Just in time for St. Patrick's day, "Veronica Guerin" and "The Commitments" hit DVD. If Cate Blanchett's muckraking journalist and Alan Parker's ragtag band of lovable Irish Soul musicians don't sound like good crack to you, we can also offer bizarre events in the Japanese countryside, award-winning tragedy involving second-hand body parts, and hours and hours (and hours) of a dysfunctional Scandinavian marriage.
1. 21 Grams
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's second film (after "Amores Perros") is a doozy. Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, and Benicio del Toro star as three strangers whose lives become irrevocably bound through a tragic accident. Challenging, uncomfortable, and uniquely moving, "21 Grams" was one of the 2003's most powerful films. Watts and Del Toro received Oscar nominations and Sean Penn walked away with the Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival.
Kaneto Shindos chilling folktale "Onibaba" is a singular cinematic experience. Set in rural 16th century Japan, a futile war between rival Emperors has emptied the land of its farmers and two women living in sea of grass. The Criterion treatment includes an interview with writer/director Kaneto Shindo, rare Super-8mm behind-the-scene footage (both B&W and color) shot by actor Kei Sato, and a 6-page fold-out insert.
Try a little tenderness: Alan Parker's film about the fictional Irish soul band remains one of our favorite flicks about music, unattainable dreams, and the way James Brown abuses his knees. The ensemble cast is so thoroughly lovable they're bound to stay with you for a very long time. This new 2-DVD collector's edition comes with director's commentary, featurettes, and music videos.
Ingmar Bergman turns his camera into a microscope to study the disintegration of a seemingly perfect marriage and their unusual continuing relationship in six "scenes" over a 10 year period. The Criterion release offers not only the U.S. theatrical version, but also, for the first time on video in the U.S., the filmmakers original 5-hour television version.
Joel Schumacher directs Cate Blanchett in this biopic about a muckraking Irish journalist who faced down Dublin druglords. Blanchett's performance will move you to tears. Special features include two commentary tracks, deleted scenes, footage of the real Veronica Guerin speaking at a meeting of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the making-of documentary featurette "Public Mask, Private Fears."