July 22, 2009


Also this week: Watchmen, Made in U.S.A., 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, This American Life, The Mighty Boosh

Highlight of the Week

Coraline (Alliance) We feel for Coraline scribe-director Henry Selick — did anyone acknowledge the guy for helming the misleadingly titled Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas? Selick’s latest is arguably the year’s most unadulterated movie-magic experience, one that Pixar’s new movie will almost certainly eclipse come awards season. Here’s rooting for the underdog. Extras: 2-D and 3-D versions of the film: four pairs of 3-D glasses are included (sadly, non-IMAX specs still disappoint), commentary from Selick and composer Bruno Coulais, making-of, “Voicing the Characters” featurette, deleted scenes. 

Also Available 

Watchmen (Warner) Zack Snyder hits his stride with this graphic novel adaptation that’s more art film than action-packed escapism — one of the reasons for which viewers unjustly slagged it. A long-winded mixed bag in many respects, this was still one of the most inventive popcorn films to emerge in some time. And that opening credits montage was a superbly executed cinematic highlight of this year. Can The Dark Knight boast that? Extras: director’s cut adds 24 minutes, three featurettes (sans sour sport Alan Moore), music video. 

Made in U.S.A. (Criterion) Jean-Pierre Léaud (also known as François Truffaut alter-ego Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows and beyond) stars in Jean-Luc Godard’s Big Sleep–esque neo-noir. Made in 1966 (and on that note, not in U.S.A.), this marks one of the New Wave pioneer’s last meta-structural films that defined his career throughout the decade. Extras: interviews, video piece on the personal and the political in Made in U.S.A and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, visual essays, more. 

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (Criterion) Godard’s radically stylish Pop Art quasi-documentary essay film gets the release it deserves by way of Criterion. The painstaking restoration of the vivid widescreen photography of Raoul Coutard (who shot the majority of Godard’s films, starting with Breathless and including Made in U.S.A.) is the principal reason to snatch this up, along with extras that include commentary by Adrian Martin, interviews, and a visual essay cataloguing the many references in the film. 

This American Life: Season Two (Showtime) Adapted from the Chicago-based radio program and podcast hosted by Ira Glass, this series’ Emmy-winning second season is a no-brainer purchase for fans. Equal parts relevant and irreverent, it’s the best thing Errol Morris never made. Extras: commentary for the first episode by Glass and director Christopher Wilcha, “This American Life Live!” hosted by Glass (includes outtakes, interviews, and Q & A). 

The Mighty Boosh: Seasons 1, 2, 3 (Warner) BBC’s hyper-surreal sketch comedy finally hits shelves overseas in separate two-disc packages for each season. But wait, a seven-disc special edition has just been announced for October. Suppose we can hold out an additional three months before drinking Bailey’s out of a shoe with Old Gregg? Extras: commentaries, featurettes, outtakes, deleted scenes.