Wrestling, Politics and Last Words: This Week’s Remarkable DVD Releases

The WrestlerBy Diana Srougi

MONTREAL (RPRN) 23/04/09- Great titles are released on DVD this week, two of which were nominated at the Academy Awards this winter. You might however be unfamiliar with the third title; nevertheless it is well worth discovering.

The Wrestler

This week’s major DVD release is “The Wrestler”, directed by Darren Aranofsky, mainly known for his highly esthetic style, his refined shots and his intelligent scenarios in such films as “Pi”, “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Fountain”. The screenplay for “The Wrestler” was written by Robert D. Siegel, who’s only written one other motion picture script, last year’s “The Onion Movie”. Aranofsky’s film stars former professional boxer Mickey Rourke (“Once Upon a Time in Mexico”, “Sin City”) and Oscar winner Marisa Tomei (for her performance in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1993), who play alongside Golden Globe nominee Evan Rachel Wood (“Thirteen”). This drama follows the story of Randy “The Ram” Robinson, an aging professional wrestler who struggles with health problems and the approaching halt to his wrestling career. He therefore turns his attention to the aspects of his life outside the ring: his full time job, his growing romance with an aging stripper and the daughter he abandoned many years back. Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei were both nominated at the Academy Awards for their performances, but didn’t take home the prize. Rourke did however win at the Golden Globes, the BAFTA awards, the Prism awards, among many others, and Tomei at the San Fransisco Film Critics Circle, the Phoenix Film Critic Society Awards, etc. “The Wrestler” also won for Best Film at the Gotham Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, the London Critics Circle Film Awards, and Darren Aranofsky took home the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. This film screened at numerous festivals all over the world: Toronto, New York, Eurasia, London, Tallinn…

DVD release date: April 21st 2009
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Picture
Rating: 8.4/10

Frost/Nixon

After his box office successes “A Beautiful Mind”, “Cinderella Man” and “The Da Vinci Code”, Ron Howard does it again with his Oscar nominated film, “Frost/Nixon”, released on DVD this week. Peter Morgan (writer of “The Last King Of Scotland” and “The Queen”) adapted his play into the screenplay of this dramatic piece of American history. Frank Langella (“The Ninth Gate”, “Good Night, and Good Luck”) stars as the 37th president of the United States Richard Nixon, and Michael Sheen (“Kingdom Of Heaven”, “Blood Diamond”) plays the television presenter David Frost. This film is a dramatic reenactment of the post-Watergate-scandal television interviews between these two historical figures, having taken place three years after Nixon was forced to resign from office. While Frost is looking to obtain a televised confession and apology, Nixon, with the help of his chief of Staff Jack Brennon (Kevin Bacon), is seeking to outwit the pop culture entertainment interviewer and revive his political career. Howard, Morgan and Langella were all nominated at the Oscars, as well as Mike Hill and Daniel P. Hanley for Best Achievement in Editing. “Frost/Nixon” was also nominated for Best Motion Picture at the Academy Awards, the BAFTA Awards, the Golden Globes and the Satellite Awards. It screened at several festivals including the London Film Festival and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.

DVD release date: April 21st 2009
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rating: 8.0/10

The Last Word

Out on DVD this week in the USA (May 12th in Canada) is “The Last Word” is a romantic drama written and directed by Geoffrey Haley. This is his second motion picture after “The Parlor” in 2001. This film stars Wes Bentley (“American Beauty”, “P2”), two-time Oscar nominee Winona Ryder (“Night On Earth”, “A Scanner Darkly”), and two-time Golden Globe nominee Ray Romano (for his performance in his successful television series “Everybody Loves Raymond”). “The Last Word” is about a man who composes suicide notes for a living. Events lead him into a romance with the sister of a recent client, who enlisted his services before taking his own life. This film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

DVD release date (USA): April 21st 2009
Distributor: Image Entertainment
Rating: 6.1/10