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New Releases: 'Moonrise Kingdom' is strange, lovely

Also: 'Neil Young Journeys,' 'Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,' 'Paul Williams Still Alive' new to DVD, Blu-ray, VOD.

October 13, 2012|By Noel Murray
  • Newcomer Jared Gilman stars as Sam in "Moonrise Kingdom."
Newcomer Jared Gilman stars as Sam in "Moonrise Kingdom." (Focus Features )

Moonrise Kingdom

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Available on VOD Oct. 16

Wes Anderson's easily strangest (yet loveliest) film follows two New England pre-teens in 1965 as they run away and try to make a go of it in the wild. Anderson's movies always have been about the conflict between harsh adult reality and the more fanciful world of children's literature, but the split between the two has never been as extreme as it is in "Moonrise Kingdom," which combines kooky Boy Scout adventures with the looming specters of death, marital infidelity, teen sexuality and institutionalization. It became Anderson's first significant box-office hit in part because of colorful supporting performances by the likes of Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand and Bill Murray, and in part because there's a relatable yearning beneath the cartooniness. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes true to Anderson's off-kilter sensibility.

Neil Young Journeys

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD Oct. 16

Jonathan Demme has collaborated with veteran rocker Neil Young on the concert films "Heart of Gold" (focused mainly on Young's acoustic material) and "Trunk Show" (with more of Young's longer electric jams). "Journeys" is something different: a mix of solo electric and acoustic songs recorded at Toronto's legendary Massey Hall, staggered with extended interviews with Young about his youth in Canada, filmed as Young drove down from "the town in North Ontario" where he was raised. The performances are unusually strong and emotional — and beautifully shot — and given more resonance when placed next to Young's sweet, funny stories about growing up in a world that no longer exists. The film makes a good companion piece to Young's new autobiography "Waging Heavy Peace." The DVD and Blu-ray include more interviews.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Music Box, $29.95

Performance artist Marina Abramovic first rose to prominence in the '70s with pieces that involved her wounding her own naked body, but the centerpiece of her 2010 Museum of Modern Art show was a different kind of endurance test, as she sat silently and motionless in a chair for hours, while art-lovers lined up for the chance to sit across from her. Matthew Akers' fine documentary surveys Abramovic's career through the prism of that wildly successful 2010 MOMA retrospective, capturing the tension and emotion of the title piece, as well as all the prep that went into it. It's a fascinating look at the hard work of making art, and whether someone as committed as Abramovic is ever off the clock. The DVD contains bonus footage.

Paul Williams Still Alive

Available on VOD Oct. 18

Stephen Kessler's at once fun and frustrating documentary features a treasure trove of rare archival clips of the diminutive singer/songwriter/actor, who dominated the '70s with his songs and his quirky personality. The movie is also about Kessler himself: about his fitful filmmaking career, and about his need to get Williams to confront the realities of dwindling fame. The latter material is painful to watch, but worth sitting through for the flashbacks to Williams holding court on countless talk shows and variety shows, as well as the shots of him now, all sobered up and still beloved, if on a smaller scale.

And…

Chernobyl Diaries

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD Oct. 16

The Forgiveness of Blood

Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

Mad Men: Season Five

Lionsgate, $49.98; Blu-ray, $49.99

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

DreamWorks, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99/$54.99

Available on VOD Oct. 16

That's My Boy

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD Oct. 16

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