Paul Newman and Sergio Leone Are Still Golden

The Bridge

Koch Lorber, $26.98

Maybe you're the type who tends not to watch real people kill themselves on film. Fair enough. This documentary on the world's most popular suicide spot—the Golden Gate Bridge—mixes interviews of family and friends with footage of people plunging to their deaths. It's a gimmick, and it feels like one. But The Bridge is often affecting even beyond the emotional blackmail at play. That said, it would have been better served with a little objectivity; the film's narratorless, "poetic" style prevents its creators from answering the many questions raised, except for maybe that one about how people kill themselves because they are really fucking sad. A making-of bonus feature addresses whether the cameramen did anything to prevent the suicides they filmed, but these answers, like so many others, arrive a little too late. JORDAN HARPER

Glastonbury

ThinkFilm, $24.98

Only a Julien Temple concert doc would get the R rating—for nudity (male, mostly, and not terribly flattering at that), drug use (weed, mostly, yawn), language, and sexual content. Also dig the overwrought BBC narration, in which Glastonbury is described as a former refuge for "saints, mystics, and holy men," where now it's just the hipsters' hot spot for an annual alt-rock hoedown featuring the likes of Radiohead, Oasis, the White Stripes, Blur, Morrissey, Foo Fighters—you name the flavor, they've played the fest. What separates this from other concert compilations is the history on display: Temple has rounded up years of footage and squashed it together into an ambient, impressionist tale in which performances are often brief and used to prop up interviews with concertgoers. This is the perfect way to attend Glastonbury—less mud, if nothing else. But do bring your own stash. ROBERT WILONSKY

The Hustler

Fox, $19.98

This might be the first collection where you'll watch the bonus disc before bothering with the film. It's not that the movie isn't great; it's just that who doesn't want to learn the inside scoop about the art of pool hustling, making trick shots, and acting like Paul Newman? Once you've exhausted the docs, go ahead and watch the movie, a true classic pitting cocky and desperate Fast Eddie (Newman) against Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason, in the performance of a great lifetime) in marathon pool sessions. Newman puts on one of his earliest world-class performances, but Gleason owns every scene he's in, a fat but graceful shark swimming in blood. Also out recently: a similarly loaded edition of Newman's workmanlike courtroom drama The Verdict. ROBERT WILONSKY

The Sergio Leone Anthology

MGM, $89.98

Sergio Leone made Westerns like Wagner made ditties. This essential boxed set—four films with four discs of supplemental material, much of it scholarly and insightful—shows the Italian director supplanting the elegiac Monument Valley iconography of John Ford with a darker, ruder, more bleak-humored brand of mythmaking. It's all here: the rhythmic alternation of God's-eye vistas and flyspeck close-ups, the epic face-offs in whirling duster coats, the "two beeg eyes" filling the screen as Ennio Morricone's matadorial trumpets and razor-wire guitars sound the deguello. In addition to A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the surprise is Leone's little-seen 1971 masterpiece, Duck, You Sucker, about a priapic peasant (Rod Steiger) and an Irish revolutionary (James Coburn) fighting a class war in 1913 Mexico; it registers today as a haunting, disillusioned rejoinder to radical chic from the opening citation of Mao. It lives up to its title—no small feat. JIM RIDLEY

Other Releases

Speaking of Sergio Leone (see above), there's a new doc called The Spaghetti West, about how all those Italian Westerns were made in Spain during the 1960s. Overlooked during the recent madness of SIFF have been notable titles including the Oscar-nominated French World War II drama Days of Glory, Lindsay Anderson's acid satire If... (recently on view at the Grand Illusion), and a Criterion two-pack of Chris Marker's La Jetée and Sans Soleil. (Must to avoid: Eddie Murphy in Norbit.) Nicolas Cage's head caught fire in Ghost Rider, while poor Ryan Phillippe looked confused and lost in the CIA thriller Breach (it never helps to be thoroughly outclassed by Chris Cooper.) Also look for Ken Loach's Raining Stones and An Unreasonable Man, which profiles possible presidential candidate (again?!?) Ralph Nader. Bridge to Terabithia will appeal to family audiences. From SIFF '06, the worthwhile Close to Home follows two women doing service in the Israeli army. For fans of old-school Italian horror—call it I-horror?—only, there's Who Can Kill a Child? A Sundance conversation starter that predictably failed to translate at sea level, Black Snake Moan shows more of a skinny, slutty Christina Ricci than Samuel L. Jackson ever wanted to see. A superior actor forever in search of better movies, Terrence Howard plays a swimming coach in Pride.

dvd@seattleweekly.com

 
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