The Last Temptation of Christ
Arguably director Martin Scorsese’s most controversial film, this 1988 stunner has only gotten better and more resonate with age. Based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, the movie dares to look and treat Jesus Christ as if he were a human being, nothing more and certainly nothing less. It is a daring, thought-provoking exercise that is a profound and moving marvel that is as honest a look at faith as anything every put to film. Criterion didn’t send over a review copy, but this is one movie I can easily recommend a purchase of (or an upgrade over the existing DVD versions) sight unseen.
Coming in at number ten on my list of the top films of 2011, director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody’s Young Adult is a fantastic dark comedy featuring a performance by Charlize Theron that’s arguably the best of the Academy Award-winner’s career. As I wrote in my theatrical review (read it here) last year, “Raw, naked, completely unvarnished of all pretense or false emotional melodramatic flourishes, Charlize Theron’s performance in Young Adult is a revelation…[Young Adult] is a not-so-subtle and acidly pointed examination of our media obsessed ‘now’ culture and the concurrent increase in self-absorption its brought about. It is a story of the moment, one that fits the Kardashian and Real Housewives zeitgeist perfectly, and as such isn’t about to offer up solutions or easy answers and is instead only concerned about showcasing the cold, brutal truth.” (Read Sara's Blu-ray Review)
Tha Adventures of Tintin 3D
The Adventures of Tintin
From my theatrical review (read it here): “The hard part about writing a review of producer Peter Jackson and director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the classic Hergé comic book series The Adventures of Tintin is that have I have very little to say about it one way or the other. I didn’t like this motion capture CGI animated movie but I also didn’t dislike it, either. Instead an overwhelming feeling of ‘meh’ washed its way over me as I sat in the theatre trying my best to get into the spirit of the darn thing, and while from a technical perspective Spielberg and Jackson’s are certainly impressive from a basic character-driven entertainment based one the pair somewhat shockingly drop the ball.” (Read Sara's Blu-ray Review)
My Week with Marilyn
From my theatrical review (read it here): “[The movie] contains a central performance from [Michelle] Williams that is as magnetic and as mesmerizing as the woman she is portraying. She is Monroe, becomes her right down to the marrow, making My Week with Marilyn a sojourn I couldn’t help but revel in and a cinematic vacation part of me can’t wait to take again.” (Read Sara's Blu-ray Review)
Many felt Lars von Trier’s Melancholia was one of 2011’s best films. Even more felt star Kirsten Dunst gave a performance worthy of an Academy Award nomination. On the former point, I’m not sure I agree, von Trier’s end of the world opus a surrealistic stunner that for whatever reason still left me a little bit cold. The latter point, however? Well, on that one, I think I might be in agreement. Dunst is stunning, making me more than a bit ashamed I missed this one in theatres and only caught up with it now on Blu-ray.
The Killing – The Complete First Season
The AMC show’s first season comes to Blu-ray, and while technical results are all over the map the quality of the show itself is nowhere near in doubt, and while the identity of who actually killed Rosie Larsen is still in doubt the happiness I felt watching these 13 exhilarating and dramatically compelling episodes certainly is not. Maybe not worth buying, but as a rental this is as close to a no-brainer as anything on this list.
The Three Musketeers 3D
The Three Musketeers (2011)
Paul W.S. Anderson’s adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas classic is not the abomination many had led me to believe. It is, however, quite pointless on most fronts, and other than some delicious work by Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich and especially Christoph Waltz (all slumming, but still having a great time doing so) as the three chief villains there’s not a ton to talk about. This is a case of putting the ‘wow’ and the ‘cool’ before the ‘smart’ or the ‘coherent.’ I’ll have a full review up of the 3D Blu-ray release up soon.
Happy Feet Two 3D
Happy Feet Two
From my November 2011 theatrical review (read it here): “Happy Feet Two becomes a stirring story of self-discovery, friendship and family that wormed its way into my heart with startling effectiveness…I liked how subtle [George] Miller and company’s handling of their Global Warming and Climate Change message was this time, how they don’t hit the viewer over the head with their proselytizing.”
Wizards – 35th Anniversary Edition
Looking forward to watching this Blu-ray as I’ve never actually seen Ralph Bakshi’s animated cult 1977 animated favorite, Fox’s anniversary release coming in their slimline version of DigiBook packaging and featuring 24-page illustrated booklet with an introduction from the director himself. Mitchell will have a full review up soon.
SyFy Channel miniseries written and directed by Nick Willing of Tin Man and Alice fame (or, in some corners, infamy) that takes the J.M. Barrie classic and does its best to strip it down to nothing and make it into something completely new and different. On the plus side? It’s incredibly well cast, Rhys Ifans in particular an inspired choice to portray Captain Hook before he became Captain Hook. The downside? Like Willing’s previous efforts, this one is easily an hour too long and spends far too much time meandering into some pretty pointless corners it doesn’t need to go. That said, of his trio of efforts this is the first one I can honestly say I more or less enjoyed, and while it doesn’t do Barrie’s timeless tail any sort of real justice it also doesn’t degrade or do any injurious disservice to it, either.
