DVD Triage: Week of August 16

There are several new releases this week, but only one that I can for sure get behind. The trailers for The Conspirator and Priest didn’t really impress me, nor did the reviews, but those might be worth a look as well if they’re your thing. But Criterion’s back in force this week, with two crime films, early works by their directors, in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing and Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-Sac. Plus the very difficult to find David Holzman’s Diary is now not so difficult to find, coming out on DVD, Blu-ray, and Instant Watch all at once. Also, you can snag The Big Lebowski on Blu-ray along with a bunch of Sylvester Stallone films and a couple of Muppet movies. Not too much happening on the Instant Watch front, but look out for some front-runners of the Romanian New Wave to expire on the 18th, and also Andrea Arnold’s solid thriller Red Road on the same day.

New Release Pick of the Week

Jane Eyre
A very strong adaptation, that captures the gothic elements quite nicely. Add in more-than-solid performances from the cast, and the answer is yes – yet another version of Jane Eyre is quite welcome.
2011 USA. Director: Cary Fukunaga. Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

The Conspirator (2011 USA, dir Robert Redford, stars James McAvoy, Robin Wright; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011 USA, dir Mike Disa, stars Hayden Panettiere; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Priest (2011 USA, dir Scott Stewart, stars Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Queen to Play (2011 France, dir Caroline Bottaro, stars Sandrine Bonnaire, Kevin Kline; Netflix)
Something Borrowed (2011 USA, dir Luke Greenfield, stars Kate Hudson, John Krasinski; Blu-ray/Netflix)
The Ward (2010 USA, dir John Carpenter, stars Amber Heard, Lyndsy Fonseca; Blu-ray/Netflix)
The Bang Bang Club (2011 USA, dir Steven Silver, stars Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman; Blu-ray/Netflix)
The Best and the Brightest (2010 USA, dir Josh Shelov, stars Neil Patrick Harris; Netflix)
The Grace Card (2010 USA, dir David G. Evans, stars Michael Joiner, Mike Higgenbottom; Netflix)
The Gruffalo (2009 USA, dir Max Lang, Jakob Schuh, stars Helena Bonham Carter; Netflix)
Medium Raw (2010 USA, dir Andrew Cymek, stars John Rhys-Davies, William B. Davis; Netflix)
Meet Monica Velour (2010 USA, dir Keith Bearden, stars Kim Cattrall, Dustin Ingram; Blu-ray/Netflix)
That’s What I Am (2011 USA, dir Michael Pavone, stars Ed Harris, Chase Ellison; Blu-ray/Netflix)

Classic / Older Picks of the Week

The Killing Criterion
This early Kubrick film fits squarely into the crime/noir genre, but already Kubrick is experimenting with the form, stretching narrative structure to show different viewpoints on the same heist. Really well-done.
1956 USA. Director: Stanley Kubrick. Starring: Sterling Hayden, Vince Edwards.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix (not Criterion)

Cul-de-sac Criterion
I feel like I’ve seen this, but I certainly don’t remember much based on the description – wounded criminals take refuge in a British castle, shaking up the residents and eventually, their relationships. But Polanski is always good, and this early thriller looks dark and claustrophobic.
1966 UK. Director: Roman Polanski. Starring: Donald Pleasance, Françoise Dorléac.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

David Holzman’s Diary
I’ve been hearing about this late ’60s pseudo-documentary since delving into New Hollywood last year, and found that it was basically totally unavailable, having had only a slight theatrical release in 1967 in Paris and otherwise existing wholly underground. But the reaction wasn’t underground, as it remains one of the most highly regarded self-reflexive pieces of cinema in existence. Also on Instant.
1967 USA. Director: Jim McBride. Starring: L.M. Kit Carson, Eileen Dietz.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

Agent 8 3/4 (1964 UK, dir Ralph Thomas, stars Dirk Bogarde, Sylva Koscina; Blu-ray)
Breaking Glass (1980 UK, dir Brian Gibson, stars Hazel O’Connor, Phil Daniels; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Campbell’s Kingdom (1957 UK, dir Ralph Thomas, stars Dirk Bogarde, Stanley Baker; Blu-ray)
The Colossus of New York (1958 USA, dir Eugene Lourie, stars John Baragrey, Mala Powers)
Everyone Loves Mel (1999 USA, dir Joey Travolta, stars Ernest Borgnine, Julie Hagerty; Netflix)
Ill Met By Moonlight (1957 UK, dir Powell & Pressburger, stars Dirk Bogarde, Cyril Cusack)

Blu-ray Pick of the Week

The Big Lebowski
One of the Coen Brothers’ most endlessly quotable and rewatchable movies (and that’s saying a lot) gets a Blu-ray upgrade, in a Collector’s Edition. I bet it’ll really tie the room together.
1998 USA. Director: Joel & Ethan Coen. Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi.
Amazon Blu-ray | Amazon DVD | Netflix

Armed and Dangerous (1986 USA, dir Mark L. Lester, stars John Candy, Eugene Levy; DVD)
Assassins (1995 USA, dir Richard Donner, stars Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas; DVD)
Cobra (1986 USA, dir George P. Cosmatos, stars Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen; Blu-ray)
Demolition Man (1993 USA, dir Marco Brambilla, stars Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes; DVD)
Hush (1998 USA, dir Jonathan Darby, stars Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984 USA, dir Frank Oz, stars Jim Henson, Frank Oz)
Muppets from Space (1999 USA, dir Tim Hill, stars Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta)
The Specialist (1994 USA, dir Luis Llosa, stars Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone; DVD)
Two Can Play That Game (2001 USA, dir Mark Brown, stars Vivica A. Fox, Morris Chestnut)

