This week's marquee indie release is being marketed as a twisted tie-in to the US Open golf championship. At least, that's the conclusion I draw from the DVD cover for Michael Haneke's US remake of his own Funny Games. Naomi Watts and her big tear have been relegated to the back. James Rocchi declared it "a great movie ... cruel, cold and darkly thrilling." DVD features are non-existent, unless you consider a full-screen version to be an extra.

Erik Davis called Zak Penn's poker mockumentary The Grand "one of the best ensemble comedies of the past 20 years." That ensemble includes Woody Harrelson, Michael McKean, Chris Parnell, Cheryl Hines, Ray Romano, Dennis Farina, Werner Herzog and David Cross. DVD features include alternate endings, deleted scenes, poker player profiles, and an audio commentary with Penn, writer/executive producer Matt Bierman and actor Michael Karnow.

To round out our trio of enthusiastic recommendations from Cinematical critics, Scott Weinberg was seriously geeked out by The Signal, "one viciously fun little genre flick ... fast-paced, disturbing and slick." The plot? Everyone turns into "raving homicidal lunatics." David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry, and Dan Bush directed. DVD features are generous, including an audio commentary with the directors, deleted scenes, a short film, and six "making of"-type things.

Other releases of interest include The Wayward Cloud, Summer '04, The Ballad of Narayama, Young Yakuza, Human Lanterns, and the smashing Invisible Target, which I reviewed with great enthusiasm.
CATEGORIES DVDs, Cinematical