Finally, the bleak DVD month of January is over and February's first batch of new releases is primed to more than make up for it.
First, in the gay interest department, there is Neil Jordan's The Brave One, starring the world's most famous quasi-closeted actress, Jodie Foster. The Brave One is not a gay movie — it's another of those films that finds Foster out for blood when something happens to her straight family — but the heterosexual Jordan's work, from Mona Lisa to The Crying Game and Breakfast on Pluto, is often queer-inclusive, and Will & Grace producer Cynthia Mort's name on the screenplay bolsters its gay credentials. For those of you so eager to see Foster kick ass and take names that you can't bear a 10-minute drive to the video store, Warner Brothers has made the download available for pre-order through Amazon Unbox for $14.99, which makes it cheaper than the DVD.
More new releases:
Also available for download is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, the brooding Andrew Dominik western with gay undertones to spare. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Mary-Louise Parker, Sam Rockwell, Sam Shepard, Paul Schneider and the Oscar-nominated Casey Affleck as Robert Ford, who casts many a meaningful glance in Pitt's direction.
Julie Delpy writes, directs, stars in, contributes music to and probably hand-carved the furniture that appears in 2 Days in Paris, which costars Adam Goldberg — who, despite being 37 and decidedly male, comes off as something of an ingénue here. A scruffy, nervous, foul-mouthed ingénue, but we can't all be Audrey Hepburn. It's a lovely, oddball directorial debut (though the manic last few minutes disrupt its easygoing charm), and one that establishes Delpy as a filmmaker to watch.
Julie Taymor's Beatles-inspired musical Across the Universe, starring Evan Rachel Wood — she who kissed Mischa Barton on Once & Again and Nikki Reed in Thirteen — and Jim Sturgess, gets the 2-Disc Special Edition treatment from Sony. Actress T.V. Carpio plays Prudence, a lesbian character who sings "I Want to Hold Your Hand" about a fellow cheerleader.
MGM pays another visit to Billy Wilder's The Apartment, bringing it a few supplementary features this time around.
Cate Blanchett and director Shekhar Kapur re-team for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, to middling results, though the cast, which includes Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen and Samantha Morton, is uniformly excellent.
Feast of Love, which has Selma Blair in a lesbian subplot that even director Robert Benton admits is undercooked, comes to DVD from MGM, if anyone cares. Morgan Freeman, Jane Alexander, Greg Kinnear and High Art's Radha Mitchell star.
In need of a Diane Lane fix but unwilling to spend $10 on Untraceable? You can try Griffin Dunne's Fierce People, an odd little number that gathered dust on Lionsgate's shelves for two years before receiving a limited theatrical release in 2007. It has Donald Sutherland, Anton Yelchin, Kristen Stewart, Chris Evans, drug addiction, anal rape — your grandparents are sure to love it.
Kino has collected Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, The Color of Pomegranates, The Legend of Suram Fortress and Ashik Kerib in The Films of Sergei Paradjanov, a new box set. The titles are also available separately.
A Gallipoli that wasn't directed by Peter Weir and doesn't star Mel "Sugar Tits" Gibson is being released by Cinema Epoch. This documentary about the famous 1915 battle is narrated by Jeremy Irons and Sam Neill, who, as far as I know, don't blame any of the bloodshed on the Jews.
Imitation of Life, both the 1934 original starring the bisexual Claudette Colbert and the 1959 Douglas Sirk remake starring the rather heterosexual Lana Turner, get the Universal Legacy Series treatment in this handsome double-feature.
Four lesser-known Jean-Luc Godard films (Passion, First Name: Carmen, The Detective and Oh Woe is Me) are being released together by Lionsgate, but it's the upcoming Criterion release of Pierrot le Fou that everyone is really excited about.
David Grubin's absorbing documentary The Jewish Americans, which recently aired on PBS, gets a speedy double-disc release. Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner is one of the interview subjects; video clips and lesson plans for teachers are available online.
You can be honest, lecherous lesbians. Before her face melted off, you watched NBC's Third Watch for Tia Texada. And I won't judge you for that, because I watched it every now and then for Nia Long. Neither appeared in the first season of the show, which finally debuts on DVD, but Bobby Cannavale did. That should count for something, I guess.
Tootsie turns 25 with an Anniversary Edition from Columbia. Watch as Dustin Hoffman transforms himself into a woman who looks frighteningly like my great-aunt! Watch as his saucy soap actress Dorothy Michaels falls for comely costar Jessica Lange! Watch as Bill Murray acts very droll and Teri Garr very ditzy! The peppy score might make you want to kill Dave Grusin, but Sydney Pollack's film holds up spectacularly well.
If ever a movie didn't deserve a deluxe edition, it's You've Got Mail, but Warner Brothers knows you get lonely and sentimental around Valentine's Day and they're not above squeezing another $12 from your wallet with this second release of the film. If you have to buy something to get all sappy to on the 14th, you're much better off investing in The Shop Around the Corner. I tell you this as someone who cares: You can't go wrong with Ernst Lubitsch and Margaret Sullavan.