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FEATURE ARTICLE

New Blu's On the Block - 6/14/2011

 

Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: June 14, 2011

 

Written by Sara Michelle Fetters

 

Editor-in-Chief

www.moviefreak.com

 

New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for June 14, 2011

 

Some good stuff this week, especially on the catalog side of the equation (thank you Criterion Collection), but also a heck of a lot of forgettable also-rans the less said about the better. I will say, however, that this Tuesday has the glorious distinction of bringing two of my least favorite films of 2011 to Blu-ray and DVD, one of which is pretty much guaranteed a spot on my December worst-of list. Talk about things to be excited about.

         

 

Battle: Los Angeles (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Battle: Los Angeles

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An interstellar remake of Black Hawk Down from the director of Darkness Falls and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Jonathan Liebesman and written by Chris Bertolini of The General’s Daughter infamy, there are plenty of reasons Battle: Los Angeles should be a total disaster. But by and large I got a huge kick out of this grunt-level sci-fi action spectacle, stating in my original March review (read it here) that the movie was “hugely entertaining all on its own right thoughts about plagiarism or no” and that it was “fun, nothing more and certainly nothing less.” Mitchell has posted his Blu-ray review.

 

 

The Makioka Sisters

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Director Ken Ichikawa’s lyrical and quite stunning 1983 adaptation of Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters get the full-on Criterion Collection treatment and results are fairly stunning. While the movie itself can be a bit tough to get through at times (it’s so leisurely paced there were moments I sadly found my attentions wavering), from a pure technical standpoint this Blu-ray presentation is pure bliss. All-in-all, fans of the director or of Japanese cinema need to grab this release up immediately, while everyone else even with a passing interest should give it a look just as quickly. You can read more in my Blu-ray Review of the title.

 

 

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

The Actress (Theresa Russell), The Senator (Tony Curtis), The Professor (Michael Emil) and The Ballplayer (Gary Busey) by chance meet in a hotel room. They discuss life, the universe and everything, discovering they all have a lot more in common than they every would have anticipated beforehand.

 

Nicolas Roeg’s 1985 adaptation Terry Johnson’s acclaimed play isn’t for those with short attention spans or who want things easily explained. However, for fans of great, inventive and highly unusual cinema watching the picture is an absolute must, if only to get a look at a massive what-if scenario featuring luminous facsimiles of Marilyn Monroe, Senator Joseph McCarthy, Albert Einstein and Joe DiMaggio trying to make sense of a world down to its very last metaphysical and metaphorical nuance.

 

 

Supernatural: The Complete Second Season

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I love “Supernatural.” Just check out my Blu-ray reviews of Season One, Season Three, Season Four and Season Five. The journey of Winchester brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) really took off in the second one, series creator Erik Kripke introducing the complexities and themes that would transform this spooky freak-out horror anthology into something beyond special. I can’t wait to get a look at it, and as soon as my copy arrives from Warner Bros expect a full review of the release almost immediately.

 

 

Red Riding Hood

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From my original theatrical review (read it here): “This thing is so heavy-handed, so overly melodramatic, so unabashedly sensationalistic it’s almost like Hardwicke and Johnson were making it all up as filming went along. It’s like Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula made with a tenth of the talent and even less of an effort, the whole thing an operatically brain-dead aria where spectacle, speciousness and silliness collide to create something nigh unwatchable.” In short, I hated Catherine Hardwicke’s (Twilight) Red Riding Hood, and if it were not for Sucker Punch it would be the single worst film I’ve seen all year. Mitchell has posted his Blu-ray review.

 

 

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

I missed Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s (Dumb and Dumber) grown men acting as idiots comedy Hall Pass when it screened for press earlier this year. Just wasn’t able to make the time to give it a look; sometimes these things just happen. Having received the Blu-ray from Warner Bros a week or so ago I finally did give this movie starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer a look, and all I can say is, while not the worst thing that has ever come my way, I’d have been perfectly fine with never having seen it. Mitchell has posted his Blu-ray review.

