CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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DVD Releases

Drawing on the Rest of Life During Wartime’s Cast

by Christopher Beaubien • August 03, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

Artwork by Akiko Stehrenberger from the Criterion booklet of Life During Wartime.

The cast of Life During Wartime (2010) from left to right:
Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens (Andy Kornbluth), Shirley Henderson (Joy Jordan), Michael Kenneth Williams (Allen), Ally Sheedy (Helen Jordan), Rich Pecci (Mark Wiener), Michael Lerner (Harvey Wiener), Allison Janney (Trish Jordan), Emma Hinz (Chloe Maplewood), Chris Marquette (Billy Maplewood), Ciarán Hinds (Bill Maplewood)

As I suspected about the new Criterion release of Life During Wartime (2011) back in May, Miss Stehrenberger has illustrated the whole gaggle of characters from the film.

Beautifully done!

The arrangement of the characters complements their relationships to each other so thoughtfully. All three of the Jordan sisters are separated from each other. Joy is torn between her husband and the ghost of her ex-boyfriend. Helen, the black sheep, who has abandoned her family, is ignored by everyone. Most dominant is Trish, positioned up front. With her steely gaze, she has a dynamic presence. Her vibrant, almost violently paint-slashed dress suggests that she has survived a battle.

Notice how both Joy and Trish’s daughter Chloe have their arms behind their backs. I find Chloe standing in front of her mother has the stance of a foot soldier. Joy and Chloe also share similar hairstyles, head shape and facial features. How ironic that Trish is on her way to raising little Joy all on her own. Remember when Chloe wondered if baby carrots feel pain? That’s the kind of thought “Sensitive Joy” might have had as a kid.

Fathers and sons are paired together on both Wiener and Maplewood fronts. The two Wieners assume the same pose. I’m going out on a limb, but I doubt Bill has his hands in his pockets like his son does. Of course, Bill is cast off to the far right. The only character in the group he talks to is his son. Andy is on the far left – he’s dead with only Joy as his last connection to the the world of the living… or is it just in her head?

DVD Releases: Synecdoche, New York, Pinocchio, Let the Right One In and More!

by Christopher Beaubien • March 10, 2009 • Start the Discussion!

This has to be a record! Five of my choices for the Best Films of 2008 are being released today on DVD. To top it off, a real Disney classic has been given the pristine treatment. What a stellar date this is for film lovers.

Pinocchio (2-Disc 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition) (1940)

pinocchio

Pinocchio is arguably the best animated feature film that Walt Disney Studios initially released. This beautifully rendered animation directed by Ben Sharpsteen and Hamilton S. Luske makes my heart go out to the immortal two-dimensional format. It’s true that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) directed by David Hand was a revolutionary pioneer of animated features, but Pinocchio easily trumps Snow White as a compelling narrative.

About the video quality on Blu-Ray, David Boulet from dvdfile.com writes:

With Pinocchio, every brush-stroke, the rich texture conveyed by the surface of the canvas or paper, the consistency of the watercolor wash, or the density of the pastel chalk, is all displayed with dazzling purity. The effect is like being absorbed into a moving picture full of life and infused with the spirit of the artisans that crafted it together. Such nuance, which was obscured by the added artifacts of multi-generation film-print production for its original audience now breathes a new life of clarity for high definition viewers today. I can’t complain. I don’t think that Walt or his artists would either.

The DVD has a number of extras including documentaries, deleted scenes, and an indispensable audio commentary by Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg and J.B. Kaufman.

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