Some excellent DVD’s come out today. A couple of biopics, a cartoon series from the 90’s, and some Oscar nominees.
The Wrestler – Mickey Rourke deserved every accolade he got in this film by Darren Aronofsky. The film is about Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a wrestler whose best years are behind him. What I found amazing about The Wrestler is the sympathy it generates for its main character. Rourke’s performance is understated, which makes it more powerful. You feel sorry to see a former wrestling star in the 80’s, barely able to afford his rent, playing an 80’s video game where he was featured. You feel this sympathy for Rourke, but it’s not from any big speech he gives, it’s by watching his life unfold. There is a great moment where Rourke is at a small town wrestling convention, and he looks around and sees other wrestler’s who are past their prime, sitting in wheelchairs, nursing injuries from the past, yet still idolized by hardcore wrestling fans. I love everything about this film. Even though I thought Sean Penn was excellent in Milk, Rourke gave the best performance of 2008. Marisa Tomei deserves a lot of kudos for her role as well, and if you buy any DVD this week, but The Wrestler.
Frost/Nixon – Ron Howard’s drama about the interviews conducted by David Frost with Richard Nixon is another great example of a stage play being transferred to the big screen, and succeeding. I saw the play, and knew at the time that a film was in the works. I wondered how it would translate to the screen because of the numerous monologues that are spoken to the audience in the play. Well, I won’t spoil how they get around that problem, but Peter Morgan’s play is still electric on the screen. Frank Langella was nominated for an Oscar for his performance [he won the Tony award for the role in ‘07], and he is surrounded by a top notch cast that includes Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, and Michael Sheen. As much as I liked Langella’s performance on the stage and screen, I think Sheen deserves more credit, as his character’s struggle to make the interviews happen is where the story has its heart. The climatic duel between Frost and Nixon, as well as Nixon’s late night call to Frost were some of the best acting there was in 2008. This is also worth buying.
Notorious – The story of The Notorious B.I.G. comes to the big screen, detailing the rise and fall of one of the most influential rappers in history. It didn’t light the box office on fire, but it did receive some good reviews. Side note – I wish the DVD included Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet singing “Big Poppa”, as whenever I think of Biggie, I think of that impression.
Caprica – From the Executive Producers of Battlestar Galactica, this DVD will appeal to fans of BG, as it is a film about the origins of the shows main villains. I’ve never seen an episode of the show, but it has a very devoted fan base, and it should do quite well on DVD.
Tiny Toon Adventures: Season 1 Volume 2 – This was one of my favourite cartoons of the 90’s, and I’ve been anticipating the second volume of the show. One of my favourite episodes is in this volume, a parody of Sunset Boulevard called Sepulveda Boulevard. The amount of film references and inside jokes in this cartoon is astonishing, and I find that I love it more know than I did as a kid. It’s absolutely worth checking out.