Coming in at number six on my list of the Top Ten Films of 2011, Drake Doremus’ Like Crazy is a breathlessly enchanting romantic drama featuring a breakout performance by Felicity Jones and another incredibly strong one from actor Anton Yelchin. As I wrote in my original theatrical review last October (read it here), “Much like Once, much like Before Sunset, this movie transcends its two-character roots to become something eternal yet ephemeral, a timely, maybe even timeless, drama of what it is to fall for someone and how our modern world of tightening international borders, digital interconnectedness and transcontinental lucidity. It is poignant and moving, and by the time its last, touchingly incandescent final image flickers into darkness I almost couldn’t believe all I had been lucky enough to witness.” For more on the film, check out my Interview with Felicity Jones.
The Skin I Live In
Almodóvar. Banderas. Paredes. Just the fact of these three reuniting together for the first time in ages would make The Skin I Live in an absolute essential to watch, maybe even purchase sight unseen. Add in a performance, so haunting, so ethereal, so devastatingly authentic, by Elena Anaya and you’ve got something special indeed, and the less you know about it beforehand all the better, as this is one movie where the surprises are as shocking as they are unexpected.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
You know you want to buy it. You know you don’t need me to give you any additional impetus to do so.
Here’s what I wrote about this one back in November of last year (read my full review here): “Big, bold and loud, Tarsem Singh’s mythological adventure Immortals is a heck of a lot of fun. Wearing its gigantic melodramatic emotions on its sleeve, this is Greek storytelling at its most robust and vibrant. Everything is larger than life, sometimes bordering on the titanic, and while subtlety isn’t exactly apparent in a single frame the painterly majestic majesty of much of what the filmmaker puts forth is so eye-popping and thrilling I found it exceedingly difficult to muster up reasons for that to be a problem.” After watching it again over the weekend, I more or less feel the same, although I do have to admit the script’s obvious shortcomings were a bit noticeable the second time around. Still, definitely worth seeing, especially for fans of the director.
Game of Thrones – The Complete Season One
The first season of the HBO sensation comes to Blu-ray, and as of yet I still haven’t seen a single episode so I can’t tell you a darn thing about it. Sorry. On the flip side, I’m tempted to buy it all the same, mainly because numerous people I trust completely keep telling me it’s the best thing on television and one of the greatest bits of drama they watched in all of 2011.
The Town – Ultimate Collector’s Edition
Wow. This set from Warner Bros. is exhaustive to say the least. While I’m not altogether positive director and star Ben Affleck’s crime caper is worth all the attention, my original Theatrical Review was hardly glowing, that doesn’t mean I don’t find this set to be nothing less than awesome. Fans will want to pick it up sight unseen, while those curious to see Affleck’s maturation as a filmmaker will certainly want to give all three – that’s right, three – versions of the film presented here a look. I’ll have a full review up soon, until then take a look at Mitchell’s Blu-ray Review posted back in December of 2010.
The Deer Hunter
Michael Cimino’s Academy Award-winning Vietnam War classic gets the Universal 100th Anniversary Blu-ray treatment, and according to Jeffrey Kauffman at Blu-ray.com results are quite positive. For me, this is another indication that the studio is starting to get this whole high-definition thing right, and I’m starting to get the feeling almost every new release – not repacked editions of previous releases, like this week’s edition of The Blues Brothers – might be worth adding to the home collection sight unseen.
From my theatrical review (read it here): “It isn’t that [director Craig Brewer] has crafted a bad film; it’s that the one he's delivered doesn’t serve any practical purpose. While the action has shifted to Georgia, while the cast is an interracial mix, while the dance styles have been updated, the movie itself doesn’t do a darn thing of merit to distinguish itself from the original. If anything, Brewer and returning co-screenwriter Dean Pitchford are so reverential to the ’84 version, so intent on paying homage at every turn, the movie is practically a freeze-dried carbon copy, and as nicely as much of it plays that doesn’t make the picture as a whole close to worthwhile.” Watching the movie again last week I admit I was a little overly harsh in my original assessment. That said, I still don’t get why this remake was necessary; not even slightly. For more on the film, check out my Interview with actor Miles Teller.
Jack and Jill
Coming in at number seven on my list of the Ten Worst Films of 2011, Jack and Jill might just be star Adam Sandler’s very worst movie, which is saying something if you take a second to think about it. For those that really want to know more about my thoughts in regards to this muddled mess of a motion picture, feel free to check out my Theatrical Review. For everyone else, do yourself a favor and avoid the darn thing at all costs.
