Okay, now it’s time for 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 Hot and Now pick is "The Guard," a wickedly funny little Irish comedy. The hulking Brendan Gleeson -- who is always great in everything -- stars as Gerry Boyle, a cop who likes his cocaine and his hookers but he's not a bad guy. When a big drug deal is expected to go down in his insular, coastal town, Gerry must team up with a straight-arrow FBI agent played by Don Cheadle.
It is so profane and so hilarious -- and Gleeson and Cheadle have such great chemistry, they make you feel as if you're watching something thrillingly new. "The Guard" comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 3.
HOUSE OF PLEASURES hasn’t gotten much publicity and only a slim theatrical release, which is downright criminal, because it happens to be one of the year’s best films. That’s why it’s my pick for Hot & Now. Written and directed by Bertrand Bonello, it’s set entirely within the confines of an upscale brothel in Paris around 1900. Which isn’t to say that it’s some restrained period drama: Bonello’s style is wildly imaginative, incorporating dream-like imagery, some anachronistic rock music, and all sorts of visual tricks.
But HOUSE OF PLEASURES isn’t all-style, no substance. This film has an overpowering sense of sympathy for its characters, but it also doesn’t romanticize their world, which is violent and unfair. HOUSE OF PLEASURES is playing in a few theaters; it’s also available on Video-On-Demand from IFC.