‘Noah’ lands on shelves and video on demand
Paramount, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99
Available on VOD Tuesday.
Director Darren Aronofsky’s version of the biblical story generated controversy this year, with faith-based audiences complaining that “Noah” isn’t true enough to Scripture and action-fantasy audiences complaining that there’s too much in the movie about God. Nevertheless, “Noah” did well worldwide because, like Aronofsky’s last surprise hit, “Black Swan,” his “Noah” is both an awesome spectacle — with Russell Crowe playing a man who risks his sanity and his family to build an enormous boat, with the help of giant creatures made of rock — and a personal meditation on where the line is between devout faith and madness. This isn’t one of Aronofsky’s most focused or visionary films, but it’s an undeniably lively piece of work. The DVD and Blu-ray add behind-the-scenes featurettes.
The Other Woman
20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99
It’s easy to want to like this because it’s the rare Hollywood adult comedy that’s written by a woman and led by a female cast — with Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton playing ladies who become good friends after they realize that they’re all with the same lousy man. But the PG-13 rating sandbags the cast, preventing them from being as frank and funny as they could be; and as the characters move toward a “9 to 5"-style revenge plot, the film becomes less about sisterhood and more about slapstick. The women cease to be complex individuals and instead just do whatever’s convenient for the story. “The Other Woman” DVD and Blu-ray tack on deleted scenes and self-congratulatory outtakes of the actresses cracking one another up.
Finding Vivian Maier
Vivian Maier worked as a nanny in the Chicago area for years and left behind hundreds of thousands of artful photographs of ordinary people when she died. The photos were found by chance and have been auctioned off to people like John Maloof, who along with filmmaker Charlie Siskel made this fascinating documentary, which looks into the mystery of who Maier was. Her story is remarkable: She’s a woman who knew a lot of people but didn’t really let anyone get to know her. Art historians have used her pictures to help piece her life together and as a record of life on the streets of Chicago in the mid-20th century. Each intact roll of Maier’s film is like a miniature portrait of how one feisty, independent woman spent her days.
Herzog: The Collection
Shout! Factory Blu-ray, $159.99
One of the most impressive Blu-ray sets of the year, Shout! Factory’s limited-edition set contains 16 of German New Wave stalwart Werner Herzog’s best films, including classics like “Aguirre, the Wrath Of God,” “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser” and “Fitzcarraldo,” joined by commentary tracks, interviews and documentaries. It’s a deep dive into the life’s work of a filmmaker drawn to larger-than-life characters — explorers, industrialists, outsiders — who then re-creates the circumstances of their stories so realistically that his feature films have the quality of documentaries, while his documentaries often feel like fantasy. The films here are among the best and most significant of the 1970s and 1980s.
The Big Chill
Criterion Blu-ray, $39.95
Koch/E1, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98
Synapse, $19.95; Blu-ray, $24.95
On My Way
Cohen, $24.98; Blu-ray, $34.98
Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery
Paramount Blu-ray, $129.99
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