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FEATURE ARTICLE

New Blu's On the Block - February 26, 2013

 

Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: February 26, 2013

 

Written by Sara Michelle Fetters

 

Editor-in-Chief
www.moviefreak.com

New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for February 26, 2013

Two movies that made my 2012 top ten list (one on Blu-ray, the other only available on DVD). Another that just barely missed being on it (and, if I re-did the list now, might find its way there). A Coen brothers curiosity that people either love or hate with precious few in-between (put me in the ‘love’ camp). A pair of Criterion releases sure to have cineastes licking their lips (and, as I have review copies of both sitting her, let me just say fans will not be disappointed). And, finally, the entire Breaking Dawn saga, including an elongated cut of the first chapter in author Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight finale sure to have Twi-hards going nuts while the rest of us continue to scratch our heads in disbelief.

 

 

The Master

From my theatrical review (read it here): “Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master isn’t an easy sit. Its themes are all over the map and what it’s talking about is never entirely clear. Most of all, it’s never a certainty whose story it is trying to tell, three characters competing for screen time, two of them sharing numerous tête-à-têtes and one of them in roughly 90-percent of the scenes making up the 137-minute running time, all of them at one point or another the central figure driving the narrative. In other words, the movie is a challenge, so don’t say you weren’t warned before making the decision to purchase a ticket.” I placed the movie sixth on my list of 2012’s top ten film, but after watching the Blu-ray it’s readily apparent I could have placed it much, much higher. All three stars were nominated for Academy Awards, each of them unfortunately losing in all of their respective categories. For more, check out our recently posted Blu-ray Review.

 

 

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II

From my theatrical review (read it here): “As a movie, as a singular story, this monstrosity is as cheesy and as melodramatic as it has ever been, and in the cold light of day I still can’t say I find Bella to be a particularly great role model for young women and I’d be uncomfortable if in the future my three young nieces (the oldest just started kindergarten, so I have plenty of years to wait) were to discover these films and want to be just like her. While steps in the right direction are made it all feels much too little and way too late, this saga of undead romance as emotionally soapy now as it ever was when Meyer’s first book hit the best seller list.” (Item releases on Saturday, March 2, 2013)

 

 

Holy Motors

I was late to the party to writer/director Leos Carax’s Cannes sensation Holy Motors, but that didn’t keep me from labeling it one of 2012’s best all the same. Outlandish, indecipherable, moving, esoteric, surreal and constantly engaging, the movie is a remarkable achievement that skirts the idea of what melodrama can be. Stunning and perplexing all at the same time, this will easily go down as one of the more idiosyncratic achievements in recent memory, and for my money that’s a very good thing indeed.

 

 

The Hudsucker Proxy

Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Hudsucker Proxy is considered in many corners a failure for the duo, which probably explains why it’s hitting Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Archive. But for those willing to give it a shot, this inventively chaotic comedy is an engaging screwball throwback featuring great performances by Paul Newman, Tim Robbins and especially Jennifer Jason Leigh, the whole thing a invigorating old Hollywood treat the likes of Wilder, Sturges or Hawks would have been proud to have called their own.

 

 

 

Chronicle of a Summer- Criterion Collection

Sansho the Bailiff – Criterion Collection

Sansho the Baliff is a Kenji Mizoguchi masterpiece and by all accounts one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all-time. It’s an eloquently moving tragedy of sacrifice, regret and honor that strikes right to the heart and doesn’t let go, the film achieving a beauteous devastating melancholy impossible to forget.

 

This was my first encounter with Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s Chronicle of a Summer, and to say it knocked my socks off would be an understatement. I get why this film is considered so groundbreaking and influential, so much of it the very epitome of cinema-vérité the French like to claim they invented (and, after watching this, I’m almost inclined to agree with them). A shocking and moving expose, there’s very little here that doesn’t work, and if an onslaught of emotions don’t well up in your gut while watching it then it’s quite possible you’re the single most callous individual who has ever walked the earth.

 

 

Chasing Mavericks

From my theatrical review (read it here): “Chasing Mavericks comes amazingly close to being a very good film. The story of Santa Cruz surfing phenom Jay Moriarty (newcomer Jonny Weston) and his epic battle with gigantic 35-plus foot waves crashing off of the coastline (an area known as Mavericks, thus the title) at only 15 years of age, the movie has a hypnotic quality impossible to dismiss. Directors Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) and Michael Apted (Gorillas in the Mist) allow the visual majesty of these events to largely speak for themselves, stepping out of the way every time their hero and his grizzled, tough-as-nails mentor Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) jump into the water.”

 

 

Girls Against Boys

From my theatrical review (read it here): “I want to label [Austin] Chick’s latest an exploitation film, but for numerous reasons I can’t seem to go that particular genre route. While there is a rape, while there is bloodshed, while retribution happens, the horrific extremes Shae and Lu ascend to are startling to say the least. It’s almost as if someone decided to take Death Wish, The Brave One, I Spit on Your Grave and Single White Female and graft them all together, the writer/director mixing plot strands and tangents from any number of similarly themed features yet somehow finding a way to make them uniquely his own.” For more on Girls Against Boys, check out my recently posted Blu-ray Review.

