Cooper & Hemingway, Steve Rude, Modern Warfare, plus What’s Coming on DVD/Blu-ray | Video Reviews, February 1, 2015

redstarCooper & Hemingway: The True Gen. b/w. 138 min. John Mulholland, Transmultimedia Entertainment, dist. by Passion River, www.passionriver.com. 2014. DVD UPC 091037947383. $59.95; public performance $299. LIT/FILM

cooperhemingway2215When actor Gary Cooper (1901–61) and author Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) met in 1940, both men were at the peak of their careers. Temperamental opposites, both sharing a love for hunting and fishing, Hemingway was volatile, subject to “black-assed” moods of depression, while Coop was the “cool room” of sanity and self-awareness. This documentary, written and directed by Mulholland and narrated by Sam Waterston (with Len Cariou providing Hemingway’s voice), chronicles the men’s unlikely friendship, which lasted until they died within months of each other in 1961, Hemingway by suicide and Cooper from cancer. Cooper was the model for Robert Jordan, the hero of Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, and starred in the film with Ingrid Bergman. He also starred in the 1932 version of A Farewell to Arms. His reticent acting masked an artistic, sensitive nature and a considerable reputation as a womanizer. Hemingway’s service as an ambulance driver in World War I left him with an aversion to war and what he considered to be lying politicians. Still, he testified as a friendly witness before a congressional committee on communist influence in Holly­wood but declined to name any names. Heavy drinking, head injuries sustained in two 1954 plane crashes, plus perhaps a family disposition to suicidal behavior, contributed to Papa’s deepening depression, paranoia, and inability to write. VERDICT Through photos, clips, and recollections from friends and family members, this film expertly reconstructs these men’s lives and loves and their roles in defining masculinity in 20th-century America. Highly recommended.—Stephen Rees, formerly with Levittown Lib., PA

redstarRude Dude: The Steve Rude Story. color. 91 min. Ian Fischer, dist. by Garden Thieves Pictures, www.gardenthieves.com. 2014. DVD UPC 045635494428. $24.99. ART-COMICS

steverudestory2215Artist Steve Rude (b. 1956), with his comic book series “Nexus” (cocreated with writer Mike Baron) and beyond-iconic illustrations of Superman, Batman, X-Men, and more, has long been blowing minds, inspiring both readers and modern masters such as Alex Ross. Recently, disenchanted with both the comics industry and his self-publishing venture, Rude turned his talents to fine art, a creatively rewarding but less-than-lucrative decision that has taken its toll on him and his family, as have Rude’s battles with depression and mental illness. Filmmaker Fischer examines it all through the unvarnished testimonies and travails of Rude, along with comments from his friends, family members, collaborators, and others. Fischer’s methods are as basic as the production values, but the warts-and-all result justly acknowledges the subject’s brilliance, struggles, and flaws. Bonus features include commentary tracks with Fischer and Baron and a Rude sketchbook gallery. ­VERDICT This in-depth look at a comic book legend visits dark places and shines all the brighter for it. Profanity and saucy imagery make it suitable for YA audiences and up. Highly recommended for all viewers; essential for comics fans.—J. Osicki, Saint John Free P.L., NB

redstarTosca’s Kiss. color. 87 min. In Italian w/English subtitles. Daniel Schmid, dist. by Icarus Films, www.icarusfilms.com. 2014. DVD UPC 854565001701. $398. Public performance; home version $24.98. music

toscaskiss2215Dustin Hoffman “presents” this “fully restored” 30-year-old prize-winning documentary, which served as inspiration for his own 2012 fictionalized version, Quartet. The setting is “Casa di Riposa,” the Milanese home for retired singers and musicians that Giuseppe Verdi established, and the stars are people renowned in their day as masters of their art: Sara Scuderi (1906–87), ­Giuseppe Manacchini (1902–90), and ­Giulietta ­Simionato (1910–2010), among others. The residents reminisce, perform, and seem to relish being on camera—another audience! Swiss filmmaker Schmid captures the sweet spirit among these folks, who remain determined to rehearse scenes to artistic perfection and devoted to the memory of their favorite composer. Paced more slowly than 21st-century youngsters demand, this is a film for them to share with their parents and grand­parents, who, if they love opera, should fondly remember seeing it in theaters when it first appeared. Verdict A welcome digitized version of an old favorite with opera mavens.—Bonnie Jo Dopp, librarian emerita, Univ. of Maryland Lib., College Park

