Today's DVDs & Blu-rays: The Politician's Wife, Vexed and Aroused
Juliet Stevenson literally bristles as the wronged woman in The Politician's Wife. A British predecessor to The Good Wife, the three-episode mini-series starts at the same place as its American counterpart - a woman is shocked and humiliated to find out that her politician husband has been having an affair. When the scandal becomes public, there's pressure from all sides for her to to appear by his side, as his loving, understanding and forgiving wife. That's where the similarity ends.
More of a floormat than Julianna Margulies's Alicia Florrick, Stevenson's Flora Matlock is completely undone by the news of her husband's indiscretion. Thanks to a "friend" she has tape recordings of her husband having phone sex with his mistress (played by Minnie Driver). Flora listens to segments throughout the series, devolving as she listens.
Stevenson skillfully plays Flora's emotional disintegration as she carefully plots revenge against her ass of a husband (played by Trevor Eve).
The mini-series, being released by Acorn Media, was broadcast in 1995, and there are a few tell-tale signs of dated technology (we see Flora whip out her clunky cell phone complete with pull up antenna in one scene), but nothing that gets in the way of the story.There's a bit of brief nudity, some sexually explicit language and a few sex scenes, but nothing that shocks today's audience.
Also being released today on Acorn, is the first season of the comedy series Vexed starring Toby Stephens and Lucy Punch as an updated - and smarter - version of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd's Moonlighting. For folks who like their murders with a bit of giggle to them, Vexed is a nice interlude.
You know them as the sexy women in your favorite porn movies, but before they took off their clothes, they were the girls next door. Kinda. In Aroused, by director Deborah Anderson, sixteen adult film industry stars, including Ash Hollywood, Jesse Jane and Teagan Presley, talk about how they got into the porn business and what's it's been like for them. The set-up is a photo shoot, so, yes, they are disrobing as they talk, but it serves to normalize their nudity, rather than sensationalize it. These women are in the sex business and standing around naked in a room full of people is just another day at the office - or so they would have us believe. (They certainly look comfortable.) And while there's a lot of post-feminist discussion about taking ownership of their sexuality, this is also a candid look at a group of women who live lives few of us civilians would understand.
Next week, watch for our review of No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert, a box set with 12 hours of comedy performances by Richard Pryor.