New Blu's On the Block - 9/20/2011


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: Sept 20, 2011


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters





New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for September 20, 2011


While obviously a bit less wondrous than last week’s flurry of incredible Blu-ray and DVD releases, many of today’s newcomers are still pretty exciting. A Disney classic, two stunning efforts from the last French master Claude Chabrol from our friends at the Criterion Collection, an Audrey Hepburn favorite and arguably 2011’s best comedy all hit Blu-ray, while this year’s winner for the Emmy for Best Comedy is available for familial enjoyment in both formats. All-in-all it’s a solid week, and I’m sure it will be just about impossible for even the most nascent pessimist who dislikes everything and anything to not find something worth crowing about.



Dumbo - 70th Anniversary Edition

What’s there to say? Disney’s sublime 1941 classic celebrates its 70th anniversary in grand style, getting a full-blown restoration and marvelous high-definition transfer worthy of a standing ovation. This Blu-ray brings down the big top itself, picture and sound quality so beyond stunning there almost aren’t words to describe it. Another homerun for the Mouse House, I’ll have a full review of this astonishing disc up for you all to take a look at quite soon. Pink elephants, indeed.



Breakfast at Tiffany’s – 5oth Anniversary Edition

Another anniversary release, the glory of Paramount’s Blu-ray presentation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s can be found in the love and in the care they took to restore the film to something close to its original glory. There will be some who will say the studio has been a bit too frugal as far as the DNR process is concerned, that they’ve gotten ride of the film-like sheen of the glossy 50-year-old negative. I’d disagree. To my eye, this new transfer is beyond divine, and having watched this disc twice now I find the image to be borderline perfect. I’ll have a full review up soon, but until then just know I think this is one of the week’s best releases and a disc fans of the film will be besides themselves in glee once they’ve added it to their personal libraries.




From my original theatrical review posed back in May (read it here): “What’s great about Bridesmaids is how honest it is. These women may be broad, they might be larger than life as far as personality is concerned, but the things they are talking about and the stuff they are dealing with is refreshingly honest. This group talks about things in frank, up-front tones that are sometimes shocking, oftentimes hysterical and almost always true, and because of that no matter how silly events become or how absurd single moments are there is an underlying sincerity that’s positively irrefutable.”




Le Beau Serge

Les Cousins

Two from the late, great French auteur Claude Chabrol courtesy of our friends over at the Criterion Collection, and results couldn’t be any more astonishing. The best of the duo is unquestionably the director’s debut effort Le Beau Serge, this cold, somewhat chilly melodrama a fascination spectacle of angst, insecurity and regret that is every bit as fascinating today as it must have been during its initial 1958 release. A bona fide masterpiece, this sensational bit of emotional trickery is a magnificent bit of cinematic slight-of-hand and an absolute essential for any cineaste even partially interested in the French New Wave.


Just because that’s so, don’t discount Les Cousins one single bit. This darkly comic satire of provincial life and bohemian luxury is a marvelously entertaining journey into the heart of darkness that forces the viewer to question everything they thing they know about right and wrong. The movie won the Golden Bear at the 1959 Berlin Film Festival and is considered a landmark in French cinema, this look at a changing 20th century is a fascinating and hugely entertaining razor-sharp frolic that is as deathly pointed as it is refreshingly authentic.



Modern Family: The Complete Second Season

It just won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and everyone that I know (with a penchant for sitcoms) can’t say enough about the program, and I do have to admit this second season isn’t half bad. In all honesty, though, the show just doesn’t do a heck of a lot for me, and while it’s well crafted, handsomely produced and has an awesome cast I can’t imagine ever watching an episode more than once; repeat value isn’t especially high as far as I’m concerned.



The Others

Alejandro Amenábar’s outstanding 2001 shocker starring Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccelston and a sensationally cast Fionnula Flanagan finally comes to Blu-ray, and the results couldn’t be any more seductively splendid. This sinister and unnerving little thriller offers up one of the best climactic sequences of the 21st century’s first decade, Kidman’s understated and ethereal performance one of her absolute best. I’ll have a full review of this disc up for everyone to take a look at soon.



Set Up

Bruce Willis and Ryan Phillippe in a borderline straight-to-DVD effort costarring Curtis Jackaon (a.k.a. 50 Cent) about a gem heist gone wrong. Doesn’t sound interesting, doesn’t look interesting and, according to seasoned critics like say Seattle’s own Robert Horton is “both unoriginal and incompetent on almost all counts” (Amazon.com) which are not exactly words that inspire confidence.



Going Postal

Based on the works of acclaimed British writer Terry Pretchett, Going Postal is a giddy, surreal romp through the mind’s eye involving a con man and charlatan Mois von Lipwig (Richard Coyle) who finds himself forced to become the postmaster general of Ankh-Morpork after running afoul of local city leader Lord Vetinari (Charles Dance). Featuring an amazing cast of BBC regulars (including David Suchet, Claire Foy and Timothy West), this just over three-hour program is a total hoot filled with imagination and inspiration, and for fantasy buffs this is as close to must-see programming as you can possibly get.



