Nominated for seven Academy Awards, James L. Brooks’ behind-the-scenes news dramedy is a portrait of a time when romantic comedies could actually be taken seriously – and said something about the world around us. Holly Hunter stars as a high-strung, manic-depressive network news producer torn between the affections of her longtime colleague, field reporter Aaron (Albert Brooks), and a new, naïve (yet instinctually calculating) anchor played by William Hurt. Except she’s not necessarily “torn.” She’s lonely. They’re all lonely, in fact. Here is a rom-com completely free of contrivance or false obstacles – a film that doesn’t even bother resolving the triangle at the end. (Though an alternate ending, included in this glorious set, attempts to valiantly, if awkwardly.) Included in the 18 minutes of deleted scenes is an astonishingly realized plotline involving Hurt’s Tom buddying up to a whistleblower source, played by a wonderful actor who’s never named – somebody find this guy! It’s a revelation, an endearing and terrifying picture of the exact moment that Tom finds his inner cutthroat nature. So many other tiny moments and giant plotlines come to light in this set – and so talkative is Jim Brooks – that a fan could luxuriate in this film all afternoon and be thinking about it for days to come. (available now)
Special Features: New audio commentary, featurettes, alternate ending, deleted scenes, interviews, essay, James L. Brooks retrospective
What a shame that former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s new roundtable show on CNN isn’t a fraction as interesting as Spitzer’s own downfall. Writer-director Alex Gibney, a master of the documentary genre, explores the sinister, possibly conspiratorial forces that teamed up to bring down Spitzer, places the puzzle pieces of the infamous hooker scandal gently on the playing board and allows the viewer the giddy delight of putting it together themselves well before he spells it out. The result is like a great TV procedural, the kind that keeps things just simple enough so that viewers can get ever so slightly ahead of it. Some might view Gibney’s style as too subtle, especially given the nature of Spitzer’s disgrace. In fact, Client 9 matches its titular subject in nobility amid schadenfreude. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, interviews, deleted scenes, featurette
Gaspar Noé’s hallucinogenic tale of sex, drugs and rock & roll – and everything in between – doesn’t follow a narrative logic or cohesive plotline. Instead, it works (and it does work, despite the protestations of a few who found it too busy and tedious) as a great visual backdrop to some electronic concert in Noé’s mind. Do not attempt without substantial illegal substances at your disposal. (available now)
Special Features: Deleted scenes, featurettes
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