It’s our “HOT & NOW’ segment where we get to make our picks on movies you can watch right now on your computer, Video on Demand or DVD.
My pick for Hot & Now is a French film called THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN. At the beginning of the movie, we're introduced to Gregoire Canvel. Endlessly talking on his cellphone, Gregoire runs a troubled production company called Moon Films. He lives outside of Paris with his wife Sylvia and their daughters Valentine, Billie and Clemence.
The casual and candid early scenes seem to be setting up a low-key film about the movie industry and about a man struggling to juggle his personal and professional responsibilities. That film never comes. Instead, after one abrupt event, THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN changes subject and perspective and becomes one of the most intelligent explorations of how people deal with loss made this century. It’s not as gloomy as its subject matter suggests, but is instead full of life and made with a deep empathy for all of its characters.
THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN is written and directed by Mia Hansen-Love, one of the most assured young directors in the world. It was one of my favorite films from last year, and it's coming out on DVD this week.
My Hot & Now pick is "Stand by Me," which is out this week on a 25th anniversary Blu-Ray edition.
Based on a Stephen King novella, the coming-of-age drama follows four friends -- River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell and Corey Feldman -- who go looking for the body of a missing teenager. It's nostalgic not just for an era that seemed simpler -- the late 1950s -- but also for the innocence we'd like to recall from when we were 12 years old.
And Feldman was known as an up-and-coming young actor, and not just one half of the tormented Coreys. Rob Reiner was in his prime as a director, having also made "This Is Spinal Tap," "The Princess Bride" and "When Harry Met Sally ..." around this time. And the script, which was nominated for an Oscar, still stands as one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever.