Terrence Mallick’s The Tree of Life is one of the finest films I’ve seen in 2011. I’ve watched it twice in theatres, and after receiving the Blu-ray this morning I’m happy to report I’ve now watched it at home as well. Thought provoking, moving, emotional and intellectually exhilarating, this is a movie you can’t get out of your head no matter how hard you try. As I wrote back in May (read my theatrical review here): “A treatise on life, aging, the universe, evolution, faith, religion and family, the film bobs and weaves from rural Texas in the 1950’s to the unnamed madness of the glass and steal suburban America. It is a cosmic metaphor for life at its ugliest and most beautiful, intimately discussing ideas and concepts many have thought about but few know the best way to put into words.”
Zoltan Korda’s classic tale of cowardice and courage comes to Blu-ray courtesy of the Criterion Collection, and I’m pleased to say that their presentation of this landmark adventure is every bit as stellar as I’d hoped it would be. A remarkable motion picture on a number of levels, the movie is anchored by John Clements sensational performance as well as Korda’s confident and self-assured direction. It lives and breathes in a way many modern epics of a similar vein (including the ill-fated 2002 remake with Heath Ledger) can only dream of emulating, the whole thing building to an emotionally astonishing coda that is as breathtaking now as it ever was back during the film’s initial release. I’ll have a full review up shortly.
Warner brings to Blu-ray director Mervyn LeRoy’s shocker about a loving mother (Nancy Kelly) who begins to come to the chilling conclusion that her precocious, intelligent, apparently free-spirited and altogether ‘perfect’ daughter (Patty McCormack) is actually a liar and thief intent on twisting the wills of those around who love her to her own ends. Even worse, she might be a murderer. To call this film chilling would be a massive understatement. To call it a classic of the genre would be an even bigger one.
Here’s some of what I wrote about this one back in June (read my theatrical review here): “The good news: The Green Lantern is much, much, MUCH better than any of those pathetic trailers, sneak peaks and early images made it look like it would be…The bad news: The Green Lantern, directed by Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro, Casino Royale) and with a script credited to four different writers, isn’t so much bad as it is very, very dull…The verdict: The Green Lantern fails, not because it is inept or nonsensical but because it has trouble making its characters resonate or their situations matter. It fails because its central villain, a being with the ability to destroy whole planets by sucking the life force from their inhabitants for gosh sakes, isn’t particularly menacing (first initial glimpses of it gobbling up souls aside). It fails because its hero stays strictly one-dimensional and never develops like he should.” Mitchell has just posted his Blu-ray review for you to read. (Item releases October 14, 2011)
From my July review (read it here): “Horrible Bosses is a dark comedy with murderous intent giddily on its mind. One part Strangers on a Train, another part Ladykillers another Judd Apatow-style theatrics and a final bit Throw Mamma from the Train, the movie aims to be a twisted enterprise of homicide and nastiness laced with venom-filled humor. It presents three reasonably likeable protagonists and then asks the audience to be okay with the trio resorting to murder in order to achieve their goals. It wants cake and it wants to eat it, too, doing its best cover all its cyanide-laced bases in hopes audiences will be eager to come along for the ride.” Mitchell liked the movie about as much as I did, which is basically my way of saying we both were amused by the film but felt it could have gone farther and been much, much darker than it actually was. His Blu-ray Review is now posted for all of you to take a look at.
Two of my favorite television shows just seem to be getting better and better, both delivering seasons ranking amongst their best. For “Chuck,” this is a huge surprise because I felt things came to a rather great conclusion at the end of Season Three. For “Bones,” I’m not particularly surprised, yet at the same time it is rather nice to see a program reach a sixth season and not seemingly lose an ounce of its creative energy. I’ll have full reviews of both up soon, but until then just know fans of each series should be adding these sets to their personal libraries without a second thought whatsoever.
