New Blu's On the Block - July 31, 2012


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: July 31, 2012


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters



New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for July 31, 2012

Renoir. Monroe. Schwarzenegger. Kaurismäki. Costner. Those are the five reasons to be excited about this week’s new Blu-ray releases. After that? Well, like I said, those are the five reasons to be excited about this week’s Blu-ray releases; you can read into that statement what you will.



La Grande Illusion

One of the greatest films of all-time. Period. No questions. No debates. No discussions. No disagreements. Jean Renior’s WWI prison camp drama is a stunning achievement, a movie for the ages, and if I did construct a personal top ten of the best motion pictures ever made (much like the annual Sight & Sound poll), I guarantee you this title would be on it.




Forever Marilyn

(Gentlemen Prefer Blondes / How to Marry a Millionaire / River of No Return / There's No Business Like Show Business / The Seven Year Itch / Some Like It Hot / The Misfits)

Two of these, Some Like it Hot and The Misfits, are already available on Blu-ray, but even so I can’t imagine fans of the original ‘Material Girl’ aren’t aching to get their hands on this collection all the same. The big title here is obviously The Seven Year Itch, but Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is definitely a biggie as well. That said, my personal favorite of the bunch (Some Like it Hot and The Misfits aside, of course) is River of No Return, an underrated gem showing a different side of Monroe I wish she’d been allowed to explore more often. Be that as it may, this is a great set and more or less worthy of the asking price.



Total Recall (1990) – Mind-Bending Edition

Lionsgate redeems themselves with a new edition of the Paul Verhoeven/Arnold Schwarzenegger adaptation of the Phillip K. Dick classic, conveniently timed for release the same week the Colin Farrell remake hits theatres (shocking, I know). The movie is as imperfect as ever (the last 30 minutes a major letdown after the absolutely terrific preceding 80) but it now looks and sounds terrific on Blu-ray, I have to admit. Besides, the whole thing is so much fun it’s hard to get angry about the elements that don’t work so well, and for a movie that’s now over two decades old it’s aged incredibly well. And, considering the low price-point it’s a bargain, too, making it pretty easy to make the snap decision to hit the ‘Buy It Now’ button on Amazon and add it to one’s shopping cart.



Hatfields & McCoys

From Mitchell’s just-posted Blu-ray review (read it here): “Hatfields & McCoys, which premiered to huge numbers on the History Channel earlier this year, is accurate in its look and feel (the production values are top-notch in their authenticity, and Romania makes a surprisingly excellent stand-in for the hills and woods of Kentucky and Virginia), but it’s more concerned with telling an engaging story than it is sticking to the facts, spicing up its historical tale with healthy doses of romance, violence, and big emotions. And there’s nothing wrong with that; there are plenty of factual tellings out there, so anyone who wants the real story can simply turn to one of them. Besides, this story has become the stuff of legend, so turning it into something of an epic melodrama befits it.” I can’t wait to see this and, if anything, Mitchell’s review only has me even more eager to give it a look.




From my April theatrical review (read it here): “[It’s] nice to watch a gutsy independent bit of genre acrobatics that boldly dives into a pool of unknown depth seemingly uncaring whether or not it will survive… [Detention] has guts and it cheekily goes for gory glory, both traits ones I do not take from granted and ones I think audiences open to that sort of thing will eagerly wish to explore.”



Le Harve – Criterion Collection

Somehow I missed Aki Kaurismaki's latest when it platformed around independent theatres in 2011, and I can’t tell you how ashamed I am about that fact considering the film ends up being one of the acclaimed director’s absolute best, which is saying something when you have The Man Without a Past and Leningrad Cowboys Go America on your resume. The movie plays a bit like a modern day fairy tale, set in the here and now yet caring a fantastical quality that’s hard to quantify or give appropriate description to. It’s a moving film, emotionally thrilling in all the ways that matter, and in many ways had Le Grande Illusion not been released today this would likely be the best film on the Tuesday new release docket.




Miley Cyrus. Demi Moore. A movie very few saw. One everyone else had probably never even heard about (and more than likely would have avoided had they). I seriously doubt anyone who had a hand financing this failure is LOL-ing about it now that's its making its extremely quiet Blu-ray debut. Tweet that and see what it gets you.




