New Blu's On the Block - September 25, 2012


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: September 25, 2012


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters



New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for September 25, 2012

And what, you may ask, would take precedent over a $600-million-plus domestic box office behemoth thatís proven to be the biggest, and most popular, superhero epic of all-time (at least internationally, not sure about here stateside)? Letís just say a very dry vodka martini is in order. Shaken. Not stirred.



Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection

Right now, this set of all 22 of the official James Bond motion pictures is running at $149.99 on Amazon. If you do the math, thatís roughly just over $6.00 per Blu-ray. Considering the quality level of these releases, thatís an absolute steal. Even if you only like, say, two-thirds of the films, that still makes this collection borderline essential, and without question this is the weekís, maybe even the monthís (which is saying something seeing both Indiana Jones and James Cameronís Titanic made their hi-def debuts), top release.




The Avengers 3D

The Avengers

Itís hard to believe a movie that managed well over a billion dollars at the international box office would be the weekís runner-up release, but when youíre dealing with 50 years of Ian Fleming inspired history Iím pretty sure Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Joss Whedon and even Stan Lee himself would all agree a Silver Medal isnít anything to scoff at. For my part, while I thoroughly enjoyed The Avengers, Iím not about to say itís one of the yearís best films (or even my fav entry in the Marvel cinematic universe). That said, as I wrote in my theatrical review (read it here): ďGosh darn it if [Josh Whedon] doesnít pull it off, The Avengers one of the more gleefully entertaining adventures Iíve had the pleasure to see in quite some time. Far from perfect, overlong and overstuffed, the movie is nonetheless a giddily thrilling saga of teamwork and heroism that held me spellbound for virtually its entire running time.Ē



Eating Raul Ė Criterion Collection

If youíll pardon the pun, Paul Bartelís Eating Raul is still one of the more satisfyingly bleak and deliciously disturbing Black Comedies to be produced anytime over the past 30 years. Itís held up beautifully, Mary Woronov turning in the type of grotesquely exuberant performance entire dissertations deserve to be written about it. A smorgasbord of nastily concocted delights from start to finish, fans of coal black cinema deserve to order up this delectable delight off of the Criterion menu, the prestigious label cooking up another Blu-ray to die for and one fans are going to want to get on their plate the moment it goes on sale.



Damsels in Distress

From my theatrical review (read it here): ďBut unlike his previous three efforts, Iím not entirely sure [Damsels in Distress] is as successful as [writer/director Whit] Stillman might think it is. The pitter-patter of the dialogue, the obtuse obnoxious way in which his characters interact with one another,  the way the melodrama shifts from light to dark to light again with devil-may-care insanity, all of it never comes together in a way that truly satisfies.Ē For more, check out my recently posted Blu-ray Review.




The American President, Dave

Two Warner catalog titles timed just in time for the Presidential Election, while Iím not a huge fan of the former the latter is one of my absolute favorites from the 1990ís and maybe the best thing director Ivan Reitman ever had the pleasure to helm (which is saying something considering he directed Ghostbusters). Not that I dislike The American President, after all, itís probably the last good film Rob Reiner had the reigns of (just check out Mitchellís recent Blu-ray Review of the manís latest, The Magic of Belle Isle), I just donít think the Michael Douglas/Annette Benning romance has any sort of lasting staying power making it essential. Dave, on the other hand, not only features one of Kevin Klineís best performances and what should have been an Oscar-worthy supporting turn from Charles Grodin, but also contains an awesome script from Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) thatís Capra-esque in all the good ones and none of the bad ones, a rare feat few others have ever been able to claim.



American Horror Story Ė The Complete First Season

Iíve heard nothing but great things about this show, and Iím looking forward to giving it a look for myself as soon as it becomes available for streaming on Netflix. Until then, Iíll continue to be in the dark as to what all of the sinisterly spooky fuss is all about.




This Danish import is arguably one of the yearís most grotesque comedies, going places and dealing with subject matter that is as perverse as it is disgusting. On the flip side, itís also surprisingly sweet, sensitive, character-driven and filled to the brim with emotional nuances that had me grinning from ear to ear. To top it all off, itís also shockingly, and consistently, funny, and when I watched it at midnight during last summerís Seattle International Film Festival I was worried I was going to rupture an intestine I was laughing so hard. In other words, this movie rocks, and fans of take-no-prisoners comedy should give this one a look at their earliest possible convenience.




Delayed for almost a month due to mysterious Ďtechnical difficultiesí that, in all honesty, I never did quite understand, longtime Steven Spielberg producer Frank Marshallís 1990 debut Arachnophobia finally makes its way onto Blu-ray, and personally I couldnít be happier. While slight, while not remotely a film worth throwing into the all-time great horror/thriller/comedy archives, nonetheless this incredibly entertaining, and consistently hilarious, B-grade high-concept chiller is as much fun today as it ever was two-plus decades ago. Itís a ton of fun, and considering the purchase price is so gosh darn low I wouldnít begrudge anyone from making the impulse decision to add it to their personal library.



The Tall Man

I really liked this movie. Spooky, unsettling and, in the end, highly original, this inventive shocker from writer/director Pascal Laugier is never what you think it is going to be. Billed as a horror picture involving a small Washington State town and some mysteriously missing children, the movie features a plot twist and a infuriatingly disturbing conclusion that burrowed its way underneath my skin refusing to dig itself back out again. While it wonít be for everyone, and while some will be angered by the sudden shift in tone and direction, for those willing to think, have their emotional metal tested and all-in-all enter into a queasy debate that will have their stomach rolling into ever tightening knots, The Tall Man is an intelligent shocker worth taking a look at, maybe more than one.




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The Crimson Petal and the White

Sensational. I canít think of another word to describe The Crimson Petal and the White as it fits perfectly, this moody and intelligently constructed little period drama filled to the brim with excellent performances and seductively unsettling set pieces that kept me continually captivated. My only fury is that the folks at Acorn arenít releasing this rapturously entertaining British miniseries on Blu-ray, and while the two-disc DVD is certainly respectable I imagine in high definition this would have looked absolutely out of this world.



The Letter (2012)

Martine Jamison (Winona Ryder) is a NY theatre director beginning rehearsals for a new play starring her boyfriend Raymond (Josh Hamilton) opposite a young beauty. They are joined by an unknown newcomer, Tyrone (James Franco), who develops a peculiar fascination with Martine and is openly hostile to all others. As rehearsals continue, Martine has periods of disorientation that quickly deteriorate into vivid hallucinations as she becomes convinced someone is trying to poison her. As Martine's mental state devolves she begins to rewrite her play and art and life become inseparable. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



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