We are creeping up on May, weather is teasing us some summer, and releases are still kind of hit and miss, but we’re hanging in there! First up this week is the film that just snagged the Best Picture Oscar on the weekend, Nomadland. The phenomenal Frances McDormand plays Fern, a teacher who finds herself forced out of her Nevada home in 2011 when a recession decimates her town. Fern packs what little she has left into a beat up van and hits the road travelling state to state looking for work and adopting the nomad lifestyle, meeting kindred spirits along the way and discovering a new outlook on life and a new meaning to home.
Nomadland also snagged Oscars for McDormand and one for director Chloé Zhao, both wins marking significant historical benchmarks in Oscar history. Nomadland is an intimate film that really explores what one has to do when everything they know is taken from them and what great misfortune can lead to. McDormand is a force to be reckoned with and one of the great actors working today. Her performance here is wholly authentic and heartfelt. She pulls the viewer along with her in her journey and leaves you with newfound questions about life you may not have pondered beforehand. Zhao’s direction is sweeping and gorgeous and a wonderful portrait of a country in turmoil and the people who live in it that the average person may not even be aware exist. I am sure we are on the verge of seeing more great things from Zhao, especially with her next project being a massive Marvel film called The Eternals. Check out Nomadland not just because of the awards, but because of the experience.
Next up this week is a fantastic new 4K special edition of Richard Kelly’s 2001 cult classic Donnie Darko. Jake Gyllenhaal play Donnie, a high school student who doesn’t really get along with his family, his teachers or his fellow students. But he has a friend in his girlfriend Gretchen (Jena Malone) and has found some help through sessions with a compassionate psychiatrist who has been delving into Donnie’s mind through hypnosis. But when Donnie also starts seeing a large bunny named Frank, he wonders if his reality is really everything it seems.
Donnie Darko is a film that upon my first viewing, I actually restarted it and watched it over immediately. It is hypnotic and beautiful to look at with quirky but fantastic performances by the entire cast and some visuals that are utterly unforgettable. This new 4K special edition comes packaged in a gorgeous slipcase with the movie in 4K and Blu-ray plus a hardcover book, poster and postcards. It contains new 4K restorations of both the theatrical and Director’s Cuts, tons of commentaries and special features and archived features, and an amazing documentary called Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko that is a must watch. Even if you have the previous Donnie Darko Arrow special edition, this 4K upgrade is worth it.
Also of note this week is another Oscar winner, for best foreign film, Another Round starring Mads Mikkelsen, a new 4K edition of the classic sci fi thriller The Final Countdown starring Martin Sheen, and a new 4K edition of the Clint Eastwood iconic western The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.
Until next week movie lovers, stay safe!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday April 27, 2021
A Lovely Way to Die (1968)*
All-American Murder (1991)*
Another Round (2020)
Beware the Children
Day of The Animals (1977)*
Dear God (1996)*
Deep Blood (1990)*
Dirty Dancing (1987) 4K Steelbook Edition
Django (1966) 4K
Donnie Darko (2001) 4K Special Edition
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark SteelBook Edition
Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)*
Grave Secrets (1989)
Head of State (2003)*
Heartworn Highways (1976)*
Heartworn Highways Revisited (2015)*
Home Grown Horrors: Volume One
Irma Vep (1996)* - Criterion Collection
Love After Death (1968)*
Masculin Féminin (1966)* - Criterion Collection
Pootie Tang (2001)*
Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac - Classic Movie Collection
Santa Sangre (1989)*
Summer Camp Girls (1983)*
The Cellar (1989)*
The Final Countdown (1980) 4K
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 4K
The Ladies Man (2000)*
The Time Travelers (1964)*
Wanted for Murder (1946)/Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)*
Werewolves on Wheels (1971)*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut