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Blu-ray Review: Striking, Haunting ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’

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CHICAGO – You’d never know it from the Academy Awards this past weekend but Sean Durkin’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, was one of the best movies of 2011, a better overall film than at least half of this year’s Oscar winners. It features my choice for the best actress performance of 2011 and won the CFCA Award for Most Promising Filmmaker and Most Promising Performer. It’s absolutely a must-see.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

I’ve made my love for “Martha Marcy May Marlene” clear through numerous features about how much attention I thought the film deserved at the end of the year (including naming Elizabeth Olsen and John Hawkes in best performances of the year pieces) and my original 4.5-star theatrical review. So it comes from a place of love when I reveal that this Blu-ray is a disappointment. The video quality is average and the special features are below that. Sure, “Mary Last Seen,” a short film that Durkin made as he was preparing “Martha,” is well-worth seeing and serves as an interesting companion to the feature but the other bonus material is annoyingly organized and stupidly brief. NO ONE wants to watch 2-3 minute featurettes. No one. They’re pathetic EPK material that people use to cut up into something else on their website or program and they don’t belong on a Blu-ray. So, discounting the nonsense featurettes, there’s only one special feature and a music video and nowhere NEAR enough material with Olsen and Durkin. I’ve interviewed them both. They’re fascinating. But the Blu-ray doesn’t take that opportunity. The film will have to stand for itself. Luckily, this film is good enough to do so.

Martha Marcy May Marlene was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 21, 2012
Martha Marcy May Marlene was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 21, 2012
Photo credit: Fox

Synopsis:
In her stunning feature film debut, Elizabeth Olsen delivers “an electrifying, star-is-born performance” (Rolling Stone) in this gripping psychological thriller that is “far and away one of the year’s best” (Associated Press)! After escaping from a dangerous cult and the watchful eye of its charismatic leader (Academy Award Nominee John Hawkes), a young woman named Martha (Olsen) tries to reclaim a normal life with her family. But the haunting memories from Martha’s past trigger a chilling paranoia - and nowhere seems safe as the fragile line between her reality and delusions begin to blur.

Special Features:
o Mary Last Seen Short Film
o The Psyche Of A Cult
o Spotlight On Elizabeth Olsen
o The Story
o The Making Of Martha Marcy May Marlene
o A Conversation With Filmmakers
o “Marcy’s Song” Music Video by John Hawkes

“Martha Marcy May Marlene” stars Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, and Hugh Dancy. It was written and directed by Sean Durkin. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 21st, 2012.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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