New: The Big Business of Breast Cancer
These days, Kristin Scott Thomas makes more movies in France than Gerard Depardieu, and Ethan Hawke always becomes extra compelling in Europe (see Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), so why not ship them both to Paris for the romantic drama The Woman in the Fifth (Flatiron Film Company; now available)? Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love), this one’s a twisty and compelling little thriller.
The documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc. (First Run Features; available September 25) examines the marketing of breast cancer awareness and asks tough questions about how much those little ribbons on everything from batteries to tortilla chips leads to actual money going to actual women in need. After the bad press the Susan Komen Foundation got earlier this year after getting involved with anti–Planned Parenthood politicians, this powerful doc couldn’t be more timely.
Other certain-to-be-talked-about indies this month include Adrien Brody starring in Detachment (Tribeca Film; now available) from controversial American History X director Tony Kaye, the riveting documentary My Trip to Al-Qaeda (Docurama Films; now available), and the hilarious one-man show Del Shores: Sordid Confessions (Breaking Glass Pictures; available September 25), wherein the creator of Sordid Lives spills even more beans about his life.
Classic: Cross-Dressing, Cannibalism and Show Tunes
I keep saying that Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Shout Factory; now available) is a movie ripe for remaking, because A, it’s well thought of (with its creepy get-the-kids gimmick and that “Happy Happy Halloween” song you can never ever get out of your head) and B, not a particularly great movie otherwise. Until someone takes my advice, though, check out the 30th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition of this attempt to take the Halloween franchise in a non-slasher direction. It’s not perfect, but it’s wickedly entertaining. (But seriously, that song. You’ll never get rid of it.)
If Halloween is less about mayhem for you and more about costumes, check out the Blu-ray debut of one of Tim Burton’s finest films, Ed Wood (Touchstone Home Entertainment; now available). It’s about a man who loved wearing women’s clothing and a movie director who covers up the death of his star by hiding the actor’s substitute behind a cape.
The Criterion Collection goes in very different directions this month, with David Fincher’s puzzle-box The Game (now available) and Paul Bartel’s darkly funny cannibalism comedy Eating Raoul (available September 25) both available in swanky new DVD and Blu-ray sets. While Fincher has certainly received his due as a leading American auteur, it’s nice to see this kind of spotlight on the late Bartel, whose odd and darkly comic movies are something of an acquired taste; the Criterion release of Eating Raoul features lots of great extras, including Bartel’s short The Secret Cinema, which he later turned into an episode of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. (It’s also thought by many to be a direct, if unacknowledged, precursor to The Truman Show.)
And if the joy of singing along to songs you know makes up for somewhat erratic filmmaking, then by all means check out the maligned-but-beloved Beatles road trip Magical Mystery Tour (EMI Music North America; available October 9) and John Huston’s screen version of the Broadway hit in the Annie: 30th Anniversary Sing-Along Edition (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; available October 2).
TV: A Cornucopia of Comedy
School’s back in session, and there’s an election around the corner: face it, you could use some laughs. Four new TV collections should scratch that itch.
Happy Endings: The Complete Second Season (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; available October 2) offers up the sophomore year of what has already become one of TV’s most hilarious sitcoms, with some deleted scenes and outtakes thrown in for good measure. And sweetie darling, if you need some boozy glamor, look no further than Absolutely Fabulous: The 20th Anniversary Specials (BBC Home Entertainment; now available), featuring a trio of new episodes that prove that Edina and Patsy are as inappropriate as ever, two decades into their TV run.
Chris Elliott’s cult sitcom gets the full-on box-set treatment with Get a Life: The Complete Series (Shout Factory; now available), a collection that includes interviews, commentaries and a 2000 panel featuring cast and crew at the Paley Center.
But the real catch of the month is Steve Martin: The Television Stuff (Shout Factory; now available). The young-uns today may only know Martin from rancid fluff like the remakes of The Pink Panther and Cheaper by the Dozen, but there was a time when he was one of the most dangerous and inventive comedians on the scene. That era is captured here, in a box set that features TV specials, stand-up appearances, guest shots on talk shows and Saturday Night Live, and his Oscar-nominated short The Absent-Minded Waiter. Essential, hysterical, brilliantly curated “stuff.”