March 6, 2009 in Features

Thomas raises bar in ‘Loved You’

By The Spokesman-Review
 

‘I’ve Loved You So Long’

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Kristin Scott Thomas gives the performance of her career as a woman, just released after a 15-year prison sentence, who tries to readjust to mainstream life. That she is taken in by her loving younger sister (Elsa Zylberstein) doesn’t make her situation any easier. Directed by novelist-turned-filmmaker Philippe Claudel, the film doesn’t make any excuses for Scott Thomas’ character, showing a woman with brittle edges who may or may not regret her actions, until five minutes from the end. But that ultimate letdown can’t erase the poignancy of the previous hour and 40 minutes. DVD includes commentary by writer-director Claudel, deleted scenes. (1:47; rated PG-13 for thematic material and smoking)

‘Australia’

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As his previous film “Moulin Rouge!” showed, Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has the soul of a Broadway producer. He needed something else, though, to make this would-be epic about an English aristocrat (Nicole Kidman) and an Outback wrangler (Hugh Jackman) braving the rough country and falling in love on the eve of World War II. And what exactly did Luhrmann need? Well, channeling the soul of John Ford might have been a start. DVD, which is available on Blu-ray, includes deleted scenes. (2:54; rated PG-13 for war and action violence, a scene of sensuality, brief strong language)

‘Escape From New York’

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It once was impossible to see the work of anyone, even great filmmakers, outside the occasional revival showing. In these days of DVD transfer you can see virtually everything, even guilty pleasures such as this 1981 John Carpenter action flick, in the comfort of your own home. Though Carpenter’s fans tend to overstate his worth as a cinematic visionary, “Escape From New York” is just the thing for a Friday Guy’s Night. The sight of Kurt Russell as the patch-wearing Snake Plissken is enough by itself to rouse testosterone in the family dog. This special Blu-ray edition includes a commentary by Carpenter and Russell, making-of featurettes, Carpenter interview. (1:39; rated R for action violence)

‘Ashes of Times Redux’

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This director’s cut of Wong Kar Wai’s 1994 martial-arts epic stars some of China’s biggest stars, including Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Ka Fai and Maggie Cheung, yet it defies explanation for a non-Mandarin speaker. It bears all the cinematic trademarks, both visual and thematic (the difficulty/impossibility of intimacy), of the man who gave us “Chungking Express,” “In the Mood for Love” and “2046.” That, however, is hardly enough to mask the lack of story coherence. DVD, which is available in Blu-ray, includes cast and crew interviews, making-of featurettes. (1:33; rated R for violence)

Also available: “Ace Ventura Jr., Pet Detective,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” “Dead in Three Days,” “Exit Speed,” “In the Electric Mist,” “Lake City,” “True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet”


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