Tess (1979), directed by Roman Polanski (PG, 171 minutes)
The Criterion Collection release of Tess, 1979’s multiple Oscar winner by Roman Polanski that’s an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, is an artistically photographed and serenely paced consideration of sex, class, betrayal and revenge.
Set in Great Britain’s impoverished rural Wessex during the 1870s, it’s the story of an earthy, beautiful, quietly strong-willed peasant girl (Nastassja Kinski) who is sent by her none-too-bright and hard-drinking father to the estate of local aristocrats to capitalize on a rumor that their families are from the same line. Things don’t turn out as planned (hey,what did you expect from a film based on a Thomas Hardy novel?).
The release includes a digital restoration supervised by director Polanski, a 2006 documentary about the film; three making-of featurettes; interviews with Polanski, actors Kinski and Leigh Lawson, producer Claude Berri, costume designer Anthony Powell, composer Philippe Sarde, and others, and a documentary shot on location for French television during the making of the film.
At Middleton (R, 100 minutes) Adam Rodgers’ gentle, modest, often charming romantic comedy concerns George Hartman (Andy Garcia), a single father taking his son to see a college that he wishes to attend. Edith Martin (Vera Farmiga) is a single mother with a daughter who is ready for her independence. The parents meet while attending a tour of Middleton University, where they get separated from the group and decide to explore the university together. With Tom Skerritt, Peter Riegert.
The Pirate Fairy (not rated, 78 minutes) The fifth entry in the 10-and-under set’s Tinkerbell film franchise is the first to include Captain James Hook, Peter Pan’s legendary nemesis. Now Tinkerbell and the other fairies, who are used to leading idyllic lives, are faced with a potentially deadly opponent who could change their peaceful existence forever.Animated with voices of Tom Hiddleston, Raven-Symone, Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman; directed by Peggy Holmes.
47 Ronin (PG-13, 127 minutes) This mopey, tedious and expensive fantasy-adventure concerns an outcast named Kai (Keanu Reeves), who, after being sold and enslaved as a child, is asked to join a group of 47 wandering samurai. Known as ronin, they seek to regain their lost honor by battling supernatural forces such as dragons, monsters and other cranky creatures in order to avenge the murder of their master by Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano), who banished them from their land. With Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki; directed by Carl Rinsch. A re-imagining of two-part Japanese classic The 47 Ronin, released in 1941.
The Little Rascals Save the Day (PG, 98 minutes) A modern revisiting of the Our Gang comedies in which a pack of third-graders comes up with some creative ways to earn enough money to help Grandma (Doris Roberts of Everybody Loves Raymond) save her bakery from the greedy clutches of stealthy businessman Big Ray (Greg Germann of Here Comes the Boom). With Eden Wood as Darla, along with Camden Gray, Chas Vacnin, Valerie Azlynn, Lex Medlin; directed by Alex Zamm. Bluray bonus features include deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (PG-13, 119 minutes) The 1970s are gone but perfectly coiffed Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), the renowned idiotic TV newsman in San Diego, carries on. His big challenge in this louder, longer and goofier sequel to the 2004 original: taking on a 24-hour news channel. It’s best enjoyed by those who know what they’re getting into and like it. With Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, Megan Good, Kristen Wiig; directed by Adam McKay.
The Blu-ray includes an unrated version of the film, commentary by McKay, Carell, Ferrell and Rudd, a gag reel, a making-of featurette, alternate lines from the film, extended and alternate scenes, auditions and a cast table read.
MovieStyle, Pages 33 on 04/04/2014
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