This is a fantastic week for cult-ish DVD releases. Aside from the aforementioned acquired taste that is I Heart Huckabees, store shelves will be speckled this week with new offerings from Judy Garland's second husband, the Japanese Walt Disney, and the new French princess of (psuedo) porn. Let's get started:
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is a late-period Vincente Minnelli musical about psychoanalysis, hypnosis, and how one woman's quest to quit smoking brings out an alter ego she never knew she had. Say what you will about star Babs Streisand, but a marriage of director to material has never been this appropriate.
After several changes in release date, Disney is finally loosening its grip on three Hayao Miyazaki special editions. The Japanese director is known for his bizarre animated epics, which are markedly different from most anime in both form and content - 1984's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, for example, takes a prototypical Disney heroine and drops her into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, whilst 1992's Porco Rosso tells the story of World War I fighter pilot who is "mysteriously transformed into a pig". The third film in the release package is 2002's The Cat Returns, a much more traditional feel-good anthropomorphized-animal family cartoon, which Miyazaki merely exec produced. All three films come bundled with their own disc worth of extras.
The second DVD release in as many months from French bad-girl Catherine Breillat, Sex is Comedy dramatizes a day on the set of Breillat's 2001 cringe-core classic Fat Girl. Anne Parillaud plays Jeanne, a female filmmaker struggling to direct a sex scene between a 15-year-old actress (Roxane Mesquida, essentially playing herself playing the role she played in Fat Girl) and an older actor (Gregoire Colin) who happens to be the director's off-screen lover. This self-reflexive inquiry into personal filmmaking was generally better recieved than Breillat's other recent effort, Anatomy of Hell - in fact, most critics seemed to wonder how the same filmmaker could make two pictures so diametrically opposed.