The Wedding (2019/Sony
Blu-ray)/Blinded By The
Demons (2015) + Genese
(2018/both Film Movement DVDs)/Olivia
B/B/C/C+/C+/B Sound: B/B/C/C+/C+/C+ Extras: C/C/C/C-/C+/C
are a new set of dramas, including some foreign films you may not
have heard about, including a lost classic and what is one of the
nest films of 2019...
film is Bart Freundlich's After The Wedding (2019) that begins
at an orphanage in India, doing well in part because of a woman who
is working hard to do so and is paying attention to everything (the
always great Michelle Williams) and she is loved by the children
there. Suddenly, a shockingly good offer to help support the
institution with a $2 Million donation!
have to travel to New York City to accept and it is all expenses
paid, so she goes and meets the rich businesswoman (the amazing
Julianne Moore) who makes the offer. However, her daughter is
getting married and she asks Isabel (Williams) to stay and attend.
Then things get odd when she meets the husband/father (Billy Crudup)
on this family and he asks why she is there. They know each other
and something is going on that all are going to want to get to the
bottom of immediately.
there, this takes some amazing twists and turns, but is not a
thriller or even a regular melodrama, but an extraordinary character
examination of a situation that has happened to people in the past
and will again. From there, I was just very impressed by the
realism, honesty, heart, soul and strength of the film. This is one
of those increasingly rare mature, adult, serious films that
Hollywood used to know how to make all the time and seems to have
lost the ability to do so over the last few decades. I did not know
what to expect when I first started watching, but this just slowly
builds and builds and builds into a strong film that more and more
people should see. The performances are amazing all around and
though I will not say much else about the content, I strongly
recommend you go out of your way to see this one.
include a Making Of featurette and some Sony trailers.
Chadha's Blinded By The Light (2019) is based on the
best-selling book about a young man who fells he has nowhere to go in
life, is unhappy with what his future looks like and sees nothing
hopeful until he hears the music of Bruce Springsteen and his life is
transformed for the better for good. We have seen this story many
times before, but this one is made with some energy, ambition and
depth. The problem is, If you are not a Springsteen fan and many
non-fans exist, then the film will not be as convincing.
place in 1987 in Thatcher's England in early regression mode, the
dead-endedness is very relatable and we guess Puck Rock was too late
for Javed (Viveik Kalra, who does give it his all here) while the
singer is still in his early commercial and critical prime. It even
gets the period correct for the most part, if not densely so. Even
the supporting cast is good, but I just found it uneven and not
totally effective overall, but those more interested should give it a
include Digital Copy, then the disc adds Behind The Scenes piece,
Making Of featurette and Deleted Scenes.
a Catholic seminary for boys taught by priests struggles to raise
teenage boys into future priests, but their greatest problem lies in
how to deal teenage sexuality. As the boys mature into young adults,
they are isolated, denied and told it is a sin to have anything
sexual. Only problem is, it's not just the boys too in Fred
(1977), now finally out on DVD in the U.S. market.
the '50s and in an all boys schools for priests, the priests are
repressing and denying the boys from sexual education and instead
telling them to 'focus' their energies elsewhere, but the boys begin
find themselves attracted to each other, and being repressed they
start getting into homosexuality, self torture, hazing to vent their
sexual frustrations. Unfortunately, it is not just the boys, the
priests are also sexually repressed and frustrated, the only
difference is they have been on it longer than the boys. On their
day off in town (and behind close doors) the priests spend drinking,
gambling and having sex too, but after tragedy strikes and the
priests begin to question why are they denying the boys what nature
and God had intended?
