New on DVD and Blu-Ray

Wes Anderson answered all the complaints about his movies becoming increasingly hermetic, ornate, and densely-layered by doubling down on all of those things, and it somehow proved to be the winning strategy. I’m still not entirely sure I get how Asteroid City was the one to break through to the late-Anderson skeptics, since it’s constructed to be opaque and unsatisfying on a first glance, intentionally leaving holes where its climaxes should be. Even as one of The French Dispatch‘s most devoted fans, I was really thrown by a loop by this the first time, and it took me until rewatch to fully grasp the devastating picture left by all the elisions and framing devices. This movie only works if you accept that a description of an emotional catharsis can have the same effect as the “real” thing, that all the levels of fiction and performance can melt away when you stare directly into Jason Schwartzman’s watery eyes. Anderson has taken the most circuitous route to tell us to trust our emotional reactions, to this fiction and to life in general, even as they’re usually not pleasant or even fully comprehensible. I still don’t think I know what “You can’t wake up if you don’t fall asleep” means to me, but I know that I find it scary, very sad, and oddly hopeful despite those two, and so that’s what it is. Incredible stuff, plus it has the great jokes, galaxy of stars, and mind-boggling craft that come with every Anderson movie. I still like French Dispatch a little more (everything this movie does follows from one scene in Dispatch‘s maligned second story, maybe my favorite scene in the whole Anderson canon), but this reaffirms my belief that, as good as he’s always been, he’s evolved into the most staggering artist of any currently making movies.

Asteroid City (Universal)
The Day and the Hour (Kino)
Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (Criterion)
Ghostwatch (101 Films)
Holy Spider (Utopia)
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (Sony)
Impulse (Grindhouse Releasing)
Is Paris Burning? (Kino)
The Machine (Sony)
Primetime Panic 2 (Fun City Editions)
Roman Holiday 4K (Paramount)
Shaw Brothers Classics: Volume Two (Shout Factory)
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture (Rhino)