New Blu's On the Block - 6/21/2011
Released: June 21, 2011
Sara Michelle Fetters
New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for June 21, 2011
One of my favorite films of all-time. One of my favorite films of 2011. One of the best comedies I’ve seen in ages. One of the great independent releases of the 1990’s from a filmmaker who would go on the make bona fide classics over the next two decades. Other than that, there’s not a ton to talk about, even though many of the titles coming out today are ones I’m sure plenty of you out there will probably have at least a passing interest in.
Kiss Me Deadly
I remember watching this 1955 Robert Aldrich (Vera Cruz, The Dirty Dozen) classic with my dad when it aired on our local PBS station way back when. Even in a truncated form (the ending having been long compromised, by whom no one seems to know for certain) and although I was barely a teenager I knew this movie was amazing. Hard-hitting, nasty and completely uncompromising, this tail of decent, duplicity, espionage and murder had me so far under its spell I can still remember what it was like sitting on my couch viewing it for the first time. Over the years this movie has grown on me exponentially, and now available in its original form it is even more of a clever, blood-curdling masterpiece. Criterion’s Blu-ray presentation is every bit as glorious as I’d hoped it would be, picture, sound and special features beyond wonderful. In short, I think people should just buy this disc this very second, but if you really need more impetuous as to why I think so you can read my Kiss Me Deadly Blu-ray Review of the title to get more information.
The Adjustment Bureau
Flat-out, this is one of the best films of 2011 and a movie I’m starting to think is going to end up making my year-end Top 10 list. From my original March review (read it here): “Based on the short story Adjustment Team by legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, the man’s whose books led to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall and Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, screenwriter and director George Nolfi’s The Adjustment Bureau is the year’s most refreshing and invigorating surprise. A romantic thriller with supernatural theological overtones, this witty and joyous adventure had me beaming ear to ear in happiness for all 105 minutes of its brisk running time.” Watch it immediately; that really all I have left to say on the matter.
Arguably my favorite comedy of 2011 so-far (with Bridesmaids hot on its tail), director Miguel Arteta’s latest had me giggling like a madwoman from start to finish. From my original February review (read it here): “[When] all is finally said and done Cedar Rapids is a hugely enjoyable winner that had me wanting in many ways to give it a standing ovation. Arteta confidently conducts things behind the scenes, leading his cast of pros to a finish line so wonderfully amusing and heartfelt it manages to erase the majority of the minor missteps the production sometimes made along the way. The film deserves to be something of a hit, and here’s hoping audiences finally come to realize as far as intelligent, character-driven comedy is concerned this is a director who keeps delivering the goods every time out.” For more on the film, check out my Interview with director Miguel Arteta I conducted way back at the beginning of the year.
From my original theatrical review posted last February (read it here): “Based on the novel Out of My Head by Didier Van Cauwelaert, Orphan and House of Wax director Jaume Collet-Serra’s Unknown comes frustratingly close to being a good, maybe even a great, mistaken identity mystery-thriller. Combining elements of Frantic, The Bourne Identity, Taken and the television show “24,” the movie aspires to be a “Twilight Zone” level brain twister but instead ends up being nothing more than a moderately disappointing missed opportunity. While elements are downright awesome, the final product is sadly forgettable, and for all its strengths it’s doubtful this is one I’ll be talking about one way or the other come the end of the year.” Mitchell has just posted his Unknown Blu-ray Review.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Here’s what I wrote about this title back in March (read it here) where I couldn’t help but compare the film to it’s wretched, yet for some reason popular, precursor, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is more of the wretchedly unwatchable same, and even though I personally didn’t care for it I imagine those who flocked to the first one will do so again this time around as well.” The Blu-ray sadly arrived in my mailbox yesterday so I guess I have to give this one a second look. I’ll have a full review posted soon.
One of 2011’s more frustrating disappointments, this is what I had to write about the title in my original review back in February (read it here): “If only the movie didn’t leave such a nasty and bitter taste in my mouth. The Eagle sounds good and looks better, but as cohesive whole it is sadly lacking in a number of vital areas. It falls apart at the end, unsure about what it wants to say and uncomfortable about the best way to do it. Instead, [director Kevin] Macdonald and [screenwriter Jeremy] Brock resort to buddy film clichés, and I for one felt all my goodwill towards the picture vanish just as completely as the Roman Empire itself would a precious few hundred years after this story is set.”
The Island (2005)
When I wrote my original review of this one back in July of 2005 (read it here) I was positive this was one movie I’d have no interest revisiting. Funny thing is, when I recently got a look at the Blu-ray, it became quickly apparent that early assessment was more than a little bit off. As I write in my Blu-ray Review of the disc: “Looking at The Island again after six years (as well as after two Transformers flicks with a third hitting theatres at the end of the month) I’m hard-pressed not to admit my judgments in regards to this one were a bit overly harsh. While The Rock will likely remain my favorite Michael Bay extravaganza, this one might actually be his most complex, ambitious and best put together. The first fifty minutes inside the clone compound are truly extraordinary, while a lot of the stuff that comes after it isn’t nearly as obnoxious and headache inducing as I’d originally described.”
Louie: The Complete First Season
I’ve heard good things about this FX comedy series starring the acerbic and unrestrained Louis C.K. and have been eager to check it out for quite some time. This Season One Blu-ray/DVD 2-disc set just arrived in my mailbox yesterday, though, and I still haven’t had the chance to plop it into the player. One thing that does bother me, however, is the fact this combo package is filled with a pair of flipper discs, and while I’m sure the picture and sound quality are going to be just fine this is still something that seldom makes me at all happy. Mitchell has just posted his Louie Season 1 Blu-ray Review, calling the show “a lot funnier than most current television comedies.”
