PICK OF THE WEEK: Robert Mitchum: The Signature Collection (Warner Bros.): Warner can just keep cranking out these star-centered collections, and I'll happily keep rolling the dice: What's the gem-to-clunker ratio going to be this time? Does the presence of top-shelf directors Otto Preminger, Vincent Minnelli, and Josef Von Sternberg (?!) bode well? All I know is I can't wait to see Mitchum fly to Japan to confront The Yakuza. (Includes: Angel Face, The Good Guys & the Bad Guys, Home from the Hill, Macao, The Sundowners, The Yakuza)
CRITERION CORNER: The cinephile's Santa has a bulging sack this week, with Allison Anders' Border Radio; Robert Bresson's Mouchette; and an oddball box titled Monsters and Madmen, which offers the Boris Karloff flicks The Haunted Strangler and Corridors of Blood alongside The Atomic Submarine and First Man into Space. (The unifying theme is that all four come from producers Richard and Alex Gordon.)
Stuck in the '50s after those Karloff numbers? Sony has two double-features exploiting the brand-new rock sensation: Don't Knock the Rock / Rock Around the Clock and Twist Around the Clock / Don't Knock the Twist.
QUESTIONABLE REISSUES: Brokeback Mountain (Collector's Edition) (Universal), which is such a recent title that fans who bought the first release will surely resent being asked to buy a new one; Fiddler on the Roof (Collector's Edition) (MGM), possibly the fourth retail incarnation of the beloved musical, which seems to have the exact same video and sound master as the previous version.
LESS QUESTIONABLE: Sanjuro / Yojimbo (Criterion): Criterion religiously uses the best film elements they can get their hands on. With this Kurosawa double feature, they have obtained a better print, mastered it with today's best tech, and added substantial new bonus features for those who like a little something extra when they re-buy a favorite film.
Jacknife (Lions Gate): After marinating in the manly world of Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd, why not watch him act alongside another icon of masculinity, Ed Harris?
La Moustache (Koch): A man decides, on a whim, to shave the moustache he has had for years. His wife doesn't notice. His co-workers don't either. Is he crazy?
TEXAS FILMMAKERS: The Puffy Chair (Genius Products), by the Duplass brothers, won SXSW awards and had a well-recieved run at Austin's Alamo Drafthouse; Room (Hart Sharp), Kyle Henry's considerably more challenging (read: definitely not for everyone) film, got a New York release but not much more.
RATE THIS: Weird to see the words "This film is not yet rated" on the new DVD release of Sherrybaby (Universal), an indie by Laurie Collyer that drew raves for leading actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. Normally, by the time a film hits the streets it either has a rating or has avoided the system altogether. Timely, then, is This Film Is Not Yet Rated (IFC Films) a doc for those whose sympathies in the eternal debate over movie ratings lie less with concerned parents (a separate doc should be made from that angle) than with adventurous filmmakers who have been bullied by a system favoring straight, white, male — and most important, studio-funded — perspectives.