New Blu's On the Block - February 5, 2013


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: February 5, 2013


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters



New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for February 5, 2013

February kicks off with the release of my pick for the worst film of 2012. It also features a Disney classic, a groundbreaking Oscar-winning musical from director Bob Fosse, one of the all-time great film noirs, the Criterion Blu-ray upgrade of a Keisuke Kinoshita stunner and the debut of one of the great three-part miniseries to ever come out of BBC (currently seeing itself remade for Netflix to great acclaim). Huh. I guess that means things even out as far as good and bad go, right?



Peter Pan (1953)

I love Disneyís Peter Pan. I find it to be incredibly entertaining filled with glorious animation and winning songs. While not my absolute favorite of the studioís undisputed classics itís very high on the list, and while purists of J,M. Barrieís source material might want to be critical I find it difficult to state even one single solitary negative word. As for the Blu-ray, itís up to the studioís usual high standards, making the purchasing of it as easy a decision as any a person is likely to make.




One of the great motion picture musicals of all-time, Bob Fosseís Oscar-winning reimagining of the Broadway staple is as magnificent as youíve likely heard. Filled with great performances, not the least of which are Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey Academy Award-winning turns, spectacularly moments and devastating emotion, this larger-than-life adaptations of the stories of Christopher Isherwood hasnít lost a single ounce of its power to entertain, enthrall and amaze. Phenomenal.



Flight (2012)

From my theatrical review (read it here): ďFrom there Oscar-winning auteur Robert Zemeckisí (Back to the Future) return to live action filmmaking Flight goes in a rather surprising direction. This movie isnít some sort of conspiracy thriller, isnít about corporate malfeasance or anything even remotely sinister. It is, instead, something of a modern day variation on Billy Wilderís The Lost Weekend, and instead of an acclaimed writer in the throes of addiction here we have a seemingly heroic pilot whose battle with alcohol and drugs leads him to wonder if his quick-thinking and daring-do would have even been necessary had he began the day sober.Ē For more on the film, please check out my recently posted Blu-ray Review.



The Ballad of Narayama Ė Criterion Collection

Keisuke Kinoshitaís hypnotic tome pome of life, death and all that is in-between is given a Blu-ray makeover by the folks at the Criterion Collection. In other words, this elliptical and haunting classic has never looked or sounded better, so do yourself a better and watch it this very second.



Laura (1944)

One of the great film noirs of all-time, Foxís Blu-ray presentation of director Otto Premingerís (Anatomy of a Murder) romantically haunting Laura is close to perfection, this movie never looking or sounding better than it does now. Special features more or less mirror the prior DVD special edition, while the inclusion of the slightly longer Ďdirectorís cutí adds additional coloring and layers to a labyrinthine mystery filled to the brim with them. Highly recommended.



Alex Cross

From my theatrical review (read it here): ďAlex Cross is 2012ís worst movie. Game over. Nothing else to say. Even with over two months of the year left, my opinion on this matter will not change. Director Rob Cohenís (The Fast and the Furious) reboot/reintroduction to author James Pattersonís most famous character is horrible. Ineptly scripted, edited, shot, scored and paced, indifferently acted by the majority of its cast, this is a thriller without thrills, a mystery with no ambiguity, a suspense yarn that generates zero thrills. It is, in short, nothing less than a disaster, a cinematic abomination ranking as one of the worst pieces of unforgivable tripe Iíve ever had the misfortune to endure.Ē



House of Cards Trilogy

Andrew Daviesí House of Cards trilogy is given a Blu-ray makeover by the folks at the BBC, not exactly a surprise considering David Fincher and Kevin Spaceyís Americanized remake (available via Netflix) is currently the talk of the town. As good as said remake is (and itís pretty wonderful), this very British original version is something else entirely, Ian Richardsonís (Dark City) central performance a riveting tour de force thatís beyond magnificent. One of the great BBC series of all-time, and considering just how great many of the networkís shows have been over the decades make of that statement what you will.



Here Comes to Boom

Here Comes the Boom is a Kevin James comedy revolving around an overweight, underachieving teacher who finds himself moonlighting as a mixed martial artist in order to provide funds for his cash-strapped High School or, in other words, a funny take on one half of the story told rather similarly by 2011ís Warrior. I didnít see it and, if Iím being perfectly honest, I donít really want to, so donít expect me to be adding the movie to the Netflix queue or my Amazon cart anytime soon.



