn't just putting 'Margaret' on Blu-Ray, but also releasing the three-hour-and-six minute cut Lonergan originally wanted in theaters.
All of that aside, though, 'Margaret' -- about New York teen Anna Paquin dealing with the aftereffects of a horrible bus accident she witnessed and may have even caused -- is a brilliant, painfully honest and sharp-eyed film that paints a picture of a life, a crisis and a city, with New York as a character in and of itself, and Paquin, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Damon giving great performances.
Too often, great films become legends, or "the one that got away"; 'Margaret,' though, seems to have earned a second chance that fans of smart, strong, tough drama should take advantage of.
'Chariots of Fire'
The 1981 film that, for years, defined what an Oscar-winning prestige picture can and should be, 'Chariots of Fire' comes to Blu-ray conveniently timed for the 2012 Summer Olympics. All kidding aside, this is a great presentation of a great film, a true story that follows the very different lives and very different paths of two British Olympic runners played by Ben Cross and Ian Charleson, one Jewish and one Christian, as they prepare for the 1924 Olympics.
Nominated for seven Oscars, the film won four -- including Best Picture -- and this new Blu includes a great transfer of the film's image and sound but is also loaded with commentary, making-of footage, interviews, deleted scenes, screen tests and more.
'2 Days in New York'
Written, directed by and starring Julie Delpy, '2 Days in New York' felt, for me, like nothing less than a modern, French, feminine take on a classic '80s Woody Allen New York comedy. Delpy plays a harried mom whose partner Chris Rock (also a harried dad) is almost, but not quite braced for the arrival of her visiting French dad (played by Delpy's real dad) and other non-blasts from her past. Delpy and Rock have a terrific chemistry, and the film zips by with urban sights and urbane insights. Witty and fast, with great direction and a speedy, neurotic charm, '2 Days in New York' will appeal to any exhausted parent wildly trying, and wildly failing to "have it all."
Recently popping back up on Netflix Watch Instant, the Coen Brothers' second film -- and first flat-out comedy -- still has the punch, zip and zing that made it a breakthrough for them and star Nicolas Cage back in 1987.
Cage is H.I. McDunnough, a low-rent crook who falls for Holly Hunter's tough cop Edwina, aka "Ed"; their marital bliss gets sidetracked when they learn they're infertile. But after local furniture magnate Nathan Arizona has quints, Ed and H.I. desperately reason that the Arizonas won't miss one little new addition and set out as fairly inept kidnappers...
Full of slapstick, deadpan jokes and the crazy chaos of a Looney Tunes cartoon brought to life (especially when bounty hunter Randall "Tex" Cobb is on the case), 'Raising Arizona' is a near-perfect comedy whether you're seeing it for the first time or quoting its often-watched wit and wisdom.