 

 

OTHER NOTABLE BLU-RAY RELEASES

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·         Border Run

·         Company of Heroes

·         Diary of Chambermaid

·         Joshua Tree

·         Lady for a Night

·         Monsieur Gangster

·         A New Life

·         Oasis of the Zombies

·         Plain Clothes

·         The Red Menace

·         She Devil (1957)

·         Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

·         A Simple Life

·         Strangers in the Night

·         The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I (Extended Edition) (releases on Saturday, March 2, 2013)

·         Zombie Lake

 

 

NOTABLE DVD RELEASES

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Chicken with Plums

From my theatrical review (read it here): “Chicken with Plums is an odd, heartfelt, eccentrically emotional little movie that never quite goes in the directions I kept assuming it would. Playing with past-present, life-death and space-time with irreverent playfulness, the movie is a tragic yet hopeful wonder speaking to power of the human spirit while at the same time commenting on human inability to see much further than the end of a nose. Directors Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi follow up the award-winning animated Persepolis with an equally dazzling, if not always successful, frolic through the mind of a man who’s maybe descended into madness, producing a surreal curiosity worthy of discovery in the process.” For more on this release, check out my recently posted DVD Review.

 

 

How to Survive a Plague

From my theatrical review (read it here): “[Director David] France weaves all of this material together brilliantly, and hearing the voices of those who were there on the ground floor when it all happened is borderline staggering. More so is the haunting, emotionally powerful coda when the surviving members of this fight who we’ve been following for the entire film finally make an appearance, seeing them now having an awesome, almost magisterial impact upon me that left me visibly moved. How to Survive a Plague isn’t just a great documentary, it’s a great movie, period, and without a doubt France’s debut is one of the more profoundly inspiring efforts I’ve seen this year.” The documentary ended up fifth on my list of the top ten films of 2012 and was nominated for the Best Documentary Academy Award at last Sunday’s Oscars, losing out to Searching for Sugar Man. For more on this release, check out my recently posted DVD Review.

 

 

Crawl

When a murder deal goes bad, an innocent waitress suddenly finds herself involved. Now a hostage in her own home, the women is driven to desperate measure for survival. A suspenseful, yet darkly humorous chain of events builds to a blood-curdling and unforgettable climax. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

The Loneliest Planet

Alex (Gael Garcia Bernal, Y Tu Mama Tambien, The Motorcycle Diaries) and Nica (Hani Furstenberg, Campfire, Yossi & Jagger) are young, in love and engaged to be married. The summer before their wedding, while backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia, they hire a local guide to lead them on a camping trek. Venturing into the stunning wilderness, the trio's peaceful adventure takes a dark turn as a subtle rift opens between Alex and Nica, quickly widening until it threatens to undo everything the couple believed about each other and themselves. Along with their ever-present guide, the young travelers find themselves journeying not only into a landscape that's both overwhelmingly open and frighteningly closed, but also into the farthest depths of their own understanding. A unique examination of the parameters of love, The Loneliest Planet is a tale of betrayal, identity, failure, and the ambiguities of forgiveness. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Madrid 1987

On a hot summer day in a vacant Madrid during a period of social and political transition in Spain, Miguel (José Sacristán), a feared and respected journalist, sets up a meeting with Ángela (María Valverde), a young journalism student, in a friend’s studio. His intentions are clearly sexual; hers are less clear. Chance events force them together for more time than they would have chosen: locked in a bathroom, naked, without the possibility of escape. Removed from the outside world, the pair, who represent polarized generations, are pitted in an uneven duel involving age, intellect, ambition and experience. The political and social context of the period provides the background to the power shifts that continually take place between them over twenty-four hours. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

May I Be Frank

Ex-addict Frank Ferrante is a 54 year old, 290 pound Sicilian-American from Brooklyn with Hepatitis C and an unquenchable appetite for women, on the look-out for a quick fix. But Frank wants to fall in love one more time before he dies. May I Be Frank documents Ferrante’s transformation when he stumbles into the aptly-named vegan Café Gratitude, and over 42 days begins a life-changing journey during which he is coached physically, emotionally and spiritually by three twenty-something staff members on a path of enlightenment. Challenged by years of addiction, fatigue and family dysfunction, Frank s quest for healthy living is tense and touching. Through Frank’s transformation, we witness the powerful effect of change upon one person s life, and the potential we all have to find the most important love of all. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES

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

 

·         The Client List – The Complete First Season

·         Garrow’s Law – The Complete Collection

·         Law & Order – The Twelfth Year

·         Rocko’s Modern Life – The Complete Series

 

 

NOTABLE NEW BLU-RAY ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

   

    

 

·         The Sandlot – 20th Anniversary Edition (March 26, 2013)

·         Hello, Dolly! (April 2, 2013)

·         Stitches (April 2, 2013)

·         That Thing You Do (April 2, 2013)

·         A Haunted House (April 23, 2013)

·         Not Fade Away (April 30, 2013)

·         Babe: A Pig in the City (May 7, 2013)

·         In the Name of the Father (May 7, 2013)

·         Jesus Christ Superstar (May 7, 2013)

·         Cloud Atlas (May 14, 2013)

 

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