January 11, 2011

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The best movie of 2010 could very likely be the best DVD of 2011

Also this week: Piranha 3D, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Louis C.K. Hilarious

The Social Network (Sony) There isn’t much need for yet another in-depth evaluation of 2010’s most unanimously liked movie. Director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin’s thrilling spin on the origin and lawsuits behind one of the most significant innovations in the history of the internet not only boasts a topical premise, zingy dialogue and next-level visuals, but also the finest digitally drenched soundtrack of the year (condolences, Daft Punk) and the finest twentysomething cast of any year. At the centre of it all is Jesse Eisenberg’s riveting turn as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who’s ready to take his place as one of cinema’s foremost enigmatic, misanthropic and, somehow, strangely sympathetic antiheroes. 

Dropping a mere three months after the film’s theatrical release, how does the DVD stack up? In typical Fincher fashion, this two-discer is packed to the gills with illuminating extras dissecting the film’s lush visuals, iconic soundtrack (with insights from composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) and extensive post-production phase. 

As if one commentary isn’t enough, we have two options: a detail-heavy breakdown from Fincher and a group commentary with Sorkin and several cast members, including Eisenberg and co-star Andrew Garfield. If you find Fincher’s track a mite technical, the alternative is somewhat less formal, if equally worth your while.   

The main attraction is a 90-minute featurette entitled “How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?” Spread over four parts, it exhaustively covers the entire shooting period, from pre-production table reads to the Benjamin Button-y digital tweaks that went into creating the two-bodies-one-face Winklevoss twins. Cutting back on the promo fluff typically attached to your standard making-of, it’s a no-bullshit look inside one of the most relevant docudramas of our time.  

Also Available
Somewhat less revelatory is the release of last summer’s box-office dud, Piranha 3D (Alliance), itself a remake of the 1978 Joe Dante/Roger Corman cult flick. In all seriousness, it was the most enjoyable 3D experience I had all year, and revisiting the film in two-dimensional form is nearly as much campy fun. No stranger to an 18A rating, Alexandre Aja’s latest contains game-changing gore, a staggering death toll and, being that all this occurs alongside a wet T-shirt competition, a wretched amount of nudity (surprising no one, next summer’s sequel is titled Piranha 3DD). Blood and boobs aside, Piranha’s vivid colour palette and outrageous underwater photography makes for very pleasant viewing on Blu-ray. Extras: Look out, Social Network! This DVD includes a whopping two-hour making-of featurette, commentary, deleted scenes and nifty foldout packaging.  

One of the hottest docs to screen at last year’s Hot Docs film festival was Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (eOne), a year-long look at the exhilarating and vulnerable career of a truly complex comedienne. You may not always appreciate what Rivers has to say, but you can’t dismiss this no-holds-barred doc that tackles everything from Rivers’ husband’s suicide to her recurring insecurities as an elderly icon. Extras: commentary, deleted scenes, Sundance Q&A. 

Over the last few years, the comedy of Louis C.K. has been one of the best things to happen to social commentary stand-up. Premiering at Sundance roughly one year ago, Louis C.K. Hilarious (Paramount) perfectly encapsulates the comedian’s pitch-black sensibility, which would make any fan of Dane Cook’s head explode. C.K.—who also directed and edited this feature-lengther—wields a brand of humour that is sure to blow your mind at some point, but the film’s title is no exaggeration.