New Blu's On the Block - January 3, 2012


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: Jan 3, 2012


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters



New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for January 3, 2012


Itís the first Tuesday of the year, and there are a couple of solid releases hitting shelves today quite a few out there might be interested in. Thereís also a bunch of dogs that I canít imagine anyone will be interested in, but considering they were even made in the first place Iím probably extremely wrong as far as that particular point is concerned; read on and decide for yourself.




Hereís what I wrote about this one back in September of last year (read full review here): ď[Contagion] is a layered and labyrinthine procedural, a gigantic what-if scenario depicting what would likely happen if some sort of untreatable super disease rapidly spread across the globe resulting in chaos, hysteria and human devastation on a massive, virtually unimaginable scale.Ē Soderberghís viral epic is pretty stunning much of the way through, and while not perfect is a chilling, unsettling motion picture Iíve enjoyed immensely three times now. For more on the film check out Mitchellís just posted Blu-ray Review.



The Guard

Great, simply great, this eccentric and joyfully profane black comedy showcases stars Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson to absolute perfection. This is one I wish I would have seen back during its regular theatrical release as Iím just about positive it might have ended up in my internal debate in regards to 2011ís Best Films. As it is, this Blu-ray release is one I canít recommend with more vim and/or vigor; hereís hoping it finds the audience on the home front in so richly deserved to find theatrically.



Justified Ė The Complete Second Season

Outstanding. Beyond outstanding. Watch it immediately. Heck, Iíd even go so far as to say a person with an affinity for this sort of thing should buy it immediately. Read my just posted Blu-ray Review where I go into why in far more detail.



Donít Be Afraid of the Dark

I was quite pleased with this one when I originally saw it back in August of last year. As I wrote in my theatrical review (read it here), ď[Co-written] and produced by Guillermo del Toro, the marvelous Donít Be Afraid of the Dark is a whimsically unsettling charmer filled with wicked delights that had me tingling in suspenseful joy. Next to Attack the Block, this beautifully realized bit of H.P. Lovecraft-like nastiness might just be the most fun Iíve had sitting in a theatre this entire Summer, the final product a B-grade sensation worthy of adoration.Ē Either I or Mitchell will have a full review of the Blu-ray posted soon.



Mildred Pierce (2011)

A remake of the Joan Crawford classic made by HBO and directed by Todd Haynes, this five-part adaptation features a wonderful Kate Winslet in the title role and an even more stunning Evan Rachel Wood as her headstrong daughter. Goes on a bit too long, and probably didnít need to be as exacting as it is, but the acting is impeccable, the emotions are true and the melodrama rings with a stirring authenticity thatís oftentimes shocking. Definitely worthy of a look.



Shark Night

Okay, seriously, why do you make a silly B-movie about sharks massacring teenagers and then make it PG-13? Why do you hire the director of Snakes on a Plane and a pair of Final Destination movies (two and four) and then make the movie PG-13? Put simply why, especially in the wake of Piranha 3Dís surprising Blu-ray success, do you make this movie PG-13? In other news, Iíve watched it, didnít hate it, but certainly found the movie to be nothing more than a subpar effort not even quite up to the same level as many of those ultra schlocky gigantic aquatic monster movies found on the Syfy Channel. Mitchell liked it even less than I did; check out his Blu-ray Review and read for yourself.



I Donít Know How She Does It

From my September, 2011 theatrical review (read it here): ďIím not sure what made Allison Pearsonís book such a must-read item for so many, but based on what transpires in director Douglas McGrath and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKennaís adaptation Iím not feeling anything close to the need to find out what it was for myself. This movie goes nowhere, says nothing and does it all with about as much stylistic flourish as a lazy yawn.Ē I forced myself to watch it again when the studio sent me a copy of the Blu-ray. My opinion of the film didnít go up at all; if anything, it went even lower.




Missed this one when it played theatrically; just couldnít make time for the screening. Reports from those I trusted stated that Chris Evans turns in a strong performance as a talented Huston lawyer who also just happens to be a functioning drug addict, but that the remainder of the movie was a muddled, somewhat lazily plotted mess that never quite found its footing. Iím still curious, and as such I plan on putting the movie near the top of my Netflix queue in hopes I can get a look at it relatively soon.





Sheís All That

A pair of Miramax romantic comedies that were surprising minor box office hits back during their original releases as well as being films I could never quite understand the enthusiasm for. Iím willing to give both the benefit of the doubt, however, and as soon as my promised review copies arrive I promise to give them a look right away.




