I’ve been doing these Pick of the Week posts for awhile now and so I’ve developed a sort-of rule system to go with my decision making. I like to pretend that at first someone gives me just enough money to purchase one DVD a week. That purchase then becomes my pick, and then I imagine that person relents and gives me more money to buy anything that sounds interesting.
With that first purchase I think about what would I like to have in my collection. Sometimes it’s an upgrade to something I might already own – a high-definition transfer, or a multi-disk collection with lots of extras, or maybe it’s a film I really love but have never gotten around to owning. Most likely though it’s going to be something I haven’t seen but have on my list. I’m not all that into high-definition transfers as of yet, and special features tend to bore me so, in general, I’d rather grab something I haven’t seen just to give it a whirl. For the rest, I really do talk about anything that looks interesting to me which is why I sometimes pick obscure, weird, and goofy films while completely leaving out some big blockbuster that to my eyes looks completely ridiculous.
Most weeks the decisions are pretty easy. Browsing through all the week’s releases there is normally one item that jumps out at me and that becomes my pick of the week. Some weeks however, like this one, there are two or three things that jump out and I actually have to think a little about which one I would most want to see on my shelves. This week the Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady and the newly restored A Trip to the Moon both immediately grabbed my attention. Yet it is the Iron Lady that ultimately snags my Pick of the Week. Here’s why.
I don’t actually know anything about Margaret Thatcher other than she was a conservative Prime Minister of Britain around the same time Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. Like Reagan, she seems well loved by many, but really rather detested by others. Even with the little I know, she seems like a fascinating character for a movie and if anyone can do her justice its Meryl Streep.
It is a film I haven’t seen, nor read any reviews about, but peeks my interest. It is quite simply a film I really want to see and if someone actually was giving me money to buy one thing this week, the Iron Lady would be it. Why it beats out George Méliès’s quite brilliant film A Trip to the Moon is more about my personal quirks than the quality of the films.
Made in 1902, George Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon is really an extraordinary film. It is one of the earliest movies with an actual narrative and at 12 minutes it was one of the longest movies ever made in its time. It was also made in color through a process which entailed individuals painstakingly painting each frame of the film. No original hand-painted copy of the film was thought to exist until one was found in Spain in the 1990s. In 2010, three restoration experts restored the film and it was shown at select theatres throughout the world and is now available in Blu-ray.
So why is it not my pick of the week? I’m actually pretty sure I have a copy of this film somewhere, and even if I do not it is readily available on YouTube and other online streaming sites. I’ve watched it several times in my life and I’ll likely watch it many more, but its not necessarily something I feel I need another copy of, even if it is restored. Or something. I mean it is my second pick and if this money-receiving fantasy of mine were real, I’d already have a copy. In reality it will go on my wish list and eventually will wind up on my shelves, but probably not before I sit down and watch The Iron Lady.
Other items out this week that look interesting:
Into the Abyss: Werner Herzog has been knocking out critically acclaimed documentaries for the last several years and this is no exception. Here, he documents a triple-homicide case in Texas and the man who faces execution because of it.
Sleeping Beauty (2011): Emily Browning stars in this tale of a woman who takes a job where her bosses sedate her and then allow clients to do anything they desire with her. That sounds trashy but the reviews make it sound hypnotic.
Donald Glover – Weirdo: I’m a big fan of the actors work on Community so his stand-up show should be interesting.