'Devil's Playground' was/is a figure of speech, there was no 'Devil'
but the characters own desires and sexual nature. It teaches when
religion/society puts up too many rules ends up repressing people
into tragedy. Watching it remind me of a darker and older version of
'Dead Poets Society' and those in charge refuse admit they
have a problem (much less change or take responsibility). Extras
include interviews with Director Fred Schepisi and crew, commentary
and trailer, but for more on the film, try this link:
Lasage's The Demons (2015) and Genese (2018) are the
director's first and third feature film, possibly
semi-autobiographical, but with other things going on that makes us
wonder how much, if so. In the first film, 10-year-old Felix
(Edouard Tremblay-Grenier) is alone, has a wild imagination and is
dealing with adults the best he can when someone is going around
kidnapping children. As the crimes increase, he becomes increasingly
disturbed, but will he be an actual target?
place in Montreal, Genese has three teens also dealing with
growing up, but no killer is on the loose, though they are having
their first encounters with falling in love, including a now older
Felix (Edouard Tremblay-Grenier again, only somewhat recognizable)
and no killer on the loose. His friend Guillaume (Theodore Pellerin)
is also dealing with is sexuality, something we saw Felix deal with
in the last film, so they both have bi-sexual tendencies at least,
but both have female encounters and friends here too, so we are left
to see where they will go with their lives and explorations.
it makes the viewer more of a voyeur than usual, which is fine, but
problematic when involving children, especially when they are in
jeopardy like the first film. No matter how honest the director may
be trying to be, the films become problematic at worse and offer few
new ideas at best, so Truffaut fans have nothing to worry about.
There is nothing new to discover here and I think the first film
still has child-in-jeopardy issues, intended or not. Now, you can
see both back to back for yourself and try to find something more
than I did. Neither were very memorable, but he was at least
thorough in what he made with both films.
include a trailer on Demons, but a feature length audio
commentary by Director Lasage and Tristan Aymon's short film The
Lesson on Genese.
we have Jacqueline Audry's Olivia (1950) which is a lost
French film finally found and saved. Made before the French New Wave
and with a female director, the film takes place in the later 19th
Century in France and deals with a woman's boarding school where the
two women running it (Simon Simone and Edwige Feuillere) are not only
rivals in competition for each other, but it has a sexual element as
they compete with each other for the affections of young women who
arrive there all the time.
gets heated when the title character (Marie-Claire Olivia) shows up
and they both want her and things get more tenuous than usual.
Because the period is a little more oppressed than today, this does
not become a soap opera, Dynasty set over 100 years ago or
anything phony, so everything is always boiling under, especially
since lesbianism was not very open then and that adds more tension
and authenticity to this period piece than if it were made by most
it is also an authentic female discourse is a plus, but the film was
buried for far too long, not revived by the French film critics or
anyone from the French New Wave, it is more than progressive enough
and its rediscovery and rerelease are a true event that Icarus has
issued in this fine new Blu-ray. It is a must-see for all serious
film fans and worth your time.
include a Vintage Original Theatrical Trailer, rerelease/restoration
trailer and 10-minutes interview with Director Audry on French TV in
for playback performance, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition
image on Wedding is very nicely shot, consistent and one of
the few really good-looking films of 2019, with some styling that
makes it soft at times and good color as well. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is obviously
dialogue-driven, but very well done.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
is an HD shoot that is good for what it is, but is rarely anything
extraordinary, but still consistent. The
Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) is also
dialogue-based, so the tracks only kick in for the music, which is
fine if you like it, but hardly demo material, of course.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Olivia can show the age of the materials used, but
was almost a lost film, so many minor flaws (taken form a nitrate
print and original camera materials) is to be expected. The Grey
scale is fine, as is the Video Black. The French DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Stereo is a decent attempt to upgrade the old theatrical
monophonic sound, but the film still shows its age.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Playground DVD
with its lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound shows its ager and is a
little weaker than the Australian DVD, but both are outdone by the
Australian import Blu-ray, so at least you have choices.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Demons
and anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Genese
tie for best-looking DVDs here, though I could see room for
improvement if Blu-rays ever rolled around. Both also offer lossy
French Dolby Digital 5.1 and even 2.0 Stereo mixes, but the 5.1 is a
bit better in both cases and Genese
has some English dialogue. Both offer plenty of talk, so you know
you only get so much sound, but both mixes are consistent enough.
Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Playground)