From my original theatrical review, posted back in September of 2005 (read it here): ďBased on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Auburn and working from a screenplay by Auburn and Rebecca Miller, John Madden has crafted a picture thatís every bit as vexing as it is intoxicating. At times dry, stilted and strangely bland, it also has moments where it takes off into the stratosphere, unleashing torrents of emotion and heart so strong most other pictures would kill to have it. It doesnít work, at least not completely, but it resonates strongly in both the heart and in the head leaving plenty to think about and ponder long after the curtain closes.Ē



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         Ice Quake

         The Last Lions

         Marley and Me: The Puppy Years

         Pearl Jam Twenty







This documentary from noted director Tom Shadyac (Liar, Liar, Bruce Almighty) has its merits, and itís suggestion that weíd all be better off if we put aside material desires in pursuit of the greater good is certainly commendable, but itís hard to take it as seriously as am sure the filmmaker would like us to considering heís made countless millions making sensationalistic Hollywood comedies. Film will definitely have its fans; just donít count me as one of them.



Man in a Suitcase Ė Set 2

I really enjoyed Set 1 of this late Ď60s television series when I reviewed it back in January of last year, and I actually am extremely excited to see this second collection of episodes chronicling the London adventures of former American spy McGill (Richard Bradford). Sadly my requested review copy has not arrived, so your guess is as good as mine whether or not said look will actually happen but hereís hoping it does all the same; I truly want to see how all this international intrigue and spy vs. spy silliness will ultimately turn out.



Red: Werewolf Hunter

Silly, is surprisingly fun, Syfy Channel adventure about modern day Werewolf hunters that can be traced all the way back to the original Red Riding Hood. Not a good movie, per se, but a shockingly enjoyable one if schlocky B-movies using fairy tales as their inspiration are your thing (a niche market to say the least).



The Chateau Meroux

Marla Sokoloff of ''The Practice'' stars as Wendy, a smart single woman in the big city who's never been able to find a good job or decent relationship. But when her estranged father dies, Wendy suddenly inherits a beautiful - yet struggling - Napa Valley winery. Now with the help of her best friend (Amanda Righetti of ''The Mentalist'' and ''The O.C.''), Wendy will have to deal with a local winemaker (Barry Watson of ''Samantha Who?'' and ''7th Heaven'') and his father, a shrewd competitor (Christopher Lloyd) who's trying to crush her vineyard. Can a girl who's grown used to a life of sour grapes learn to discover delicious new pleasures - and maybe even love - in the most unexpected places? (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Donít Let Him In

What if you invited a serial killer on holiday? Heading off for a weekend in the country, Paige and Calvin reluctantly allow Calvin's brash younger sister to bring along Tristan, an arrogant city trader she's picked up in a one-night stand; but when the group learn a brutal serial killer is plaguing the area, Paige must confront the disturbing truth about Tristan. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Greening of Whitney Brown

Whitney Brown, a spoiled pre-teen from Philadelphia, is forced to move to the country when her parents feel the squeeze of economic hard times. A fish out of water, far from her comfort zone, she befriends an amazing horse, and undertakes a misguided journey back to her old life, only to discover that her family is her home. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Iím Glad My Mother is Alive

Based on a true story, critically acclaimed French filmmaker Claude Miller (A Secret, Little Lili, The Little Thief, Alias Betty) and his son Nathan Miller explore childhood trauma and its consequences on adult life. Given up for adoption as a toddler, troubled teenager Thomas becomes obsessed with tracking down his birth mother. After years of searching Thomas finds her single, with a small child, living in a nearby suburb and introduces himself. Traumatized by years of emptiness and longing for his mother, he starts an ambiguous relationship with her (part courtship, part obsession) which slowly drives him to an act of madness. With striking performances and a shocking twist, Iím Glad My Mother is Alive is hard to get out of your mind. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)




After witnessing a friendís gruesome suicide, things haven't been the same for Cole. He is being tormented by what appear to be hallucinations. After working several double shifts, Cole thought things couldnít get any worse Ė until heís called out to an all-night carpet cleaning job for a man named Henry, who leads him to believe he has just killed his wife. As he hurries to clean the place, Coleís hallucinations start to interfere, and the horrid truth that unfolds will leave you begging for it to stop! (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



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         Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Five

         American Scream King

         Attack of the Vegan Zombies

         Royal Pains: Season Three Ė Volume One

         Tales from the Crypt: The Complete Fifth and Sixth Seasons

         Windsors Ė From George to Kate



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