Continuum

HURRY SUNDOWN blu

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Hurry Sundown Henry Warren (Michael Caine) is a landowner on the brink of making a big deal, but there are still two plots of land he needs to acquire. One belongs to a white relative’s family, and the other belongs to a black family whose lineage traces back to time spent as slaves to Mrs. Warren’s (Jane Fonda) relatives. Those times have passed, but 1940’s Georgia isn’t that much more enlightened, and as Warren’s efforts conflict with those of two families struggling to make the most of their homes and farmland racial tensions and civil expectations are tested. Director Otto Preminger‘s all-star look at Southern relations leans heavily towards melodrama at times, but it works well all the same. The cast — which also includes Faye Dunaway, John Phillip Law, Diahann Carroll, Burgess Meredith and George Kennedy — do fine work conveying the ignorance and humanity of the time and the people. At over two hours the film takes its time with the characters allowing them to settle in and establish their relationships to each other before culminating in an entertaining court scene and a powerfully exciting finale. Is it a little bit simplistic? Maybe, but that doesn’t lessen the intent or effect. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

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Scarlett Johansson in UNDER THE SKIN

The Weekend Watch is an open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid), and discover queue-filling goodies from other FSR readers. The comments section awaits. I’ll get the ball rolling with the movies/TV my eyeballs took in this weekend.

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Criterion releases THE GREAT BEAUTY

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Great Beauty (Criterion) Paolo Sorrentino’s almost plotless portrait of the glamorous nightlife of contemporary Rome may seem on the surface to be an obvious choice for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. After all, it quite deliberately follows the footsteps of La Dolce Vita as an ode not only to Rome’s vast history, but its history of cinematic glitz. Yet there’s a great deal going on below The Great Beauty’s exquisitely realized surface. Rather than a simple 21st century upgrade of Fellini’s Rome, The Great Beauty is an existential travelogue, a decadent and detailed portrayal of a place uncertain about how to realize its future as a definitive global city in the culture so content to rest its champagne-soaked laurels on its extensive reputation. We see Rome through the eyes of Toni Servillo’s Jep Gambardella, whose failure to produce a second novel after a monumental first success sets the stage for his engrossing tour of Rome’s beguiling but hollow surfaces. While it made nary an appearance on op-ed trendpieces on the topic, Sorrentino’s film belongs directly alongside 2013’s many portrayals of excess for an era of economic uncertainty. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautifully shot and edited exegesis on the sweet life. – Landon Palmer [Blu-ray/DVD extras:  Interviews with the director, lead actor, and screenwriter; deleted scenes; trailer; an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by Philip Lapote]

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
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published: 01.28.2015
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published: 01.27.2015
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