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES
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· American Pie
· American Pie 2
· American Wedding
· Killer’s Moon
· Scooby-Doo: Music of the Vampire
· Triad Trilogy
· Virgin Witch
· Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention
NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
Tricia's husband has been missing for seven years. Her younger sister Callie comes to live with her as the pressure mounts to finally declare him 'dead in absentia.' As Tricia sifts through the wreckage and tries to move on with her life, Callie finds herself drawn to an ominous tunnel near the house. As she begins to link it to other mysterious disappearances, she comes to the realization that his presumed death might be anything but 'natural.' Soon it becomes clear that the ghostly force at work in the tunnel might have set its sights on Callie and Tricia too. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Bag of Bones
Based on the award-winning bestselling novel by Stephen King, Bag of Bones is an unforgettable psychological thriller.Two-time Golden Globe Award nominee Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Day) stars as Mike Noonan, a novelist who suffers from writer's block after the death of his wife, Jo (Annabeth Gish, Pretty Little Liars). A dream inspires him to return to the couple's lakeside retreat hoping to find answers about his wife's sudden death- but he is plagued by ever-escalating nightmares and mysterious ghostly visitations from Sara Tidwell (Anika Noni Rose, Dreamgirls), a blues singer whose spirit lingers in the house. As the inhabitants of Dark Score Lake haunt him, Mike comes to realize that his late wife still has something to tell him. Jason Priestly (Beverly Hills, 90210), Melissa George (30 Days of Night) and William Schallert, (True Blood) also star in this haunting thriller. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
House of Pleasures
A turn-of-the-century brothel becomes an unlikely bastion of loyalty in House of Pleasures, an erotic feast about the uniquely intimate camaraderie that develops among the ladies of the luxurious French house L’Apollinde. Madam Marie-France provides a glamorous life for some of the most alluring and desirable women in Paris, but also treats them as virtual slaves. Among the dozen employees are a cheerful girl with a regular adoring john, a regal beauty who disdains all the men fighting for her services, a long-legged stunner reaching the end of her career, and a sweet and trusting new girl who winds up in bed with a very rough customer. From the director of The Pornographer, House of Pleasures both exposes the dangers of the sex trade and manages to show how trust can be earned in the most unlikely of places. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Bobby (Peter Facinelli, Twilight series) a New York City pickpocket who disguises himself as a stockbroker, tempts fate with the law when he lifts the badge of a NYC detective (Michael Madsen, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs). Becoming the target of a citywide search, Bobby goes on the run when he encounters Lucy (Jaime Alexander, Thor, TV’s Kyle XY) a woman he once had an affair with and who is now carrying his child. Faced with the responsibilities of parenthood, Bobby must reevaluate his life of crime and decide if he can ever settle down. Meanwhile both the cops and Bobby s irate fence Jax (Vincent Gallo, Tetro, Buffalo 66), whose underground dealings Bobby has now drawn unwanted attention to, close in from all sides. Facinelli wrote and produced this caper that features a star-studded cast and shows how a good person gone bad can still find opportunities for redemption. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
After an eight-year prison stint for a failed bank heist, Frank Ross (Tom Bell, Prime Suspect) returns to his old gangland haunts to find the snitch who sent him to jail. The smooth, streetwise ex-con quickly adjusts to the new attitudes of the disco-tinged ’70s but discovers that although neighborhoods change, old grudges never go out of style. Played with steely intelligence by Bell, Ross doesn’t hesitate to pull a gun or swing a fist if it suits him. Can he find the rat without falling into the clutches of a ruthless crime boss (Brian Cox, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) or the detective (Norman Rodway, The Bretts) determined to destroy him?
Filmed on location in South London, Out depicts a world where gritty pubs, dingy flats, and run-down office buildings teem with high-living mobsters, cash-starved hustlers, and corrupt cops. BAFTA nominee Bell delivers a psychologically complex portrait of a gangster whose inner demons torment him as ferociously as his flesh-and-blood enemies. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
The Swell Season
The world fell in love with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova the duo behind the band the Swell Season when their songwriting collaboration in the indie film Once culminated in a euphoric Oscar win. Behind the scenes, though, a grueling two-year world tour threatened to destroy their remarkable bond. Offering an intimate glimpse into the exhilaration and the turmoil of both love and fame, The Swell Season follows Glen and Marketa through a three-year period of incredible intensity, pressure and passion. As the two wake up in strange towns and navigate a new realm of public exposure, they undergo intense changes that lead them to question their love, their ambitions, and their identities. Ultimately, the audience witnesses the unraveling of a romance and the reconfiguring of a beautiful musical collaboration. A fresh, probing documentary overflowing with music, ardor, and authenticity, The Swell Season narrates a love story between two searching souls forever linked by their music. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Women on the 6th Floor
Paris, 1960. Jean-Louis lives a bourgeois existence absorbed in his work, cohabitating peacefully with his neurotic socialite wife Suzanne while their children are away at boarding school. The couple s world is turned upside-down when they hire a Spanish maid María. Through María, Jean-Louis is introduced to an alternative reality just a few floors up on the building s sixth floor, the servants quarters. He befriends a group of sassy Spanish maids, refugees of the Franco regime, who teach him there’s more to life than stocks and bonds, and whose influence on the house will ultimately transform everyone s life. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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· Come Fly with Me: Season One
· In Their Own Words
NOTABLE NEW BLU-RAY ANNOUNCEMENTS
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· Treme: The Complete Second Season (April 17, 2012)
· W.E. (May 1, 2012)
· Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (May 8, 2012)
· The Devil Inside (May 15, 2012)
· Murdoch Mysteries: Season 4 (May 29, 2012)
· Hondo (June 5, 2012)