The Game – Criterion Collection
David Fincher’s The Game for many is a love it-hate it psychological thriller that either gets under your skin and burrows its way inside of their forever or leaves one slapping their foreheads in continual frustration as to what all the fuss is about. While not my pick for the director’s greatest film (that would be Zodiac), you can without hesitation color me into that former group. This movie fascinates me in ways that are difficult to put into words, and having watched it countless times I can say freely that I’ve never, ever grown tired of a single moment or frame of it.
The Cabin in the Woods
From my theatrical review (read it here): “[The] fun of Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard’s directorial debut The Cabin in the Woods is discovering all [of the film’s] twists, turns and clever slight-of-hands. Working from an inspired script co-written with Joss Whedon, the pair’s time together going all the way back to their “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” heydays, Goddard has assembled a wickedly nasty and exuberantly energetic thrill ride that embraces the schlock aesthetics of its genre just as completely as it assuredly dismantles them. It is the most agreeably effervescent and enjoyable deconstruction of horror clichés since the original Scream, the filmmakers and their game cast of veterans and newcomers delivering a sensational monster-mash the likes of which I’m not quite sure I’ve ever seen before.” For more on the movie check out my Interview with Drew Goddard and Amy Acker.
For my money, this is director Tim Burton’s greatest cinematic achievement. Equal parts funny, tragic, solemn and life-affirming, the movie is nothing less than a celebration of art in all its peculiar guises, celebrating a man who by all accounts is universally considered the worst Hollywood director of all-time. But Burton, along with writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karazweski (The People vs. Larry Flint), never take their subject for granted, never belittle or mock him. Instead, they show him as he arguably was, a driven fanatic obsessed with realizing his own unique vision even if he never quite had the skill set or talent to actually bring them to life. Brilliantly acted by all involved (most notably Johnny Depp, who in my opinion gives his best performance to date), the film won two Academy Awards, one for Martin Landau’s incredible portrait of horror icon Bela Lugosi and another for Rick Baker’s sensational makeup.
Children of Paradise – Criterion Collection
Les Visiteurs du Soir – Criterion Collection
I know little of Marcel Carné’s Les Visiteurs du Soir, but just because that’s so doesn’t make me any less enthusiastic about giving it a look. As for his 1945 masterpiece Children of Heaven, without question this is one of my absolute favorite films of all-time, and would arguably be on my shortlist as one of the top 50 or so motion pictures ever made. In other words, I suggest you buy them both, sight unseen, and add them to your personal libraries right this very second.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
I somehow missed this one when it was screening for press earlier in the year, and considering the international success it has had (as well as the Oscar buzz it’s now generating, mostly for its group of older actors including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson) I’m now regretting that fact quite a little bit. Now that it’s available on Blu-ray I guess I’ll have to remedy this, probably sooner rather than later.
The War of the Roses
One of two Danny DeVito directed efforts to hit Blu-ray today (Hoffa being the other), The War of the Roses is the one lovers of coal-black satires will find themselves most excited about. Reuniting his Romancing the Stone costars Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner for the their third cinematic go-around, the movie is a darkly disturbing look at a marriage in free-fall, the whole thing heading for the type of disturbingly nasty climax most audiences never saw coming even though it fit the material beyond perfectly. Highly recommended.
Saw this during the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival twice, enjoying it immensely both times. Yet, for some reason, I never got around to writing a review for Jay and Mark Duplass’ latest comedic jaunt, and as good as this story of two estranged brothers reengaging their adversarial and competitive tendencies after a decade-plus of inactivity is the whole thing is an admittedly slight effort to be sure. Still, it’s a perfect rental, and anyone looking for a pleasant diversion some rainy Sunday afternoon this motion picture fits the bill nicely.
Halloween II (Collector’s Edition)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Collector’s Edition)
Shout! Factory reissues Halloween II to Blu-ray with a new transfer and brand new special features, many those of you (like me) who own the previous Universal release of the title now have reason to get more than a bit angry. As for Halloween III, its hitting hi-def for the first time, and as odd and as bizarre an entry into the series as it is (it has nothing to do with Michael Meyers, sorry) there’s something about it that I’ve never been able to get out of my head, and I’m not just talking about that insanely annoyingly catchy ‘Silver Shamrock’ theme song.
Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D
Katy Perry: Part of Me
Moment of truth: I actually like Katy Perry’s music. Moment of truth No. 2: I had no wish to see this 3D documentary when it played in theatres, the candy-colored trailers turning my stomach and giving me an instant headache. Moment of truth No. 3: The documentary is actually pretty solid, featuring moments of honesty on the part of Perry that took me completely by surprise.
