Diane Keaton in "Darling Companion"; photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
When we look at the list of new releases on the Blue
Ray schedule our eyes generally go to the established hits that we saw in the movie theaters. Sometimes in doing
this we miss out on some excellent movies that don’t have the big stars involved, or didn’t get the big theatrical
push. Lately it seems there have been more of those than usual.
For example “Darling Companion.” This movie was
released on Blu Ray at the same time as the animated film “The Pirates: Band of Misfits.” Which movie got the most
attention? You guessed it, “Band of Misfits.” Now don’t get me wrong “Misfits” is a movie children will love but
adults need to see “Darling Companion.”
“Darling Companions” stars Kevin Kline and Diane
Keaton. It tells the story of an older couple whose kids are leaving the nest. One day Keaton’s character finds a
dog on the side of the road and takes it home. She doesn’t plan to keep it – yeah, sure! Anyway she and her
husband, (Kline’s character) come to love the dog.
One day Kline takes the dog for a walk in the woods.
The dog takes off after a deer and Kline can’t get him back. The dog is lost. Keaton feels like Kline didn’t take
enough precautions with keeping the dog with him. The whole movie is all about trying to find the dog. The way it
impacts the couple’s marriage makes up the meat of the story.
The acting is great; the story is sweet; the
emotional impact is large. Why on earth didn’t this movie find an audience! Well it can now, if you find and watch
the Blu Ray.
Another movie you need to watch is “Touchback.” This
is a straight to video movie that stars Kurt Russell, Brian Presley and Melanie Lynskey. It is a touching film
about a man who gets the chance for a do over of his life. This plot gimmick has been done to death in a million
other movies but “Touchback” puts a unique spin on it all by having the hero of the film be a high school football
hero who got injured in the championship game of his senior year.
This injury affected where he lived, who he married,
and what his economic outlook is. Scott Murphy (Presley) thinks life has handed him a rotten deal and knows if he
had a chance to do it over he would duck that big game and go on to fame and fortune.
Russell plays Murphy’s high school coach and Lynskey
is his faithful wife. Christine Lahti makes an impression as Murphy’s hard working mother. The rest of the
supporting players are perfectly cast right down the line.
There is so much to like about “Touchback” that you
wonder why didn’t it make it to the big screen. It has solid acting, a wonderfully touching story, and an easy to
absorb message. Make sure you don’t miss out on watching this totally enjoyable film the whole family will
Also worth watching is the Iranian film “A
Separation.” This film may be from another country but the issues it raises are as American as apple pie and also
universal. It concerns a couple in conflict. Nader and Simin love each other but they disagree on one big issue.
Simin wants to take their daughter and move out of the country to a place where she thinks she will have more
opportunities for a better life. Nader wants what is best for his daughter but he refuses to leave his father who
has Alzheimer’s. Finally desperate to go away with her daughter, Simin files for divorce. This starts a series of
events that go beyond the basic question of where they will live.
“A Separation” deals with complex issues and does it
all with fairness and effectiveness. The audience is drawn into the complexities of their lives and must take sides
as the story progresses.
This film won the Academy Award as Best Foreign Film
in 2012, as well as awards from a variety of other countries. All of its acclaim is justified. It is an exceptional
film and one you should enjoy.