CATEGORIES Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Independent, Music & Musicals, Romance, ThinkFilm, Warner Independent Pictures, New on DVD, Home Entertainment, Miramax, Cinematical Indie, Features, DVDs, CinematicalMy pick of the week is Ben Affleck's directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, which far exceeded my expectations. Casting his younger brother Casey Affleck as a savvy private eye investigating a child kidnapping might have been a disaster, but Casey turned in an exceptional performance, as did Amy Ryan as the missing girl's severely damaged mother. The film has a handsome, autumnal look, and the surfeit of close-ups should make it ideal on the small screen. Miramax's DVD includes an audio commentary by Ben Affleck and his co-scenarist Aaron Stoddard, behind the scenes footage, a casting featurette, deleted scenes, and an extended ending. (See Erik's DVD review here)
Our own James Rocchi said that In the Shadow of the Moon is "one of the best science documentaries in recent memory, and also much more." Directed by David Sington, the film features new interviews with the surviving Apollo astronauts and archival footage of the moon missions. I'm a space nut from way back and I'm sorry I missed this in theaters, but I plan to sit very close to the television when I watch this. ThinkFilm's DVD appears to be a bare-bones edition.
In the mood for a coming-of-age tale from Australia? Introducing the Dwights might tickle your fancy. Revolving around a "somewhat eccentric family" of entertainers, Erik Davis called it "sweet, quirky, sincere." (You'll have to read his review again to be reminded why he was left blushing at one point.) Warner Independent's DVD doesn't appear to have any additional features of note, so a rental might do the trick.
Other indie releases include John Turturro's musical drama Romance & Cigarettes, with an audio commentary and deleted scenes, and comedy / drama / romance Blue State, featuring Anna Paquin and Breckin Meyer.