Tag Archives: DVD

Hesher filled with Anarchy and Heart

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been building a name for himself as a dynamic, charismatic actor since 2005′s Brick.  But in his latest role, Hesher, Gordon-Levitt goes deeper down the rabbit hole than ever before, playing a loathsome, repulsive character well enough for us to love him. It’s a film about grief and anger, but it illustrates how most of us refuse to show those emotions, and Gordon-Levitt’s character has the wonderfully cathartic ability to draw us out of it. The result is both heartwarming and vulgar. Continue reading

Five DVD labels who consistently push good films

When you walk into a videostore or check up on your Netflix queue, it’s generally a crapshoot finding new movies you haven’t heard much about. Here at The Filmsmith, we’ve made a habit of letting you in on some of the underground releases every week, movies you might not have heard of otherwise. But we typically can only get to one a week, and there are dozens of others making their way to home video, some for the first time. Here’s a list of a few DVD companies who have consistently put out good films – to such a degree that if you see something released by them, you can bet it’s probably top notch stuff. Continue reading

DVD Monday: The Unloved

Every now and then, an actor has the opportunity to work with great directors, and thereby learns a bit about the craft. These experiences can awaken a dormant passion to not just be a part of a film, but to create one. More often than not, these actors fall on their face, believing that money and influence will make a good movie without the talent possessed by their mentors and peers. But some actors-turned-directors, like Clint Eastwood, Charles Laughton and Ben Affleck, end  up making immense contributions to cinema. Out on DVD this week is the first film by Samantha Morton (Minority Report, The Messenger, Morvern Callar), and it turns out that one of the most underrated actresses of our time is well on her way to becoming one of the most underrated directors as well. Continue reading

DVD Tuesday: White Material

I went into this film very cautiously. Regrettably, I knew next to nothing about the French filmmaker who helmed White Material, save that her film from last year (35 Shots of Rum) was rumored to be better than this. When film friends and cohorts recommended it to me, I figured I would give it a shot on DVD, and I’m glad I did. Aside from the mesmerizing performances given by Bankole and Huppert, this film is made with such energy and vision that my hesitation in viewing it evaporated within the first few seconds. Not only is seeing this film a worthwhile experience, its poetic frenzy of sounds and images transforms its colonial themes into something much more universal. Continue reading

DVD Tuesday: Fernando di Leo Crime Collection

The history of cinema is deeply entrenched in the history of crime. Gangster films, heist films, film noir, and other sub genres have always offered movie-goers an abundance of style, and occasionally profundity of theme. This week sees the release of a collection of crime films from Fernando di Leo on DVD for the first time in the US. They are not the deepest of movies, they offer little moral or thematic context, but they have proved to be hugely influential. And together, they form one hell of a ride. Continue reading

DVD Tuesday: Inside Job

When the envelope was opened last Sunday, one of my favorite films from last year, Exit Through the Gift Shop, lost to a documentary I had yet to see. Anticipating some of Banksy’s potential antics, I blamed the result on the Academy voting against the elusive artist instead of voting for any given film. Now that Inside Job has come out on DVD, I see that they were completely right. Exit Through the Gift Shop remains one of my favorite films of the year, but if ever a documentary deserved that Oscar, it’s this one: a film so relevant, so timely, and so perfectly executed that it has earned all of its recognition. Continue reading

DVD Tuesday: Love & Other Drugs

From a young age, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for romantic comedies. Perhaps this is an odd thing for a guy to admit, but there was something comforting to be found in the trope, and in each film’s deviation from it. “Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy gets girl back” was told a hundred different ways, and none of them quite matched up to the formula exactly. Love & Other Drugs, then, I was expecting to at least enjoy. Unfortunately, due to the lackluster performance by both leads, due to the irrelevance of the social commentary, and most importantly, due to the complete lack of originality, this is the worst film I have seen from last year. Continue reading