On DVD & Blu-Ray, 5/10/11: ‘Blue Valentine,’ ‘The Illusionist’


The most devastating, most gut-punching-est movie released in 2010 was Blue Valentine, an uncomfortably intimate drama from first-time feature director Derek Cianfrance. Ryan Gosling rivals his work in Half Nelson, and Michelle Williams gives the performance of her career (so far). Maybe you won’t feel “good” after you watch their marriage implode before your eyes, but you will feel like you’ve watched a real, painfully observant slice of human drama. The DVD and Blu-ray releases include deleted scenes, audio commentary, and more. 

(Originally reviewed by me in “Springtime for Puffy Val Kilmer.”)

THE ILLUSIONIST (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Filmmaker Sylvain Chomet animated Jacques Tati’s unproduced screenplay The Illusionist, to create a loving tribute to Tati’s screen character and comic sensibilities. The film is beautifully animated, demonstrating that traditional 2D animation is still capable of displaying a certain warmth and expressiveness that 3D animation hasn’t fully captured yet. It’s nigh wordless, and can be very funny and charming–but it’s also very slight, which you’ll either find part of its charm or just kind of frustrating. The Blu-ray/DVD combo features audio commentary with Chomet, and a making-of featurette. 

(Originally reviewed by moi in “Life, the Universe, and Gobbledygeek.”)

For a more complete listing of new releases, make sure to scope out Video ETA.

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