I almost had an all film festival edition of Blu-ray shopping list. I saw The Bronze at Sundance and April and the Extraordinary World at Fantastic Fest. The Lobster premiered at Cannes, The Trust at SXSW. But Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a classic so I had to include it.
This bizarre sci-fi film is about a future in which being single is illegal. So when poor Colin Farrell is dumped, he’s forced to pair up with someone, anyone, by law. He joins other single people at a hotel where if they don’t pair up, they are turned into an animal of their choice. He chooses a lobster, but this is no under the sea adventure.
The Lobster is stark so even the bizarre future is not fantasy-like. The hotel looks drab and even when they go outside it’s drab, either in the forest or the Irish coastline. It works though. Unfortunately, the picture can be a tad flickery with digital noise, mainly in the outdoor scenes. A behind-the-scenes feature has the entire cast reflect on what a weird take writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos had.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Out Today
The 1978 version stands as a classic alongside the 1956 original. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray looks strong. It’s sharp and clear with ‘70s colors that highlight the fashion of the era. You can even see the grain of the original film print.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes with typically extensive Shout! Factory extras. The cast share some great stories about Leonard Nimoy. The Blu-ray also includes pre-existing extras including a Science Fiction Theater episode based on a story by Body Snatchers author Jack Finney. And look at that cover art. Classic Goldblum!
When I saw The Bronze on opening night of Sundance 2015, I was impressed that Melissa Rouch wrote a film for herself, and played an unapologetic character. In light of Bad Moms you can consider this Bad Gymnast.
The Sony Pictures Classics release looks like a big Sony comedy on Blu-ray. It is bright and clear with all the Olympic colors and unitards. The set piece gymnastics sex scene plays out in uncomfortable clarity, and I mean that in the best way.
Some of the deleted scenes were actually in the Sundance cut I saw, so I’m glad to see Hope Ann Greggory freak out about the VCR eating her Olympic tape again. It’s a great performance by Rouch, and a brief pharmacy scene is classic Hope Ann too. New to me deleted scenes have some more outrageous stuff with Rouch and Gary Cole as well.
The Trust – Out Today
I am an undying Nicolas Cage fan but don’t expect regular audience to be as faithful for his recent slew of straight to video movies. The Trust I can wholeheartedly recommend even to the non devoted. This is ’90s comedy Nicolas Cage whom we haven’t seen in decades. The Trust is not exactly a comedy which only makes it a welcomely weirder approach.
Set in Las Vegas, the Blu-ray shows us neon Vegas but more off strip, gritty Vegas. As such, digital noise flares up a lot. It seems like a problem transferring digital footage consistently. It could just be the post house was inattentive to this title. It’s a well done film, so I doubt the cinematography was sloppy. More than the neon, oddly it’s green hotel towels that really pop.
Hearing Cage talk behind the scenes shows he’s as poignant as ever. His take on the value of youthful first time filmmakers, his take on Las Vegas (using the term genius loci), the character backstory he presents on set are even Cagier than what makes it into the film. We get to see him do multiple takes, so there’s more Cage. The behind the scenes features have spoilers so don’t watch them first. The directors’ commentary is full of greta Cage stories too, like the inspiration he took from a Butthole Surfers video. They do his voice pretty well too.
Based on the graphic novel by Jacques Tardi, April and the Extraordinary World is the adventure of young girl in a 1941 France that remains in the industrial age under the rule of Napoleon V. With the help of her talking cat, April searches for her missing parents.
The vision of steampunk industrial France in 2D animation is exquisite. The sky is a sort of black and white that fades in subtle degrees, with more color popping on the ground. Black smoke and sparks flying off the machines sand out, and somehow tiles and glass look shiny.
The behind the scenes feature is en francais with subtitles and goes pretty in depth into the adaptation and animation process. You can see the layers assembled to create the whole picture, and you get to see Marion Cotillard and other cast recording their voices.