Finding Nemo 3D
Finding Nemo came in at number 44 on my list of the Top 50 Films 2000 – 2009, and ever since I wrote that article I sort of feel like I gave it a little bit of the shaft. But, no matter how you think about it, Pixar’s delightful underwater adventure is as timeless and as entertaining as ever, making this new Blu-ray release as gigantic a must-own as anything released for home consumption in all of 2012. For more on this release, check out my recently posted 3D Blu-ray Review.
The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Trilogy
From my theatrical review (read it here): “[The Dark Knight Rises] isn’t a happy endeavor, it revels in the dirty underbelly of the cynical here and now, and it goes without saying the filmmaker has pulled out all the stops in bringing his vision of Bob Kane’s iconic character to life. Parallels to Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party and other current political and social realities abound, and while there is light at the end of the tunnel it’s not exactly shining brightly by the time the final price is paid and the last checks are cashed.” For more on this release, check out my recently posted Blu-ray Review.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
From my theatrical review (read it here): “[Beasts of the Southern Wild is] hypnotic, that’s a certainty, director and co-writer Benh Zeitlin, working alongside fellow newcomer and scribe Lucy Alibar, delivering as unique a cinematic experience as anything 2012 has offered up so far. But for all its floridly kinetic panache, for all its deeply felt originality, the movie as a whole had my scratching my head wondering what all the fuss has been about. Personally, Hushpuppy’s story was lost on me, her saga of personal triumph in the midst of massive poverty not one I could ever fully embrace or get behind.”
Purple Noon – Criterion Collection
Purple Noon is director René Clément’s journey into the world of Tom Ripley, author Patricia Highsmith’s enduring antihero who has been featured in a number films including the late Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, is a masterpiece. Featuring a performance from Alain Delon ranking as one of the cinematic heartthrob and icon’s absolute best, the movie is an intoxicating page-turner that held be captivated for every single one of its 118 minutes. This 1960 seductive chiller is a gorgeously unsettling affair, and the fact Criterion has brought it to Blu-ray has me more excited than I care to admit. Worthy of a purchase sight unseen.
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are sheer perfection as a longtime married couple who go to counselor Steve Carell to work out some not-so-newfound kinks in their relationship, the pair of them anchoring a rather familiar scenario to the point they end up transforming it into something dynamic and invigorating. More drama than comedy, the movie does have plenty of laughs, but it was the honest way it earned its tears that I found most invigorating. An inspiring story of love, faith and family, Hope Springs is a entrancing surprise I can’t wait to find the time to watch again.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
From my theatrical review (read it here): “It goes without saying that The Odd Life of Timothy Green is fantasy. Working from a story by Ahmet Zappa, screenwriter and director Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life, Pieces of April) has constructed a family fable fitting well within the Disney canon, calling to mind works of fiction like Bridge to Terabithia, One Magic Christmas and Candleshoe. That it moved me in ways I can’t quite put into words isn’t a surprise, that is has me still sitting here scratching my head a bit underwhelmed by the aspects that don’t entirely come together somewhat is. For what it is, for what Hedges and company set out to do, the movie does work, that fact is undeniable. At the same time certain elements never develop like they should making the finished feature something of a mixed bag difficult to dislike but equally hard to fully embrace.” For more on this release, check out my recently posted Blu-ray Review.
From my theatrical review (read it here): “Sprung from the minds of six up and coming genre directors, [V/H/S] is a sporadically terrifying journey into the unknown filled with chaos and carnage of all shapes and sizes. Inspiration for each short runs the gamut from The Shining, to Friday the 13th, to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, all of it told in first person fashion with the requisite amount of shaky cam required for seemingly every film that takes up the found-footage battle cry.” For more on this film, check out my Interview with ‘Second Honeymoon’ Segment Director Ti West.
Butter is an original, very funny all-star comedy that has no idea what to do with itself. After a magnificent opening and a solidly amusing middle section, the climactic elements fall to earth with a shockingly anemic thud. While Jennifer Garner admittedly steals every scene she’s in, and although Hugh Jackman thrills with rakish and rascally charm, neither of them is able to elevate a screenplay that suddenly doesn’t know what to do with itself, making the final motion picture sadly an amusing, if instantly forgettable, time-passer and nothing more.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
From my theatrical review (read it here): “[Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry] is compulsively addicting. Once it starts rolling, once the artist starts digging in his heels and makes his opinions known all while still residing in the country he both loves and admonishes, it’s hard not to come away from the film monumentally impressed.”
David Cronenberg’s existential trippy psycho-sexual tech paranoia thriller isn’t for the faint of heart or spirit. The places Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh descend to, the lengths they go to survive in a virtual world slowly consuming their actual reality, is enervating, to say the least.
