New Blu's On the Block - February 21, 2012


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: Feb 21, 2012


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters



New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for February 21, 2012

It was difficult to try and decide what to lead with today, as there are plenty of notable titles hitting Blu-ray. In the end I went with the one that made my top ten list for 2011, and even though there are three other releases arguably more vital and important (and certainly more long lasting, considering the youngest of the bunch was theatrically released two decades ago) this was the way I decided to go with this week’s column so there.


Seriously, though, there are some fine movies hitting store shelves today. Take a look and you’ll undoubtedly see what I mean.



Martha Marcy May Marlene

I listed writer/director Sean Durkin’s mesmerizing debut at number nine in my list of the Top Ten Films of 2011, and in all honesty I easily could have listed it a heck of a lot higher. As I wrote about the flick back in October (read full review here): “Martha Marcy May Marlene is an emotional knockout. [It] is an immersive, utterly mesmerizing marvel intensely focused upon the inner workings of its main character and how events have conspired to transform her into a shell-shocked survivor unsure of which way is up and how far down the rabbit hole into which she descended ultimately goes. It is a film about pain, about sacrifice, about family and forgiveness. But most of all it is a film about the choices we make and how they define us, in the end asking questions about trust and togetherness difficult to grapple with and even  harder to find a comfortable answer to.” Durkin’s sensational achievement works even better in the confines of one’s own home, while the stunning short Mary Last Seen is an unnerving addition that completes the package making it borderline essential.


For even more on this release, check out my Interview with writer/director Sean Durkin and actress Elizabeth Olsen.



Anatomy of a Murder – Criterion Collection

Has there ever been a cinematic courtroom thriller as great as Otto Preminger’s 1959 classic Anatomy of a Murder starring James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara and George C. Scott? Potentially. Maybe. In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure. 12 Angry Men is set in a jury room, not the courtroom. To Kill a Mockingbird has some extraordinarily powerful moments inside the courtroom, but I’m not sure one would even partially consider that elegiac coming of age marvel a thriller. No, as far as thrillers, gut-wrenching, who did it, the accused is maybe innocent but I’m not entirely sure courtroom thrillers, are concerned, this one is easily one of the all-time best. Watch it for yourself and you’ll instantly see what I mean.




J. Edgar

Unforgiven – DigiBook Edition

Two from director Clint Eastwood, one considered something of a middling disappoint while the latter has built in reputation to be thought of in most critical camps the filmmaker’s greatest achievement (both behind and in front of the camera). In regards to J. Edgar, I was one of those who liked the film, writing back in November (read my full review here) that it was, “Handsome, professional [and] made with an exquisite precision indicative of the director at its helm” while also adding that it was “solid, expertly crafted biopic” and that star Leonardo DiCaprio was the “picture’s driving force” and “the engine that [kept] it continually moving forward, all of its power, passion and precision almost entirely due to him.” Mitchell will offer up his own take on the Blu-ray for you all to read soon.


As for Unforgiven, what is there to say? Rightly regarded as a masterpiece, deserving of its Academy Award for Best Picture, after two decades this stunning and emotionally claustrophobic Western has only gotten better. Not so much a revisionist take on the genre but a culmination of the characters and the roles that Eastwood had inhabited in the past (for both himself – The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider, High Plains Drifter – and for others – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Beguiled, Two Mules for Sister Sara), this movie feels as modern as any thriller that’s come down the pike these past 20 years. I superlative work, if this movie isn’t a part of your collection it damn well deserves – even if deserve got nothing to do with it – to be.




Puss in Boots 3D

Puss in Boots

Here’s what I wrote about this Academy Award Best Animated Feature Film nominee back in October (read full review here): “Puss in Boots kind of surprised me. Far more witty then I expected it to be, nicely animated and featuring a charming story of forgiveness and redemption that belies its Shrek inspired fractured fairy tale roots, this movie more than won me over.” A review copy of the Blu-ray was supposed to be sent out but as of this writing it still has not arrived. When – if – it does, expect a full review to posted as soon as humanly possible. (Item releases on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012)



Fort Apache

I love John Ford’s Fort Apache, the first of his acclaimed “Calvary Trilogy” (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande are the others). It’s a definitive Western, and if the term ‘revisionist’ for the genre should be used than a solid argument could be made this is the film that should be branded as the first to earn it. Tough, uncompromising and ultimately fairly tragic, the movie is a peon to the intractable nature dwelling inside some to achieve glory no matter what the cost both personal and moral, and in the end goes to a place the director would later revisit in greater detail with The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. As close to a must-see Western as there has ever been, fans and students of the genre who for whatever reason haven’t seen this one owes it to themselves to do so immediately.



Tower Heist

Here’s what I wrote about this star-studded heist comedy back in November (read full review here): “Tower Heist can be a heck of a lot of fun if you’re willing to just sit back, relax and revel in the cliché absurdity it is so proudly selling. Stiller is terrific, Murphy is in better comedic form than he’s been in ages and the supporting cast, including [Alan] Alda (who comes close to stealing the entire film), Téa Leoni, Matthew Broderick, Casey Allfeck, Michael Peña and recent Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe, are all collectively terrific. The movie moves well, had plenty of bright spots and never bores, and by the time it was over I couldn’t help but smile…Granted, it’s all instantly forgettable.”



