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FEATURE ARTICLE

New Blu's On the Block - May 8, 2012

 

Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: May 8, 2012

 

Written by Sara Michelle Fetters

 

Editor-in-Chief
www.moviefreak.com

New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for May 8, 2012

Another week, another group of new releases; take a look and see what strikes your fancy. 

 

The Vow

Make no mistake, Channing Tatum is having a great 2012. He was in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, one of the most acclaimed films of the year (so far). He stole scene after scene from Jonah Hill in the pair’s reimagining of 21 Jump Street, a box office and critical smash that took a lot of people by surprise. And he was one half of The Vow, another $100-million-plus earner that broke hearts and caused tear ducks to go berserk all across America. As I wrote in my original February theatrical review (read it here): “[As] cinematic romances perfect for Valentine’s Day are concerned I’m hard-pressed to imagine one better. This movie won me over, kept me happily entertained all the way through, and while the heroine might be battling partial forms of amnesia I can pretty much guarantee The Vow is one 2012 release I’m going to have trouble forgetting.”

 

 

 

Underworld Awakening 3D

Underworld Awakening

From my theatrical review (read it here): “[The] point of Underworld Awakening isn’t to spend a lot of time on the convoluted (and I would say purposefully silly) plot but instead to reignite a once popular B-grade R-rated fantasy franchise left in something of a coma after the underwhelming prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans quickly came and went in 2009. The return of [Kate] Beckinsale, the promise of this series moving into unexplored territory, the idea that it can once again become the giddy, somewhat sloppy guilty pleasure it was for two previous adventures, that’s what’s most important here, and to say the film more or less rises to these (somewhat low) expectations is a definite understatement.” For more on the title, check out my recently posted 3D Blu-ray Review.

 

 

Chuck – The Complete Fifth and Final Season

After five seasons where its network didn’t exactly show it constant faith and its studio kept slashing the budgets for each episode, for whatever reason “Chuck” kept rising to the occasion and producing storylines that kept the fans entertained and intrigued. Now it all ends, our mild-mannered Buy More Nerd Herder turned CIA superspy stripped of his Intersect but comfy in his new marriage to the one-time handler whom he instantly fell in love with. Naturally, things don’t go as expected, these 13 episodes building to a finale that is as shocking as it is wonderful, bringing things full circle in a way that brought copious amounts of tears to my eyes.

 

 

La Haine – Criterion Collection

Mathieu Kassovitz won best director for his bracing, unflinching Parisian saga of violence and depravity amongst the French working and under class at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, and a serious case can be made that nothing he’s directed since (maybe Crimson Rivers, but that’s a big maybe) has come close to the excellence put on display here. Criterion’s Blu-ray release features astonishing video and sound, giving the move the best presentation it has arguably ever had, making it the week’s only masterwork and the only title I’d urge serious cineastes to purchase sight unseen.

 

 

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Joe Dante wasn’t particularly interested in making a sequel to Gremlins, but when Warner Bros shockingly gave him carte blanche to pretty much do whatever he wanted with the property he was instantly on board and all bets were suddenly off. Personally, I find this film to be superior in almost every way. Funnier, livelier, fresher, spookier and downright more awesome in all the ways that matter, the movie is also a scathing indictment of the corporatization of the movie and television business in general and a trailblazing satire of sequels themselves most importantly. It’s a total hoot, and in my mind it’s about time people started recognizing it for the stellar achievement it actually is. For more on this release, check out my Blu-ray Review.

 

 

Dirty Dancing Collection

It’s been 25 years since no one but Baby in a corner, and the truth of the matter is Dirty Dancing is just as fantastic as ever. This new two-disc Blu-ray collection offers up a full 7.1 lossless soundtrack and a bevy of special features including solidly moving tributes to actors Patrick Swayze and Jerry Orbach as well as director Emile Ardolino (yes that makes it the same disc originally released in 2010, no I do not particularly care as I never bought it two years ago). As for the 2004 sequel-slash remake Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights? Even with the presence of Diego Luna and Romola Garia (as well as a cameo from Swayze himself), the less said about that one the better and that’s all I’m going to write as far as that particular matter is concerned.