Catch Me If You Can
From my theatrical review (read it here): “This film is as thin as a pancake. Granted, if the movie is a pancake, Spielberg doesn’t forget to skimp on the butter and maple syrup, crafting one of the tastiest dishes I’ve seen all year. If ‘light and breezy filmmaking’ were included in Webster’s Dictionary, the definition would include instructions to watch Catch Me If You Can.” For more on this release, check out my recently posted Blu-ray Review.
Silent Night is supposedly a remake of the 1984 cult slasher film Silent Night, Deadly Night. Thing is, it’s readily apparent that writer Jayson Rothwell and director Steven C. Miller understand just how horrible that Santa suit wearing abomination is, and as such have gone out of their way to craft a slick, gore-filled chiller that bears little to no resemblance at all to its predecessor. For fans of B-grade horror, this movie gets the job done, and while I was slightly underwhelmed there are still plenty of moments of sick, twisted and disgusting mayhem that I can actually recommend this holiday-themed blood-splattered enterprise to those with an affinity for just that sort of thing.
The Adventures of Mark Twain
I haven’t seen this Will Vinton Claymation enterprise in years, but I remember as a kid being highly entertained by The Adventures of Mark Twain and then some. A review copy is supposed to be on the way (but sadly has not arrived) so hopefully I’ll get to revisit this animated tale sometime soon; hopefully it will live up to my childhood remembrances.
OTHER NOTABLE BLU-RAY RELEASES
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· The Blue Angel
· Comic Book Confidential – 20th Anniversary Edition
· Eastbound & Down: The Complete Third Season
· Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection (Apocalypse Now / Apocalypse Now Redux / One From the Heart / Tetro / The Conversation) (Read Sara’s Theatrical Review of Tetro; Read Mitchell Hattaway’s Blu-ray Review of Apocalypse Now)
· Godzilla Vs Biollante
· Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
· Ken Follett's World Without End
· The Simpsons: The Fifteenth Season
· Suddenly (1954)
· Titanic: Blood & Steel
· Up 3D (Read Sara’s 3D Blu-ray Review)
· Wu Dang
NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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The Day I Saw Your Heart
The luminous talents of star Mélanie Laurent are enough to make watching The Day I Saw Your Heart worth watching all on their own. Combine her performance with that of the great Michel Blanc as her estranged father and you’ve got familial and emotional fireworks to fill three motion pictures let alone one. So why does director Jennifer Devoldère feel so half-baked at times, almost as if it doesn’t quite know what to do with itself? Good question, and it’s one I still can’t put my finger on. Be that as it may, the movie is still one I can recommend giving a look to, Laurent once again proving she’s an immensely talented starlet whose best days (and performances) are still in front of her.
Silent Night, Deadly Night / Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
Anchor Bay’s DVD rendering of both Silent Night, Deadly Night films is fairly commendable. They’ve done as good a job as to be expected with these low budget horror pictures, and while some will probably bemoan that they’re not getting Blu-ray releases I seriously doubt either could look any better from a technical standpoint than they do here. As for the movies? They’re trash, plain and simple, and this is coming from someone with a fondness for B-grade exploitation thrillers, and I can’t say I have anything more to add other than that.
Francis (Andre Dussollier, Micmacs, Tell No One) is a successful crime writer who moves to Venice to work on his next novel. When he meets model-turned-real-estate-agent Judith (Carole Bouquet, That Obscure Object of Desire, Red Lights), he is instantly infatuated. Francis and Judith eventually marry and move to a remote house on Torcello Island but Francis newfound happiness hinders his writing. Obsessing over what Judith does while at work, he hires a young ex-convict to investigate. As Judith s sexual past is revealed both men become increasing fixated on the mysterious woman. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Venice, Unforgivable examines the consequences of unresolved past relationships and their far-reaching effects into the future. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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· Cagney & Lacey: The Complete Series – 30th Anniversary Edition
· My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Season One
NOTABLE NEW BLU-RAY ANNOUNCEMENTS
· Anger Management: Season One (Jan 8, 2013)
· The Brothers Grimm (Jan 8, 2013)
· Cape Fear (1962) (Jan 8, 2013)
· To Rome with Love (Jan 15, 2013)
· Won’t Back Down (Jan 15, 2013)
· End of Watch (Jan 22, 2013)
· The Duellists (Jan 29, 2013)
· Hotel Transylvania (Jan 29, 2013)
· Alex Cross (Feb 5, 2013)
· Laura (1944) (Feb 5, 2013)
· Sinister (Feb 19, 2013)