Some weeks I find it's very rewarding to research the lesser-known titles in a selective release list like the one maintained by the good folks at DVD Journal.Dave Kehr's column in The New York Times is indispensable; he gives glowing reviews this week to martial-arts masterpiece The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Allan Dwan's version of The Three Musketeers. But what if you're in the mood for something less action-oriented? The Criterion Collection rolls out two arthouse films by Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev (WR: Mysteries of the Organism and Sweet Movie) and one Brit boarding-school classic (Linday Anderson's If...). Digging a bit deeper in the list, I wondered about Close to Home, an Israeli film about two young women doing compulsory military service in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, Christopher Campbell was none too impressed when he saw it at Tribeca last year: "Basically it follows the same pattern of the [buddy-cop, action-comedy] genre, but it leaves out the action and the comedy so all that is left is a predictable narrative with no entertainment appeal. Even with its likeable, attractive leads, the film is a lifeless effort." The other reviews I found agreed with his assessment.

What about The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, originally billed as a "honky-tonkumentary"? Joe Leydon in Variety said it could stand to lose a third of its running time, but it did have "some modestly amusing snippets of on-target satire, along with a few hilarious episodes of self-parody by real-life pop and country music heavyweights." I'm not a fan of mockumentaries, but if you are, you might want to give it a chance. I also searched for information about 1968's Honor Among Thieves (AKA Farewell, Friend), directed by Jean Herman. Alain Delon and Charles Bronson star as two former members of the French Foreign Legion who end up cracking a safe. This is actually the one I'm most interested in, simply because I like the premise and the teaming of ultra-suave Delon and ultra-gruff Bronson. It was originally released on DVD in 1998; the new release is from Lionsgate and features Bronson alone on the cover. But if you're truly not in an action mood, I'm afraid there's not much for you this week on the indie side of the DVD aisle.
categories Cinematical