After last Tuesday's DVD dry spell, this week's offerings are very exciting. All of these new DVDs have been getting plenty of buzz. Here are three worth updating those Netflix queues for!
This adaptation of the memoir by Augusten Burroughs is tender, funny, and heartbreaking. Joseph Cross is endearing as Augusten, struggling to grow up in an unstable home environment with an emotionally unsteady mother, brilliantly played by Annette Benning. Augusten's life takes a turn for the bizarre when his mother brings him to live with her eccentric psychiatrist and his family. Evan Rachel Wood plays the doctor's daughter, who soon becomes Augusten's partner in dysfunction as the two find themselves growing up quickly.
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Michel Gondry's follow-up to The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells a surprisingly straightforward story: Boy meets girl; boy can't have girl. But the movie is also a puzzle without all its pieces. Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a young Mexican artist who moves to Paris after his father's death, starts a tedious job, and falls madly in love with his disinterested neighbor. But in his dreams, he remembers how joy fees: He grows huge papier-mache hands to crush his boss and charms the girl with a ride on her beloved stuff horse. The line between real life and fantasy stays blurred, as though everything happens in that hazy place between awake and sleep, where nothing computes and yet everything makes sense.
I have yet to see Hollywoodland, based on the real-life murder mystery of George Reeves (played by Ben Affleck), the TV actor who originated the role of Superman. But I'm intrigued by the kudos (and the Golden Globe nomination) that Affleck earned for his apparently spot-on performance. The noir homage stars Adrien Brody as the detective unearthing Reeves' strange story, including his affair with Toni Mannix, portrayed by the excellent yet subtle Diane Lane. I plan to put this in my queue; have any of you seen it?