Oscar-nominated works head up this week’s home entertainment line-up: Though it didn’t win on Sunday night, David France’s documentary How To Survive a Plague chronicles the world-changing work of passionate AIDS activists, while Best Actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix and Best Supporting Actor nominee Philip Seymour Hoffman star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s captivating The Master.
French maverick Leos Carax both references and crafts cinema history with the genre-jumping Holy Motors (above), and the coming-of-ager Bullet Collector heralds a new Russian visionary.
How to Survive a Plague
($24.99 DVD; IFC Films)
Journalist David France’s eye-opening documentary on how AIDS activists changed the way our government and pharmaceutical sector addressed the AIDS crisis (and other terminal diseases to boot) is essential viewing. Many untold stories from the epidemic are revealed through compelling archival footage and individual stories.
($39.99 Blu-ray, $29.98 DVD; Anchor Bay)
Troubled veteran Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) falls under the influence of L. Ron Hubbard-like guru Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in this latest effort from Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s as sprawling and dramatic as There Will Be Blood, although with fewer violent outbursts. Extras include 20 minutes’ worth of outtakes and additional scenes, a brief behind-the-scenes, and John Huston’s WWII veterans documentary, Let There Be Light.
($24.99 DVD; Artsploitation Films)
Shot in stark black and white, Russian director Alexander Vartanov’s intense debut follows a 14-year-old whose traumatic experiences with bullies, bad parents, and a nightmarish reform school lead him to create a fantastical alternate reality. The result is like a marriage of Gus Van Sant’s Private Idaho and Francois Truffaut’s 400 Blows, with a distinctly Russian aesthetic. Extras include a Criterion-style booklet, deleted scene, a making-of featurette, and more.
($39.95 Blu-ray, $19.97 DVD; Indomina)
A man is chauffered around Paris, frequently changing his appearance and enacting various characters and scenarios. During one sequence, he meets Kylie Minogue, and in another he transforms into a hobo-troll and abducts Eva Mendes. The film, from french director Leos Carax, is by turns funny, surreal, violent, and portentous—you’ll either consider this one of the most visionary cinematic works in recent years, or go “WTF?” Extras include an interview with Kylie and making-of featurette.
Chronicle of A Summer
The Loneliest Planet
Girls Against Boys