New Blu's On the Block - 6/7/2011


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: June 7, 2011


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters





New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for June 7, 2011


Tons to talk about today, but not a great deal of time to write about it. Just rest assured if you canít find a Blu-ray or DVD of interest this week than youíre harder to please than Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve because there is lots coming out today.


And when I say lots, I mean LOTS. Itís as packed a Tuesday as any Iíve ever come across.



True Grit (2010)

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I may not have been as enamored with Joel and Ethan Coenís remake of True Grit as so many others seemed to be, but that doesnít mean I didnít enjoy the darn thing one heck of a lot all the same. As I stated in my original theatrical review from last December (read it here), ďI had a great time watching it and it is filled with signature moments the Coens should be proud to have brought forth for our consumption. The performances are great and everything looks fantastic, and when it comes out on Blu-ray Iím fairly positive Iíll be adding it to my personal library pretty much immediately.Ē And, you know what, said Blu-ray is fan-frickin-tastic in the extreme. Absolutely stunning. You can read more in my Blu-ray Review.



The Outlaw Josey Wales

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ďDyiní ainít much of a living, boy.Ē So says Clint Eastwoodís Josey Wales not too far along in his miraculous 1976 Western The Outlaw Josey Wales, and it is a line that sums up the action and the journey of this immaculately paced marvel just about to perfection. A movie that set the template for the direction Eastwood would take behind the camera from that point forward, one cannot imagine a world where White Hunter, Black Heart, Bird, Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby would exist if this one hadnít preceded them. You can read more in my Blu-ray Review.



The Man Who Would Be King 

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John Huston spent 25 years trying to get Rudyard Kiplingís short story The Man Who Would Be King transformed into a major theatrical motion picture, at one point even having Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart lined up to star. But as protracted as the process turned out to be, substituting Sean Connery and Michael Caine for the leads proved to be a gift from the heavenís above as this 1975 adventure classic is so good there should almost be a law against such things. Filled with indelible moments and an ending that is as powerful as it is poignant, this marvelous masterpiece has stood the test of time and then some. Iíll have a full review of this glorious Blu-ray release for all of you to take a look at online sometime with the next few days.



Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season

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The acclaimed Emmy-winner starring Bryan Cranston returns for arguably its best season yet, taking viewers on a horrifying journey into the heart of self-destruction, anguish and despair but doing it in a way that is electrifying in its entertainment value. Late to the party with this show, Iíve grown to truly adore it, Cranstonís performance New Mexico family man and Meth chemist Walter White one for the time capsule. This show is one of the best on television and worthy of an immediate look, but Iíll let Mitchellís Blu-ray review of the set tell you all about it, and more.



The Superman Motion Picture Anthology

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A massive set featuring all five of Warnerís Superman adventures, including both versions of Superman II (the original theatrical release and the Richard Donnerís Ďalternateí cut). The set contains over 20 hours of bonus features including the original Fleischer/Famous Studios 1940ís Superman animated shorts and the wonderful serial adventure Superman and the Mole Men. Sadly, a review copy was not sent my way, but fans who donít own the DVD edition of this set should totally think about picking this Blu-ray collection up for their personal libraries.



Just Go With It

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Better-than-average Adam Sandler comedy with Jennifer Aniston, Sports Illustrated swim suit cover model Brooklyn Decker and an extremely silly (and thatís a good thing) Nicole Kidman. Not much more to say. You can read my more or less complimentary Theatrical Review or my slightly more positive Blu-ray Review by clicking the links but as far as the bottom line goes, if youíre a Sandler fan, you wonít be disappointed and, if youíre not, you wonít be in a ton of pain if someone forces you to sit through it.



Another Year

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Awesome Mike Leigh drama that blew me away when I saw it for the first time earlier this year and in my original theatrical review (read it here) I stated, ďAnother Year is a movie about very little that manages to say a whole heck of a lotÖ Split into four seasons, the movie is a delicate, distinctly beguiling charmer that at times broke my heart right in two. It connects in a way that caught me a bit off guard, keeping me entranced all the way through even as some of the characters presented werenít always in an entirely happy place.Ē My Blu-ray Review of the titles is equally positive, Sony Classics delivering a grand hi-def presentation Iím happy to have as part of my personal library.





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From my original theatrical review (read it here): ďWhile certain sequences canít help but bristle with tension, overall director Alister Grierson stages everything in as straightforward and as perfunctory a manner as possible, draining the suspense out of scenes that should be overflowing with itÖ Sanctum wastes a tried and true premise turning what should have been a nasty bit of primeval fun into a disappointing and turgid slog of missed opportunities better left undiscovered.Ē



The Company Men

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Corporate downsizing drama with an all-star cast including Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello, Rosemarie DeWitt and Kevin Costner written and directed by John Wells of ďE.R.Ē fame, this movie struck a chord with some while leaving others decidedly cold. For my part I come down somewhere in the middle, impressed with the acting and in love with moments but on the whole a little letdown by the emotional weight of the dramatics Wells chooses to showcase. Definitely worthy of a rental, but not one Iíd ever suggest anyone out there should be adding to their personal libraries. You can read Mitchellís Blu-ray review for more on the film.



