Brooklyn Castle

discs its disaster

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. It’s a Disaster Four couples get together for their monthly brunch, but today’s gathering includes a few surprises. Tracy (Julia Stiles) has brought along a new boyfriend (David Cross), one of the couples is heading towards a separation, and a mysterious incident in the city has left them trapped in the house with little in the way of reliable information. A lack of certainty, loyalty and sanity quickly overcomes the group leading to even more trouble. Writer/director Todd Berger‘s ensemble comedy is easily the funniest disaster film in ages. Most of the cast are (fairly) fresh faces, but in addition to the two names above America Ferrera gets to show a decidedly different side of herself. It’s a simple film, essentially set in a single location, but sharp writing and a lively cast collectively imbued with fantastic comic timing make it a hilarious and energetic romp. [Blu-ray extras: Commentary, behind the scenes, Comic Con panel, viral videos, trailer]

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Editor’s note: With SXSW Audience Award winner Brooklyn Castle hitting limited release, here is a re-run of our festival review, originally published on March 15, 2012. Why do we like to watch documentaries? Most of us enjoy seeing an uplifting story, but so many of the documentaries I’ve seen at film festivals are about depressing subject matters. Yet, they usually share a common feeling of hope at the end – that things can change, tides can turn, and people can make a difference. Every good documentary sheds light on a subject that people may have zero familiarity with, but when they walk out of that theater, they’ll be aware and hopefully…hopeful. Brooklyn Castle is one of those movies. While it partially devolves into a harsh look at the current state of public education in New York City and around the country near the end, it’s a heartwarming look at the exact reason why we need to fund after-school programs and give more attention to the arts. Which yes, includes playing games. Chess, to be exact. Inspired by a 2007 New York Times article about a teenager who was skipping class to master chess, director Katie Dellamaggiore found out about I.S. 318 in New York City, and learned that they had been winning championships across the country ever since the chess group was formed in 2006. But, thanks to the current economy, they were facing budget cuts and setbacks. Armed with a camera, she followed their chess team and put together this […]

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