World on a Wire – Criterion Collection

I can’t say I’m the biggest Rainer Werner Fassbinder fan in the world, but even then I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to be incredibly excited and curious about giving this 217-minute behemoth, long thought lost, recovered and restored by the Criterion Collection, a look. Concerning computers, virtual worlds and cybernetic wanderings extremely ahead of its time (it was made in 1973, 26 years before The Matrix) and it all sounds fascinating. Hopefully a review copy will arrive soon. If not, expect me to make a blind buy as soon as Criterion or Barnes & Noble have one of their famous 50-percent off sales.



London Boulevard

From my November 2011 theatrical review (read it here): “London Boulevard is a mess, a fascinating, exhilarating, infuriating, emotional, tragic and euphoric mess, but still a mess all the same. As a movie it bounces all over the place, never quite sure or confident enough in itself to fully embrace the journey it is sending its characters on yet still so well acted, shot, scored and, at times, at least, directed, that it is also captivating, and although the finished product isn’t all that great getting to the end is still far more fun than it arguably has any right to be.”



The Son of No One

I hated director Dito Montiel’s Fighting, so the chances of my being even remotely interested in this cop melodrama – even with the presence of stars like Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, Tracey Morgan and Katie Holmes – were already relatively slim to begin with (and that’s without any Channing Tatum bashing – as my review of The Vow showed, I kind of like the guy). When the movie basically bypassed theatres altogether for an almost immediate Blu-ray/DVD release, my interest fell even more. Finally, when Mitchell emailed me and said that it contained maybe Pacino’s worst performance ever, my interest absolutely flat-lined, and any chance there was I was going to take the time to give this one a look probably vanished right there and then. Make of all of that what you will, but Mitchell will have a full review of the Blu-ray live shortly and, believe me, I expect it to be pretty scathing.



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·         5 Star Day

·         American Experience: Clinton

·         The Fades: Season One

·         Honey

·         Honey 2

·         Nurse Jackie: Season Three

·         War of the Arrows

·         The Way

·         Weeds: Season Seven






The Mighty Macs

From the inspiring true story comes the tale of one woman who just wanted to make a difference and wound up making history! When Coach Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino, Mr. Popper's Penguins) arrives at tiny Immaculata College, the women’s basketball team has no budget, no uniforms and no gym. Refusing to give up, Cathy finds help from a young nun named Sister Sunday (Marley Shelton, Never Been Kissed). Together, their relentless drive reignites the team's spirit and the Mighty Macs start conquering bigger and better-funded schools. As financial troubles rock Immaculata, the Macs charge into the championships against all odds. Can the Mighty Macs save their school with one last long shot at victory? You'll stand up and cheer for the heartwarming, incredible season that made the real Cathy Rush a Basketball Hall of Fame legend! (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)




Taking an isolated break on an uninhabited island, Martin (Cillian Murphy, The Dark Knight, 28 Days Later) and Kate (Thandie Newton, 2012, RocknRolla) are about to find that their island retreat is about to become a prison of unimaginable terror. When a blood soaked stranger (Jamie Bell) stumbles through their door claiming an apocalyptic virus is sweeping across Europe, their lives are turned upside down as they face what could be the end of everything they know. Using all means necessary, they must fight to escape the approaching threat. But escape is only the beginning of their terrifying fight for survival. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Track 29

George Harrison’s Handmade Films presents Track 29, starring Gary Oldman (Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, Sid and Nancy), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Taxi), and Theresa Russell (Wild Things). Distraught and dreamy Linda Henry (Russell) is unhappy with her sexless, childless marriage to surgeon Henry Henry (Lloyd). Desperate for a diversion, she is captivated when Martin (Oldman) suddenly drops in on Linda claiming to be the child she gave up for adoption after a teenage pregnancy. They spend time together trying to find a bond, but strange behaviors and bizarre events indicate that things aren’t as they seem. Is Martin really the son she gave up for adoption at birth or just figment of her imagination? (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



(Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon!)


·         Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone

·         I Ain't Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac

·         Underdog: The Complete Series







·         The Adventures of Tintin (March 13, 2012)

·         The Adventures of Tintin 3D (March 13, 2012)

·         Melancholia (March 13, 2012)

·         The Three Musketeers (2011) (March 13, 2012)

·         The Three Musketeers 3D (March 13, 2012)

·         We Bought a Zoo (April 3, 2012)

·         About a Boy (May 1, 2012)

·         Jeremiah Johnson (May 1, 2012)

·         Mimic – Three Film Set (May 1, 2012)

·         New Year’s Eve (May 1, 2012)

·         Gremlins 2: The New Batch (May 8, 2012)

·         La Haine (Criterion) (May 8, 2012)

·         Being John Malkovich (Criterion) (May 15, 2012)

·         Certified Copy (Criterion) (May 21, 2012)

·         Summer Interlude (Criterion)  (May 28, 2012)

·         Summer with Monika (Criterion) (May 28, 2012)



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