Festival Favorites and Oscar Winners – Milk, Kaufman, Leigh On DVD

By Diana Srougi staff writer

MONTREAL (RushPRNews) 13/03/09- Big titles in DVD releases this week! These much-anticipated films all toured the world to screen in numerous film festivals, and two were even nominated,with to top it off Milk as the winner Best Film at last month’s Oscars.

Milk

“Milk” is without a doubt one of the most anticipated and talked-about feature film of the year. This drama stars two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn, Academy Award nominee Josh Brolin and Golden Globe winner James Franco, and is directed by the world-renouned Gus Van Sant (winner of the Golden Palm in 2003 for “Elephant” and again nominated in 2005 and 2007 for “Last Days” and “Paranoid Park”).


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Screenplay writer Dustin Lance Black tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man and activist to be elected to public office in California, as he struggles for gay rights. Out of eight nominations, “Milk” took home two Academy Awards this year: Best Performance for Sean Penn and Best Original Writing for Dustin Lance Black. and has participated in numerous film events such as the Gothenburg Film Festival, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and at the 59th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival.

DVD release date: March 10th 2009
Distributor: Focus Features
Rating: 8.0/10

Happy-Go-Lucky

Mike Leigh, a four-time Academy Award nominee writer and director of “Vera Drake” in 2004 and “All or Nothing” in 2002, , gives us “Happy-Go-Lucky”, this week’s feel-good comedy, just in time for spring. Sally Hawkins (“Cassandra’s Dream”, “Layer Cake”), an actress seen more than once in Leigh’s films, plays Poppy, a cheery carefree elementary school teacher who’s frivolity tends to infuriate the people around her, particularly her hostile driving teacher (Eddie Marsan). “Happy-Go-Lucky” was nominated at this year’s Oscars for Best Original Writing, but “Milk” took home the prize. It did however win many prestigious awards such as a Golden Globe for Best Performance for Sally Hawkins, a Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, two British Independent Film awards, and two Satellite awards.

DVD release date: March 10th 2009
Distributor: Miramax Films
Rating: 7.2/10

Synecdoche, New York

Charlie Kaufman is known as the Oscar Winning producer and writer for such films as “Being John Malkovich” and Michel Gondry’s “Human Nature” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. However, in the case of “Synecdoche, New York”, he not only produced it and wrote the script, but he also directed it. This movie stars Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays an anguished and neurotic theater director who undertakes the making of a brutally realistic and honest play in a warehouse in New York, while dealing with the women in his life, particularly his wife (Catherine Keener) who abandons him. Kaufman’s film was nominated for the Golden Palm at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. It also won for Best Ensemble Cast at the Gotham Awards, and took home two wins at the Independent Spirit Awards: The Robert Altman Award, and a trophy for Best First Feature. It also did the festivals circuits to great acclaim, including Sarajevo, Toronto, Athens, Rio de Janeiro and London, just to name a few.

DVD release date: March 10th 2009
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Rating: 7.8/10