torn by war

Korengal: This Is What War Feels Like. color. 84+ min. Sebastian Junger, Battle Films in assoc. with Goldcrest Films & Outpost Films, dist. by Virgil Films, www.virgilfilmsent.com. 2014. DVD UPC 829567106426. $19.99. Closed-captioned. MILITARY STUDIES

korengal2215Junger’s (The Last Patrol) documentary is a follow-up to his acclaimed 2010 film, Restrepo. Korengal includes the same troops from the earlier production who here discuss warfare with an honesty, directness, and simplicity that add to the film’s open-eyed tone. The Korengal Valley is a harsh section of Afghanistan, and the men who inhabit this remote outpost for long stretches of time are isolated and under constant attack. As the men talk in post­deployment interviews about subjects such as bravery, personal fears, favorite machine guns, and the sweet rush of adrenaline during firefights, Junger cuts to footage of these warriors on the ridge, blissfully firing weapons, traversing precarious trails, communicating with local villagers who might want to kill them, or staving off boredom between gun battles. VERDICT While not as revelatory, raw, or intense as its predecessor, Korengal is still an intriguing, apolitical meditation on modern warfare as told by actual troops, with boots on the ground and in a location unlike any other.—Joshua Peck, Palos Verdes Lib. Dist., Rolling Hills Estates, CA

redstarUnmanned: America’s Drone Wars. color. 63+ min. Robert Greenwald, Brave New Fdn., dist. by Disinformation Co. c/o Entertainment One, Amazon.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781939517203. $19.98. MILITARY STUDIES

unmanned2215Greenwald has made a number of documentaries intended to ruffle feathers in Washington. His latest production investigates the impact that U.S. drone strikes have across the globe. Using firsthand accounts of Pakistani civilians who were injured in drone attacks, ­Greenwald makes a compelling case against this facet of the war on terror. The testimony of the victims juxtaposed against footage of CIA director John Brennan claiming that “there hasn’t been a single collateral death” is quite powerful. The film also examines the effect of drone warfare on those who are at the controls. One of the prominent interviewees is a young air force veteran who is clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the orders he has carried out. VERDICT Greenwald adds another thought-provoking exposé to his string of successful films. This production features high-quality video and audio throughout. Not appropriate for young children owing to graphic content. An excellent documentary; highly recommended for general viewers.—Rod Bustos, Georgia Regents Univ. Lib., Augusta

Trailers: What’s Coming on DVD/Blu-ray

The Captive. color. 112+ min. Atom Egoyan, dist. by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Mar. 2015. DVD UPC 031398214649. $19.98; Blu-ray UPC UPC 031398214670. $24.99. Rated: R. DRAMA

Solving a girl’s disappearance.

Cries and Whispers. 2 discs. color. 91+ min. In Swedish w/English subtitles. Ingmar Bergman, dist. by Criterion Collection. Mar. 2015. DVD ISBN 9781604659733. $29.95; 1-disc Blu-ray ISBN 9781604659726. $39.95. DRAMA

Oscar winner about a sister dying.

Hoop Dreams. 2 discs. color. 171+ min. Steve James & others, dist. by Criterion Collection. Mar. 2015. DVD ISBN 9781604659658. $29.95; 1-disc Blu-ray ISBN 9781604659641. $39.95. SPORTS

A sports triumph, 20 years later.

Life Itself. color. 120 min. Steve James, dist. by Magnolia Home Entertainment. Feb. 2015. DVD UPC 876964008075. $26.98; Blu-ray UPC 876964008082. $29.98. BIOG

lifeitself2215Movie critic Roger Ebert, on film.

Ride the Pink Horse. b/w. 101+ min. Robert Montgomery, dist. by Criterion Collection. Mar. 2015. DVD ISBN 9781604659672. $29.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604659665. $39.95. DRAMA

Actor Montgomery’s overlooked noir.

The Soft Skin . b/w. 117+ min. In French w/English subtitles. François Truffaut, dist. by Criterion Collection. Mar. 2015. DVD ISBN 9781604659634. $29.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604659627. $39.95. DRAMA

A scholar & a stewardess take flight.

