Home Entertainment Guide: December 2021, New Releases | TV/Streaming

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Cry Macho

Clint Eastwood had reportedly been working on an adaptation of N. Richard Nash’s novel of the same name for years, and, as politely as I can put this, I think it would have been stronger a decade or maybe even two ago. Eastwood doesn’t shy away from his 90 years of life, but the character is almost too fragile and Eastwood seems a little tired of doing this kind of role. However, his craft as a director remains strong as he helms the story of a rodeo star who is hired to retrieve a boy (Eduardo Minett) from Mexico and bring him home to his father (Dwight Yoakam). The film impresses the most in its midsection as Eastwood’s leading man finds a different kind of happiness in an unexpected place. Some of the speechifying is overwritten and the action feels silly, but the human drama reminds one how strong Eastwood has always been in that department. 

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Special Features
Back In The Saddle: The Making Of Cry Macho – Featurette
Macho and The Mustangs – Featurette

The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson‘s latest features one of the biggest casts of his career, collecting almost everyone he’s ever worked with plus a few new familiar faces to tell a triptych story inspired by the work of The New Yorker. In this case, Anderson centers the French bureau of a fictional newspaper called Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun. Bill Murray plays the editor and three stories unfold: “The Concrete Masterpiece,” “Revisions to a Manifesto,” and “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner”. Every story has its strengths, particularly in Anderson’s sharp art direction and editing. This is the MOST Wes Anderson movie yet, but I don’t say that as a criticism. There should be more filmmakers with a voice that’s this distinctive. Having said that, it’s a little too sterile for this viewer, a film that was working for me up until about midway through story two, when I realized I didn’t care. However, there’s more than enough to like here just in design terms to recommend taking a look (and I’m pro movies that embrace journalism). Note: It’s incredibly unlikely that this is the final release of this film given it has no special features. It feels like a placeholder for an inevitable Criterion release.

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Special Features

The Last Duel

The better of the two 2021 Ridley Scott movies is this historical drama that’s already been turned around from theatrical to VOD and DVD. Based on the book of the same name by Eric Jager, it’s the story of Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), and Marguerite (Jodie Comer) and it’s told in three chapters, from each of their perspectives. Marguerite, Jean’s wife, accuses Jacques of raping her, and the events around the assault unfold in subtly different manners in each recounting. A complex, nuanced drama (with a script co-written by Damon, Ben Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener) this is precisely the kind of film that critics and filmmakers worry will not be made in the new era as it feels like theatrical releases demand familiar IPs. I expect audiences will catch up with “The Last Duel,” one of Scott’s more confident and accomplished late-career films, especially now that it’s widely available. Do your part.

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