Mike & Molly: The Complete First Season

Mike & Molly is a big-hearted comedy about two people struggling with their weight and their search for romance. Irresistibly funny Billy Gardell (My Name Is Earl) and Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls) play off each other expertly as a cop and a schoolteacher who discover an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting is the perfect place to find someone special. A deft supporting cast portrays Mike and Molly’s friends and family, eager to play Cupid (even if a few of their zinger-tipped arrows sting). Join Mike and Molly for all 24 Season One Episodes. This could be the start of something big. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Spooky Buddies

You can’t help but wonder how this series keeps on going, but apparently it is a gigantic hit with the 8 and under set and as long as that remains true it’s a guarantee Disney is going to keep pushing them out one after the other. This time everyone’s favorite pack of talking puppies find themselves in mystical haunted mansion meeting a gang of new friends and teaming up with them to stop an evil hound from world domination. Or something like that, the press release call the film a “Spooktacular adventure” that is a “celebration of friendship and teamwork” that the “whole family will enjoy;” you can read into that what you will.



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·         Bride Flight

·         ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2

·         Dead Heat

·         Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

·         Gettysburg (2011)

·         The Kennedys (2011)

·         Lady Death

·         Scary Movie 2 (Read Dennis' Theatrical Review)

·         Scary Movie 3 (Read Sara's Theatrical Review)

·         Scrooge (1935)

·         Sophia Loren: Award Collection

·         The Strange Case of Angelica

·         The Sword with No Name

·         Tajomaru: Avenging Blade

·         Vamp

·         Visions of Europe





51 (After Dark Originals)

Typical  Syfy Channel B-grade production about a group of scientists and soldiers trapped in the lower depths of a military installation at Area 51 in Nevada doing their best to make sure a pair of alien creatures do not escape the complex. It’s dopey, and not remotely original, but still a heck of a lot of grotesque, somewhat gory fun if taken in the right frame of mind. Jason London, Rachel Miner and Bruce Boxleitner star.



Descent (2007)

From my original August 2007 theatrical review (read it here): “I can’t tell people to see Descent. A daring, sometimes provocative work, director Talia Lugacy’s debut motion picture is still nonetheless an exhausting foray into horrific degradation devoid of either context or meaning.”



The Devil Within Her (I Don’t Want to Be Born)

Notorious 1976 horror film starring Joan Collins, Donald Pleasance and Carline Munro about a former dancer who moves to Italy with her new husband, gets pregnant and then finds herself physically mutilated by the infant itself during its birth. It gets crazier – and sicker – from there.



The Red Green Show: The Geezer Years

The last installment in the long-running Canadian cult classic comedy series The Red Green Show, this final 55-episode installment finds series regulars Ranger Gord, Bill Smith, Hap Shaughnessy and Red’s newphew Harold waxing poetic on a number  of topics, including retirement and death. It’s one last go-around at the Possum Lodge, and for fans it’s a 9-disc vacation they won’t want to miss.



Sister, Sister

Southern gothic potboiler directed by a pre-Gods and Monsters and Kinsey Bill Condon and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Eric Stoltz and Judith Ivey that looks and feels a heck of a lot more interesting than it actually is. This is one of those scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark motion pictures where nothing all that scary actually ever happens. It’s a mood piece, but sadly it’s a boring one, and the only reason it matters is for its talented cast and for being the initial effort of director who would go on to bigger, better and far more notable things not too long afterwards.



The Stuff

B-move maverick Larry Cohen’s (Q: The Winged Serpent, It’s Alive) crazy, messed up consumerism satire cum horror move The Stuff revolves around brain-devouring yogurt. Yes, that’s right, killer yogurt, and it’s a total hoot and half. This fun, somewhat inspired, surprisingly tasty (excuse the pun) 1980’s cult favorite stars Michael Moriarty as an ethics impaired corporate spy who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a massive blood-curdling conspiracy revolving around the titular food product. Not great, to be sure, but entertaining if you’re in the right frame of mind, fans of low budget old school chillers will definitely want to give this one a lick.



The Ten

From my August 2007 theatrical review (read it here): “The star-studded Independent satire The Ten is one of the worst comedies I’ve seen this year, almost beating Norbit for that particular crown. It could also quite possibly be the worst film I’ve ever seen at the Seattle International Film Festival, but as that last includes more than its share of dogs I’m not entirely sure I’d want to go quite that far. But it is still bad, so just because I’m attempting to keep it out of the darkest, dankest and most decrepit depths of the cinematic cellar please don’t think I’m admitting any redeeming qualities.”


