Blink and you may have missed these fantastic movies that were released on DVD in 2012. Here is a list of my top ten DVD releases of 2012:
10. The Decoy Bride starring Doctor Who! Erm, that is David Tennant and Kelly MacDonald star in this fun, light-hearted romantic comedy from IFC Films. MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire) plays a feisty Scottish lass who ends up tangled in the celebrity wedding of Lara Tyler (played by Alice Eve) to English author James Arber (played by Tennant of Doctor Who). It is a wee bit silly, but if you’re a Tennant fan, you must watch it.
9. Goats stars David Duchovny (The X-Files) as “Goat Man.” It’s only 20% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, which means it might be rotten (there haven’t been enough reviews to reach a consensus, yet). Released by Image Entertainment in September, Goats is a coming-of-age story in which the adults have to come of age when the child Ellis (played by Graham Phillips) heads off to boarding school. Goats is quirky and charming. It’s way better than The Men Who Stare at Goats. Plus, it’s got fabulous performances from Justin Kirk (Weeds) and Duchovny.
7. Safety Not Guaranteed “WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.” – That is the ad that Seattle Magazine employees Darius (Aubrey Plaza), Jeff (Jake Johnson), and intern Arnau (Karan Soni) set off to investigate. Directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Derek Connolly, Plaza (Parks and Recreation) and mumblecore darling Mark Duplass (The League) shine in this film.
8. Roadie, from Magnolia Pictures, stars Ron Eldard (ER) as he doesn’t deal with being fired from his job as a roadie for Blue Öyster Cult. He returns to his hometown in Queens, where he reconnects with his mother, records, and high school pals played by Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire) and Jill Hennessy (Crossing Jordan). Roadie was directed and co-written by Michael Cuesta, who is an executive producer for Homeland and has directed a slew of fantastic TV shows. If you have a love for seventies rock and B. Ö.C, or are suffering from Cannavale withdrawal (R.I.P. Gyp Rosetti), Roadie is a must watch. Eldard’s performance is stunning.
6. Sleepwalk with Me from IFC Films is comedic, yet heart-breaking. Co-directed by Shrewsbury native Mike Birbiglia and This American Life’s Ira Glass, Sleepwalk with Me is inspired by Birbiglia’s own battle with sleepwalking. Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) stars as the girlfriend of Matt (played by Birbiglia; he’s like the Michael Landon of this film). Eight years into their relationship, the pair is still not married and Matt’s feeling the pressure. So, he takes his comedy act on the road to try and sort things out. When he starts sharing his real-life difficulties, the show improves, but at what sacrifice?
5. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within was originally released in 2010, but was just released on DVD in the States in 2012. From director José Padilha, this Brazilian movie is packed with intrigue and action. The sequel to Elite Squad (2007), screenwriter Bráulio Mantovani (City of God) brings it. It’s in Portuguese with English subtitles. That better not stop you from watching one of the best dirty cop dramas since The Departed.
4. Melancholia The pitch: “A beautiful movie about the end of the world.” Lars von Trier’s gorgeous opus Melancholia achieves that with a devastating performance by Kirsten Dunst as Justine. Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, and Charlotte Gainsbourg are also stunning. For Truebies (fans of True Blood) you can get your fix of Alexander Skarsgaard, who plays Justine’s groom. Skarsgaard’s father, Stellan Skarsgaard is also in Melancholia, so you get two Skarsgaards in one movie! Kidding aside, this movie is haunting and indeed a beautiful movie about the end of the world.
3. Goon Do you miss hockey? Then Goon will help ease your suffering. Or make you pine for hockey even more. Is Goon the best Canadian export since Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comic book series? Well, it does have Alison Pill, who was in the Scott Pilgrim film adaptation. Actors Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel (also co-writer of the film), and Liev Schreiber are fantastic in this hockey comedy.
2. The Loving Story In February 2012, HBO aired this poignant documentary about Richard and Mildred Loving and their long battle to be legally married. Richard was white and Mildred was not; that was not okay in Virginia in 1958. Interracial marriage has only been legal in all fifty states since 2000, when voters from the last hold-out, Alabama, repealed a 1901 provision that prohibited interracial marriages.
1. Restless Director Gus Van Sant’s Restless is like Benny and Joon mixed up with Beetlejuice and A Walk to Remember. Warning: It is a very sad movie. Mia Wasikowska is delicate, yet vibrant as Annabel Cotton. Henry Hopper is the melancholy and mysterious Enoch Brae, who speaks to his only companion: a World War II ghost pilot named Hiroshi Takahasi (played by Ryō Kase). That is until Enoch spies Annabel at a funeral. The costuming for this film, by Danny Glicker, is exquisite. And, as all things are connected, Glicker did the costume design for L.I.E., the directorial debut by Michael Cuesta, who directed number eight on this list (Roadie).
New England is lucky to have Independent Film Fest Boston, where you can catch many limited release movies like Sleepwalk with Me. This year, the fest is being held April 24 – 30, 2013, so mark your calendars!