Celeste and Jesse Forever

Iíve heard mixed things about this Rashida Jones/Andy Samberg comedy but am still eager to give it a look all the same. As Iíve got a review copy sitting here, expect me to do just that sooner rather than later.



A Star is Born (1976)

Overlong and self-indulgent, this folk rock remake of the Hollywood staple starring Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson gets by more on its awesome soundtrack and glitzy star power than it does anything else. Even then, itís nowhere near as resonate as the 1954 or 1937 incarnations, and as great as this Blu-ray release looks and sounds (Warner has truly outdone themselves on that front) only diehard fans are going to be wanting add this one to their personal collections.




Another film I sadly missed when it was in theatres but have also heard incredibly mixed things about, Deadfall is a thriller boasting an all-star cast that sounds far more interesting than it likely will prove to be. No matter. First chance I get expect me to give the film a look all the same.



Little White Lies

The latest from French director Guillaume Canet (Tell No One) boasts an all-star cast including FranÁois Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Benoit Magimel and Jean Dujardin. It also has a bloated running time of 154 minutes and a threadbare story that doesnít fill it nearly as well as one would like. Still, there are moments here of monumental bliss that had me grinning ear-to-ear, and fans of international cinema owe it to themselves to give the film a look even if it doesnít quite live up to expectation.



Yelling to the Sky

I wanted to like Yelling to the Sky more than I actually did, the filmís heart very much in the right place and its themes ones I definitely would love for younger, teenage viewers to take the time to take to heart. But much of this drama is far too obvious and heavy-handed for my tastes, and while the central performance by young ZoŽ Kravitz is extraordinary Iím not sure sheís great enough to make up for the rest of the filmís copious shortcomings.



A Late Quartet

Another film I missed late last year when it screened, but even with the impressive cast list (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, Imogen Poots and Wallace Shawn) I canít say in this instance Iím as bothered by that fact as I probably should be. For whatever reason this dramaís plot (an illustrious quartet struggles to stay together due to a variety of tragic circumstances) didnít speak to me, and as such I placed priority on other press screenings over this one during the November-December release schedule onslaught. Iím sure Iíll give it a look at some point, itís just the when I havenít the first clue about.



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The Dynamiter

Striking U.S. independent about a 14-year-old boy coming of age on the back roads (and rivers) of Mississippi. Stunningly photographed, grippingly acted, director Matthew Gordon delivers a gripping story that, while not exactly unfamiliar, manages to travel into interior emotional territories very few similar dramas dare to tred.



Paul Williams Still Alive

From my theatrical review (read it here): ďIf Paul Williams Still Alive does feel a bit slight in the end that has nothing to do with the man himself. A titanic figure in the music industry, he saunters through the film with a relaxed grace thatís totally mesmerizing, making rainbow connections with fans around the globe and proving heís only just begun and that his own personal story is as evergreen now as it every was during his megastar heyday.Ē



Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

During Diana Vreeland's fifty year reign as the ĎEmpress of Fashion,í she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Onassis and established countless trends that have withstood the test of time. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is an intimate portrait and a vibrant celebration of one of the most influential women of the 20th century, an enduring icon whose influence changed the face of fashion, beauty, art, publishing and culture forever. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



My Worst Nightmare

Agathe (Isabelle Huppert, Amour) is an uptight, impatient art dealer who lives in an expensive Parisian apartment with her wealthy publisher husband (Andre Dussollier, Unforgivable). Patrick (Benoit Poelvoorde, Coco Before Chanel) is a skirt-chasing, unemployed single father who lives in his van with his son. Their lives would never intersect except that their two sons are best of friends and her husband has hired Patrick to remodel their apartment. Hilarity ensues as this odd couple relationship turns into Agathe s worst nightmare. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Somewhere Between

In profiling Chinese adoptees in contemporary America, this deeply moving documentary from Linda Goldstein Knowlton (The World According to Sesame Street) illustrates that even the most specific of experiences can be universally relatable. Of the roughly 80,000 girls who have been adopted from China since 1989 a decade after China implemented its One Child Policy the film intimately follows four teenagers: Haley, Jenna, Ann and Fang.


These four wise-beyond-their-years yet typical American teens reveal a heartbreaking sense of self-awareness as they attempt to answer the uniquely human question, "Who am I?" They meet and bond with other adoptees, some journey back to China to reconnect with the culture, and some reach out to the orphaned girls left behind. In their own ways, all attempt to make sense of their complex identities. Issues of belonging, race and gender are brought to life through these articulate subjects, who approach life with honesty and open hearts. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



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