We Are the Night

From my original theatrical review, posted this past June (read it here): “German import We Are the Night is an old school return to vampire norms in the vein of The Lost Boys except with an obvious twist in regards to the gender of the principals. Beginning with a totally kick-ass bang 10,000-feet up in the air, and concluding with a giddily silly allusion to a potential second chapter that will unquestionably never see the moonlight of night, I had so much fun watching this exercise in gory genre silliness I almost don’t know where to begin.”



Castle: The Complete Third Season

Famous mystery novelist Richard Castle and NYPD Detective Kate Beckett return for the suspenseful Third Season of ABC's brilliantly funny series, Castle. Enjoy every inspired idea and flirtatious moment as this fiery duo solve the strangest homicides New York has to offer. It's the most entertaining season yet as Castle's wildly funny storytelling skills work their way into every case. Between his mixed-up partnership with Beckett and his relationships with his diva mother and his clever daughter, Alexis, Castle is always on his toes. Crime fighting has never been this much fun! Get on the beat and relive every wild and witty moment in this 5-disc DVD set. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Final Exam (1981)

At Lanier College, the semester is almost over. Exam week is coming to a close when some upper classmen play a prank by staging a phony terrorist attack. But the next excitement in the school won't be a prank. It's something a lot more fitnal than an exam. Students are falling prey to the knife-wielding maniac hell bent on making sure that school is out…forever! Now watch the slasher classic in an all new HiDef master from the original camera negatives! Final Exam is back, with a vengeance! (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



I Want To See (Je Veux Voir)

While in Beirut to attend a glamorous banquet, legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve (Potiche, Belle de Jour) insists on being taken to the southern regions of Lebanon in order to see first-hand the devastation caused by Israel's month-long bombing campaign there in the summer of 2006. Titled Je Veux Voir in French, I Want To See cleverly blurs the lines between documentary and fiction. Directors Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas (A Perfect Day) create a mesmerizing, thought-provoking travelogue in which they appear as filmmakers capturing Deneuve's road-trip on camera. After visiting the crumbling ruins of ancient villages and watching as the shattered remnants of cities and towns are slowly pushed into the sea, Deneuve is somewhat transformed when she arrives later that evening before the myriad photographers ardently capturing her image at the elegant evening gala. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Law & Order: Los Angeles – The Complete Series

Executive produced by Dick Wolf Law & Order: Los Angeles – The Complete Series follows Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and Tomas “TJ” Jarusalski (Corey Stoll) members of the L.A.P.D.’s elite Robbery Homicide Division as they work with Deputy District Attorney Morales (Alfred Molina) on cases rooted in the unique attitudes and cultures of the West Coast. Featuring phenomenal guest stars including Isaiah Washington, Bob Saget and Khloe Kardashian this suspenseful dramatic and intelligent five-disc set offers a fresh twist on compelling stories ripped from today’s headlines. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



The Mentalist: The Complete Third Season

This season, Red John strikes into the heart of the CBI. Ever since the serial killer murdered Patrick Jane’s family, the California Bureau of Investigation consultant and former faux-psychic has become obsessed with finding the man who destroyed his life. But after a homicide suspect is set ablaze in his jail cell and a CBI agent is later framed as Red John, Patrick realizes his adversary is closer than he imagined. The 5-disc 24-Episode Season 3 of this hit procedural combines crime-solving twists with wry humor that celebrate mind over matter. In settings from gold country to the racetrack to a martial-arts cage brawl, unconventional Patrick uses his unique skills of observation and manipulation to buck the system. And crack the toughest cases. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Raising Hope – The Complete First Season

Emmy Award-winning creator Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl) brings you this hilarious and endearing comedy about the joys – and pains – of parenthood and a dysfunctional family. A one night stand becomes a life-long commitment when twenty-three-year-old Jimmy Chance inadvertently impregnates a wanted felon and decides to raise Hope (aka Princess Beyonce) on his own. Jimmy, together with his family, face play dates, family photo shoots, rock star dreams, vasectomies and more in the uproariously irreverent, critically acclaimed first season of Raising Hope. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



The River Murders

The sins of the past are not forgotten in this chilling suspense thriller starring Ray Liotta, Christian Slater and Ving Rhames. When the first body was discovered, it seemed a coincidence. But now homicide detective Jack Verdon (Liotta) has cause to worry: the victims of a series of brutal sex murders are all his former girlfriends. Suspected by the FBI agent who’s taken over the case (Slater) and suspended by his captain (Rhames), Jack must work outside the law if he’s to find the killer, save his future and protect what’s left of his past. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



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·         Bill Moyers: Wisdom of Faith With Huston Smith

·         Body of Proof: The Complete First Season

·         Breaking the Press

·         Dalziel & Pascoe: Season Four

·         Dead End Drive-In

·         Flowers in the Attic

·         Happy Endings: The Complete First Season

·         Hawaii Five-O: The First Season

·         The Initiation

·         Judge John Deed: Season Four

·         Mountaintop Motel Massacre

·      Slugs

·         The Vineyard

·         Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption




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