 

 

Kill the Irishman

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Based on the true story of legendary Cleveland mobster Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson), Kill the Irishman is a fast, frenetic and at times fascinating journey into criminal mayhem that’s a lot of fun to watch. While far from perfect (the been there-done that quotient is exceedingly high, and it doesn’t help that Christopher Walken is phoning in his performance) the movie is entertaining, director and co-screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh keeping things moving at a brisk enough pace that most of the (admittedly ample) shortcomings don’t quite add up to as high a number as they would have otherwise. Mitchell has posted his Blu-ray review.

 

 

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

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Thanks to SIFF I haven’t been able to give this Andrew Lau epic starring the great Donnie Yen a look as of yet, but rest assured I certainly will now that the festival has comet to an end. Set in 1920’s China and featuring a masked avenger played previously by both Bruce Lee and Jet Li, the movie is supposedly an action packed marvel filled with eye-popping fight sequences. Can’t wait to get a look at it; in fact, come to think of it, maybe I’ll throw it into the Blu-ray player tonight.

 

 

Kingdom of War Part I & Part II

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Kingdom of War is based on the historical true story of King Naresuan the Great, who liberated the Siamese from the control of Burma and helped change the destiny of his nation. Much like Legend of the Fist, this is another Blu-ray that’s been sitting on my coffee table unopened thanks to SIFF. But it looks kind of incredible, the two-part film’s trailer admittedly stunning. Not sure when I can scrounge up 332 minutes to watch the whole darn thing, but rest assured as soon as I do I’ll upload a review ASAP.

 

 

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

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I’ve got nothing to say about this one. Nothing at all. I’m still a little shocked that it was, A) made and, B) did decently at the box office. In short, my astonishment at the ability of moviegoers to beat themselves up by reveling in mediocre entertainment knows no bounds. 

 

OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES

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NOTABLE DVD RELEASES

 

 

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

From my original July 201 theatrical review (read it here): “The Concert is the type of underdog fairy tale I could watch virtually every day of the week. [Writer/director Radu] Milhaileanu’s aria is a musical parade of emotional jubilation, the final product a crowd-pleasing concerto deserving of rousing applause.”

 

 

The Glades: Season 1

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I knew nothing, nothing at all, about A&E’s Everglades set investigative murder mystery series “The Glades” before this Season One collection arrived for review. After watching all 13 episodes, I’m now officially hooked on the continuing adventures of homicide detective Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore). Not because the show does anything new or breaks the genre’s familiar mold (it doesn’t), but instead because of the quirky, flawed and highly interesting three-dimensional characters at the series’ core. This is good stuff, and I can’t wait to watch more of it, and if the quality levels remain this high I can quickly see “The Glades” becoming one of my personal favorites currently airing on Cable Television.

 

 

Monogamy

I saw Monogamy back during the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival. I liked it so much, was so incredibly moved by it, that I both didn’t say a darn thing about it to anyone during its festival run itself and then refused to review it when it hit theatres for a limited theatrical run earlier this year. All sarcasm aside, director Dana Adam Shapiro’s relationship drama so drove me up a wall and ticked me off I couldn’t quite put into words all the venom I wanted to spew its way. Put simply, this movie bored, insulted and, at times, disgusted me, the only upside being that now that I’ve written this I’ll probably never have to think about it again.

 

 

Adrift

While spending summer vacation with her family on the idyllic southeast coast of Brazil fourteen-year-old Filipa (newcomer Laura Neiva) discovers that her father (Vincent Cassel of Black Swan) a famous author is betraying her mother by dallying with a beautiful young American woman (Camilla Belle of From Prada To Nada). Wrestling with the truth Filipa will soon discover that her father's infidelity is only the first of many dark secrets that lurk beneath the surface of her seemingly perfect family. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet

