This week’s releases include: a Canadian masterwork; a cop series set in Ontario; a father and son try to reconcile; discord in war; the secret life of an American icon revealed; a hapless love story; a story of redefining oneself; a true fight for what’s right; a sparse virus narrative; and an unconventional Western.

Cafe de Flore on Blu-rayCafé de Flore (Blu-ray)
From 1960’s Paris to present-day Montreal comes an epic love story. It is somber, troubling and luminous all at once and yet filled with hope. Coloured with hues of fantasy and bathed in a surrealistic light, Café de Flore tells the story of the intertwining destinies of Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis), a young Parisian mother of a special child, Antoine (Kevin Parent), a Montreal DJ, and the women in his life. What binds them all is love – troubling, clumsy, imperfect, unattainable and ultimately human.

This film is well-deserving of its selection as one of “Canada’s Top Ten” films. The interconnection between the stories is brilliant, as is the editing that links them. Jacqueline’s tale of eternal devotion turns from admirable to frightening and sad. In the meantime, Antoine’s affection for his loves past and present is genuine in its confusion and influence. The music is a character in itself, reflecting the individuals’ emotions and the film’s mood. Director Jean-Marc Vallée is perfecting his craft with each picture he creates, this without a doubt being the best so far.

There are no special features. (Alliance Films)

Durham County S1 on DVDDurham County – Seasons 1 – 3 (DVD)
Mike Sweeney (Hugh Dillon) is a homicide detective from Toronto who moves his family to suburban Durham County to start over after his partner is killed and his wife Audrey’s (Hélène Joy) breast cancer goes into remission. However, he soon discovers that his neighbour and childhood nemesis Ray Prager (Justin Louis) may be a serial killer.

The complete television series has been packaged together for the first time. Mike’s unpredictable personality moves the narratives in seemingly random directions. Incorporating flashbacks and riveting editing is ambitious for a TV show, but impeccably accomplished. Dillon’s Mike is a fascinating character to watch as is his daughter, Sadie (Laurence Leboeuf), whose role in the show grows as the series continues. The first season hooks viewers with a thrilling murder narrative that doesn’t require any mystery to stay interesting, and the series continues that tradition through two more seasons.

Special features include: behind-the-scenes featurette; character bios; two songs by Hugh Dillon and the Redemption Choir; interviews with the cast and crew; and a making-of featurette. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Fireflies in the Garden on Blu-rayFireflies in the Garden (Blu-ray)
To an outsider, the Taylors are the very picture of the successful American family: Charles (Willem Dafoe) is a tenured professor on track to become university president, son Michael (Ryan Reynolds) is a prolific and well-known romance novelist, daughter Ryne (Shannon Lucio) is poised to enter a prestigious law school, and on the day we are introduced to them, matriarch Lisa (Julia Roberts) will graduate from college-decades after leaving to raise her children. But when a serious accident interrupts the celebration, the far more nuanced reality of this Midwestern family’s history and relationships come to light.

This family tragedy is free of melodrama, but rife with old feelings of resentment and disappointment. Charles was more than strict when Michael was growing up, causing their relationship to be strained and for Michael to maintain a lengthy distance from him as an adult. When he comes back home, Michael’s struggle to understand why things between him and his father were always so tense drives the narrative. The flashbacks contain more passion than the scenes in the present, but they inform the emotions and actions of the older characters. The title comes from a beautiful (though somewhat disconcerting) scene in which Michael and his younger cousins burst fireflies in the garden in a moment of complete innocence and fun.

There are no special features. (Alliance Films)

Fort Apache on Blu-rayFort Apache (Blu-ray)
The soldiers at Fort Apache may disagree with the tactics of their glory-seeking new commander, but they’re duty-bound to obey him – even when it means almost certain disaster.

Special features include: commentary by F.X. Feeney; “Monument Valley: John Ford Country”; and the theatrical trailer. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

J. Edgar on Blu-rayJ. Edgar (Blu-ray)
J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) was head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly 50 years. Hoover was feared, admired, reviled and revered, a man who could distort the truth as easily as he upheld it. His methods were at once ruthless and heroic, with the admiration of the world his most coveted prize. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life.

Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

London Boulevard on Blu-rayLondon Boulevard (Blu-ray)
This is the story of a man newly released from prison (Colin Farrell) who falls in love with a reclusive young movie star (Keira Knightley) and finds himself in a duel with a vicious gangster.

Special features not available. (Entertainment One)

Martha Marcy May Marlene on Blu-rayMartha Marcy May Marlene (Blu-ray)
After escaping from a dangerous cult and the watchful eye of its charismatic leader, a young woman named Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) tries to reclaim a normal life with her family. But the haunting memories from Martha’s past trigger a chilling paranoia — and nowhere seems safe as the fragile line between her reality and delusions begin to blur.

First-time feature director Sean Durkin does not employ the standard flashback to tell Martha’s story. He uses striking transitions to move between the past and present, zooming in on an item only to reveal a change of location and time upon zooming out. The twisted logic that was fed to Martha daily has warped her perception of social norms and acceptable behaviour. Olsen does an excellent job of portraying Martha’s confusion and vulnerability. John Hawkes’ depiction of the cult leader is particularly disturbing as he brainwashes the young people around him into believing the violations of their persons and the criminal behaviour they participate in is “normal.” His interactions with Marth

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