Summer will be a bit more entertaining with IFC Films' top three DVD releases. We plan on watching them in a nice air-conditioned room, with lots o' pop and popcorn.
First Up: The Den. After receiving a grant for her graduate thesis, Elizabeth Benton logs onto a video-chat site known as The Den on a mission to explore the habits of its users. During one of her random video-chats, Elizabeth watches in horror as a teenage girl is gruesomely murdered in front of her webcam. While the police dismiss it as a viral prank, Elizabeth believes what she saw is real and takes it upon herself to find the truth. Soon she finds herself trapped in a twisted game in which she and her loved ones are now targeted for the same grisly fate as the first victim.
With nail-biting suspense, The Den plunges the viewer into the darkest depths of humanity and technology.
Second place: Who is Vivian Maier? Now considered one of the 20th century's greatest street photographers, Vivian Maier was a mysterious nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that went unseen during her lifetime.
Since buying her work by chance at auction, amateur historian John Maloof has crusaded to put this prolific photographer in the history books. He certainly worked at Finding Vivian Maier, but what's here? Kiddie porn? Sounds weird. The DVD promises that Maier's strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never-before-seen photographs, films and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her.
Last but never least: Doors slam and papers fly in The French Minister, this off-the-wall comedy about French politics directed by master filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier. His blistering assault---based on the award-winning graphic novel by Abel Lanzac, a former government speech writer---zeroes in on fictional Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexandre Taillard de Vorms (a tour-de-force comic performance by Thierry Lhermitte).
A human whirlwind and a man confident in France's importance on the world stage, de Vorms takes on American neo-cons, corrupt Russians and the opportunistic Chinese while his hapless speech writer endures the eccentricities of his megalomaniacal boss and his sycophantic entourage.
The French Minister is a hilarious send-up of diplomacy and international politics with rapid-fire dialogue and a brilliant ensemble cast.