New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for August 9, 2011
Not a big week, although a favorite of mine from Disney sees a hi-def release while a landmark classic from 1966 gets the full Criterion Blu-ray upgrade. A pair of landmark High School comedies – one from the 1982, the other from 1993 – also make their Blu debuts, while what I felt was an underrated sci-fi infused comedic gem starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost sees a home release. Then there is Super, a movie that needs to be seen to be believed, and one I hope finally finds the audience on Blu-ray that it so deserved to get when it briefly played in theatres back in April.
The Fox and the Hound / The Fox and the Hound 2 – 30th Anniversary Edition
Disney The Fox and the Hound will always hold a special place in my heart. As a young child, it was one of the last films my great-grandmother ever took me to, the two of us sharing a special moment together as we went alone – no cousins, no other adults, just the two of us – to watch it. Sure its story of a fox and a hound becoming best friends only to awaken to the reality that they are supposed to be mortal enemies isn’t one of the studio’s absolute best, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it all the same. This is a movie that speaks to me for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which are the memories it generates of that first, livingly beautiful viewing.
As for this Blu-ray package itself, the results are easily up to Disney’s extremely high hi-def standards. I’ll have a full review up for everyone to take a look at quite soon.
The Battle of Algiers
A landmark piece of cinema, Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1965 effort The Battle of Algiers is arguably one of the most important films of its kind ever made. An examination of events taking place in Algeria circa 1957 during their fight for independence, shot in documentary-like fashion the motion is a truly transportive effort that takes the viewer right into the heart of the conflict in a way that is beautiful, harrowing and undeniably cutthroat. You’ve never seen anything quite like it, and to say it is unforgettable is an understatement of the nth degree.
From my original theatrical review posted back in April (read it here): “For a film that feels like it is coming at the tail end of a fade that had run its course long ago, James Gunn’s (Slither) violent superhero satire Super is shockingly wonderful. More daring than Kick-Ass, this smart and sassy comedy or errors, heroics and religion is a raucous ride full of surprises. It’s the nail in a subgenre’s coffin, delivering the final word on real world comic book theatrics setting a bar no one anytime soon is going to be able to surpass.” For more on the film, check out my interview with Gunn and star Rainn Wilson.
From my original theatrical review posted in March of this year (read it here): “Paul is a movie for science fiction geeks. Fans of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead should get a few kicks watching co-writers and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite for the third time theatrically, and those looking for a little classic “Saturday Night Live” inanity should be pleasantly – if not completely – amused, but overall it is the inner Star Wars, “Battlestar Galactica,” Star Trek, Close Encounters of a Third Kind, Forbidden Planet, Day the Earth Stood Still and so-on nut who this one is truly made for.”
From my scathing theatrical review posted back in April (read it here): “[Your Highness] is a nearly unwatchable abomination that goes on forever moving from scene to scene with all the momentum and intensity of a slug inching its way through a weedy garden. Nothing works, nothing entertains and, most importantly, nothing is funny. For [David Gordon] Green it is his first outright failure as a director. For an audience, the movie is nothing less than an irksome eyesore virtually impossible to sit through.”
Jumping the Broom
I missed this when it was originally released to theatres, the press screening just didn’t lineup with my schedule. But after it became a modest box office hit and got mostly positive reviews from critics I trust I’m intrigued to give it a look, intending to put it at the very top of my Netflix queue as a review copy of the Blu-ray never made its way to my doorstep.
Mars Needs Moms
Mars Needs Moms 3D
From my March 2011 theatrical review (read it here): “Mars Needs Moms is hardly a disaster. The movie as a whole doesn’t quite come together, but it does have its plusses and it’s certainly better than those horrendous trailers hinted at. Once you get past the early moments the film does settle down into a bit of a controlled groove that keeps the focus on Milo and his plight… While the climax itself is a little silly there is a scene between Milo and his Mom that admittedly brought an honest tear to my eye, and any parent who can’t relate probably should have their kid-raising privileges revoked.” You can also check out my just posted Blu-Ray Review of the title if you so desire.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Dazed and Confused
Two High School comedy classics from Universal, the first from 1982 and written by the great Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire) and the latter from 1993 and written and directed by the equally awesome Richard Linklater (Before Sunset, Me and Orson Welles). A special note, however, to fans of Dazed and Confused: Criterion is also releasing the film to Blu-ray in October, and while the price is obviously a bit higher those who love the film as much as I do will probably want to wait until then before making a purchase. As for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I suggest snatching that one up immediately as the price at Amazon couldn’t be any better.
Dead Man is far from being one of director Jim Jarmusch’s best movies. At the same time, it is easily one of the eccentric independent film icons most interesting. This odd, highly disjointed Western a surreal score by Neil Young and some stunning B&W cinematography Robby Müller is always interesting, and even if it doesn’t ever quite work that doesn’t make the resulting mess any less difficult to take one’s eyes off of. Johnny Depp anchors the picture with one of his more signature off-center performances, while supporting turns by the likes of Iggy Pop, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Gary Farmer, Michael Wincott, Jared Harris, Gabriel Byrne, John Hurt and the late, great Robert Mitchum can’t help but keep a person on their toes. Sadly, Echo Bridge Home Entertainment’s release of the film on Blu-ray is beyond substandard, and as much as I’d like people to check the film out I’m hesitant to do so thanks to the brutally horrific nature of this hi-def presentation.
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES
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NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
From my original theatrical review posted back in April (read it here): “Choose has a great idea at its core, and I found [Katheryn] Winnick to be a strong, whip-smart heroine whom most of the way through I liked rooting for. As a director, [Marcus] Graves shows potential, and while nothing here is even close to being original that doesn’t make it any less well staged or intriguing. But the last third is a disaster, everything that happens both asinine and illogical, and by the time it was over I could have cared less about any of the characters, their plight or if the killer was going to be stopped one smidgen of a single bit.”
From my original theatrical review posted back in February (read it here): “I saw Pang Ho-cheung’s Dream Home last June at the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival and I couldn’t stop talking about it for days afterward. I watched it again just this week and I feel almost nearly as giddy (and as nauseated) as I did that first time. This mordant black comedy is a satire fit for today’s economic realities, a nasty bit of pop culture slash and hack with more on its mind then just how many pieces it can leave its victims in. The film is a surprisingly hilarious and deeply sickening midnight freak-out, and for a director known more for character-driven melodramas and comedies it’s a delectably disgusting change of pace worth crowing about.”
A road trip turns into a battle for survival when Cameron (Andy Whitfield, Spartacus: Blood and Sand) and his pregnant wife, Beth (Tabrett Bethell, Legend of the Seeker), stop for the night at a desolate motel. That night Beth is suddenly abducted from their room and wakes up in an ice-filled bathtub…with her baby now gone! She finds herself captive at a sinister clinic with other women whose newborns are being taken for an unknown purpose, and as Cameron desperately searches for his missing wife, time is rapidly running out. Inspired by true events, this nail-biting thriller, in the tradition of Wolf Creek, explores the most unspeakable, forbidden terror a new mother could possibly face. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
The Last Godfather
Mob boss Don Carini (Harvey Keitel) is retiring from the Mafia business – but when he gathers the family to announce his heir, the Don surprises everyone by anointing his goofy adopted son Young-gu (Hyung-Rae Shim) as the next godfather. With everyone gunning for his job – and his father pressuring him to succeed – will Young-gu overcome his enemies and rise to become the head of the family before he winds up snoring with the fishes? (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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