Some great releases this week, some absolutely dreadful releases this week, none of which I am sadly going into in quite the detail Iíd rather like to. Sorry about that, but the holidays are calling and excuse me if Iíd rather celebrate than work.
12 Angry Men
Man this movie is good. Never seen it? Really? How can you say such a thing? As must-see classics are concerned, this one from director Sidney Lumet is right there near the top of the heap. The definitive performance from star Henry Fonda. The definitive courtroom thriller of all-time. One of the more definitive supporting casts (including Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall and Jack Klugman) ever assembled. There are more Ďdefinitivesí here than a person can easily shake a stick at. Just do yourself a favor and watch the darn thing already. Itís bona fide masterpiece, and arguably one of the greatest motion pictures ever made.
I believe Wes Andersonís Rushmore is still his best movie. I love it, saw it three times in the theatre and have viewed the Criterion DVD edition more times than I care to recount. This film should have won Bill Murray an Oscar, should have been nominated in a number of other categories and in a perfect world would have been a massive box office smash. As for this new Blu-ray release, sadly Criterion did not send me a review copy, but be that as it may Iím still going to urge people to pick it up right away sight unseen Ė itís that magnificent.
Hereís what I wrote about this Spielberg homage back in June (read my full theatrical review here): ďJust after the midway point the movie stops feeling like its own, original entity and instead becomes something a peculiar photocopy of the aforementioned pictures, and while nothing bored or angered me the fact there was so little in the way of surprise was something of a shock.Ē Hereís what Mitchell wrote in his recently published Blu-ray Review where he sort of (emphasis on the Ďsort ofí) disagrees with me: ďBut imitation can only get you so far, and a movie ultimately has to stand or fall on its own meritsÖA couple years ago I gushed like mad over his resurrection of Star Trek. This review will be much of the same, albeit even more inarticulate. This movie made me feel and think like a ten-year-old, and I tend to regress when trying to explain why.Ē For even more on Super 8, check out my Interview with one of the filmís pint-sized stars actor Riley Griffiths.
Birth of a Nation
Potentially, almost a 100 years after its initial release, D.W. Griffithís Birth of a Nation arguably might still be the most controversial motion picture ever made. It is also a massively influential masterpiece, and a movie every cinephile worth their salt simply must see. Still explosive, still inflammatory, the movie almost canít help but impress, and as icky as it always makes me feel afterwards (like, need to immediately take a shower icky) itís still a masterpiece I urge people to take a look at and analyze in order to form their own opinions of for themselves.
Conan the Barbarian 3D (2011)
Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Hereís what I wrote about this disastrous remake of the 1982 Schwarzenegger classic back in August (read that here): ď[The filmmakers] spend no time trying to make the characters real, could care less if the majority of the fight scenes look like overwrought WWE wrestling bouts and do nothing to engender the audienceís emotion. The movie is all BOOM! and BANG! and GRRR! and ARG! and very little of anything in-between, making this new Conan the Barbarian a journey to a time before the waters ate Atlantis Iíd rather not have taken.Ē
Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World
For proof you cannot go home again, please take note of writer and director Robert Rodriguezís long in coming new chapter in his popular kid friendly espionage series, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World. Better yet, avoid it like the plague. After recently watching Anchor Bay's new Blu-ray release of the title Iím certainly wishing I would have, the stench of this one far too firmly cemented into the center of my brainpan.
I missed this one when it screened for press theatrically and, as I just received the Blu-ray on Monday, I still havenít had the opportunity to give it a look. Still, I canít wait to do just that, this mystery starring the great Kristin Scott Thomas moving between WWII and modern France a motion picture Iím excited to finally experience the power of for myself.
The Devilís Double
Another movie I missed when it screened for critics theatrically, another Blu-ray I have sitting here I sadly havenít had the time to give a look. Iíve heard great things about Dominic Cooperís performance, however, and even if the film itself ends up being as highly flawed as Iíve heard Iím still excited to give it a look just for him alone.
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
I admit it, I have watched the new Blu-ray presentation of this Disney Ďmid-quelí (also known as a movie that takes place between events that took place in the proceeding motion picture and fills in some of the gaps audiences potentially could have been curious about)
Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series
The full sixth season of the latest incarnation of the popular and resilient BBC television series, and for those who bought all of its pieces in installments I feel kind of sorry for you as this 14 episode set is kind of awesome. Granted, Matt Smith isnít exactly my favorite Doctor Who of all time (I still lean towards Tom Baker, but David Tennant was also fairly awesome), and some of these episodes arenít especially awesome. But on the whole this series continues to impress, and starting with the crackerjack Dickens-themed first story to the season finale ďThe Wedding of River SongĒ thereís plenty to love, and for my part Iím extremely happy to have this six-disc set as part of my collection.
I have to say, Iíve always felt this teaming of Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short should have been a heck of a lot better than it actually is. Still, all the same, thereís something about it that has always pleasantly stuck with me over the years, and whenever it pops up on Cable television I donít exactly find it a chore to watch. Not that Iím buying the Blu-ray, mind you, but if a friend does and decides to show it to everyone over the holidays I certainly wonít hold it against them.
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES
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∑ Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
∑ ESPN 30 for 30 Collectorís Set
∑ Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (Releasing Saturday, Nov. 26)
∑ A Madea Christmas: The Play
∑ Scooby-Doo: Aloha Scooby-Doo!
∑ Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase
∑ Tom & Jerry: The Fast and the Fury
∑ Way Down East
Discover how the Love Comes Softly series began! After their fatherís passing, Ellen Barlow (Julie Mond) and her sister Cassie struggle to maintain the family farm in Andersonís Corner. When Clark Davis (Wes Brown) finds trouble in town on his way to California, Ellen agrees to hire him at the farm to work off his debts. Before long, Clark and Ellen unexpectedly develop feelings for each other. Ultimately, a turn of events inspires the pair to begin a legacy of love and faith together in this heartwarming family drama. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Prep and Landing
Disney presents Prep and Landing, a spirited comic adventure bound to become a holiday tradition at your home for years to come - complete with two bonus stocking stuffer shorts. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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∑ The Adventures Of Tintin: Season One
∑ Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World (Special Edition)
∑ L-Word: Complete Series
∑ Law & Order UK: Season Two
∑ Perry Mason: Season Six, Vol. 2
∑ Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman Season 2