New Blu's On the Block - 6/28/2011


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: June 28, 2011


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters





New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for June 28, 2011


The big news on Blu-ray this week is obviously the release of Peter Jackson’s extended editions of his The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Without question, this is the must-buy hi-def title of the month, and fans who hadn’t preordered a copy will probably remedy that sometime today.


On the flipside of things, other than a trio of intriguing somewhat lesser known titles (two by the great Louis Malle, one a German silent classic boasting the combined talents of Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, Billy Wilder and Fred Zinnemann), the reminder of this week’s Blu-rays are hugely underwhelming. In fact, my least favorite movie of the year, Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch, gets released today, it’ presence almost enough to make me not even write a column for this final Tuesday in June.



The Lord of the Rings (The Motion Picture Trilogy – Extended Edition)

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Do I even need to bother with this one? Seriously, just go read my full Blu-ray Review of this title and you’ll find all the information that you need to know. Better yet, just login in to Amazon, head over to Best Buy or frequent whatever favorite store you’re partial to buying movies from and pick this release up right this very second. It’s amazing, and arguably the hi-def boxed set of all of 2011.



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

Here’s what I wrote about this film back in my original theatrical review back in March where I gave it whopping zero stars (read the full review here): “Based on [director Zach Snyder’s] original story idea and working from a script he co-wrote with first time screenwriter Steve Shibuya, this movie had me flabbergasted as to just how inept, silly, pretentious, maudlin and just plain idiotic much of it turned out to be. There are few words to describe just how unrelentingly terrible Sucker Punch is, and walking out of the promo screening all I could do was shake my head and stifle a few giggles that I managed to sit through it all start to finish.”


Here’s what Mitchell wrote about this film in his recently posted Blu-ray review where he gave it to my mind a generous three out of a possible ten (read his full Sucker Punch Blu-ray review): “But the main problem is that Snyder treats the five leads as nothing more than objects. Not once is any one of them given any sort of personality. There’s zero character development over the course of the movie; they have roles to play in each of the action sequences, cogs in the teamwork machinery, but that’s as far as they’re taken. When it’s all said and done, they’re really nothing more than cute chicks in lingerie who shoot, stab, and blow up stuff. Viewing what goes down in the final scenes as a statement of female empowerment is a little like calling it even when the victim in snuff film spits in her assailant’s face right before he strangles and rapes her.”


So there you have it. Neither of us liked it. Not in the least bit. Consider yourselves warned.




Black Moon (1975) (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

Zazie dans le metro (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

Two from acclaimed director Louis Malle (Au revoir les enfants, Atlantic City) from our friends at the Criterion Collection, and of the pair Zazie dans le metro is without question the more well known. This New Wave-like marvel made in 1960 about a precocious 10-year-old (Catherine Demongeot) spending the weekend with her free-spirited uncle (a sublime Philippe Noiret) is a beguiling winner from start to finish. Funny, freewheeling, eccentric and totally mesmerizing, this quickly paced comedy is an outright delight. I’ll have a full review of the Blu-ray posted soon.


As for 1975’s Black Moon, I haven’t the first clue where to begin. Even in my recently posted Black Moon Blu-ray Review I admit to not having the remotest idea of what it was Malle was going for here, this story of a girl named Lily (Cathryn Harrison) traveling through post-apocalyptic landscape maybe all in her own imagination is seriously weird. You’ve got Joe Dallesandro and Alexandra Stewart as androgynous brother-sister pair apparently raising a rambunctious horde of naked feral children, the great German actress Thérèse Giehse (in her final role) communicating with a rat and getting breastfed, a pig in a baby’s highchair and a talking overweight elderly gray unicorn who only wants to be left alone. This is a one-of-a-kind mystifying experience, to be sure, and one I may not have understood yet still couldn’t take my eyes off of. Stunningly photographed by the great Sven Nykvist’s (Persona, Hour of the Wolf)



People on Sunday

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Wonderful, simply wonderful, this charming 1930 silent classic is a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between several up-and-coming German filmmakers including directors Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer and writers Billy Wilder and Fred Zinnemann. Is it a documentary? Is it fiction? Does it really matter? Not in the slightest, People on Sunday a melodious weekend walk through Berlin that had me smiling from ear to ear as I took it in. I just posted my People on a Sunday Blu-ray review for everyone to take a look at.



Barney’s Version (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

There’s lots to like about Barney’s Version, director Richard J. Lewis’ adaptation of author Mordecai Richler’s best-selling novel of the same name, not the least of which is Paul Giamatti’s terrific, Golden Globe-winning performance (Best Actor, Comedy or Musical) as the title character. But the movie oddly paced and wobbles in tone considerably, and for all its many strengths its few weakness can’t help but stand out like a sore thumb. I’ll go into all my thoughts in regards to the film in more detail in my upcoming Blu-ray review which I should have posted a little latter this week.