The Stunt Man

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Fascinating cult classic from director Richard Rush (Color of Night) about a megalomaniacal director (an Oscar-nominated Peter OíToole) and the escaped convict (Steve Railsback) he steamrolls into becoming a stunt man on his behind schedule WWI action epic. Reality and fantasy collide in a way that is beyond astonishing, and while the film doesnít quite hold up itís still a remarkably cynical and cold-hearted stunner that simply must be seen to be believed.  



The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

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Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Bill Hunter in director Stephan Elliotís (Easy Virtue) wildly audacious 1994 drag queen comedy debut, a film that only seems to get better and better as the years go by. Worthwhile if only to see General Zod, Agent Smith and Leonard Shelby as youíve never seen them before. 



American: The Bill Hicks Story

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Solid documentary about comedian Bill Hicks, this BBC presentation is inspiring, hysterical and insightful almost in equal measure. A mixture of archival footage, interviews and animated asides, directors Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas do a wonderful job of showcasing this dynamo, his life tragically cut short by cancer in 1993, and for someone I hardly knew a thing about at the start by the time the film was over I almost couldnít wait to dive into the massive amount of special features and learn a little bit more. Wonderful is too slight a word to describe this one, American: The Bill Hicks Story one of the best docs Iíve seen in quite some time.




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Iíve run out of things to say about Rubber. Itís a fun, silly and enjoyable B-movie about a sentient homicidal tire named Robert the first time around, but on second viewing it loses a lot of its charm. For more info, check out my Theatrical Review posted last April and my recently uploaded Blu-ray Review where I did into the film in a tiny bit more detail (and I do mean tiny Ė thereís not a lot talk about).




The Long Riders

Vera Cruz

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Two Western classics, the first a 1980 all-star epic from director Walter Hill the Carradine, the Keach and the Quaid families portraying notorious outlaws the Youngers, the James and the Millers, while the second is a wickedly nasty 1954 oater with Gary Cooper and Robert Aldrich directed by the great Robert Aldrich about an outlaw and a lawman forced into an uneasy alliance. Both are great, both are worth watching, and personally I canít wait to add each to my Blu-ray library. You can now read my Vera Cruz Blu-ray review.





New York, New York

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A pair of MGM musicals, the first Milos Formanís 1979 take on the Broadway smash while the second is Martin Scorseseís fascinating, uneven 1977 spectacle with Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli. Iíve only seen both of these once, and Iím looking forward to seeing them again on Blu-ray, hopeful that Iíll like them more now in my 30ís than I ever did when I first got a look at them in my early teens.



Robin of Sherwood: Set One

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The classic BBC series about the famed outlaw ran for seasons between 1984 and 1986, earning a devoted following and launching the careers of Ray Winstone, Mark Ryan, Robert Addie and others. This four-disc collection contains all 13 episodes of seasons one and two and is filled with a wide array of extras celebrating the seriesí ongoing legacy. Mitchellís Blu-ray review is live for you to read, but for my part I was impressed by what Acorn Media has accomplished with this collection and then some; fans should buy it without a second thought.



Shadows & Lies

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James Franco, Martin Donovan and Josh Lucas in a straight-to-DVD thriller that made very little impact on the festival circuit last year and couldnít even manage a cursory theatrical release and considering its starís Academy Award-nomination for 127 Hours thatís no small trick. We were offered a review copy but with SIFF going on I just didnít feel like I had the time to give it a look. Considering the disastrous nature of the few reviews I was able to find Iím thinking that was a smart decision.




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

Blue Crush 2 (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

Blue Crush is a surprisingly winning surfing epic starring Kate Bosworth and Michelle Rodriguez directed by John Stockwell (Crazy/Beautiful, Turistas) that came out in 2002 and deserved a better theatrical fate. Blue Crush 2 is an out-of-nowhere straight-to-DVD 2011 European made sequel that by all accounts is more Beach Blanket Bingo than it is The North Shore. Make of both of those descriptions what you will and plan your Netflix queues accordingly.



Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

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From Mitchellís Blu-ray review of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights: ďThis newest entry in DC Comicsí line of direct-to-DVD animated titles (which isnít a sequel to 2009ís Green Lantern: First Flight) could easily have been nothing more than a quick way of cashing in on the upcoming Green Lantern feature film, but itís not. Itís actually a pretty good offering in its own right, as well as a nice way of introducing these characters to a public thatís likely never even heard of them.Ē




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The Big C: The Complete First Season

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Acclaimed television drama with Laura Linney as a High School teacher married to Oliver Platt who discovers she has cancer and how that effects her and her familyís lives. Supposed to be beyond excellent, our very own Rachel saying that this first season ďmanages a lot of entertainment through the combination of its good writing and stellar performancesĒ in her recently posted DVD Review.



Burn Notice: Season Four

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Iíd actually never seen an episode of USAís popular series ďBurn NoticeĒ until Season Four arrived in my mailbox for review. After viewing all 18 giddily enjoyable episodes, Iím kind of wondering why as Iíve now populated my Netfix queue with seasons one through three. This is a fun program, full of great twists, intricate turns and wonderful performances by Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell, Gabrielle Anwar and especially the great Sharon Gless. Iíll try and have a full review up as soon as SIFF comes to an end.



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

From my original theatrical review (read it here): ďThe problem, sadly, is that as solid as a lot of the pieces are as a whole Exorcismus never comes together in a way that either scares or satisfies. In many ways this genre has sadly worked itself out, and it is going to take something truly extraordinary or unusual to break through the been there-done that aura wafting around it.Ē



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

One of the best films Iíve seen in 2011. As excerpted from my original theatrical review (read it here), ďThe Housemaid is one of those pictures the less you know going in the more opportunity it has to devastate and surprise. The power of the climax comes from how unexpected, yet how horribly believable, it is, and to even hint at more would be doing the viewer a grave disservice. This Korean import is a shocking spectacle of inhumanity and desire, of how the worlds we construct to serve us can slowly and intractably become our prison making it the first must-see motion picture of 2011.Ē My advice? Pick it up for a rental and watch it immediately.



If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle

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Fantastic Romanian import that left me bruised and battered but all the better for the beating. The story is as heartbreaking as they kid, a saga of brotherly love and motherly betrayal that broke my heart in two. Director Florin Serban cements himself as a major talent worthy of keeping an eye upon, and fans of quality international cinema should make it a priority to give this one a look at their earliest opportunity.



New Tricks: Season Four

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Season Four of the glorious BBC series ďNew TricksĒ is every bit as delicious as any of those that have come before. Dennis Waterman, Alun Armstrong and James Bolam continue to shine, while the icy resolve of Amanda Redman anchors things beautifully. This fourth eight-episode season finds the team investigating a variety of cases including one at a nursing home that happens to involve superintendent Sandra Pullmanís ailing mother while another revolves around a woman who was partially devoured by horde of pet cats. All-in-all fans are going to get a kick out of these superior mysteries, each one arguably more engaging than the last everything building to a crackerjack final that has me eager to get a look at Season Five.



White Collar: Season Two

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ďWhite CollarĒ is another show I kind of canít believe I havenít seen until now, Season Two arriving in my mailbox about a week ago for review. While the setup is a bit silly (FBI Agent gets one of his most high-profile collars out of jail to assist him in cracking the toughest of White Collar crimes), it is the relationships and the performances themselves that make this show such a wonderfully addictive charmer. Tim DeKay (Agent Peter Burke) and Matt Bomer (master con man and criminal Neal Caffrey) are the perfect Mutt and Jeff pair of investigators, and I love how Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen and Sharif Atkins add just the right support. Again, one SIFF completes, Iíll do my darndest to upload a full review as Season Two of this show pretty much knocked my socks clean off.



The Wild Hunt (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

From my original theatrical review (read it here): ď[As] much as bits and pieces stay in my memory and hold me captivated, on the whole I canít say The Wild Hunt is a picture Iím likely to ever return to again in the future. I just didnít feel like it earned the human wreckage left in its wake, that it took too long to get to its sensationalistic denouement that ultimately brought things full circle.Ē



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

Sosa (Ricardo Darin, The Secret in Their Eyes) is an ambulance-chasing personal injury attorney with questionable ethics. Lujan (Martina Gusman, Lion's Den) is a young, idealistic country doctor, new to the city. After Lujan and Sosa's paths repeatedly cross, the two form an unlikely romance that is threatened by Sosa s turbulent past. With traffics accidents as the number one cause of deaths in Argentina, bodies are currency and a black market strives to get rich from the personal tragedies that literally litter the streets. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



HawthoRNe: Season Two

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Jada Pinkett Smith stars as Director of Nursing Christina Hawthorne, a passionate advocate for her patients who must balance the demands of being a widowed mother. When cutbacks close Richmond Trinity, Christina and several of her fellow doctors and nurses join the struggling James River Hospital. She defies enormous odds to rescue a heroin-addicted mother, confronts angry protesters to save a death row patient, and takes on the entire review board to keep the hospital open. On the home front, Christina also fights to raise her rapidly maturing daughter, while deciding if Christina herself is ready for a closer relationship with the Chief of Surgery Dr. Wakefield (Michael Vartan, TVís ďAliasĒ). (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



