One of David Lynch’s most elusive films gets a special edition release on Blu-ray from Imprint Films, along with classics from directors Terrence Malick and Gus Van Sant.
A rarity on local home entertainment formats for the last two decades, The Straight Story (1999) is one of director David Lynch’s most atypical and accessible films – don’t go into this one expecting the requisite weirdness synonymous with the cult filmmaker. This charming dramatisation of true events follows eccentric old timer Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) on a 350-mile cross-country journey through America’s midwest to reconcile with his estranged – and gravely ill – brother (Harry Dean Stanton). What makes this a good fit for Lynch is that Alvin makes the long trip on a ride-on lawnmower, dispensing wit and wisdom to those he encounters along the way. The film makes its welcome debut on local Blu-ray from a restored 4K master and extras include a new audio commentary by film critic Peter Tonguette, new producer and editor featurettes, a visual essay, and additional featurettes covering the production design and score.
One of the hot indie films of the late eighties, Drugstore Cowboy (1989) saw Matt Dillon shed his teen heartthrob image to play a junkie who robs drugstores with his dysfunctional clan of fellow addicts. When tragedy strikes the group, it provides the catalyst he needs to give it all up. Directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), this is a gritty look at the highs and lows of drug abuse as well as a blackly humorous road movie. Dillon is backed up by a strong supporting cast including Kelly Lynch, Heather Graham, and Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs. Extras include a vintage making-of documentary; new featurettes on the film’s director, composer and writer; and a visual essay by filmmaker Chris O’ Neill.
Set against the turbulent backdrop of Hong Kong’s transition from British rule to the People’s Republic of China, Chinese Box (1997) follows the romance between a British journalist (Jeremy Irons) and a bartender (Gong Li) who is engaged to a wealthy businessman (Michael Hui). Directed by Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club), it’s both a powerful political allegory and character-driven drama that captures a pivotal moment in history. The Blu-ray features a new 2K restoration and extras include an audio commentary by Wayne Wang and critic Roger Garcia, new director and composer featurettes, and ‘Chinese Box Home Movies’ featurette.
Jack Nicholson goes for broke in As Good As It Gets (1997), playing neurotic romance writer Melvin Udall, whose obnoxious demeanour softens when his neighbour (Greg Kinnear) is hospitialised and requires a dog-sitter, and a budding relationship develops with a waitress (an Oscar-winning Helen Hunt). Director James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment) deftly orchestrates the interplay between these three characters, but the film ultimately belongs to Jack, who claimed the Best Actor Oscar for his ferocious performance. Extras include audio commentary by Brooks and the cast, featurette, visual essay and isolated score.
Revered filmmaker Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) delivers a measured, poetic and intricate drama in his 1978 masterpiece, Days of Heaven. Richard Gere and Brooke Adams play an outlaw couple who take a job on a farm and hatch a plan to relieve its wealthy owner of his fortune. Renowned for its Oscar-winning cinematography, the Blu-ray features a stunning HD restoration supervised by the director, and extras include an audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin, featurettes, and a visual essay.
Directed by renowned Australian filmmaker Bruce Beresford (Breaker Morant), Double Jeopardy (1999) teams Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones in a slick crime-thriller predicated on the legal loophole of the title, which prohibits someone from being prosecuted twice for the same crime. But legalities shouldn’t get in the way of a good story and the result is a a taught, albeit preposterous, thriller that is perhaps far more entertaining now than it was upon initial release. Extras include audio commentary by film historian Scott Harrison, The Making of Double Jeopardy Showtime Double Special, and the theatrical trailer.