This week we bring a few under the radar home entertainment titles to the fore — a pair of gay dramas and the fantastical feature debut of a Japanese pop artist (Jellyfish Eyes, above).
Let’s dive in with some trailers and details so you can get to the holiday gift shopping!
($27.99 DVD; Strand)
Set in Australia, director Dean Francis’ feature tackles homophobia and the ironically homoerotic cult of masculinity in this tale of a NSW surf lifesaving champion, Len, whose position at the top of the heap is threatened by a hottie newcomer alpha male, Phil. Phil also happens to be gay, has an equally hot boyfriend, and stirs up repressed feelings and jealousy in Len, which culminates in an ugly night night out at the bars with the lads. Intense and sometimes unpleasant stuff, yet with hot bodies, cool surfing sequences, and fantastic cinematography.
($24.99 DVD; Ariztical)
College student Evan is a wannabe filmmaker who lives with a well-off boyfriend, yet lately he’s been in a funk. An orphan, he seems to pine for a true family connection. When Evan comes across an old 8mm camera at a yard sale, and meets Peter, the 40-something man whose childhood and friendship with another boy in home movies is documented, a Evan literally projects himself into Peter’s life and so begins a sexual attraction. A thoughtful meditation on family and whether one can reclaim something lost. Extras include a pair of making-of featurettes and music video.
($29.95 Blu-ray, $19.95 DVD; Criterion)
Japanese pop artist superstar Takashi Murakami brings his colorful, quirky and sometimes provocative creations to life in this live action-meets-animation, eye-popping, and off-kilter children’s film. In short, a bunch of kids have monster friends that they keep hidden from everyone else, and these critters will eventually hold the key to a battle with diabolical scientists – known as the Black Cloaked Four – hell bent on destroying the world. Fans of Murakami will find plenty of his signature style here in the kids’ posse of fantastical animated creatures plus some other fantasy elements. Extras include two making-of documentaries, and interview with Murakami, and essay.
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