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FEATURE ARTICLE

New Blu's On the Block - April 3, 2012

 

Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: April 3, 2012

 

Written by Sara Michelle Fetters

 

Editor-in-Chief
www.moviefreak.com

New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for April 3, 2012

Three borderline must-own titles this week (one for sure, the other two depending on a person’s personal taste), one Best Picture nominee and one music-driven documentary semi-classic fans will surely vogue themselves to death to get their hands on. Other than that, not a lot to talk about today, although one of my personal 2011 favs does get a DVD release, but more on that in just a few moments.

 

 

Chinatown

This week’s must-have title, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown has never looked or sounded better. I found this Blu-ray release to be borderline spectacular, and I can’t wax poetic enough about just how divine it actually is. Sure the special features (like most Paramount catalog titles) are all carried over from the previous DVD release, but when you’re sporting a dynamic audio commentary from screenwriter Robert Towne and Zodiac and The Social Network director (who is an admitted gigantic fan) David Fincher as well as picture and audio quality this sensational it’s hard to get yourself worked into too many knots about no new extras. Buy it right away.

 

 

War Horse

Got into an argument over this one with Mitchell last week when he reviewed Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close on Blu-ray (read His Review, read My Review), the two of us in heavy disagreement on the title. My point was that it had far greater a chance of being remembered fondly ten, twenty, thirty or so years from now than Steven Spielberg’s WWI family-friendly horse opera did, a statement he didn’t remotely agree with. What’s this have to do with anything? Not much, really, just a look at how the writers here at Moviefreak email debates back and forth with one another. With that out of the way, you can read my theatrical review of this Best Picture Oscar nominee by going here.

 

 

 

The Grapes of Wrath

Zorba the Greek

Two Academy Award-winning classics from Fox, both being sold exclusively at the Screen Archives website but noticeably NOT under the Twilight Time label. John Ford’s adaptation of the John Steinbeck classic is arguably the best of the two, even with its happy (well, happy-ish) ending, the movie anchored by a performance by Henry Fonda that’s as timeless today as it ever was 70-plus years ago. As for Zorba the Greek, what’s not to love? Anthony Quinn is perfection itself, his Oscar-nominated performance arguably the best of his entire career. Review copies are supposedly forthcoming, so we’ll have full reviews of each title as soon as Fox manages to get them here.

 

 

We Bought a Zoo

Here’s what I wrote about this Cameron Crowe charmer back in December of last year (read my full review here): “While the movie as a whole isn’t quite the return to form many fans of the director were probably hoping for, We Bought a Zoo has more than enough going for it to make giving it a look worthwhile. I liked it, reservations and all, and as Christmas matinee possibilities are concerned this is a ticket I’d happily purchase without a second thought.”

 

 

Madonna: Truth or Dare

Alek Keshishian’s landmark 1991 documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare was in many ways far ahead of its time. A mixture of behind-the-scenes confessionals and glossy coverage of the Material Girl’s slam-bang concerts, the movie is a wild ride that holds up surprisingly well considering how thoroughly it’s been copied and plagiarized by schlocky reality shows on VH1, MTV and the rest of their like. As for the Blu-ray, while devoid of special features, picture and audio quality (especially the latter) is topnotch, and for fans of Madonna this is pretty much a must-own release.

 

 

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Is Girls Just Want to Have Fun a great movie? No. Is it even a good movie? Well, not really, but how true that statement is for you depends pretty much on when one originally watched it. As mid-1980’s High School comedies go, this one ends up somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, filled with just enough endearing moments (as well as energetic performances from then unknowns Sarah Jessica Parker – in the lead role – and Helen Hunt) to keep the target audience more or less entertained. Will today’s young girls be interested in giving it a look? Probably not, but that’s not going to stop mother’s with an affinity for it for picking this disc up and forcing it down their throats all the same.

 

OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES

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

 

  

    

 

·         Angel’s Crest

·         Chasing Madoff (Read Sara’s Theatrical Review)

·         London River

·         Masterpiece Classic: Great Expectations

·         Miracle of Marcelino

·         The Prophecy Collection

·         Shergar

·         Torchwood: Miracle Day

 

 

NOTABLE DVD RELEASES

 

 

Tyrannosaur

One of 2011’s most impactful films, here’s some of what I wrote back in November (read full theatrical review here): “Made in the working class British vein of Ken Loach, Mike Leigh or of his star Peter Mullan, Paddy Considine’s feature length directorial debut Tyrannosaur is a hard-hitting character-driven tragedy of forgiveness and friendship that packs a pretty mean punch. While nothing that happens is particularly surprising, while the road it takes hasn’t exactly been traveled many times before, Considine does a magnificent job of bringing his two main characters to life in a way that resonates deeply. This is a strong, powerfully forceful melodrama, filled with moments and scenes that slapped me across the face forcing me to take attention of them.”

