Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DVD Picks of the Week: March 10, 2009

What a great week to start this new feature. Being that I love films, it should come as no surprise that I love DVDs as well. I have a huge collection myself so I'm always keeping an eye on the release charts.

The impact of DVDs on films has been huge. It's been a medium that has allowed older films to be restored and viewed the way they should be seen and a way for smaller independent films to see the light of day outside of theaters.

I now present to you the first of a hopefully weekly column on the must see DVDs of the week, beginning with those released today, March 10th.

Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York is the mind blowing directorial debut of Charlie Kaufman, the man responsible for writing recent American classics such as Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives the best least talked about performance of the year in this complex film. Because the film was given such little screen time in theaters across America in 2008, it wasn't given any Oscar nominations, although it certainly deserved its fair share. One of the five best films of 2008 for sure.

Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In is another film that I found to be among the best of 2008 that wasn't given the rightful play time it deserved in the states. This simple but masterfully directed film is essentially vampire love stories done right. It's an insanely moody film in style with a captivating and straightforward story with two good lead performances from young actors. This is not your average "genre" flick about vampires. If any of these things spark your interest, you must see this film right now.


One of the most important stories told in 2008 was that of Harvey Milk. The best thing about this story was how spectacularly told it was. Gus Van Sant directs an incomparable Sean Penn, who breaks free from his tough guy conception to deliver a performance of uncanny similarity to the real life Milk. Penn stole the Oscar for best lead actor from Mickey Rourke, and deservedly so. I'll still hold strong on the opinion that Rourke deserved it more, but you can't say the Academy made a bad choice. If you think they did, you just haven't seen this film yet.

Role Models

Role Models was one of the funnier films I saw in 2008. It's not perfect but it was good for lots of laughs in a way two films I loved, stoner comedy Pineapple Express and satirical spy comedy Burn After Reading, weren't. Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott work well together but Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Bobb'e J. Thompson stole the show. Comedies aren't usually high up on my must see list so when one comes along that I like, it's usually a worthy film.

That's it for now, folks. Check back later as I'll surely add more must see DVDs to the list. And check back at the beginning of each week for a new post of highly recommended DVDs. Thanks for reading!

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