This doc by Paul Devlin (Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme) follows his brother, conflicted family man Mark, and his team of NASA astrophysicists as they attempt to launch a super-high-altitude balloon that will reach into space and basically map the universe. The stakes here are as far-reaching as the Balloon-Borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope; from the stress of maintaining relationships to the do-or-die funding question, Devlin handles it with a Herzogian eye on the human struggle in the vast nowhere. In fact, Werner Herzog himself shows up in a deleted scene in which he demonstrates genuine curiosity about the BLAST team's goings-on, and, of course, shows off his much larger boom mic. Our crew notes the phallic implications. It's a quality that makes them lovable. (available now)
Special Features: Additional scenes
A struggling musician (Tobias Menzies) and a lovely bartender (Genevieve O'Reilly) take a stroll through the streets of London and reveal parts of themselves they haven't before until the sun comes up. Forget Me Not is, of course, indebted to Richard Linklater's Before films and to a lesser degree Once, but it's its own film, too, and that's where it gets itself in trouble. Tightly constructed in order to deliver a too-clever-by-half ending, debut feature directors Alexander Holt and Lance Roehrig focus too much attention on the story (by multiple writers, for some reason) and not enough on Menzies and O'Reilly's chemistry, which is plentiful. Still, it's a wisp of a movie and a stroll worth taking. (available now)
Special Features: None
Imagine Berlin in 1929: The Third Reich has yet to take power, and a group of on-the-cusp filmmakers spend the summer filming a group of non-actors having a picnic, flirting and preparing to face the work week. In the next decade, this group will have scattered around the globe in order to escape the invading horde, but for this moment, they were Lucas, Spielberg, Coppola and Scorsese hanging out on the beach on break from USC. Handling the actors are Curt Siodmak (The Wolf Man), Robert Siodmak (The Killers), Fred Zinneman (High Noon) and Edgar G. Ulmer (Bluebeard). Eugen Schüfftan (The Hustler) holds the camera, and they're all eyeing a loose, avant-garde script by a kid named Billy Wilder. While the original negative of People on Sunday was never found, the EYE Film Institute in the Netherlands restored it in 1997 from a nitrate print of the Dutch version. Criterion later worked its magic for this release, and the result is a work of beauty and, above all else, innocence. (available now)
Special Features: Documentary, 1931 short, two scores (silent-era-style and modern), essay by Noah Isenberg, reprints by Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak
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