Season of the Witch

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From my original January theatrical review (read it here): “Sadly, [Director Dominic] Sena forces everyone to take things so gosh darn seriously that Season of the Witch never flies so far off the handle that it can enter so-bad-it’s-good territory. Instead, this movie is just plain bad. On top of that, it’s boring to boot, and other than the occasional disarmingly silly line there’s not a lot here worth shining a spotlight on. Even [star Nicolas] Cage, who even in his worst, most obviously paycheck driven films can be counted upon for a moment of deranged loony over-the-top brilliance, looks like he’s sleepwalking through this one, only his consistently wavering Costner-like British accent calling attention to itself in what is otherwise arguably the most narcoleptic performance of the actor’s entire career.”



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

From my original March theatrical review (read it here): “Beastly isn’t very good, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have potential. The thing is, [screenwriter/director Daniel] Barnz doesn’t allow the movie to live up to it, dropping the ball so frequently it’s hard to figure out exactly what he and the rest of his team were going for. Whether there was some behind the scenes studio tinkering or whether it was all his fault alone the truth of the matter is that this modern day fairy tale is a Grimm reminder that some texts are better in their original forms and are oftentimes better left alone.”



The Warrior’s Way

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I meant to write a review for The Warrior’s Way when it was released to theatres last December but for whatever reason never got around to it. My guess is that Korean director Sngmoo Lee’s crazed martial arts fueled Spaghetti Western wasn’t bad enough for me to roast over the coals and wasn’t decent enough for me to extol the virtues of. Instead, this one just sat there, and while I was never exactly bored watching this tale of a lost warrior-assassin traveling to a rundown corner of the Old West to escape his past I was never all that interested in what was going on, either. The movie just is, nothing more, and as eccentrically acted (just check out Geoffrey Rush and Danny Huston in this thing – they’re a hoot!) as it is and as inventive as some of the video game inspired fight sequences are there is a ho-hum quality to it all that I found decidedly underwhelming.




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

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

Two films made by directors Marvel Comics would later handpick to bring a pair of their superheroes to life, 1995’s Jumanji (directed by Joe Johnston, the man behind July’s Captain America: The First Avenger) and 2005’s Zathura (directed by Jon Favreau, the guy behind Iron Man and Iron Man 2) are board game fantasies I was never much of a fan of. The former, in particular, drives me up a wall, the Robin Williams comedy so overloaded with effects and so thin on characterizations watching it is like being screamed at by a whiny six-year-old. As for the latter, in my original review of the picture (read it here) I stated that, “As nice as many of the moments are… this whole thing is still exceedingly thin and shockingly juvenile.” 



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Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete First Season

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Here’s some of what I wrote about this release in my recently posted DVD review: “Rizzoli & Isles may not be great, may not be even close to perfect, but it is damn entertaining and features two strong female characters unlike almost anyone else on network or cable television. This program is about them, revolves around Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles in every way imaginable. It is about their friendship, their working relationship and how it evolves with each case they face. For the first time since arguably Cagney & Lacey we finally have two multifaceted, three-dimensional women working together in a way that feels honest, true and believable, and I for one couldn’t be happier about that.”



Tetsuo: The Bullet Man

From my January theatrical review of this title (read it here): “It’s loopy, loony and doesn’t care an ounce that it doesn’t make a like of sense, and yet [director Shinya] Tsukamoto’s handling of it all is as self-assured and as confident as ever (although having everyone speak English wasn’t necessarily the greatest of ideas). It’s fun, if you’re partial to such things, and as such Tetsuo: The Bullet Man is a worthy continuation of a series that still somehow has refused to wear out its welcome.”



The Baby (1973) (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

An A-list director. A jaw-dropping storyline. Depraved depictions of suburban violence, 70s fashions and sick love. The result remains one of the most disturbing movies in Hollywood history! Anjanette Comer (The Loved One) stars as an idealistic L.A. County social worker who investigates the case of Mrs. Wadsworth (former 50s starlet Ruth Roman of Strangers On a Train fame), her two buxom daughters, and son Baby, a mentally-disabled man who sleeps in a crib, eats in a high-chair, crawls, bawls and wears diapers. But what secrets of unnatural attachment and sexual obsession are all of these women hiding? Marianna Hill (The Godfather Part II) and Michael Pataki (Grave of the Vampire) co-star in this psychotic stunner from director Ted Post (Magnum Force, Beneath the Planet of the Apes), now fully restored from the original film negative for the first time ever. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Bloody Birthday

Get ready for the rarely seen slasher classic from the 80s that may also be the most disturbing killer kids movies in grindhouse history! Three babies are simultaneously born in the same hospital at the peak of a full solar eclipse. Ten years later, these adorable youngsters suddenly begin a kiddie killing spree of stranglings, shootings, stabbings, beatings and beyond. Can the town s grown-ups stop these pint-sized serial killers before their blood-soaked birthday bash? K.C. Martel (E.T., Growing Pains), Joe Penny (Jake and the Fat Man), Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja), screen legends Susan Strasberg and José Ferrer, and MTV vixen Julie Brown, whose nude bedroom dance remains a landmark of celebrity skin, star in this still-controversial shocker from director Ed Hunt (The Brain, Diary of A Sinner), now featuring an all-new HD transfer from the original vault elements. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Erasing David

