the traveler's resource guide to festivals & films
a site
part of Insider Media llc.

Connect with us:

September '23 Digital Week I

In-Theater/Streaming Releases of the Week 
Mr. Jimmy ミスタージミー 
Japanese guitarist Akio Sakurai —aka Mr. Jimmy—has pretty much turned his whole persona into a copy of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, from his guitars and musical tone to the costumes Page wore performing in concert.
Director Peter Michael Dowd introduces Mr. Jimmy as a serious musician who respects and loves the music he plays to the point where he makes it difficult for his bandmates in Zep tribute bands to perform to his exacting specifications. But Jimmy remains sympathetic throughout, offbeat but charming, with a real talent for music making—even if it’s someone else’s music. 
Portrait of the Queen 
(VMI Worldwide)
Do we need another documentary about recently deceased Queen Elizabeth II? Italian director Fabrizio Ferri thinks so, and he brings an artistic eye and subtle insight to this glimpse of her majesty through the eyes of the many photographers who were chosen to take official pictures of her over the decades.
There’s also fawning testimony from random people in pubs and parks along with the likes of Susan Sarandon, who contributes an amusing anecdote about meeting the queen. There’s even reverent narration by an onscreen Charles Dance, but the focus is rightly on the camera users, who discuss aspects of the queen’s “private” countenance even as they posed her for others’ consumption.
4K/UHD Release of the Week 
The Flash 
(Warner Bros)
Andy Muschietti’s entry into the increasingly crowded superhero genre is a convoluted, occasionally fun but mostly enervating account of how the Flash deals with the murder of his beloved mother: he time-travels to meet his younger self and try and change past events by preventing her death—which then unleashes some unintended consequences.
Ezra Miller plays both Flashes, nicely modulated as the older but annoyingly herky-jerky as the younger; the great Spanish actress Maribel Verdu satisfies in a small role as his mom and Michael Keaton is slyly knowing as “alternative” Batman. But there’s too much clutter, both visual and narrative, to make this 144-minute slog consistently enjoyable. The film looks spectacular in 4K; extras are several featurettes, behind the scenes footage and deleted scenes.
Blu-ray Release of the Week
The Complete Story of Film 
(Music Box)
Irish filmmaker Mark Cousins does the seemingly impossible, creating a comprehensive history of the art of movies in a (relatively) brief 18-1/2 hours that is a treasure trove of information, witty commentary, brilliant use of film clips, location shots and interviews that make this a must-watch for anyone at all interested in the world’s most lucrative and widespread artistic medium.
Spread out over four discs are both of Cousins’ magnificent films on film: 2011's The Story of Film—An Odyssey and 2021's The Story of Film—A New Generation, the former divided into 18 chapters and the latter into two parts, covering eras from the silent and early talkies to the innovative filmmakers of Europe and Asia to Hollywood’s infamous blacklist and the digital transformation of the 21st century. Cousins finds engaging and provocative ways of tying several strands together thematically, historically, and artistically, although he’s not above criticism himself—his love for the technically proficient but shallow Baz Luhrmann, Christopher Nolan and Lars von Trier (for example) is, in my view, substantially misplaced. There’s first-rate hi-def video and audio.
DVD Release of the Week 
Personal and Political—The Films of Natalia Almada 
Natalia Almada, a Mexican-American filmmaker, is rarely discussed outside of festival circles, but perhaps this illuminating five-disc set of several documentaries and one fiction feature will change that. For the past 20 years, she has been making singularly challenging documentaries, starting with her emotionally devastating 2011 short, All Water Has a Perfect Memory—about the drowning death of her sister at a young age—and continuing with To the Other Side (2005), El General (2009), The Night Watchman (2011), and Users (2021), the latter faltering a bit in bemoaning technology while using it to create stunning images.
Almada’s lone fiction feature, the observational Everything Else (2016), is also included, Almada makes personal films that are political (or vice versa), as the set’s title states, and her humanity and empathy shine through in all of her films. Brief featurettes and a three-minute director interview are the lone extras; too bad Almada doesn’t give more of her contextualizing voice to these often mesmerizing films.

Newsletter Sign Up

Upcoming Events

No Calendar Events Found or Calendar not set to Public.