The Reader, Cassandra’s Dream and The Spirit: This Week’s DVD Releases Have It All

By Diana Srougi

MONTREAL (RPRN) 16/04/09- This week’s much-anticipated DVD releases give you post-war Germany, unusual love affairs, murder, moral conflicts, some fantasy, and lots of intrigue! RushPRNews reviews for you The Reader, Cassandra’s Dream and The Spirit.

The Reader

This touching and sensual film is finally out on DVD for everyone to discover. Three-time Oscar nominee Stephan Daldry (“Billy Elliot”, “The Hours”) directed “The Reader”, a film that captivates the viewer with astounding shots and overwhelming emotion. Writer David Hare based his screenplay on one of German novelist Bernhard Schlink’s bestselling books originally entitled “Der Vorleser”. Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes and David Kross star in this romantic drama set in a post-world war II Germany. A fifteen-year old boy, Michael, has an affair with an older woman who enjoys being read to by him. However, she soon disappears without a trace. Almost a decade later, Michael, as a law student, re-encounters his long lost love, as she defends herself in a war-crime trial. Kate Winslet won for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards, and at most of the film events in which she was nominated. “The Reader” was also nominated for four other Oscars including Best Motion Picture Of The Year (which was taken home by “Slumdog Millionaire”, although “The Reader” was brilliant enough to have won), for three other Golden Globes and for four Satellite awards. Daldry also took home the Silver Sea-Gull at the Sofia International Film Awards.

DVD release date: April 14th 2009
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Rating: 7.8/10

Cassandra’s Dream

In Canada, there were some distribution problems with this film, but all is well, and the wait is over. “Cassandra’s Dream” is Woody Allen’s latest movie released on DVD, although it was shot before “Vick Cristina Barcelona”, which came out almost three months ago. Allen also wrote the script of this crime thriller reminiscent of his film “Match Point”(2005) in terms of plot, structure and themes of moral integrity, utter desperation and crime as the only way out. Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor (“Moulin Rouge”) and Golden Globe winner Colin Farrell (“In Bruges”) star alongside two-time Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson (“Michael Clayton”), Hayley Atwell (“The Duchess”) and Sally Hawkins (who was recently nominated at the Oscars and won a Golden Globe for her performance in “Happy-Go-Lucky”). After buying a boat that they name Cassandra’s Dream, two brothers desperately seek a way to be free from their mounting financial problems. They therefore accept their rich and successful uncle’s proposition to murder his treacherous associate in exchange for a generous fee. After the deed, the brothers soon realize that the conscience is a complex and obscure part of human nature. Allen’s film screened at the Venice Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and the Glasgow Film Festival.

DVD release date: April 14th 2009
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Rating: 6.9/10

The Spirit

“The Spirit” is a fantasy thriller written and directed by Golden Palm nominee Frank Miller, the creator of “300” and “Sin City”. He based his screenplay on “the grandfather of graphic novel” Will Eisner’s comic book series. Gabriel Macht (“Bad Company”, “Because I Said So”) and Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson star alongside Eva Mendes (“We Own the Night”) and a bevy of other gorgeous actresses (Sarah Paulson, Scarlett Johansson, etc.). This film tells the story of a man who returns from the dead as The Spirit, with one goal: fighting crime in Central City, against The Octopus, who is out to destroy it. The Spirit is surrounded by many women, but there’s only one that really counts: his true love who turned bad, and he must save her before she kills him. This film screened at the 2008 Buffalo International Film Festival.

DVD release date: April 14th 2009
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rating: 5.0/10