CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Blu-ray Review: Criterion Upgrades Ang Lee’s Masterful ‘The Ice Storm’
CHICAGO – Ang Lee won his second Oscar this year for his work on “Life of Pi” but he wasn’t even nominated for one of the best films of his career, the masterful “The Ice Storm,” recently upgraded to Blu-ray by Criterion and re-released on DVD. Few films from 1997 have held up more completely as Lee’s adaptation of the Rick Moody novel feels even more symbolically dense and accomplished. It’s a stellar drama, one of the best of the ’90s, and Criterion has loaded it down with special features.
Having said that, the transfer on the Blu-ray edition of “The Ice Storm” is a little less-than-perfect. The 2k audio track sounds flat and the image quality wasn’t what I’ve come to expect from Criterion. Don’t get me wrong. The film looks great but Criterion almost always delivers some of the best HD restorations on the market. This isn’t one of their best.
However, it is one of their best films and contains some of their best bonus material, including interviews with a lot of the major players and a commentary from Lee himself. Ang Lee has cemented his status as one of the most important directors of his generation. He won two Oscars and they weren’t even for “Sense and Sensibility” or “The Ice Storm,” two films that would have stood at the top of most directorial resumes. You may have just learned about Lee’s mastering of his form and curious about his previous films. You owe it to yourself to see “The Ice Storm.”
The Ice Storm was released on Blu-ray and re-released on DVD on July 23, 2013
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection
Suburban Connecticut, 1973. Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” speech drones from the TV, the Hood and Carver families try to navigate a Thanksgiving break simmering with unspoken resentment, sexual tension, and cultural confusion. With clarity, subtlety, and a dose of wicked humor, Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee renders Rick Moody’s acclaimed novel of upper-middle class American malaise as a trenchant, tragic cinematic portrait of lost souls. Featuring a tremendous cast of established actors (Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver) and rising stars (Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes) The Ice Storm is among the finest films of the 1990s.
o Audio Commentary Featuring Lee And Producer Screenwriter James Schamus
o Documentary Featuring Interviews With Actors Joan Allen, Kevin Kline, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Sigourney Weaver, and Elijah Wood
o Interview With Novelist Rick Moody
o Deleted Scenes
o Footage From a 2007 Event Honoring Lee And Schamus At New York’s Museum Of The Moving Image
o Illustrated Audio Interviews With Elmes, Production Designer Mark Friedberg, and Costume Designer Carol Oditz
o Booklet Featuring An Essay By Critic Bill Krohn