 

 

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

I’ve never watched any of Eric Wareheim or Tim Heidecker’s ‘Funny or Die’ shorts, so I know nothing about them. I missed the press screening for this title when it was released theatrically earlier this year, so I can’t tell you anything about their first feature-length motion picture. I can say I have a review copy of the Blu-ray sitting here, however, and as soon as I buckle up the courage to plop it into the player (the word I’ve heard from those who love the shorts and were looking forward to the movie is stunningly unkind) I’ll let you know what I’ve discovered.

 

 

Playback

Playback wants to be The Ring for the 21st century; to say it fails miserably would be a massive understatement. I was hoping for more.

 

 

Mother’s Day

Director Darren Lynn Bousman’s (he of Saws II, III, and IV) remake/reimagining of Troma Pictures’ Mother’s Day, which the idea of in and of itself almost sounds like some weird concept for a Robert Altman Hollywood satire like The Player, is pretty gruesome stuff. Unrelenting and not exactly enjoyable, the movie is notable thanks to a ferociously sadistic performance from Rebecca De Mornay that almost needs to be seen to be believed. Otherwise, there’s not a lot to say about this one, and, again, considering it’s a remake of a Troma film done by the guy who made a lot of Saw sequels I can’t imagine there’s very many people out there who thought there would be.

 

OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES

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·         42nd Street Forever

·         Beautiful Wave

·         The Front Line

·         Ganja & Hess

·         Humans vs. Zombies

·         Last Breath

·         Murder Obsession

·         Shock Labyrinth 3D

·         Underworld: The Legacy Collection

 

 

NOTABLE DVD RELEASES

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Amador

Marcela, a young immigrant with financial troubles, finds a summer job looking after Amador, a bed-ridden elderly man whose family is away. She thinks her problems are solved, but Amador dies shortly thereafter, putting Marcela in a predicament. His death leaves her jobless, something she can't afford to let happen. Faced with a difficult moral dilemma, Marcela will prove that death can't always stop life. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Cold War

CNN's “Cold War” is a sweeping look at nearly five decades of global history - a crystallization of a massive, three-year-long effort helmed by award-winning documentarian Jeremy Isaacs (“The World at War”). Isaacs' team shot more than 1,000 hours of original footage and gathered archival footage from all over the world to include historically important -- and often emotionally stunning -- images, many never before seen by an international audience. Honored with the prestigious 1998 George Foster Peabody Award, CNN's landmark series “Cold War” is the only major documentary on the subject. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

The Genesis Code

A college hockey player and a female journalism student struggle to find common ground with their spiritual faith and scientific studies until realizing that science and faith are in perfect accord. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Love’s Everlasting Courage

Wes Brown (We Are Marshall, “True Blood”) joins Cheryl Ladd (“Charlie's Angels”, “Las Vegas”) and Bruce Boxleitner (Tron, “Heroes”) in this heartwarming story adapted from the bestselling Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke. When the wife of a struggling homesteader on the western frontier unexpectedly dies, the man searches for the strength and courage to raise his young daughter - and finds it, with the help of his parents. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Madison County

A group of college kids travel to a small, mountain town called Madison County to interview the author of a tell-all book on the accounts of several grisly murders that happened there. But when the kids get to Madison County, the author is nowhere to be found and the towns people act like they haven't seen him in years, stating that the killer never existed and the murders never happened. However, when the kids start digging around to get their own answers, they find out that the stories may be more real than the townspeople are letting on. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES

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

 

·         The Big C: The Complete Second Season (Read Mitchell's DVD Review)

·         Fantasy Island: The Complete Second Season

·         Norman Mailer: The American

 

 

NOTABLE NEW BLU-RAY ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

  

     

 

·         Murdoch Mysteries: Season 4 (May 29, 2012)

·         Bad Ass (June 5, 2012)

·         Jeff, Who Lives at Home (June 19, 2012)

·         Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Series 5 (June 26, 2012)

·         George Gently – Series 4 (July 3, 2012)

·         Midsommer Murders – Set 20 (July 3, 2012)

·         American Reunion (July 10, 2012)

·         Friends with Kids (July 17, 2012)

·         Boss – Season One (July 24, 2012)

·         Blues Brothers 2000 (Aug 7, 2012)

·         Evan Almighty (Aug, 7, 2012)

 

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