It started as a joke, became a documentary, and now it's on DVD. Comedian Doug Benson undertook a bold initiative: to smoke marijuana every day for 30 days. Of course, he'd already been smoking pot pretty much every day of his life, so to make things really interesting, he first stopped smoking for 30 days and took a battery of tests so he could later compare the results of smoking vs. non-smoking on his thirty-something body. Super High Me is the result.
The stoner crowd laughed much harder than I did at SXSW, but, as Erik Davis wrote, Super High Me is still "funny as hell," and the doc, directed by Michael Blieden, manages to sneak in plenty of social and political commentary. The DVD doesn't appear to have any extras, but it is available with two different covers. See if you can tell the difference. To quote Erik again, "True stoners, however, will most likely place this film on a shelf among their favorites of all time ... then forget it's up there five minutes later."
One of my SXSW favorites also premieres on DVD today. Following on the heels of Anton Corbjin's biopic Control, Grant Gee's doc Joy Division is a rousing, illuminating peek into the lives of the original members of the band, featuring interviews with almost all of the key players.
James Rocchi reviewed the film when it premiered at Toronto last fall; he concluded: "Joy Division is less a requiem than a celebration; Gee's film is a dense, rich and exciting look at a band who helped make modern pop music become truly modern." James also interviewed the director. DVD Talk has a good review of the film and the DVD extras, which include more than 75 minutes of additional interview footage.
We've covered 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days extensively since its premiere at Cannes; James got the ball rolling with his rapturous review of a movie that is much more than a simple "Romanian abortion drama." The film's theatrical release was limited, so now is the time to catch up with this prizewinner. I haven't found any listing that details the extras, if any, on the DVD. *
Kim Voynar really liked the Lebanese "chick flick" Caramel. "Set in and around a Beirut beauty salon, the film follows the lives of five women, each going through her own personal struggles," Kim wrote. "Caramel is funny, heartwarming, and sensitive in the way it examines the issues that each of these women face within the context of their particular culture." The DVD includes an interview with director Nadine Labaki.
Other releases of interest: Spanish-language family melodrama Under the Same Moon enjoyed box office success this spring; Jette Kernion thought it was a flawed but "entertaining film that knows how to charm an audience." French gangster classic Classe Tous Risques had a run at revival houses in late 2005 and finally gets the Criterion treatment with a bevy of extras; Martha Fischer described it as "an incredibly accomplished work from everyone involved."
* Update: According to one of our readers, the DVD includes three extras: (1) "1 Month with 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days: A Documentary Film by Sorin Avram," (2) "An Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Cristian Mungiu," and (3) "An Interview with Cinematographer Oleg Mutu." Thanks to Premaximum for the information!