Note: This column will return July 21 following a Best of Orlando hiatus.
Starring Gary Oldman, this is a grandly filmed, tightly scripted, romantic- revisionist love story that follows the search for the identity of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved” – a mystery woman to whom he wrote three amorous letters before his death. Released to practically no acclaim in 1994, Immortal Beloved suffered from Amadeus comparisons and quickly tanked. But it finally receives some small measure of its due in this deluxe edition, and it’s well overdue. Co-starring Isabella Rossellini, Immortal Beloved is operatic, melancholic and endlessly romantic. By the time Beethoven’s Rosebud is revealed in the film’s very last sequence, the film has more than earned its tragic, heartrending finale. (available now)
Special Features: Documentary, featurette
Forget the Matthew McConaughey you knew: He’s gaunt, mature and compelling in this enthralling, gritty crime drama based on the 2005 novel. The title character is a defense attorney who works out of a constantly moving Lincoln Town Car as he works to free or get plea bargains for some of the biggest scumbags in Los Angeles; the rug is pulled out from under him when he represents a rich boy (Ryan Phillippe) accused of beating and attempting to murder a prostitute. McConaughey is utterly believable as a man pushed to his breaking point, but the movie is a particular triumph for director Brad Furman, who proves himself a fresh new talent. (available July 12)
Special Features: Featurettes, deleted scenes
Who can complain about a week that allows someone to go see Tree of Life on the big screen, then come home and experience this Palme d’Or winner at home? Although much more simplistic and (believe it or not) grounded than Malick’s masterpiece, auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest offering is equally beautiful and tranquil. The plot: A man dying of kidney failure sits down in a house in a forest with his dead wife’s ghost and his dead son (in a gorilla costume) to clear the air about some things, to remember fondly other pieces of his (Uncle Boonmee’s) life and to see himself off to the other side. While traces of Wild Strawberries and Ikiru exist in Uncle Boonmee, this film is zenful where those films mourned and, above all, appreciative of the world’s beauty. I’m appreciative of any cinematic year that brings us a double-header like this. (available July 12)
Special Features:Deleted scenes, interview
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