New in Home Entertainment – September 3, 2013

New in Home Entertainment

September 3, 2013

From Up On Poppy Hill

Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

From master animator Hayao Miyazaki and his talented son Goro Miyazaki comes this gorgeous new animated film from Studio Ghibli and the first release in years not associated with Disney.  Set in 1963 in Japan, Poppy Hill tells the story of a young girl who falls in love with a boy in her school only to discover a secret that could keep them apart.  While animated, this is not a kid’s film, but it is a lovely piece of storytelling with some rather stunning hand-drawn animation.  The only thing missing here is a score by Joe Hisaishi which could have really added to the already terrific film.  A-

Available on DVD

Even a wine nerd like me can’t come close to the skill set shown by these young candidates trying to pass their Master Sommelier Exam to become one of a select group of less than 200 individuals considered to be the top wine experts in the world.  At first the level of pretension shown in this documentary is a turnoff, but by the end you find yourself cheering them on as they are put through a rigorous gauntlet of seemingly insurmountable wine challenges to pass their exam at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas.  While I have no desire to ever be this good at wine, I can certainly now appreciate the hard work that goes into attaining this level of expertise.  I do pity them though as they have to spit so much of the heavenly nectar out and I must admit that I feel a bit superior since I don’t.  B+

Stories We Tell

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving sexuality, brief strong language and smoking
Available on DVD

Oscar-nominated writer/director/actress Sarah Polley (Away From Her) gets extremely personal here in this documentary as she sets out to tell the story of her deceased mother and in turn discovers a hidden truth about her own existence that she could have never dreamed of unearthing.  I had a feeling that the film would be hard to follow considering the slightly confusing first act, but by the meat of the story, Polley’s genius is very apparent and I was completely blown away at the story (or stories) that essentially made up her life.  This is an incredibly fascinating documentary that will have you on the edge of your seat and laughing in disbelief.  And for someone to tell a story so personal about themselves at first feels foolish but proves to be incredibly brave.  A