I’ve had this Blu-ray sitting on my coffee table for about three weeks and have meant to give it a look, but with the Seattle International Film Festival going on and all my other duties keeping me busy I just haven’t had the time. Now looking at Mitchell’s recent Blu-ray Review I’m not exactly positive I want to. As he writes, “Given that for the past six years Josh Radnor has been the star (although that’s debatable) of a second-rate sitcom, it comes as no surprise that his big-screen writing/directing debut is nothing more than a long second-rate sitcom. With its contrived plotting, shallow characters, painfully awful platitude-filled dialogue, and pat resolution, Happythankyoumoreplease (oh how I hate that title) is mediocre television (a “very special episode,” of course) writ large. It’s just another story of pushing-thirty New Yorkers whining about their lives, infused with everything that’s wrong with contemporary indie cinema.”
Romantic comedy with Uma Thurman, Michael Angarano and Lee Pace that was supposed to hit theatres ages ago (back in the second half of 2010, no less) but for a variety of reasons never saw the light of day. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Magnolia did release the film in a whopping four theatres back in April, the movie making a whopping $22,270 according to the folks over at BoxOfficeMojo. What does this have to do with anything? Nothing, really, other than it gives me something more interesting to talk about than the actual film itself. I’ve watched it. I’ve got the Blu-ray sitting here right in front of me at this very moment, actually, and what I’d rather talk about is the $22,270 it made in four lousy theatres back in April. That should speak volumes about what I thought about the movie, don’t you think?
Mega Python vs. Gatoroid
I’m only mentioning this title in this section for two reasons. The first is that it features former teen pop sensations Debbie Gibson (who I embarrassingly adored as a kid) and Tiffany (who I could never stand) going toe-to-toe in a battle of wills featuring gigantic pythons and gargantuan alligators. The second is that the folks at Image Entertainment sent me a review copy. So there you have it! I’ve mentioned the title in my notable release Blu-ray section. My job is officially done.
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES
- The Medallion (Read Sara’s Theatrical Review)
- The Killing Machine
- Priest of Love
- The Rig
- The Romantic Englishwoman
- Stonehenge Apocalypse
- You Got Served: Beat the World
NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
Medium: The Seventh and Final Season
A terrific show comes to an emotional end, the final season of the DuBois clan making its way to DVD. Fans can expect the usual array of special features as seen on previous seasons, such as several featurettes and more. If you haven’t seen this you absolutely must do so, Medium a great exercise in suspense, family humor and overall solid storytelling.
-written by Dennis Crane
The Closer: The Complete Sixth Season
Moving up? The LAPD is looking for a new chief and Will Pope thinks he has the inside track. He soon has an unexpected rival for the job: Brenda (Best Actress Emmy and Golden Globe winner Kyra Sedgwick). And Brenda has an unexpected ally helping groom her for the selection process: Capt. Raydor. The contest for chief is only one of the ingenious, suspenseful, often funny storylines that makes Season Six of The Closer stellar entertainment. Join the squad as Sanchez looks after an orphaned boy, Tao goes undercover as a biker dude, Provenza and Flynn date airline attendants (turns out one of them has a corpse in her bathtub) and Brenda finds her family Christmas rudely interrupted by crime. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
From my original theatrical review (read it here): “If only the movie had a bit more going on underneath the sheets maybe there’d be something cool to talk about. By the time it was over, for all the moments that charmed there were countless more that left me wanting for more. Much of Elektra Luxx runs around in circles, thinking it is being profound only to be reveling in cliché and mindless platitude making the finished romp a curiously sexless comedy afraid to drop its drawers and showcase what’s happening behind the curtain.”
Poison: 20th Anniversary Edition
Todd Haynes explosive, incendiary and astonishing debut gets the anniversary treatment from Zeitgeist Films (sadly not a Blu-ray one), this astonishing film a treasure trove of ideas and visions that first signified the director of Safe, Far From Heaven and I’m Not There as an auteur on the rise. Not for the faint of hearth, this journey into the heart of madness (featuring everything from suburban patricide to a disfiguring plague) is split into a series of three separate stories each with their own virtues worthy of extolling. A fascinating experiment, Poison is a movie fans of the director should not be allowed to miss.
Director Nina Bader wants to shoot a film about love and sex and invites her actor-friends Hans and Marie for screen tests for a couple of days. For Nina love is not necessarily a matter of emotion she is rather looking for an authentic depiction of sex. The intimate collaboration turns into experiments with film, love and bodies and finally has an impact on the private relationships between the three of them. It seems that the boundaries between acting and reality begin to disappear. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Bending All the Rules
Smart, sexy and free-spirited, Kenna drifts from one boyfriend to the next, leaving any relationship that threatens to distract her from her dream: having an exhibition of her photography. But just as Kenna is offered her first show, her cool and casual personal life turns hot and heavy! Suddenly, Kenna is being pursued by two very special – and very different – men: Jeff, a sensitive, struggling DJ; and Martin, a slick and powerful businessman. As Jeff and Martin wage a fierce and funny battle for Kenna’s attentions, Kenna begins to wonder if she can’t have both love and success. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Orgasm Inc. explores the strange science of female pleasure and in the process reveals the warped mentality of our pharmaceutical and medical industries. Director Liz Canner embarks on a nine year odyssey as she follows the companies who are racing to be the first to win FDA approval for a product to cure "female sexual dysfunction". The prize: billions of dollars in profits. Featuring illuminating footage and interviews with activists, doctors and medical experts, Orgasm Inc. will change the way you think about sex. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASESU
- Medium: The Seventh and Final Season
- Rio Conchos/Take a Hard Ride
- Royal Wedding Of A Lifetime
- William and Kate
- The Women In Cages Collection (Roger Corman's Cult Classics) [Big Doll House, Women In Cages, The Big Bird]