Home Movies/Out on Digital: Jan. 20
■ Love, Marilyn
A cast of stars (Adrien Brody, Glenn Close, Uma Thurman) reads passages from writings on Marilyn Monroe and from her own letters, diaries and jottings. Most of what emerges in this impressionistic chronicle of her life is familiar. She loved learning, was dedicated to mastering the art of acting and suffered from loneliness and a terrible awareness of the emptiness within. Joe DiMaggio was the tarnished hero and Arthur Miller the polished heel. The letter Monroe wrote days before her death casts doubt on the verdict of suicide.
■ “Frankenstein: The Real Story”
Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1818) stands with the greatest gothic horror novels and has endured as a cultural archetype. The entertaining History Channel documentary explores the story’s origins in the science of Shelly’s day. Identified are actual researchers conducting gruesome experiments in reviving the dead through electricity, and a real Castle Frankenstein in Germany inhabited by a mad scientist. Frankenstein was an easy warning of the possibility that science could create monsters.
■ Rewind This!
In the ’80s, VHS and Beta revolutionized the way movies were enjoyed, produced and distributed. Rewind This! interviews geeks and filmmakers on the impact of the victorious VHS and its nostalgic afterglow. With VHS, people could own or watch movies and television at their convenience, it opened a vault of lost productions and the rewind button was a tuition-free school for aspiring directors. Direct-to-video fertilized an indie industry that has since been largely reabsorbed by the entertainment conglomerates.