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The 5 Best DVD and Streaming Releases of August 2013

By Jodi Smith | DVD Releases | August 30, 2013 |

By Jodi Smith | DVD Releases | August 30, 2013 |


“With all that acting, and beautiful direction, we’re given a movie that is about all sorts of matters. There’s the obvious adventure element, and the scenes of Ellis and Neckbone out and about are great — some of the film’s best scenes, in fact, are scenes with just the two of them. The movie is also loaded with father/son themes, through several characters and relationships (I count at least five separate father/son relationships). It touches on the love that underlies these relationships, and the disappointment that’s possible because of this love. It’s here where McKinnon in particular shines. I’ve never seen him play a character quite like this, sad and determined and bitter, but still a loving father. It’s remarkable.” — Seth Freilich


Oblivion doesn’t retell anyone else’s story, though it does have a good deal in common with some other sci-fi movies. Rather, it’s that the film is working within a certain subset of sci-fi and only has so many directions to go. What makes the film work as well as it does is Kosinski’s investment in the material. I wasn’t surprised with anything I saw here, but I did care about what I saw. I was invested in the story and interested in what would happen, and when the ending arrived, I thought, “I’ll buy that.” More importantly, the story never forgets where its headed, and Kosinski ties everything up nicely in the end. It’s may be a pastiche, but it’s a good one.” - Daniel Carlson

To the Wonder

“Is To the Wonder a good film? Yes. Is there some other “good” film we could weigh it against to get some sense of its style or plans? Not at all. I wrestled with To the Wonder as it unfolded, working to stay with its scattered people and broken voice-overs, and I was captivated. It’s a challenging, difficult film, and I found my responses or lack thereof different than they might have been in any other instance. Malick’s most at home using people as symbols: everyone here wears solid colors, as if to highlight their use as pieces of a broader puzzle (as well as complement the stunning photography). This also means that face-to-face conversations or basic exposition — the building blocks of a conventional film — are often the weakest parts of To the Wonder. The entire thing is unhurried, but the only moments that really feel slow are those when Malick isn’t sure how to link certain people together or transition from one place to the next. In other words, the film is least sure of itself on those occasions when it veers toward something more recognizable, and when it downshifts from moral inquiry into doubt its own existence. It’s only when it returns to Malick’s blend of music and image, of visual poetry, that it regains its power.” — Daniel Carlson

The Company You Keep

“This aging population wants to see films like this. Nothing too wild, familiar faces and a plot that harkens back to their own idealistic days while dealing with modern concerns. What I initially wrote off as a slightly boring thriller, I came to realize that this film wasn’t made for me. The Company You Keep isn’t the type of movie you’ll necessarily ever want to see again, there’s no obvious lessons to be learned in filmmaking, no noticeably wild cinematography or fantastical costuming or beautiful sets. Instead, at every turn, there’s tidy and serviceable dialogue from faces you’ll recognize and a plot that won’t make anyone mad. It’s a movie-movie, the kind they used to make before things had to get inventive to draw audiences in, and it’s engaging at times, a little slow at others, a bit obvious now and then, but enjoyable all the same.” — Amanda Mae Meyncke


“Haneke’s done it again. With his stunningly assured Amour, detailing the devastation wrought on an aged couple by the woman’s increasing infirmity, the Austrian director — a winner of the Palme d’Or for his last film, The White Ribbon — has created a thing of beauty out of a difficult and harrowing subject, showing a great understanding and compassion in his treatment of two perfectly realised characters. The extent of his achievement can scarcely be overstated.” - Caspar Salmon