From my theatrical review (read it here): “Hysteria captured my attentions, had me laughing heartily and showcased a true life tale I knew nothing about beforehand and was eager to learn a greater account of afterwards… The movie isn’t perfect, but it is a heck of a lot of fun, and considering the subject matter (as well as what the invention at the core of it all is intended for) that’s probably all it needed to be.”
Chico & Rita
Wonderful, musically-driven winner Chico & Rita was one of two surprise nominees for Best Animated Film in 2012. In the opinion of many, including mine, it probably should have won the Oscar.
OTHER NOTABLE BLU-RAY RELEASES
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· The Babymakers
· Bait 3D
· Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3
· Black Sunday (1960)
· Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
· The Devil’s Advocate
· A Double Life
· Hatchet for the Honeymoon
· Hawaii Five-O: The Second Season
· Judge Dredd
· Macbeth (1948)
· The Magic of Belle Isle
· Modern Family: The Complete Third Season
· Queen of the Damned
· Supernatural: The Complete Seventh Season
· The Victim
NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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The Salt of Life
From my theatrical review (read it here): “I’m not doing the same cartwheels for The Salt of Life as I was for Mid-August Lunch, that much is true. At the same time, the simple universality of the truths that Di Gregorio lays bare are unavoidable, and the way that the film embraces them with such rhapsodic woe is beyond divine. The movie may take some effort to get into but by the climax it’s almost impossible to dislike, and I imagine on subsequent viewings this is the type of innately human saga that could grow on me to the point it becomes borderline essential.”
Solid satirical comedy featuring a wonderful performance by Greg Kinnear as a former Dead-Head now Born-Again Christian who has his faith tested when he discovers his beloved Pastor Dan (a superb Pierce Brosnan) isn’t all he’s made himself out to be. Doesn’t quite go as far as I’d have liked it to, but the movie is entertaining nonetheless, Ed Harris, Marisa Tomei, Ciarán Hinds and Jennifer Connelly (amongst others) offering up solid supporting work in this star-studded independent charmer.
The Woman in the Fifth
From my theatrical review (read it here): “[The Woman in the Fifth] is a colossal bore, moving round and round in nebulous circles that for the most part drove me close to crazy. The proceedings move like molasses oozing over a cobblestone floor, each crack and crevice filling up with the substance with all the urgency of snail attempting to waltz backwards.”
Director Tony Kaye's (American History X) long-awaited film Detachment stars Academy Award® winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist, Splice) as Henry Barthes, a substitute teacher who conveniently avoids any emotional connections by never staying anywhere long enough to form a bond with either his students or colleagues. A lost soul grappling with a troubled past, Henry finds himself at a public school where an apathetic student body has created a frustrated, burned-out administration. Inadvertently becoming a role model to his students, while also bonding with a runaway teen who is just as lost as he is, Henry finds that he's not alone in a life-and-death struggle to find beauty in a seemingly vicious and loveless world. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Oslo, Aug 31st
Anders will soon complete his drug rehabilitation in the countryside. As part of the program, he is allowed to go into the city for a job interview. But he takes advantage of the leave and stays on in the city, drifting around, meeting people he hasn’t seen in a long while. Thirty-four-year-old Anders is smart, handsome and from a good family, but deeply haunted by all the opportunities he has wasted, all the people he has let down. He is still relatively young, but feels his life in many ways is already over. For the remainder of the day and long into the night, the ghosts of past mistakes will wrestle with the chance of love, the possibility of a new life and the hope to see some future by morning. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
This breakout horror comedy centers around a fallen soldier who somehow finds he has joined the ranks of the living dead. Bart Gregory (David Anders) has just recently been laid to rest - so why is he still up and walking around? The only way he can keep himself from diminishing to dust is to supply himself with a constant supply of fresh blood. He quickly decides to do law enforcement a favor by cleaning up the streets. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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· Body of Proof: Season Two
· Get A Life: The Complete Series
· The Mentalist: The Complete Fourth Season
· Steve Martin: The Television Stuff
· Suburgatory: The Complete First Season
NOTABLE NEW BLU-RAY ANNOUNCEMENTS
· Pete’s Dragon (DATE CHANGE: Oct 16, 2012)
· Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (DATE CHANGE: Oct 30, 2012)
· Patton (Nov 6, 2012)
· Von Ryan’s Express (Nov 6, 2012)
· Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection (Nov 20, 2012)
· That’s Entertainment! The Complete Collection (Nov 20, 2012)
· Men in Black 3 (Nov 30, 2012)
· Brazil – Criterion Collection (Dec 4, 2012)
· Purple Noon – Criterion Collection (Dec 4, 2012)
· Following – Criterion Collection (Dec 11, 2012)
· The Qatsi Trilogy – Criterion Collection (Dec 11, 2012)