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Friday, February 03, 2017

Happy Valentine’s DVDay

Written by  Gregg Shapiro

For Valentine’s Day, instead of flowers (they don’t last) or candy (too fattening and bad for your teeth), consider giving that special someone something you can enjoy together on more than one occasion. Movies, especially good ones, are the kind of gift that keeps on giving. Below are suggestions of new Blu-ray and DVD releases available in time for Valentine’s Day.

Girls in trouble are still interesting to readers and moviegoers alike, based on the bestseller list and movies based on those bestsellers, including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and its sequels) as well as Gone Girl. More recently, the Paula Hawkins novel The Girl on the Train was adapted for film by gay director Tate Taylor. The Girl On the Train (DreamWorks / Universal), stars Emily Blunt as the titular girl whose post-divorce decline leads her to a truly terrifying situation. Justin Theroux plays her cruel ex-husband. Blu-ray, DVD+, Digital HD bonus features include feature commentary by Taylor, extended and deleted scenes, and a pair of featurettes.

As you might expect, love was in the air (and elsewhere) in Girls: The Complete Fifth Season (HBO Home Entertainment). In addition to Elijah (gay actor Andrew Rannells) having a love interest – Dill (Corey Stoll) – Hannah (series creator Lena Dunham) was busy with boyfriend Fran (hot Jake Lacy) and Shoshanna found time to balance maintaining her stateside relationship with Scott (Josh Ritter) while flirting up a storm with her boss Yoshi (Hiro Mizushima) in Japan. Meanwhle, Marnie’s (Allison Williams) marriage to Desi (Ebon Moss-Bacharach) is in jeopardy. The final season of Girls debuts on February 12th. Bonus features include deleted and extended scenes, as well as an “Inside the Episodes” featurette.

Retake (Breaking Glass) is that rare indie gay film where all of the elements come together in an unforced and illuminating manner. Middle-aged gay man Jonathan (still hot and handsome out actor Tuc Watkins) hires savvy hustler Adam (Devon Graye) in San Francisco to join him on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. A role-playing game ensues as Jonathan enlists Adam to play the part of Brandon, an ex-boyfriend from a few years before. Graye, who is perhaps best known for playing young Dexter in the Showtime series of the same name, is a revelation. Sexy (that body!) and funny (comfortably campy), his embodiment of Adam/Brandon is unique and believable. Director Nick Corporon’s feature-length debut, Retake gives us something to enjoy and something to look forward to from this filmmaker. DVD special features include director and crew commentary, deleted scenes, an interview with Watkins, and more.

Popular at LGBT film festivals and notable for being Gale Harold’s (Queer As Folk) return to queer entertainment, Kiss Me, Kill Me (Embrem) is a gay thriller that could use more thrills. Gay couple Dusty (Van Hansis) and his Hollywood bigwig boyfriend Stephan (Harrold) have a disagreement during Stephan’s birthday party. They end up at a Pink Dots store where Dusty is injured and Stephan is killed in what appears to be an attempted hold-up perpetrated by a man in a clown mask. As the crime is being investigated by a pair of detectives, one of whom is played by Jai Rodriguez of Queer Eye fame, the body count begins to mount. Meanwhile, no one can be trusted, including Dusty’s BFF/lawyer Amanda (Brianna Brown), his therapist Jeffrey (Craig Robert Young), his drug-dealing buddy Travis (Kit Williamson), and Craigery (Andreas regular Matthew Ludwinski), his competition for Stephan’s affections. DVD special features include commentary by Andreas and screenwriter David Michael Barrett, a featurette, and a music video.

Set in early 1950s Australia, the kooky revenge comedy The Dressmaker (Broadgreen) is in the tradition of films such down-under delights as Welcome to Woop Woop, Strictly Ballroom, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Muriel’s Wedding. In fact, The Dressmaker was co-written by Muriel’s Wedding director P.J. Hogan with his wife Jocelyn Moorhouse, director of The Dressmaker. Beautiful and clever Tilly (Kate Winslet) returns to Dugatar, the small-minded country town she left 25 years earlier following accusations that she murdered the class bully. Since she’s been gone, the town has declined, while Tilly has established herself as a respected couturier studying in Paris and elsewhere. Her return puts the townspeople, including her absent-minded mother Molly (Judy Davis), into something of a tizzy. The only ones who seem happy to see Tilly are cross-dressing cop Farrat (Hugo Weaving) and hot classmate Teddy (Liam Hemsworth in various states of undress). Intent on uncovering the truth about what happened in her past, exacting necessary revenge and lifting the curse on her name, she begins by whipping up fashions on her trusty Singer that transform the frumpy female citizenry. DVD special features include a pair of featurettes.

British filmmaker Andrea Arnold’s fascination with the lives of directionless teens, which she presented so well in her 2009 breakthrough Fish Tank, continues in American Honey (A24). Dreadlocked Star (Sasha Lane making her memorable film debut) is recruited by Jake (Shia LeBeouf) to join the ragtag crew of teens run by the cutthroat Krystal (Riley Keough, who brings a Kristen Stewart quality) selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. Not surprisingly, Star and Krystal find themselves competing for Jake’s affections. Propelled by a rap and country music soundtrack, Arnold does an effective job of providing a fresh perspective on what had previously been the domain of Harmony Korine. Be prepared, the film clocks in at almost three hours. The DVD contains no bonus material.

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