The Lion King 1 ½
The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride
Straight-to-DVD animated sequels (well, sort of sequels, one of them sort of takes place right in the middle of the actual movie it’s technically sequeling) from Disney to one of their all-time classics hit Blu-ray, and I have to say for once I’m kind of happy about that as I don’t particularly mind either of these pictures. Are they great? No. They do, however, entertain, especially younger kids, and it must be noted neither colors my opinion of the original Lion King in any way whatsoever (and that’s a very good thing, indeed).
Tooth Fairy 2
Hut? What? Why? With Larry the Cable Guy, no less? I don’t get it.
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES
(Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon!)
· 9 ½ Weeks
· Blade of Kings
· Columbus Circle
· Ferngully: The Last Rainforest
· High Road (Read Mitchell's Blu-ray Review)
· Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
· The Man from Snowy River
· The Nutty Professor (1996)
· Out of Africa (Universal 100th Anniversary Blu-ray Book)
· Poirot: Series 3
· Plan 9 from Outer Space
· Recoil (Read Mitchell’s Blu-ray Review)
· Reindeer Games: The Director's Cut
· Transformers Prime: Season One
NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
Before Your Eyes
Outstanding import from Turkey featuring an incredible performance by then 10-year-old actress Senay Orak that’s as stunning as any I’ve ever seen given by a child performer. The movie can get a bit melodramatic at times, and some of it stretches credulity to the breaking point, but overall writer/director Miraz Bezar has delivered a devastating drama that come extremely close to blowing me away.
Sensational documentary about Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna who died at the young age of 34 still very much in his prime. The racing footage is beyond dynamic, filmmaker Asif Kapadia creating a kinetic you-are-there reality that puts the viewer right into the driver’s seat. The fact this isn’t getting – at least at this point – a domestic Blu-ray release is criminal.
Sullivan’s Travels (Universal 100th Anniversary Series)
Preston Sturges’ enduring 1941 classic just gets better and better as the decades fly by, and the fact Universal isn’t including this title as part of their 100th anniversary Blu-ray lineup has me incredibly disappointed. Here’s hoping they farm out those rights to Criterion (whose own DVD version is an absolute must) because this, along with Sturges’ The Lady Eve, is hugely deserving of a hi-def upgrade.
Above Suspicion: Set 1
On her first day on the job, rookie detective Anna Travis (Kelly Reilly, Sherlock Holmes) wears the wrong shoes, throws up at a crime scene, and faints at a postmortem. Does she have what it takes to succeed in what is still mostly a man's world? Based on the bestselling novels by Lynda La Plante, this hit British police drama is a "younger, sassier successor to Prime Suspect" (The Telegraph, U.K.). Acclaimed actor Ciarán Hinds (There Will Be Blood, The Debt) is Anna's brusque boss, DCI James Langton, whose interest in his new charge quickly turns personal. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Set against the backdrop of the July 7th terrorist attacks in 2005, London River follows Elizabeth (BAFTA winner, Academy Award nominee Brenda Blethyn) from a small farming community in Guernsey as she travels to London in the immediate aftermath of the bombings after failing to hear from her daughter. Elizabeth is disturbed by the confusion of the metropolis and above all, by the predominantly Muslim neighborhood where her daughter lived. Her fear and prejudice escalate when she discovers her daughter was converting to Islam as she keeps crossing paths with Ousmane (Berlin's Silver Bear winner, Sotigui Kouyaté), a West African who has come from France to find his missing son. Although they come from very different backgrounds, Elizabeth and Ousmane share the same hope of finding their children alive. Putting aside their cultural differences, they give each other the strength to continue the search and maintain their faith in humanity. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
(Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon!)
· Dalziel & Pascoe: Season Five
· Happily Divorced: Season One (Read Mitchell's DVD Review)
· Hawthorne: The Complete Third Season
· Judge John Deed: Season Five
· MI-5: Volume 10
· Tennessee Tuxedo And His Tales: Complete Collection
· Wyatt Earp’s Revenge (Read Mitchell's DVD Review)
NOTABLE NEW BLU-RAY ANNOUNCEMENTS
· Angel’s Crest (April 3, 2012)
· Titanic (1953) (April 3, 2012)
· Poirot: Series 4 (April 24, 2012)
· Joyful Noise (May 1, 2012)
· Underworld Awakening (May 8, 2012)
· Rampart (May 15, 2012)
· The Walking Tall Trilogy (May 15, 2012)
· Beyond (May 22, 2012)
· We Need to Talk About Kevin (May 29, 2012)
· Indiana Jones Blu-ray Collection (Fall, 2012)