All of the new DVD releases hit stores (and Netflix) on Tuesdays. So each week in What to Netflix: New DVD Tuesday, I sort through the best of the batch and tell you what to add to your queue. In addition to my picks below, you can now watch Cadillac Records, Let the Right One In, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in the comfort of your own home.
If you still haven't seen Milk after all the months of accolades and awards, now's your chance to learn what all the fuss is about. In addition to being an incredibly moving story based on the real life of San Francisco gay activist Harvey Milk, it's wonderfully acted and directed. It's everything a biopic ought to be, right down to beautifully recreating the events of such an extraordinary life.
The cast is full of talented, adorable actors, like Sean Penn (who won the Oscar for his portrayal of Milk), James Franco, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, and Emile Hirsch. I am anxious to watch it again, even though it's so heartbreaking.
Special features include deleted scenes, a featurette about remembering Harvey, and another titled "Hollywood comes to San Francisco."
So much more to recommend, so read more.
Rachel Getting Married
Even though this heavy portrayal of familial heartache and forgiveness is intense to watch, I highly recommend it. You may have noticed Anne Hathaway at a couple of awards shows this year — all due to this movie (not Bride Wars, just in case there's any confusion on that). Rosemarie Dewitt, also a phenomenal actress, is another reason to add this to your queue.
Special features include deleted scenes, filmmaker and cast commentaries, and "A Look Behind the Scenes of Rachel Getting Married."
Synecdoche, New York
You know him as the writer of such films as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and now Charlie Kaufman can add "Director" to his filmography with Synecdoche, NY. The movie stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as Caden Cotard, a local theater director struggling to maintain his marriage with his more-famous wife, Adele (Catherine Keener). When she takes off for Germany with their daughter and Caden receives a grant, he decides to stage a giant-scale theater piece about life, setting it inside a towering replica of New York. It's a complicated, difficult, sometimes frustrating piece of cinema but I found the experience to be totally worthwhile.
Featurettes include "The Story of Caden Cotard: In Conversation With Philip Seymour Hoffman," "Infectious Diseases in Cattle: Blogger's Roundtable," and "NFTS/Script Masterclass with Charlie Kaufman."
I called this movie a sweet slice of life when I first saw it and I was thrilled when the talented Sally Hawkins won the Golden Globe for her performance in it. The movie is essentially plotless, focusing mostly on a woman whose outlook on life remains defiantly sunny despite the world's inevitable darkness and sorrow. It's so moving because despite it's bright and colorful surface, the film is also a meditation on sadness, longing, confusion, and hopefulness. You know, the stuff of life.
Special features include commentary by director Mike Leigh and the featurettes "Behind the wheel of Happy-Go-Lucky" and "Happy-in-character."