From my original theatrical review posted back in July (read it here): “Zookeeper, credited to five different writers including star James, is a major bore most of the way through, never doing anything all that engaging with its premise or trying to go beyond the obvious as it makes its way through its tired and cliché storyline. It wastes the majority of its human cast, most notably a charming Rosario Dawson, taking forever to get to its forgone conclusion and doing it with surprisingly little flair in the process. The movie is all concept and no execution, a few decent lines and a couple of nice sight gags not enough to make even partly worthy of a potential viewer’s time.”
Here’s what I wrote about this release back in June (read my original theatrical review here): “I’m tired of these kid flicks that revel in hyperactivity and idiocy for no apparent reason, and the lack of anything substantive drove me more than a little bit nuts. While I am unfamiliar with the source material, as far as cinematic entertainment is concerned this one scrapes the bottom barrel.”
Entertaining if overly familiar coming of age comedy with a breakout performance by newcomer Jacob Wysocki and a typically solid one from veteran character actor John C. Reilly, Terri is one of those small, independently produced gems that sadly flew under the radar back when it was originally released to theatres. Here’s hoping people take the time to discover it now that is available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Michael Sheen and Maria Bello as grieving parents trying to grapple with the fact their 18-year-old son committed suicide but not before engaging in a gruesome mass killing resulting in a number of deaths. Tough, uncompromising, the movie isn’t entirely successful, never getting as fully inside the heads of the parents as I kept hoping it would. At the same time, however, both Sheen and Bello give their all, and the film’s denouement is undeniably powerful.
Popular 2008 Brit favorite about Professor Gregory ‘Dolly’ Parton (Hugh Bonneville) and his team of fellow archeologists as they uncover major finds running into danger – both personal and professional – at every turn. A review copy was supposed to arrive as I’ve heard very good things about this six episode series, but sadly it hasn’t shown up as of yet. Considering the buzz, however, I’d strongly suggest this is one title potentially worthy of a rental.
Two Italian favorites, the first an episodic series of erotic shorts directed by Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Luchino Viscontiand Mario Monicelli, the second a somewhat controversial romp (also directed by Monicelli) starring the great Marcello Mastroianni. I’ve admittedly never seen either, but now that they’re available on Blu-ray I’m hugely tempted to give both titles a look.
From my original theatrical review (read it here): “Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite with their Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story director Michael Winterbottom for The Trip, a feature-length version of their hugely popular 2010 BBC television series that apparently struck quite a few fancies. While I have not seen the six episode program, I will say that this almost two-hour take on the concept certainly hit mine, every moment watching it one I thoroughly and completely enjoyed. Funny, moving, melancholic and sentimental, this winsome treatise on friendship, food and life is a knowingly acerbic treat, and no matter how thrown together or improvised the majority of it can’t help but feel the end result is as borderline wonderful as anything I could have hoped for.”
Flesh-eating zombies have taken over London, and humanity s only hope for the future lies in one woman s DNA. Cole, a hardened mercenary who works for the pharmaceutical company responsible for the horrific disaster, is charged with bringing her in. But he s already battling the demons of his violent past: can he take on an army of bloodthirsty creatures as well? (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
The sweepingly romantic drama Princess of Montpensier is the perfect showcase for actress Melanie Thierry (Babylon A.D., The Legend Of 1900), one of the most beautiful and accomplished young actresses in the world.In this vivid film, she is the object of desire of four powerful men: the young prince who married her but is driven more by jealousy than lust, the battle-scarred beauty Henri De Guise (Gaspard Ulliel of Hannibal Rising and A Very Long Engagement) who must have her no matter the risk, the powerful Duc d Anjou, and her personal tutor (the soulful Lambert Wilson from Of Gods And Men) who is the only man that loves her truly. In the tradition of Dr. Zhivago, this film by director Bertrand Tavernier (Round Midnight) proves that indeed passion destroys everything. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
After surviving a childhood plagued by violence, two estranged brothers live haunted lives. Nick, a hardened criminal recently released from prison, spends his days in a shelter and his nights drinking excessively, while Ivan, a single father, cares for his young son while harboring his own dark secrets. Both must find a way to reconnect and fight for their future - before it's too late. Based on the popular novel by Jonas T. Bengstson. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)