I won't lie to you. It's another weak week. However, there's at least one release you should check out if you haven't already. And it is...
Woody Allen's back. And he's Hitchcock. There's very little to make this feel like a Woody Allen film. It's not set in New York. The main character is not particularly neurotic. And yet, there's something in Allen's worldview that comes through loud and clear in this masterfully crafted dramatic thriller about a philandering tennis instructor who marries into great wealth.
As is often the case with Allen DVD's, the disc is as featureless as post-facelift Kenny Rogers.
Aeon Flux (Widescreen Special Collector's Edition)
It's arguable that the post-feminist, ass-kicking heroine jumped the shark long before this release (Resident Evil, anyone?), but Flux certainly confirmed that the genre had outstayed its welcome. Not so much the genre's fault. Certainly not the fault of the leads (Charlize Theron, Sophie Okonedo, Frances McDormand), with seven Oscar nods between them (and two wins). Maybe the fault of thinking that having a post-feminist, ass-kicking heroine in and of itself makes a movie. See Ultraviolet for a further example of this principle.
Now, this isn't just a special edition, nor is it merely a collector's edition. This is a Special Collector's Edition. Know how you can tell? Lots of commentary (including a track from Charlize Theron and producer Gale Anne Hurd) and five, count 'em, five featurettes in the extras. Kind of sounds like a '50s doo-wop group. "Presenting...The Five Featurettes!"
The post-feminist, young-urban-working-woman-torn-between-two-lovers genre is alive and well, thank you very much. In this charming incarnation, written by a between-crappy-projects Steve Martin, Clare Danes' eponymous heroine navigates the dating scene between the rich-but-obviously-using-her older man (played by Martin) and the directionless-but-sincere younger guy (played by Jason Schwartzman).
Extras include a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and commentary from director Anand Tucker (who's been tapped to direct the first installment of His Dark Materials).
2005 was simply not a good year for Lasse Hallström. Critics were even harsher with this romp than with his previous effort, An Unfinished Life, released only a few months earlier. Again, a promising cast, including Heath Ledger, Oliver Platt, and Jeremy Irons, failed to find box office or critical favor under the usually sure hand of the Swedish director. May he find better fortune with one of the three (!) films he's slated to direct in '06.