Oscilloscope Laboratories may have an early entry for this year’s Best Actress sweepstakes with the Sept. 20 DVD and Blu-ray release of writer/director Julio Medem’s Ma ma.
The film has already been racking up awards internationally for Penélope Cruz’s performance — a performance where she has the opportunity to play “against type” — including a Goya Awards nomination for Best Lead Actress.
Ma ma is in current theatrical release in the domestic market — a limited arthouse run — and will arrive with an ARR of 123 (it opened theatrically in May of this year, but this Spanish-language import was launched internationally last November).
The glamorous Cruz, already nominated three times for Oscars (with a Best Supporting Actress win in 2009 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona), plays Magda, a woman in a failed marriage, her husband Raúl (Alex Brendemühl) has been cheating, who gets hit with a double-whammy when she is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Get out the Kleenex for this one as Cruz is put through the emotional wringer. She has put off having that “lump” examined too long and the cancer has spread, which will require a mastectomy. At the same hospital, she crosses paths with Arturo (Luis Tosar), who has just lost his wife … and then his daughter dies days later from the same tragic car accident. Both are at their low points.
How does one move beyond grief, loss and all of the pain that comes with it? And how do two people dare take another chance when the past so clearly shows that life can be tenuous at best. Maybe you just take your chances and enjoy the moments, no matter how brief and fleeting they may be for Magda.
The bonus feature for this emotional rollercoaster — a genuine tearjerker — is the featurette titled “Making of Ma ma.”
Also announced this week for release as DVD and Blu-ray product offerings by Oscilloscope Laboratories is writer/director Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits.
The street date is Sept. 13, which yields an ARR of 123 days and box office receipts from the film’s limited theatrical release currently stand at $109,307.
This is a difficult film to approach and ultimately one is prone to view it as more of an allegorical tale than that of a frightening mystery … although it could be both. Clever, if it is both.
Toni (Royalty Hightower in her film debut) is a Cincinnati pre-teen who trains at the local sports complex with her older brother, Maine (Da'Sean Minor). She’s not shooting hoops or practicing volleyball, but boxing, yes, boxing. She is silent, observant and dedicated to training. There’s no TV, no video games and no drugs for this kid, she trains … and observes.
One day the workouts of the Lionesses, the local dance team, catch her eye, and, as we’ve come to know of her and her ways, she watches their moves intently. She practices what she can; what she’s observed — bits and pieces here and there. While she’s smooth at boxing, smacking the bag, exchanging moves with her brother in the ring, her first efforts at mastering the floor moves of the Lionesses are comical.
When tryouts are held, she breaks from her gym routine to give it a try. She’s fit, she’s ready and we view her chances of making the squad as being pretty good. But, then filmmaker Anna Rose Holmer takes us in a very different direction.
Two of the leaders of the Lionesses — Legs (Makyla Burnam) and Karisma (Inayah Rodgers) — fall ill … uncontrollable spasms, fits. There is some speculation that the building’s plumbing and the water might be the culprit. It is never fully explained and the girls seemingly recover.
Is The Fits a mystery? Is it an allegory about “coming of age” … about leaving childhood behind and take the next big step in life? We would like answers, but for now we need to be like Toni and simply observe.
Bonus features include outtakes, a blooper reel and a behind-the-scenes featurette.