Enter the Void (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES C
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6
(OUT OF 10)
If you walked up to me and said, "I hate you for thinking Enter the Void is a good movie!" I would completely understand. It is a creation from director Gaspar Noé that's often vile and disgusting, and there were many moments when I sort of regretted sitting down to watch it.
However, I just can't shake how technically marvelous this movie is. It tells the story of Oscar, a drug dealer who gets killed and becomes a ghost. The difference between this and other ghost movies is that the movie makes the viewer a floating entity that can observe people, but is unable to talk—so you spend the majority of the film floating over buildings, into rooms and even into other people's bodies.
It's one of the more amazing cinematic head-trips put to celluloid, and a directorial feat of major proportions. It's also a bit gross and goes too far in more than a few moments.
Paz de la Huerta lets it all hang out as Linda, Oscar's stripper sister who comes to live with him in Tokyo. She is the person Oscar visits the most while floating around in the "in between" world. Oscar often watches his sister having sex, which is more than a little creepy.
Noé is no stranger to controversy. He made Irreversible, which contains the most disturbing scene I have ever witnessed in a motion picture. While Enter the Void is pretty notorious in spots, it doesn't match the heinousness of Irreversible.
And, yes, I like Irreversible, too. Hey, some things in this world are quite repulsive, and Noé isn't afraid to show us some of them. Those who appreciate cinema that dares to be different should check this one out; just make sure you have plenty of time to rest and recover after viewing it.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Some deleted scenes and a couple of featurettes.
Alice in Wonderland: 60th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray + DVD Combo)
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.5
(OUT OF 10)
I'm in the camp that thinks Tim Burton butchered Lewis Carroll's wonderful stories with his sorry attempt at 3-D last year. Disney's 1951 animated film still stands as the best version of Carroll's vision.
That's not to say it stands up to other Disney classics. It's a musical, and most of the songs are completely forgettable. Actually, they are all forgettable, for I cannot recall a single one, and I watched the film one day ago.
Even with the forgettable tunes, you have to give old Walt some credit for being faithful to the novels and making a delightfully strange film. I did love Alice's visit with the smoking caterpillar and the Mad Hatter. And, yes, the picture looks incredible in the Blu-ray format.
It's still the best Alice movie ... which is not bad, considering it is 60 years old, and the story has been told many times.
My second-favorite version of Alice is the Tom Petty video in which he wears the big hat and eats his coffee cup.
SPECIAL FEATURES: This includes a host of behind-the-scenes featurettes, including footage of Kathryn Beaumont (the voice of Alice) acting out her part so the artists could have a point of reference. This footage is being made available to the public for the first time, and it's a treat to see it.
Nowhere Boy (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES C-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.75
(OUT OF 10)
Even if you hate The Beatles (and shame on you if you do), this movie is still worth seeing as a captivating take on what inspires somebody's art.
Aaron Johnson, in a remarkable performance, plays a pre-Fab Four John Lennon, living with his Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) after only recently being introduced to his mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff). As Lennon gets to know his flighty, charming and troubled mom, it puts a strain on his relationship with Mimi. All the while, he is starting to hang around and play guitar with a young, sweet-looking fellow named Paul (Thomas Brodie Sangster).
Director Sam Taylor-Wood strives to create a realistic and compelling family drama; the family just happens to belong to one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. While Lennon's obsession with music is certainly addressed, the film's focus is on these two women in his life, and how they helped make him the man that he was.
Both Thomas and Duff deliver performances worthy of Oscar nominations (which never came). Thomas' work is especially interesting, because Mimi goes from an annoying, domineering figure to a truly sympathetic one. Duff's performance gives Julia a dignified tribute, as touching as the song Lennon penned for her on "The White Album."
Johnson, who also starred in last year's Kick-Ass, was certainly one of 2010's most interesting actors. His performance as Lennon is charming, avoids mimicry and is a tribute to the man's legend.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes and making-of featurettes.