Da Vinci’s Demons

discs stories we tell

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Stories We Tell Sarah Polley, best known for her work both in front of and behind the camera for feature films, turns her eye onto her own family in documentary form as she explores a part of their history from varying perspectives. Through interviews and home videos she goes back in time to explore her parents lives, her own childhood, and a secret they all think they know. What starts as a focus on a mystery becomes something more as stories, recollections, and memories differ from person to person. In a year filled with fantastic and powerful documentaries, Polley’s film remains the warmest and most wondrous thanks both to the content and the film’s structure. She’s on this journey with us, equally unsure of her own motivations and delighted by the results. It’s a personal story, even her family members wonder why anyone else would care, yet it speaks to a universal truth about how we share our stories and make them our own. Each person has their own tale as well as a piece of everyone else’s, and it’s amazing to see them play out onscreen. Plus, the stinger here puts Marvel films to shame. [DVD extras: Trailer]

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Da Vinci

In the vein of recent television period pieces, Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons continues to approach its old time setting with a serious scope. There are highly detailed sets, big landscapes, a filmic quality, and an intricate story calling for viewers’ attention. The show’s creator, David S. Goyer, went through his fair share of challenges in bringing that scope to television and conveying Leonardo da Vinci’s larger than life personality and career. This isn’t a stuffy low-rent take on Da Vinci’s time, but rather a show that is as grand as its ambitious hero. Crafting that vision isn’t the only challenge a show like Da Vinci’s Demons presents, says Goyer. While briefly discussing the series with us, the writer of this summer’s Man of Steel gave us insight into his approach for the show, the technical issues involved, and being a perfectionist.

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The Following

We had a tepid fall season, as far as new shows go. But finally, the midseason is upon us — that wonderful time of the year when the disappointments of the Fall (The Mob Doctor, Animal Practice) are forgotten so we can get all worked up about TV again. Continuing a trend toward more cinematic television, most of what will be premiering in the next couple of months is pretty ambitious. There are epic historical dramas and intricate thrillers but only a handful of sitcom debuts. Listed here in order of premiere date are five of the most encouraging new series.

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