2007_05_arts_hawkisdyingdvd.jpgThe Hawk Is Dying
(directed by Julian Goldberger)

Paul Giamatti may not look like a movie star but he uses his Ordinary Dude looks to inhabit some pretty compelling shlubs, and his role in the buzzed about flick from the '06 Sundance Film Festival, The Hawk Is Dying, is perhaps his saddest sack to date. Florida auto upholsterer George Gattling's obsessive hobby is to trap and then train red-tail hawks in an attempt to mimic the falconry tradition but once in George's care, the depressed hawks begin starving themselves. Talk about your seriously bummer past time that's fraught with all kinds of emotional baggage.

The film's cast is rounded out by two teenage-TV-stars-turned-indie darlings: Michael Pitt, who plays George's autistic, child-like nephew Fred and Michelle Williams, as George's slutty and intriguing psych student neighbor, Betty. Based on Harry Crew's 1973 novel, The Hawk Is Dying isn't a conventional happy ending kind of movie but if weird small town characters, a strong directorial style and resonant acting performances are your idea of film fun, then it could be worth adding to the rental queue.

Other flicks debuting on DVD this week include the most recent installment in the psychopath dilettante killer series, Hannibal Rising, the second season of Kyra Sedgewicks' fussy detective TV show, The Closer and a new box set of hard-to-see Katherine Hepburn gems put out by TCM in honor of the actress's 100th birthday.