 

 

Alien Opponent

From Mitchell’s just posted DVD review (read it here): “Here’s what Alien Opponent has to offer: bad writing, poor editing, inept direction, lame effects, sub-amateurish acting, questionable logic, a stupid twist, and a gyp ending. Here’s what it doesn’t have to offer: over-the-top gore, gratuitous female nudity, a knowing sense of humor, smart pacing, or fun of any kind. So you get all of what you expect from a schlocky piece of micro-budget junk but none of the stuff that typically makes schlocky pieces of micro-budget junk enjoyable.”

 

 

The Commander – Set 2

Four more mysteries involving Clare Blake (Amanda Burton), the commander of Scotland Yard’s Murder Review Team. Sprung from the mind of Prime Suspect creator Lynda LaPlante, these are involving and twisted mysteries that more than kept me captivated for all 400 or so minutes. There is, however, a strong been there-done that feeling that invades the series, and while worthy of a rental I’m not at all positive any of these episodes are strong enough that I’d ever return to them in the future making this set difficult to recommend as a purchase.

 

 

Enter Nowhere

From Mitchell's DVD review (read it here): "I don’t know what this movie’s title means. Prepare to Be Bored for the Next Ninety Minutes would make for a more appropriate title, but I guess that doesn’t sound as cool. Enter Nowhere is another twist-fest that fancies itself a clever piece of mind-bending entertainment but is in fact clever only if you refuse to think about it. Scrutinize it for even a second and you’ll realize the filmmakers are insulting your intelligence."

 

 

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Beloved by millions of children around the world, Elmo is an international icon. However, few people know the soft-spoken man behind the furry red monster: Kevin Clash. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey follows Clash’s remarkable career, while also offering a behind-the-scenes look at “Sesame Street” and the Jim Henson Workshop. As a teenager growing up in Baltimore in the 1970s, Clash had very different aspirations from his classmates. He wanted to be a part of Henson s team, the creative force responsible for delivering the magic of “Sesame Street” on a daily basis. With a supportive family behind him, Kevin made his dreams come true. Featuring interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O Donnell, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney and Clash himself, filmmaker Constance Marks insightful and personal documentary tells the story of one of the world’s most adored and recognizable characters and the visionary behind the icon. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

The Double Hour

Guido (Filippo Timi, The American), a former cop, is a luckless veteran of the speed-dating scene in Turin. But, much to his surprise, he meets Slovenian immigrant Sonia (Ksenia Rappoport), a chambermaid at a high-end hotel. The two hit it off, and a passionate romance develops. After they leave the city for a romantic getaway in the country, things suddenly take a dark turn in this acclaimed, edge-of-your-seat thriller. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Hellacious Acres: The Case of John Glass

John Glass wakes up in a desolated barn from a long cryogenic slumber to be informed that not only the planet has been devastated by a third world war, but reduced to little habitability by a subsequent alien invasion. He also learns that in order to reestablish a livable atmosphere for what's left of humanity, he'll have to go on a solitary mission to retrieve important codes dispersed in remote locations. Soon enough, he'll encounter more than he bargained for: aliens, crazy survivors, inadequate equipment, LOTS of walking and a pretty unhealthy dose of bad luck. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES

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

 

·         The Afflicted

·         The Frank Sinatra Film Collection

·         Gwyneth Paltrow 4 Film Collection

·         Jake & the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns

·         Nicole Kidman 4 Film Collection

·         Renée Zellweger 4 Film Collection

·         Truth About Kerry

 

NOTABLE NEW BLU-RAY ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

   

     

 

·         The Fields (April 24, 2012)

·         Men in Black II (May 1, 2012)

·         The Vow (May 8, 2012)

·         Red Tails (May 22, 2012)

·         This Means War (May 22, 2012)

·         The Aggression Scale (May 29, 2012)

·         Machine Gun Preacher (June 5, 2012)

·         The Twilight Zone – Complete Collection (June 5, 2012)

·         Entourage: The Complete Eighth Season (June 12, 2012)

·         Altered States (July 10, 2012)

·         Blade II (July 10, 2012)

·         Brainstorm (July 10, 2012)

·         Coma (July 10, 2012)

·         Outland (July 10, 2012)

·         Mean Streets (July 17, 2012)

 

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