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Review: Love makes them do crazy things in this week’s releases (Includes first-hand account)

2067 (Blu-ray)


RLJE Films

By the year 2067, Earth has been ravaged by climate change and humanity is forced to live on artificial oxygen. An illness caused by the synthetic O2 is killing the worlds’ population and the only hope for a cure comes in the form of a message from the future: “Send Ethan Whyte”. Ethan (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an underground tunnel worker, is suddenly thrust into a terrifying new world full of unknown danger as he must fight to save the human race.

Even though the rest of the premise is a little far-fetched, a future in which we’ve damaged the environment so severely the air is unbreathable doesn’t seem entirely outside the realm of possibility. Losing his parents at a young age made Ethan appreciative for what he has and willing to do anything to hold onto it, particularly his wife. While he’s quick to dismiss the message, he can’t sentence those he loves to this barely habitable world without at least trying to give them a better life. However, what he finds on the other side of his journey raises more questions, which he can only answer by following a path he may have already taken. The basic ideas about the Earth’s resilience are solid, but the film’s version of time travel is a little shakier and some characters’ motives are not very well veiled.

Special features include: commentary by director Seth Larney; and behind-the-scenes featurette. (RLJE Films)

Conviction (DVD)


Icarus Films

Ever since she served on the jury during his trial, Nora (Marina Foïs) has been convinced Jacques Viguier (Laurent Lucas) is innocent, in spite of him being accused of murdering his wife. Following an appeal by the public prosecutor’s office, and fearing a miscarriage of justice, she convinces a leading lawyer to defend him during his second trial. Together, they will put up a tenacious fight against injustice.

This is a courtroom drama that spends much of its time demonstrating how a miscarriage of justice can occur if those charged with carrying out judgement allow it. Nora’s interest in the case borders on obsession, but the short-staffed lawyer is not above using her passion to help him prepare for the trial. Unfortunately, this type of fixation tends to have negative consequences on other aspects of one’s life, and Nora’s relationship with her son and her job suffer as a result. With the lack of evidence and amount of hearsay, it’s shocking the case was even approved for appeal. However, there are many differences between France’s court system and the North American one. Nonetheless, the movie is very well-acted, while the details of the case are conveyed in an easy to follow manner.

There are no special features. (Icarus Films)

Moonstruck (Blu-ray)


Criterion Collection

A full moon, a New York City night, and love and music in the air. Loretta (Cher) is an unlucky-in-love bookkeeper whose feelings about her engagement to the staid Johnny (Danny Aiello) are thrown into question after she meets his hot-blooded brother, Ronny (Nicolas Cage), and one night at the opera changes everything.

This is one of the most memorable romantic comedies in an era filled with successful pictures in the genre simply because director Norman Jewison doesn’t strictly adhere to the formula. None of these characters are typical of rom-coms, but their larger-than-life personalities draw viewers in and their relatable problems in love keep audiences engaged. Loretta is a fascinating woman, which she seems to get from her equally formidable mother played by Olympia Dukakis — both of whom earned Academy Awards for their performances alongside a win for best original screenplay. This film was one in a series of varied and challenging roles for Cage, and he truly shines as the passionate but damaged suitor. He and Cher have wonderful chemistry, which not only elevates the picture but gave the world one of its most unforgettable on-screen slaps. Moreover, the operatic tones in the film perfectly match its passion and narrative. The bonus features are filled with numerous interviews with the cast and crew that go a long way in describing how everyone felt about the project and their personal contributions to its success.

Special features include: commentary from 1998 with Cher, Norman Jewison, and John Patrick Shanley; interview with screenwriter John Patrick Shanley; interview with scholar Stefano Albertini about the use of opera in the film; introduction from 2013 featuring Cher; interviews from 1987 with director Norman Jewison and actors Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis; interview from 2002 with actor Danny Aiello; audio interview from 1989 with Shanley about screenwriting and the development of Moonstruck; “At the Heart of an Italian Family”; “The Music of Moonstruck”; trailer; essay by critic Emily VanDerWerff. (Criterion Collection)

Relic (Blu-ray)


Scream Factory

When elderly mother Edna (Robyn Nevin) inexplicably vanishes, her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) rush to the family’s decaying country home, finding clues of her increasing dementia scattered around the house in her absence. After Edna returns just as mysteriously as she disappeared, Kay’s concern that her mother seems unwilling or unable to say where she’s been clashes with Sam’s unabashed enthusiasm to have her grandma back. As Edna’s behavior turns increasingly volatile, both begin to sense that an insidious presence in the house might be taking control of her.

From start to finish, this is an unusual movie that never provides any definitive answers. Kay and Sam clearly care greatly for Edna, but their responsibilities in the situation and ideas on prospective solutions are not aligned. Sam doesn’t see the work caring for an elderly relative with dementia entails, while Kay sees nothing but the work taking in her mother would create. However, whatever is going on in that house is not going to be resolved with a change of location. As a black mold spreads over the walls and Edna’s skin, its secrets threaten to overcome them all. What exactly transpires is left up to interpretation, but the ending is still strangely satisfying.

There are no special features. (Scream Factory)

Schitt’s Creek: The Complete Collection (DVD)


Lionsgate Home Entertainment

The series centres on the “reversal of fortune” story of the once filthy-rich Rose family. Suddenly finding themselves broke, the Roses are forced to rebuild their empire in Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke. As the seasons go on, we see the family thrive in a place they begin to call home, ready to take their personal relationships, business pursuits and, for some, exit strategies, to the next level.

This riches-to-rags story is incredibly absorbing even though at first glance it would seem the Rose’s over-the-top personalities would be grating. But that’s a testament to the excellent performances by the entire cast and the skilled writing that eases the family into audience’s hearts. With each season, viewers can take pleasure in watching the family grow as people and find happiness in lives so different from the ones to which they were accustomed. The comedic scenes are gradually balanced by touching moments that grow ever more meaningful as viewers become more invested in the characters. Feeling their wins and losses is just one of the proofs of the show’s success, while multiple Emmy awards are certainly another. The small Canadian series ran for six critically-acclaimed seasons and there is still speculation of a movie, but for now this collection will provide the opportunity to re-experience every humorous moment as often as you’d like.

Special features include: deleted scenes; “Behind the Episode”; featurettes; “A Schitt’s Creek Farewell”; outtakes; and bloopers. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

Weathering With You [Collector’s Edition] (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)


GKids & Shout Factory

The summer of his high school freshman year, Hodaka runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky.

This world in which children live without parents, fending for themselves and avoiding suspicious police, is a rather darkened one, which is reflected in the gloomy weather. Hodaka is a restrained and somewhat resourceful young man, who is lucky enough to meet an odd stranger who doesn’t ask too many questions. Hina is far more streetwise than Hodaka, but her need for caution hasn’t made her any less of a caring person. Her ability to call on the sun for brief periods is amazing — and a high-demand service in a city literally drowning in rain. There’s nothing very typical about the narrative, which alongside the lovely animation, makes it a captivating watch. To add to the experience of this unique picture is this stunning boxset that provides an isolated soundtrack, an in-depth documentary about the film’s production and a lovely book with equally attractive illustrations, which can be further enjoyed outside the movie via a mini poster and decal.

Special features include: feature-length documentary, “The Making of Weathering With You”; interview with director Makoto Shinkai; “Talk Show: Makoto Shinkai and Yumiko Udo”; “Weather Front”; “Exploring Makoto Shinkai’s Filmography”; TV spots; theatrical trailers; soundtrack CD; 104-page bound book; mini poster; and decal sticker. (GKIDS and Shout Factory)

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Written By

Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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