Paolo Sorrentino's This Must Be the Place
found a place of its own in my top ten of 2012, though I know many critics who absolutely loathed this quirky revenge film. While there isn't a whole lot of physical violence in the film, Sean Penn's Cheyenne inflicts mounds of emotional violence upon himself throughout the film as he searches the country for his father's Nazi tormentor and simultaneously exorcises his own demons. Penn's character is a strange creation, a well-drawn, three dimensional caricature who elicits sympathy in spite of his stilted performance. I definitely recommend at least giving this one a shot.
Anchor Bay/Starz's Blu-ray release, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. While the film looks stunning and accurate to the theatrical presentation I saw, there is a lot missing from this disc. Not only is this the truncated US version with no option of the longer Cannes cut (available on the Region B UK Blu), but it is also completely bare bones without even a trailer. The UK disc from Artificial Eye includes both cuts of the film and about an hour of deleted scenes and other bonus material. Sad that this film was dumped to home video this way. I wouldn't have even know it was coming out had it not arrived in my mailbox when it did.
Here's a snippet from Niels' review:
This Must Be The Place is a lovely mix of comedy, absurdity and human
drama, featuring a strong lead and a memorable cast of secondary
characters. The film is a tad long and might move along rather slowly if
you're not used to Sorrentino's style of filming, but people who can
appreciate a good arthouse flick should feel right at home. The film is
genuinely funny, moving and refreshingly honest. A film that restored my
faith in Sorrentino and one that makes me look forward to his next
Killing Them Softly
The art-house action film is a curious beast. Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly
is not an audience friendly film, it requires consideration and patience, but it pays off handsomely for those willing to give a little. The opening sequences of violence are shot operatically and the abrasively loud title sequence give the viewer a taste of what they are in for. It is trial by fire, and many won't survive. With a strong cast and a strong, if undeniably heavy-handed, script, Killing Them Softly
had me hook, line, and sinker from the minute the lights went down and the screeching soundtrack came up in the theater.
This Blu-ray looks and sounds exceptional, however, like This Must Be the Place
, it is disappointingly light on extras. There are a small handful of deleted scenes and a six minute "making of" featurette, nothing to get excited over. I'm noticing a trend here, and I don't like it, but I suppose the market will determine what consumers get. Well, the market is a butthole. This film is screaming for context. Commentaries, more making of material and interviews. Surely there was someone on set who filmed something of value. Anyway, it's a great film worth checking out if only to understand why some people loathe it so much.
Here's a small piece from Ryland's review:
For all the praise due the cast, it is Dominik's stylish storytelling
that steals the show. Devices like an incredible bullet-time sequence
serve to enhance the narrative as well as adding an unforgettable cool
factor. Additional praise should be saved for the exquisite sound mix,
elements of which play right into the story as well. This is one movie
that begs to be seen in a theater that isn't afraid to play it loud.