Well, that's a bit of a stretch, since there's a stinker or two in the group today, but not only is this one of the most chock-full weeks for DVD in recent memory just in terms of sheer volume, it's also the first time in the history of this column that there's been a tie with my choice for the PICK OF THE WEEK. Yes, I couldn't make up my mind, so the two films sharing this rare (I don't expect to ever do it again) honor are:
The Hurt Locker & Moon
Two of the absolute best films of the year (expect both to show up on my top 10 of 2009 list) hit DVD today, and they are instant classics in my eyes. Both are smaller budget films that look better than many films triple their budget. Both deal with the effects of harsh elements on the male ego, psyche, and brain. Both feature actors doing absolutely incredible work. Where they differ is that The Hurt Locker is a war film that will rake in the Oscar nominations next month, and Moon is smart science fiction film that unfortunately will not (though in a perfect world, Sam Rockwell would be a shoo-in for a nomination). I can't recommend either of these titles enough to you. They're films that every cinema lover should own!
-There are a number of other very good films out this week too. We have the hilarious English satire of politics and war In the Loop. We have Patton Oswalt giving a mesmerizing performance as a tormented New York Giants fan in Big Fan, the directorial debut of the writer of The Wrestler. There's also Departures, the winner of the Best Foreign Language Film award at the Oscars, plus the immigration dram Amreeka. Finally we have the con movie The Brothers Bloom, which finally gets a retail release after only being available for rental.
-We also have some lesser films out, though the first two are actually decently good. There's the rather odd sequel Halloween II, which shows growth by Rob Zombie as a director, but is a weaker movie than his first installment. There's also Downloading Nancy, which features one of Maria Bello's best performances, but it's such a bleak movie that it will turn off many (it partially turned off me). Getting progressively worse we have the mediocre teen flicks Fame (the remake of the superior film of the same name) and Post Grad, while delving even further down in the depths we have the grammatically poor Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Last, and certainly least, we have one of the worst films of the year. It's The Burning Plain and it's one of the biggest wastes of talent I've ever seen. Avoid it at all costs.
-My Vintage pick this week is, in honor of the release Friday of the Cannes-screened English drama Fish Tank, another coming of age story. It's The War Zone, and it's one of the hardest films to sit through that I've ever seen. It's the sole directorial credit of actor Tim Roth, and its powerful look at growing up in England with a confused life and a dark secret will reduce almost anyone to tears. It's tough stuff to handle (people who can't handle the topic of incest being tackled should steer clear), but it's a great film and has one of the first roles of Colin Farrell's career. Give it a shot if you can deal with it.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?