Armchair Cinephile



A holy grail of world cinema, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 15-hour-plus 1980 epic hits DVD for the first time this week, following a 2006 restoration that inspired some die-hards to fly overseas for screenings.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

One of the few films audiences knew from multiple versions before the advent of DVD “director’s cuts,” CE3K lands in all three forms here, gathered with copious behind-the-scenes material in both standard DVD and — a first for Steven Spielberg — on Blu-ray.


Killer of Sheep

This landmark indie film by Charles Burnett (To Sleep With Anger) — nearly impossible to track down till now — is welcome enough on its own. But it’s paired with a second Burnett feature, My Brother’s Wedding, and a handful of shorts including a brand-new one on
Hurricane Katrina.

Ocean’s Thirteen
(Warner Bros.)

More satisfying than the second, not as seductive as the first, O13 was good, clean fun and, naturally, offers the occasion for a “Complete Trilogy” box set, available in both high-def formats to capture every spangle on the Vegas strip.

ON THE SKIDS: Two new foreign films take us for walks on the grimy side. Shane Meadows’ This Is England (IFC) follows a 12-year-old English lad as he falls in with the local skinheads. Edith Piaf biopic La Vie En Rose (HBO) uses brothels and gutters to contrast the singer’s later success and to foreshadow the demons that haunted her.


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