Television Pick of the Week

Dexter: Season 5
I haven’t kept up with Dexter, but what I’ve seen of it is really solid, thanks to great writing and an ambiguously winning performance from Michael C. Hall. Looking forward to catching up some day.
2010 USA. Creator: James Manos Jr., Starring: Michael C. Hall, Julia Stiles.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

Batman: Brave & The Bold: Season 2, Part 1 (2009 USA, stars Diedrich Bader, John Di Maggio; Netflix)
Outcasts: Series One (2010 UK, creator Ben Richards, stars Hermione Norris, Daniel Mays; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Spin City: Season 5 (2000 USA, creator Gary David Goldberg, stars Charlie Sheen, Heather Locklear; Netflix)

Instant Watch Picks of the Week

Disney’s latest animated feature hits Instant Watch. I didn’t see this on release, but I would like to check it out; it got high marks from my animator friends, at least the ones who don’t resist CG animation.
2010 USA. Director: Nathon Greno, Byron Howard. Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi.

Cold Weather
I dogged on this film a bit when I first saw it, but it’s definitely worth your time on Instant Watch, if only to see Trieste Kelly Dunn steal the whole thing from everyone else. The first half lags a bit, but the second half plays quite well.
2010 USA. Director: Aaron Katz. Starring: Cris Lankenau, Trieste Kelly Dunn.

Glorious 39
A World War II film, with a British woman discovering a political secret that may threaten her family’s traditional way of life, her own safety, and Britain itself. Starring the grown-up version of Saorsie Ronan’s character in Atonement.
2009 UK. Director: Stephen Poliakoff. Starring: Ramola Garai, Julie Christie.

An Unmarried Woman
The few Mazursky films I saw on my New Hollywood binge last year impressed me a lot, so I’m very curious to check out this one, which promises a top-level performance from Clayburgh as a woman having to adjust to the dissolution of her 16-year marriage.
1978 USA. Director: Paul Mazursky. Starring: Jill Clayburgh, Michael Murphy.

A Handful of Dust (1988 UK, dir Charles Sturridge, stars Kristin Scott Thomas, James Wilby)
Kull the Conquerer (1997 USA, dir John Nicolella, stars Kevin Sorbo, Tia Carrere)
Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991 USA, dir Alek Keshishian, stars Madonna)
Mo’ Better Blues (1990 USA, dir Spike Lee, stars Denzel Washington, Spike Lee)
Never Forever (2007 USA, dir Gina Kim, stars Vera Farmiga, Jung-woo Ha)
The Reef (2010 Australia, dir Andrew Traucki, stars Damian Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley)

See all new and upcoming titles.

Instant Watch Expiring Picks

John Q (2002 USA, dir Nick Cassavetes, stars Denzel Washington, Ray Liotta) [8/17]
12:08 East of Bucharest (2007 Romania, dir Corneliu Porumboiu, stars Ion Sapdaru) [8/18]
Absurdistan (2008 Germany, dir Veit Helmer, stars Kristyna Malérová, Max Mauff) [8/18]
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2006 Romania, dir Cristi Puiu, stars Ion Fiscuteanu) [8/18]
Camelot: Season 1 (2011 USA, creator Michael hirst, Chris Chibnall, stars Eva Green) [8/19]
Chan is Missing (1982 USA, dir Wayne Wang, stars Wood Moy, Marc Hayaski) [8/21]
Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (1985 USA, dir Wayne Wang, stars Kim Chew, Laureen Chew) [8/21]
The Man in the Moon (1991 USA, dir Robert Mulligan, stars Reese Witherspoon, Jason London) [8/22]
No Impact Man (2009 USA, dir Laura Gabbert, justin Schein, stars Colin Beavan) [8/22]
Defiance (2008 USA, dir Edward Zwick, stars Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber) [8/27]
The Hot Rock (1972 USA, dir Peter Yates, stars Robert Redford, George Segal) [8/30]

See all expiring titles.


  • Amazon links use my affiliate account, and will kick a small percentage of your purchase back to me. You pay the same price you would anyway.
  • Not all new releases are available on Netflix immediately. Some studio films have a 30-day release window before Netflix can rent them, and some smaller releases are not picked up by Netflix immediately. Add them to your “saved” queue if you’re interested; that tells Netflix there is demand for the disc.
  • Not all new Blu-ray releases are available on Netflix – Netflix usually buys both DVD and Blu-ray editions of new releases, but if a DVD has already been released, they don’t always get the Blu-ray when it comes out later.
  • Instant Watch releases are not always 100% accurate – often the data from the API is not fully accurate until the actual day of release. I always check on release day to make sure things actually do hit Instant Watch, but for things that come out later than Tuesday when I publish this post, I won’t be able to tell.
  • Instant Watch expirations are not always 100% accurate – sometimes they don’t expire after all, sometimes things expire with little advance warning. I always check to make sure the data is accurate to the best of my knowledge when I publish the post, but things could still change, especially since I’m giving expiration warnings up to two weeks in advance.
  • I rely on Box Office Mojo and InstantWatcher for the majority of the data for these posts, so thank you to them for the work they do.