My Girlfriendís Boyfriend

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Jesse (Alyssa Milano) is yet to find the ďright guyĒ until she bumps into Ethan, a writer pushed to the edge of despair after having another novel rejected. For Jesse, the encounter offers more than a chance to inspire the artist in Ethan again. Moments after meeting the perfect guy for her, Jesse meets Mr. Perfect Troy, a confident advertising executive who makes almost every moment elegant and romantic. Heís perfect, just like Ethan. Whatís a girl to do? (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Nice Guy Johnny (Special Edition)

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Award-winning writer-director-actor Edward Burns (Saving Private Ryan, Sheís The One) returns with Nice Guy Johnny, his most romantic comedy in years. Johnny (Matt Bush of Adventureland) is engaged to a girl who demands he drop his dream gig as a sports radio deejay and work for her dad in the cardboard box industry. But the bed-hopping, fun-loving Uncle Terry (Burns) has different plans and soon whisks away Johnny to the Hamptons for a lost weekend where his nephew can find some fun. Beautiful tennis pro Brooke (Kerry Bishe) soon tempts Johnny to serve up a little pleasure and figure out exactly what being a nice guy really means. Nice Guy Johnny shows Burns delivering another gem in the tradition of his heroes Woody Allen and Francois Truffaut. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Pretty Little Liars: The Complete First Season

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When their best friend Alison mysteriously vanishes, four girls believe their secrets are safe forever. But when they begin to receive threatening messages from someone named "A," the truth may be only one text away. Filled with mystery, scandal, intrigue and nail-biting suspense, ďPretty Little LiarsĒ is based on the best-selling book series for young adults from Alloy. Set one year after the disappearance of Alison, the manipulative and vindictive queen bee, the one-hour drama revolves around four 16-year-old girlfriends --Aria, Hanna, Spencer and Emily -- who have lost touch with one another until each begins to receive mysterious messages suggesting that Alison is watching them and knows their most private details they are desperate to keep hidden. Suddenly, living in their picturesque suburban community is far from perfect as secrets, lies and betrayals threaten everything they hold dear. Even after Alison's body is discovered, the messages don't stop. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Pros & Ex-Cons (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

Two ex-cons working for a powerful crime lord are assigned to a highly secretive job. After completing their job they are quickly informed that they have assassinated the wrong individual. With the stakes high, they must quickly correct their mistake before covers are blown and innocent lives are lost. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Queen of the Lot (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

An electronic ankle bracelet and being under house arrest isn't about to stop up-and-coming actress Maggie Chase (Tanna Frederick) from the two things she craves the most: real fame and true love. With more Google points that her Iowa hometown, but far less than Angelina Jolie, Maggie is desperate to claw her way off the B-list of action/adventure pictures and into major movie stardom. With a team of handlers (Ron Vignone, Diane Sallinger, David Proval and Zack Norman) to spin her recent drunk driving arrests into tabloid gold and bad-boy movie star boyfriend Dov Lambert (Christopher Rydell) on her arm, Maggie's star is on the rise. Things get complicated when a trip home to meet Dov's legendary family introduces Maggie to the world of Hollywood Royalty (Kathryn Crosby, Mary Crosby, Peter Bogdanovich, Dennis Christopher and Jack Heller) and to her boyfriend's brother Aaron Lambert (Noah Wyle), the black sheep of the family, a failed writer who can actually see who Maggie really is behind her ingťnue facade, but who has secrets of his own. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Salt of This Sea (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

An urgent and devastating portrait of life in Palestine, Salt of This Sea is essential viewing. Sixty years after her grandparents exile from Jaffa, Soraya (Suheir Hammad) leaves Brooklyn to live in her homeland. Discovering that her family's bank account was frozen after the Arab- Israeli way, she decides to leave Brooklyn for her homeland, determined to reclaim her birthright, through whatever means necessary. With the help of her disillusioned lover Emad (Saleh Bakri) and his filmmaker pal Marwan (Riyad Ideis), they plan on one big heist to settle the historical debt. Driving through the countryside like an Arab (and pacifist) Bonnie and Clyde, Soraya and Emad discover their roots while rejecting their status as exiles. Hammad and Bakri attack their roles with feral intensity, electrifying the screen. The first fiction feature of Palestinian-American director Annemarie Jacir, and the first feature film from Palestine by a female director, it is an intimate, urgent and rousing piece of political filmmaking. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com) 



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