How much do the government and private corporations know about you? How much can they find out? That's the question posed in this chilling documentary that charts the unimaginable limits of the modern information state. In order to discover how much of his privacy he has left, David Bond sets out to disappear from his life in England for a month. Leaving behind his pregnant wife and young daughter, as well as the conveniences of modern life, Bond tries to go underground in modern Europe. But with a pair of topnotch private detectives on his trail using all the information that the surveillance society has made available, Bond finds his task far trickier than he ever imagined. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Law & Order Criminal Intent: Season 6

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They have matched wits with the smartest of criminals and the darkest of minds but nothing will prepare Bobby Goren and Alex Eames for their most challenging season yet in Law & Order: Criminal Intent – The Sixth Year. Julianne Nicholson and Eric Bogosian join cast members Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe in 22 compelling episodes in this five-disc set. From legendary producer Dick Wolf comes another must-see season of fascinating crime drama from television’s longest running and successful brand. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Nightmares (1983) (Support this site! Click title to buy from Amazon.)

From John Lamond, the infamous producer/director of Felicity, Australia After Dark and ABC of Love and Sex comes this depraved mélange of sex, murder and psychotic mayhem. Jenny Neumann of Hell Night and Mistress of the Apes fame stars as a frigid young theater actress traumatized by her mother s horrific death years earlier. But when a series of brutal stabbings rocks her latest production, the drama queen prone to bloody hallucinations fears that she herself may be the killer. Are all actresses genuinely insane or is the stage set for a shocking final twist? Max Phipps (The Road Warrior) and Gary Sweet (The Chronicles of Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader) co-star in the graphic Ozploitation giallo also known as Stage Fright, now fully restored from the original Australian vault elements. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Rammbock: Berlin Undead

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Just when Michael arrives in Berlin to visit his ex-girlfriend Gabi, a terrible virus starts spreading across the city at a rapid pace, turning people into mindless homicidal maniacs. Much to Michael's concern, Gabi's not home; instead, he meets Harper, a teenage plumber's apprentice at work in her apartment block. Together, they manage to barricade themselves when raging hordes of infected people swarm the building. Surrounded by these thirsty zombies, Michael and Harper have their hands full to survive - and it will take all of their ingenuity to make their way out to try and find Gabi. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



ReBoot: The Definitive Mainframe Edition

Welcome to Mainframe. Home to Guardian Bob, formatted to mend and defend. Join the fast-paced action and adventure as Bob and his friends, Dot, her brother Enzo and his trusty dog Frisket fend off attacks from the superviruses known as Megabyte and Hexadecimal in their relentless pursuit of chaos and the destruction of Mainframe. Known as the very first completely computer-animated half-hour TV series, ReBoot debuted in the United States on ABC’s Saturday-morning block in 1994 and has captured the hearts and imaginations of kids and gamers ever since! Now the complete series is available on nine DVD’s. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Wherehouse 13: Season 2

Return to Warehouse 13 for more supernatural mysteries and paranormal adventures with Season Two of Syfy’s most popular series ever! Join Pete, Myka, Artie and their quirky crew on the chase for fantastical new artifacts across the globe and through time. Racing against the clock these dangerous missions lead them to discover new allies and encounter treacherous old foes… and the unexpected ultimate new villain. Wildly entertaining and always filled with the fan-favorite inventions and gadgetry now’s your chance to snag bag and tag this collectible three-disc set that catalogs and archives twelve action-packed episodes plus top-secret bonus features including the thrilling Eureka crossover episode “Crossing Over.” (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Winnebago Man

What began as one of funniest videos of all time is now the acclaimed indie comedy hit of the year! Type The Angriest Man in the World; into any search engine and one name appears Jack Rebney (a.k.a. The Winnebago Man), an 80s RV salesman whose hilarious, profanity-strewn, on-the-job meltdown was captured on video and passed around on VHS tapes, before exploding into an Internet phenomenon seen by millions. When a young filmmaker goes in search of the legendary man who disappeared 20 years ago, he finds Rebney living alone on a mountain top, as sharp-tongued as ever, but more intelligent and lovable than anyone could have imagined. Winnebago Man is a outrageously funny and unexpectedly moving tale of one man's response to unwanted celebrity, and proof that the truth is both stranger and funnier than fiction. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)




  • Beneath Hill 60
  • Bloodworth
  • The Far Pavilions
  • Christopher and His Kind
  • Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer
  • Deliver Us from Evil
  • Guilty Hearts
  • Immigration Tango



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