Song One. color. 86+ min. Kate Barker-Froyland. Mar. 2015. Cinedigm. DVD UPC 883476146676. $14.99; Blu-ray UPC 883476146867. $19.97. Rated: PG-13. ROMANCE/drama

Anne Hathaway returns to Brooklyn.

The Thin Blue Line. color. 101+ min. Errol Morris, dist. by Criterion Collection. Mar. 2015. DVD ISBN 9781604659719. $29.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604659702. $39.95. DOCUMENTARY

Film as forensics.—Bette-Lee Fox

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FICTION

As High as the Sky. color. 91+ min. Nikki Braendlin, Aunt Kiki Prods., dist. by Cinema Libre Studio, www.cinemalibrestudio.com. 2014. DVD UPC 881394118928. $19.95. F

Breathless. 2 discs. color. 360 min. Paul Unwin & others, ITV Studios & Masterpiece, dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781627890564. $34.99; Blu-ray ISBN 9781627890571. $39.99. SDH subtitles. F/TV

Elmer Gantry. color. 146+ min. Richard Brooks. DVD UPC 738329139520; Blu-ray UPC 738329139629.

Run Silent, Run Deep. b/w. 93 min. Robert Wise . DVD UPC 738329139926; Blu-ray UPC 738329140021.

The Young Savages. b/w. 103 min. John Frankenheimer . DVD UPC 738329139728; Blu-ray UPC 738329139827.

ea. vol: Kino Lorber, www.kinolorber.com 2014. DVD $19.99; Blu-ray $29.99. F

Frontera. color. 103+ min. Michael Berry, Frontera Prods., dist. by Magnolia, www.magpictures.com. 2014. DVD UPC 876964007542. $26.98; Blu-ray UPC 876964007559. $29.98. Rated: PG-13. F

Lovejoy: Series 2. 3 discs. color. 650 min. Don Leaver & others, BBC-TV in assoc. with Witzend/Tamarisk Prods., dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781621722441. $49.99. SDH subtitles. F

ARTS & HUMANITIES

Flex Is Kings. color. 83+ min. Deidre Schoo & Michael Beach Nichols, No Weather Prod., dist. by Kino Lorber, www.kinolorberedu.com. 2014. DVD UPC 738329134921. $149; public performance $349; DSL $499; PPR/DSL $599; home version $29.95. Dance

Frank Zappa, 1969–1973: Freak Jazz, Movie Madness and Another Mothers. b/w. 157 min. Tom O’Dell, Sexy Intellectual, dist. by MVDvisual, 800-888-0486; www.mvdb2b.com. 2014. DVD UPC 823564539690. $19.95. MUSIC

The Sex Pistols on TV: The TV Interviews Uncensored. color & b/w. 120+ min. Mark Sloper, A2B Media, dist. by MVDvisual, 800-888-0486; www.mvdb2b.com. 2014. DVD UPC 5060082519468. $16.95. MUSIC

SOCIAL SCIENCE

redstarPortrait of Jason: A Film by Shirley Clarke. (Project Shirley, Vol. 2). color & b/w. 107+ min. Shirley Clarke, dist. by Milestone Films, www.milestonefilms.com. 2014. DVD $300. Public performance; home version ISBN 9781933920634. $29.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781933920641. $39.95. BIOG/GENDER STUDIES

One Punch Homicide. color. 87/20 min. Steve Kokette, dist. by Alylmer Pr., www.onepunchhomicide.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9780932314772. $30; public performance $100 + $5 s/h. SDH subtitles. crime/soc sci

redstarValentine Road. color. 88/52+ min. Marta Cunningham, dist. by Bullfrog Films, 800-543-3764; www.bullfrogfilms.com. 2014. DVD $295 (Rental: $95). Public performance; SDH subtitles. CRIME

Disruption. color. 84 min. In Spanish & Portuguese w/English subtitles. Pamela Yates, dist. by Skylight Pictures, skylight.is/educate/disruption. 2014. DVD $349. Public performance. ECON/int affairs

Citizen Autistic. color. 68+ min. William Davenport, Talk Story Films, dist. by Cinema Libre Studio, www.cinemalibrestudio.com. 2014. DVD/on demand UPC 881394119826. $19.95. PSYCH

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Bee People: Get Stung. color. 102+ min. David G. Knappe, Ellis Edits, Inc. & Glencross Films, dist. by True Mind: TDC Entertainment, TDCent.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781939517272. $19.98. NATURE

 

 

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