6 NEW TO NETFLIX
6 NEW ON BLU-RAY/DVD
“The Addams Family”
This column is generally about the best of the releases in the last two weeks, but we’re making a pair of exceptions in this edition to fill it out a bit, because this animated version of the classic TV show about the creepiest family on the block isn’t really the best of anything. Sure, some of the design is well-done (and Nick Kroll is always funny) but this whole venture feels like a bizarre waste of energy given how much it pales not just to the series but the Barry Sonnenfeld films. And I know voice work is often an easy paycheck, but it should be against the law to put such physically commanding presences as Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron together for the first time and then hide them behind animated characters.
NEW Deleted and Extended Scenes
NEW Welcome to the Family – In this combined Making of/Character Profiles, we hear from the filmmakers and stars of The Addams Family about how the film came about, the animation process and insight into the characters.
NEW Life of a Scene – From black & white storyboards and layouts to animation and lighting, follow along with filmmakers as they bring to life a scene from the movie.
NEW Charades with Thing – There’s nothing quite like a game of Charades with your friends. But what happens when the person giving the clues isn’t exactly a person? What if he’s just… a hand? On talent day, stars of the film are invited to play Charades with Thing. Talent goes head-to-head, competing to see who can guess Thing’s clues. Graphics reveal the answers and keep score for each player.
Addams Family Throwback
“Haunted Heart” Lyric Video – performed by Christina Aguilera
“My Family” Lyric Video – performed by Migos, Karol G, Rock Mafia & Snoop Dogg
“The Fugitive Kind” (Criterion)
The Criterion Collection is building a nice selection of early titles from one of the best American filmmakers of all time, Sidney Lumet. “12 Angry Men” is on Blu-ray already and “Fail Safe” joins it next month. In between, we get a film that Criterion already released on DVD and is now giving the monthly upgrade from standard to HD that they usually bestow on a title or two. “The Fugitive Kind” isn’t one of Lumet’s most beloved films for a reason. The director often stumbled a bit when he left NYC and he wasn’t a perfect fit for a Tennessee Williams Southern drama, but there’s so much power in the casting here that it overcomes the relative weaknesses. Just the magnetic presence of Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward, and Maureen Stapleton make it worth a look, and the Criterion edition contains a rarely-seen TV presentation by Lumet called “Three Plays by Tennessee Williams” that adds Ben Gazzara and Lee Grant to the already-blinding star power of this release.
High-definition digital restoration, approved by director Sidney Lumet, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Interview from 2009 with Lumet
Three Plays by Tennessee Williams, an hour-long 1958 television presentation of one-act plays, directed by Lumet and starring Ben Gazzara and Lee Grant, among others
Program from 2010 discussing Williams’s work in Hollywood and The Fugitive Kind
PLUS: An essay by film critic David Thomson
So much was made of the FPS presentation of Ang Lee‘s new action flick that the quality of the movie was almost entirely ignored. This sci-fi tale of a man, played by Will Smith, who comes face to face with a younger version of himself, is much better than critics would have you believe. Sure, the dialogue is clunky, but there’s a lot of craftsmanship to admire here, especially in the choreography of the action scenes, and the overall theme of confronting your own mortality in physical form is one that’s well-handled by Smith. Perhaps my expectations were just incredibly low, but I found this immensely watchable. The irony of all the bells and whistles is that this strikes me more like as old-fashioned ’90s movie that plays on TNT every other month.
60FPS (frames-per-second) ENCODE – for exceptional sharpness and clarity vs. the standard 24FPS and also includes an exclusive visual effects scene breakdown presented by WETA in 60FPS
The Genesis of Gemini Man
Facing Your Younger Self
The Future Is Now
Setting the Action
Next Level Detail
The Vision of Ang Lee
“Le Petit Soldat” (Criterion)
The recent passing of Anna Karina should allow for a nice excuse to revisit her work with Jean-Luc Godard, and Criterion just released one of their earliest collaborations, “Le Petit Soldat.” It’s the film that Godard made right after the massive success of “Breathless” but was banned by the French government and not released until a few years later, after “A Woman is a Woman” and “Vivre sa Vie” had already enhanced Godard’s opinion. It took even longer for critics to really appreciate Godard’s film with Roger Ebert writing in 1969, “Starting with ‘Le Petit Soldat,’ Godard was forging his own individualistic art and becoming the most relevant director of our time.” See where one of the most important voices in film history honed his distinct, strident, unapologetic style in this film, now in the Criterion Collection.
High-definition digital restoration, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Interview with director Jean-Luc Godard from 1965
Interview with actor Michel Subor from 1963
Audio interview with Godard from 1961
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by critic Nicholas Elliott
Pedro Almodovar’s latest film is also one of his best, a deeply personal story of a director confronting his failures, addictions, and regrets. Antonio Banderas does the best work of his career as a character who is really a stand-in for the legendary writer/director, a filmmaker whose past arises as he deals with facing his own mortality and the pain of old age. It’s really a tender, moving piece about how artists use their lives to inform their art, and how pain is often a part of that usage. We take our best and worst memories and filter them through our art, and Almodovar, always an open book of a filmmaker, has been doing that his entire career. This movie is a gift, one of the best of 2019.
Q&A with Director Pedro Almodóvar & Antonio Banderas
Pedro Almodóvar: In His Own Words
The general rap against this long-delayed sequel was who really wanted another “Zombieland” movie ten years after the first one? The young stars—Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone—had gone on to become household names who starred in Oscar winners. Why go back to this well? In theory, I’m not opposed to this film. It could have been a fun, nostalgic trip. It could have. What it actually is is a lazy cash grab with actors, especially Stone, who look like they’re just waiting for the day’s shoot to end. Only Woody Harrelson seems to be having any fun at all with a script that’s dire and direction that’s leaden. This movie is clunky and awful, another case in which we’re using this column more as a warning than a recommendation. Go watch “Pain and Glory” or even “Gemini Man” this weekend instead.
Extended Bloopers & Outtakes
Alternate & Extended Scenes
“The Rides of Zombieland”
“Rules of Making a Zombie Film”
“Single Take Doppelganger Fight”
Commentary with Director Ruben Fleischer
“Zombieland Ad Council”