Normally I’d just list this one in the section below, but as I’ve actually watched it I feel the need to urge all you reading to not suffer the same torment as I did. This Die Hard meets Executive Decision rip-off starring MMA superstar Randy Couture is bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Unwatchably bad. Painfully bad. “How the heck was this made and who in their right mind agreed to finance it” bad... I think you get the idea.



The Whisperer in Darkness

An intriguing, if not entirely successful or completely entertaining, foray into the world of H.P. Lovecraft made by the guys who also brought us The Call of Cthulhu back in 2005. Fans of that film will certainly want to give this one a look, everyone else more than likely will want to avoid at all costs. Still, the movie is an interesting curio piece of exquisite style made with obvious passion, and even though I didn’t particularly care for it I can certainly understand how other almost certainly will.



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·         ATM

·         Body and Soul

·         The Bunny Game

·         The Faculty (Read Sara’s Blu-ray Review)

·         Fire with Fire

·         Firstborn

·         Force of Evil

·         Scalene




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Dead Season

When a worldwide viral outbreak leads to a plague of zombies scouring the earth for the living, two survivors flee the chaos of America to a remote island, hoping for a chance to start a new life. What they find is unrelenting horror. Beyond the hordes of the flesh-hungry undead, the other people already on the island force the pair into a fight-or-die battle amongst themselves. Armed only with crude weapons, they must descend to savagery and cutthroat tactics just to make it through each day. Packed with cutting-edge action and outrageous gore, Dead Season is a riveting new spin on the zombie genre! (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Last Days Here

Chronicling the triumphs and downfalls of cult rock legend Bobby Liebling, Last Days Here is a powerful documentary about an underground icon who finds himself at the crossroads of life and death. For over 36 years Bobby Liebling has been churning out genre-defining hard rock as the lead singer of the band Pentagram. But various acts of self-destruction, multiple band break-ups, and botched record deals have condemned his music to obscurity. Frozen for decades in his parents' basement, Bobby is finally discovered by the heavy metal underground, and with the help of Sean 'Pellet' Pelletier, his friend and manager, Bobby struggles to overcome his demons. Directors Dan Argott and Demian Fenton (The Art of the Steal) offer a candid look at this madly talented artist, whose unexpected journey made him a prodigious diamond in the music business rough. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Sand Sharks

Jimmy Green, a prodigal party boy, is throwing the spring break festival of a lifetime on the island of White Sands. Little do the hundreds of teenage party-goers know, an underwater earthquake has cracked open a crater beneath the ocean s surface. This demolition unleashes the most menacing beasts to ever rule the waters, and the only predator to ever swim through sand. It mercilessly feeds on anything that crosses its path, and it is up to those left on the island to stop the carnage. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Waves of Lust

A balmy, sun-kissed Italian version of Polanski's Knife in the Water, Waves of Lust concerns a free-wheeling young couple, Irem and Barbara, who spend a few days on a luxury yacht with another couple, Giorgio a wealthy industrialist and his wife Silvia, played by John Steiner and Elizabeth Turner. With Giorgio completely dominating his wife and guests and dishing out abuse, humiliation and degradation, it's only a matter of time before good manners and hospitality goes overboard. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



We the Party

A revealing look at contemporary youth culture, writer-director Mario Van Peebles' We the Party shows teenagers as they are, not as adults would like them to be. Set amidst the latest trends in music, dance and fashion, We The Party is a colorful, cutting-edge comedy set in an ethnically diverse Los Angeles high school during America's first black president. The film focuses on five friends as they deal with romance, money, prom, college, sex, bullies, Facebook, fitting in, standing out, and finding themselves. Evoking such classic teen comedies as The Breakfast Club and House Party but with an attitude and style all its own, We The Party captures the hopes, confusion, challenges and dreams of today's teenagers as they plunge headlong into an uncertain future. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



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·         Misfits: Season One

·         Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXIV







·         High School (Sept 4, 2012)

·         October Baby (Sept 11, 2012)

·         Snow White and the Huntsman (Sept 11, 2012)

·         Bait 3D (Sept 18, 2012)

·         Sound of My Voice (Oct 2, 2012)

·         Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (Oct 9, 2012)

·         Guys and Dolls (Nov 6, 2012)

·         They Live (Nov 6, 2012)



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