As we close out 2013, it seems like every film writer and reader has a list (Santa even checked his twice) with their Favorite [insert number] Films of the Year, the Most Underrated Performances and Overrated Directors, the Best Top 10 List of Lists, et cetera. (Check out ours). But woe, the pitiable December DVD and Blu-ray releases, overlooked by the masses in favor of year-end catching up and frazzled holiday-brain distractions. Even if you don't believe in 2014 resolutions, do yourself a favor with those gleaming new Amazon gift cards (thanks, Grandma Carol) and splurge on these 13 recommendations.
Podcast Intro Music: Ennio Morricone, "The Big Gundown"
SPECIAL GUEST #1: David Lowery on "Nashville"
Intro Music: Keith Carradine, "I'm Easy"
David Lowery is the Spirit Award-nominated co-editor of "Upstream Color," and the writer-director of the poetic outlaw drama and Sundance hit "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" (IFC Films/MPI, BD, DVD, available now), starring Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara and Ben Foster. On the podcast, we discuss 1975's epic musical dramedy "Nashville" (Criterion, BD/DVD combo, available now) what Lowery calls "the quintessential Robert Altman movie." We also briefly rap about Lowery's feature debut, "St. Nick," and how it wound up as an "Ain't Them" bonus feature.
SPECIAL GUEST #2: James Gray on "Ain't Them Bodies Saints"
Intro Music: Led Zeppelin, "Immigrant Song"
James Gray is a celebrated American auteur and four-time nominee for the Palme d'Or with such films as "Two Lovers," "We Own the Night" and "The Yards." His latest is "The Immigrant," a wonderful 1920s-set drama starring Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix, which will be theatrically released in 2014. We originally recorded our segment at the International Film Festival of Marrakech earlier this month, but Gray was viciously jet-lagged and hadn't yet caught up on movies. He was kind enough to take the mulligan and chat again after seeing Lowery's "Ain't Them Bodies Saints."
SPECIAL GUEST #3: Buck Angel on "Mr. Angel"
Intro Music: Kid Congo & The Monkey Birds, "Buck Angel"
Buck Angel is a performer and pioneer within the adult-film industry, as well as an outspoken transgender advocate. He is also the subject of director Dan Hunt's entertaining and empowering SXSW-vetted documentary "Mr. Angel" (Breaking Glass Pictures, DVD, available now) which chronicles his life and career as "The Man with a Pussy." On the podcast, Angel and I elaborate on the seven years' worth of material in the doc, the stigmatization of porn in the United States, and his unlikely relationship with his family. For more info on his work as an inspirational speaker, adult star, and dating-service provider, visit all of Angel's websites here.
Podcast Outro Music: Talking Heads, "Thank You For Sending Me an Angel (Country Angel Version)"
10 WORTH A SPIN (December 2013, as mentioned on the podcast):
"The Big Gundown" (1966, dir. Sergio Sollima, Grindhouse Releasing, BD/DVD)
"Bruce Weber: The Film Collection" (1987 - 2008, dir. Bruce Weber, Cinedigm, DVD)
"Fanny Hill + The Phantom Gunslinger" (1964/1967, dir. Russ Meyer/Albert Zugsmith, Vinegar Syndrome, BD/DVD)
"Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project" (1936 - 1981, various directors, Criterion, BD/DVD)
"Museum Hours" (2012, dir. Jem Cohen, Cinema Guild, BD, DVD)
"More Than Honey" (2012, dir. Markus Imhoof, Kino Lorber, DVD)
"Newlyweeds" (2013, dir. Shaka King, Phase 4 Films, DVD)
"Sister" (2012, dir. Ursula Meier, Kino Lorber, DVD)
"Toad Road" (2012, dir. Jason Banker, Artsploitation, DVD)
"Una Noche" (2012, dir. Lucy Molloy, IFC Films/MPI, DVD)