The Woman in the Fifth

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! I hope you’ve been saving your pennies because there are tons of fantastic releases worth buying today. All three (or so) Indiana Jones movies finally make their Blu-ray debut, genre fans get one of the year’s best horror films (The Cabin In the Woods) as well as Scream Factory’s stellar Blus of two Halloween classics, David Fincher fanatics will rejoice at Criterion’s release of The Game and my favorite film from 2011 hits DVD as my Pick of the Week. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Oslo August 31st Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) is out on leave from drug rehab for the purpose of a job interview, but it’s a job he knows he’ll never hold. Instead he visits an old friend, touches base with his family, searches for an old flame and fights the urge to kill himself. This Norwegian drama finds both heartache and vitality in its story and in its lead character, and Danielsen Lie makes it all so palpable and affecting. That said, there’s also an undeniable desire for life here that struggles against his depression with desperate intensity. Make no mistake, Anders is sadness incarnate, but he’s also a man at a crossroads with a decision before him that you can’t turn away from. Check out my full review.

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Books and films are two very different mediums capable of eliciting the same reactions of joy, disappointment and every emotion in between. Both are essential, but they each have at least one distinctly related advantage over the other. Books rely on descriptions to create their world, but it’s ultimately up to the reader to envision what that world and its inhabitants look like. On the flip side of that, movies allow storytellers to show viewers exactly what they want them to see while still leaving open the option of interpretation. Tom (Ethan Hawke) is an American writer/college lecturer who arrives in Paris anxious to see his wife and young daughter after an extended absence. It’s only when he arrives at their residence that we begin to suspect this may not be a traditionally happy reunion. His wife is clearly upset to find him on her doorstep, and after he politely barges in to see their daughter the woman phones the police to report that he’s breaking a restraining order issued due to past violent behavior. Tom runs from the police only to have his suitcase and wallet stolen while asleep on a bus. Devoid of baggage and identity he struggles to retain his family, security and sanity in the face of an uncertain menace that threatens to bring him past his breaking point. What exactly that menace is, and how far Tom will go to combat it aren’t always clear, but neither is much else in The Woman in the […]

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The Woman in the Fifth

The basic premise of The Woman in the Fifth is that Ethan Hawke is playing an American writer who moves to Paris and strikes up a romance with a mysterious widow played by Kristin Scott Thomas. After hearing this you probably immediately get visions of the two actors sipping espressos at street side cafes, browsing for books at kiosks set up along the Seine, you know… doing Parisy-type stuff. But The Woman in the Fifth isn’t that sort of movie at all. It’s much darker, and more disturbing. How do I know? Because in the film’s new trailer there’s all sorts of spooky music and Ethan Hawke is talking in Christian Bale’s Batman voice. That’s how.

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