The Year’s Most Underrated Literary Ghost Movie: The Eclipse
Written and directed by standout Irish playwright Conor McPherson, The Eclipse takes place during a small-town literary festival and starts off with the tweedy nuance of a tasteful novel: Ciarán Hinds plays a widowed, blue-collar driver who gets entangled with the alluring writer (Iben Hjejle) he ferries around a podunk Irish town. And then a more famous author enters, completing a tense love triangle. So far, so normal: Ninety percent of the film is a beautifully written character drama with three fully drawn characters who never seem less than human. But then, as in McPherson’s plays Shining City and The Seafarer, things suddenly, and with little warning, get intensely freaky. It would be a shame to give away too much, so let’s just say that if Hinds was holding one of the old Ghostbusters’s Psycho Kinetic Energy detectors, that thing would be blinking like it was two inches from a possessed Rick Moranis.
For more on the film, read our interviews with Conor McPherson and Ciarin Hinds.
You’ve never seen anything like Everlasting Moments
“Jan Troell’s entrancingly beautiful Everlasting Moments uses surfaces—light, texture, faces—to hint at another world, a shadow realm,” New York critic David Edelstein raved last year. “The metaphor is right there in the story, which centers on an early twentieth-century wife and mother, Maria (Maria Heiskanen), who finds an old camera in a cabinet and discovers that she has what another character calls ‘a gift for seeing.’” Edelstein continues: “There isn’t a shot that looks like something you’ve seen before. Troell treats each frame as if the medium of filmmaking was new.”
If Beavis played videogames with Samuel Beckett, you’d get Red Vs. Blue:The Blood Gulch Chronicles:The First Five Seasons
Bungie’s massive space-war game Halo has always been almost perversely narrative-averse and inhuman. (Because faces are so hard to animate, they’re all hidden behind glassy helmets.) And that’s why it was the perfect blank canvas for Red Vs. Blue, a fan-made viral existential comedy and episodic series and the best example of videogame-made cinema, or machinima. Enjoy the banter. Then go back to blowing shit up.
Criterion upgrades another classic, The Leopard.
One of the most important and best-looking restorations in years, this extravagant, extra-packed Criterion edition of Luchino Visconti’s 1963 period-piece epic The Leopard makes its Blu-Ray debut. The film stars Burt Lancaster as one of the last gentlemen left standing in Italy’s fading aristocracy — and the set includes restorations of both the Italian version that won the Palme d’Or and the English-language film released in the United States.
Is Hot Tub Time Machine the boldest single-concept comedy since Dude, Where’s My Car?
There are a few cringey moments in HTTM when you might want to close your eyes. Luckily, the DVD extras don’t dwell on the gross-outs, but rather emphasize the bizarre cameos: namely, “Crispin Glover: One Armed Bellhop,” and “Chevy Chase: The Nicest Guy in Hollywood.”
For more, read our interviews with Hot Tub co-stars Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry, and study our Pop Culture History of the Jacuzzi.
Also in stores this week:
The Crazies; Rem Koolhass: A Kind of Architect; The White Ribbon; Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief; The Closer: Complete Fifth Season; Stolen; Pretty Bird; Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage; When You’re Strange: A Film About the Doors.