September 23, 2009


Also this week: Tulpan, Easy Virtue, Observe and Report

Highlight of the Week

Lymelife (Screen Media) The Martini brothers’ understated dramedy contains familiar trappings from more popular coming-of-all-ages/dark domestic fare such as American Beauty (though their feature debut handles middle-class discontent better than Mendes’ overstated exposé, with its one-liners and gravity-defying flower petals). The cast is flawless: real-life brothers Kieran and Rory Culkin outshine even Alec Baldwin, who also excels as their off-putting patriarch. The movie premiered at TIFF 2008 (where it earned the International Critics’ Award) before a brief cinema run last May, but more people should see what is one of this year’s most genuinely heartfelt releases — and perhaps the best teen-despair-in-the-’70s flick since The Ice Storm. Extras: commentary, deleted scenes, alternate ending. 

Also Available

Tulpan (Mongrel) Alongside our highlight, this was one of the top TIFF 08 entries from a first-time narrative filmmaker — it also won Cannes’ Un Certain Regard prize earlier that year. This nice Kazakhstan-set genre-bender features the most scrupulously framed landscape photography you haven’t seen all year. Extras: interview with director Sergei Dvortsevoy, trailer.

Easy Virtue (Alliance) Jessica Biel holds her own against Kristin Scott Thomas (believe it or not) in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert director Stephan Elliott’s feisty adaptation of a Noël Coward play. But Colin Firth outperforms all as the Brit papa who falls for Biel’s rowdy Yank, sparking a string of familial screwball disasters. (Faux pas alert: she’s his son’s new bride.) Extras: commentary with director Elliott and writer Sheridan Jobbins, lengthy New York Premiere featurette, deleted scenes, bloopers. 

Observe and Report (Warner) Jody Hill’s tonally alienating follow-up to his cult favourites The Foot Fist Way and Eastbound and Down contains plenty of laughs and plenty of filler. Seth Rogan’s Travis Bickle–channelling mall cop never truly resonates, nor does he reach Danny McBride (who gives good cameo here) levels of dismal distinction. Extras: Blu-ray extra extras: commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes.