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Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Home Movies/Out on Digital: Sept. 3

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■ Phantom of the Paradise

In director Brian De Palma’s cinematically flashy 1974 satire of rock industry sleaze, a producer steals the music for a “rock cantata” based on Faust and stages it for the opening of is palatial concert hall. Inspired by Phantom of the Opera, Phantom of the Paradise stars Muppet-haired songwriter Paul Williams, who is perfectly absurd as the power-mad producer. Disc two of the Blu-ray release features interviews with Williams and De Palma and other bonus features.

 

Finding Vivian Maier

In 2007 John Maloof purchased negatives by unknown photographer Vivian Maier. The work was remarkable—street scenes filled with poignant empathy for the human condition. Maloof documents his mission to locate more of her photos and learn more about the eccentric woman who turned out to be a Chicago nanny—Mary Poppins with a camera. Finding Vivian Maier proceeds like a mystery as Maloof follows leads about the mysterious photographer, so prolific yet so private.

 

Queen Margot

I didn’t like Queen Margot when it was released 20 years ago, but the Blu-ray reissue forces me to recant. French director Patrice Chéreau staged this historical fiction adapted from a novel by Alexandre Dumas (of Three Musketeers fame) with darkly beautiful cinematography, striking compositions and appropriately stately rhythms. Lovely Isabelle Adjani plays Margot, forced with a violent shove into a marriage of political convenience as France was wracked with civil war between Catholics and Protestants.