A group of teenagers celebrating Blood Night, the anniversary of the death of a local axe murderer, Mary Hatchet, suddenly find themselves face to face with the realities of her haunting. As they run from the bloody rampage left behind they’ll need to survive the night to expose the truth behind the legend of Bloody Mary. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Con Artist

When Vince (Rossif Sutherland), an ex-con trying to go straight, is forced back into stealing cars by his murderous former boss (Donald Sutherland), he finds solace welding sculptures out of discarded auto parts. But after a calculating and seductive art dealer (Rebecca Romijn) discovers his talent, Vince must pull off the ultimate con to stay out of jail long enough to make it big. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes - Dr. Bell & Mr. Doyle

Outside of the refined halls of Edinburgh University, a young Arthur Conan Doyle is learning his first lesson... in murder. In 1878, when Mr. Doyle (Robin Laing) meets the brilliant Dr. Bell (Ian Richardson), he is drawn away from his medical studies into a new world of crime investigation. As the pair assist local police in solving their most gruesome cases, Doyle becomes fascinated with Bell's uncanny talent for outthinking seasoned detectives and outwitting the most clever criminals. However, one particularly vicious cat-and-mouse game has a different outcome. Doyle finds his life completely changed and even Dr. Bell's agile mind cannot predict how this story will end! (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Fall Down Dead

Single mother Christie (Alpha Dog’s, Dominique Swain) faces the most terrifying Christmas Eve ever when she becomes the sole witness to the handiwork of the Picasso Killer (Halloween’s, Udo Kier), a cold-blooded maniac with an eye for beautiful women. Now a citywide blackout has Christie trapped in an isolated office building with a group of strangers as this unstoppable killing force closes in, picking them off one by one in preparation for his ultimate bloody masterpiece. The body count is climbing and a madman is watching in this relentless, suspenseful shocker, also starring Kill Bill’s David Carradine in one of his final roles. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Lord, All Men Can’t Be Dogs

Lord, All Men Can’t Be Dogs is a riveting story of the lives of two people, Lisa and Tim Johnson, whose struggles are closely tied with the four spirits that reside in their home. It’s a story of temptation, greed and finally, deliverance, mixed with just the right amount of humor! This show will keep you on the edge of your seat, saying, “Lord, All Men Can’t be Dogs!” (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

Sergeant Cribb - The Complete Series

From the vulgar brothels of London's fogbound streets to the respectable royal apartments of Windsor Castle, Sergeant Cribb maintains a level head and a wry sense of humor to unravel complex crimes in Queen Victoria's England. A detective of Scotland Yard's newly formed Criminal Investigation Department, Cribb receives little support for his efforts from his superiors. Wearing his trademark bowler hat and squeaky boots, Cribb relies on his own shrewdness and the plodding assistance of Constable Thackeray to expose the vile deeds of Victorian criminals. Includes previously unreleased episodes Waxwork and Abracadaver. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

 

The Snoop Sisters: The Complete Series

Long before Angela Lansbury brightened TV screens as prime-time s not-so-young literary sleuth in “Murder, She Wrote,” Mildred Natwick and Helen Hayes joined forces to solve mysteries as “The Snoop Sisters.” Forming a one-of-a-kind whodunit writing team, eccentric elderly sisters Ernesta and Gwendolyn Snoop s insatiable curiosity all too often leads them to be deeply embroiled in real-life murders in New York City. “The Snoops Sisters” witty imagination and utter determination were beloved by audiences young and old. For the first time ever on home video, this highly-anticipated collection includes the original TV movie pilot plus the four 90 minute telefilms. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)

 

OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES

 

  • Crash And Burn/Robot Wars (Double Feature)
  • Gordon's War/Off Limits (Double Feature)
  • Happiness Is Peanuts: Snoopy's Adventures
  • Jackass 3.5: The Unrated Movie
  • Marvel Knights: Spider-Woman Agent Of S.W.O.R.D
  • Mooz-Lum
  • Tyler Perry's House of Payne, Vol. 8

 

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Article posted on Jun 14, 2011 | Share this article | Top of Page

 

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