New Blu's On the Block - 12/28/2010


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: Dec 28, 2010


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters



New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for Dec 28, 2010

So, for those that thought last Tuesday was bereft of new titles, this weekís tableau of new releases hitting Blu-ray and DVD is positively anemic. Granted, there is one title Iím very excited about, a certain George Clooney minimalist thriller I canít wait to see again. Other than that thereís not a heck of a lot to talk about (not like Iím going to let that stop me).



The American

Anton Corbijnís The American is a movie I havenít been able to stop thinking about since I first saw it back at the end of August. The parts of this minimalist assassination thriller starring George Clooney that I adored during that initial viewing have only grown in power and importance in that time, as has his sturdy, quietly introspective and fearless, oftentimes emotionally naked performance. But the parts I had issue with have weighed upon me as well, making me question if my growing infatuation for the picture is unwarranted. In other words, I canít wait to watch it again, and as much as I wish Universal had sent over a review copy Iím fairly positive Iíll be picking up a copy for my personal library anyhow. You can read my full theatrical review of the picture here.



Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife (Blu-ray 3D)

Hereís what I wrote about director Paul W. S. Andersonís return to the Resident Evil franchise back in September (read it here): ďThis fourth sequel is so wildly uneven that fact makes it almost charming, and for every awesome scene of carnage or destruction you can count that within in milliseconds youíll have an equally disastrous one that will make you slap your forehead in discombobulated disbeliefÖ Itís a lot of whiz with very little bang, and by the time the forgone cliffhanger conclusion rolled around I was teetering on the edge of boredom so fully that the incredulity of the last scene didnít bother me near as much as it should have.Ē




Director Joel Schumacherís adaptation of Nick McDonellís acclaimed novel Twelve got savaged by critics back when it first screened during last Januaryís Sundance Film Festival. Other than Roger Ebertís spirited defense of the picture, it got roasted over the coals fairly savagely, an evisceration that only continued when it went into general release in September (it currently sits at 4-percent on Rotten Tomatoes and has a whopping score of 22 on Metacritic).


After watching it for myself over the Christmas holiday, I canít really say all this vitriol and was all that necessary. While the movie sadly doesnít work, its story of the wealthy children of New Yorkís elite engaging in random sex, drug use and other forms of indecent debauchery isnít close to terrible. The cast (led by ďGossip GirlĒ star Chace Crawford, Rory Culkin, Curtis Jackson and Emma Roberts) is uniformly solid, while a couple of individual scenes admittedly do pack a little bit of a bunch. The movie has flaws, major ones, and it doesnít come close to satisfying, but it also isnít anything close to the disaster those Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic number might imply. Expect a full review of the Blu-ray from Mitchell soon.




This Indonesian martial arts import stars relative newcomer Iko Uwais and features an epic succession of eye-popping fight sequences that blew me away. On the flipside of things, the film has a script that scrapes the very bottom of the barrel, taking itself way too seriously resulting in clichťs and melodramatic moments so unfathomable they come extremely close to being unintentionally hysterical. As I said in my Blu-ray review (read it here), ď[Merantau] is a silly B-movie martial arts import, nothing more, and for the filmmakers to treat it as if it were the second coming of a Hamlet or something similar is a great disservice to both the picture as well as the audience members who choose to give it a look.Ē



And Soon the Darkness

Amber Heard, Odette Yustman and Karl Urban in a horror-thriller about a pair of American tourists on a bike trip in Argentina one of whom goes missing leaving the other to find her before the unthinkable occurs. All I know about this one is that it is a remake of a 1970 British picture that was supposedly fairly decent and that it wasnít even given a cursory release here in the United States. Still, considering how much I tend to fall for little, exploitive B-movies like this one Iím sure Iíll give it a watch. Heck, Iíve already added it to my Netflix queue. Mitchell will have a review of the disc next week.










Archer: Season 1

All ten episodes of the first season of the hit FX animated spy spoof about sexy, and sexist, secret agent Sterling Archer comes to DVD loaded with special features fans are sure to love. The big add here is the original unaired pilot episode, but there are also countless featurettes, deleted scenes and other assorted materials on this two-disc collection. I just received this in my mailbox yesterday, and Iím sure weíll have a full review from someone here on the staff relatively soon.



United States of Tara: The Second Season

The second season of Showtimeís popular series kicks off with Suburban wife and mother Tara Gregson (Emmy Award-Winner Toni Collette) free of her multiple personalities only to have an unexpected trauma cause them to reemerge. All twelve episodes are presented here, and according to reviews Iíve seen season two of writer Diablo Codyís psychological series is supposedly a vast improvement over the first one. Itís on my list of programs I want to check out for myself, but as that is a VERY large list Iím not entirely sure when said checking out is actually going to happen.



Handsome Harry

Star-studded military drama about an ex-Navy sailor named Harry (Jamey Sheridan) who is asked by friend and ex-shipmate Tom (Steve Buscemi) to search out Kagan (Campbell Scott), a fellow soldier who both wronged many years ago. Film also features performances by Aidan Quinn, John Savage and Karen Young.




Barely released WWE produced sports drama with an extremely eclectic cast including John Cena, Danny Glover and Patricia Clarkson about a geeky, book-smart teenager who joins his High School wrestling team in a quest to reunite his estranged family after the death of his wrestling legend father ten years prior. Came out on Blu-ray back in December but for whatever reason the DVD release was delayed until today.



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