DVD Triage: Weeks of Nov 8 and 15

Since I missed last week’s DVD Triage post because of AFI Fest, I went ahead and lumped some of last week’s bigger releases, both DVD/Blu and Instant Watch, into this post. So if you see some of them and go “hey, that came out LAST week!”, you’re right. It did. In the interest of time I skipped a lot of direct-to-DVD stuff or Instant Watches I hadn’t heard of. I also skipped a bunch of possibly intriguing Warner Archive releases – they released a whole bunch last week, including a lot of lesser-known Bette Davis films. Anyway, there’s a good variety of stuff hitting shelves and streams either last week or this – let me know what you’re planning to pick up!

New Release Picks of the Week

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
One of the biggest and most successful fantasy franchises in recent memory comes to a close with this film, which was a fitting ending for a series I’ve loved very much both in book and film form. It doesn’t give any quarter to newbies, though, so don’t jump into it if you haven’t seen the other films or read the books.
2011 UK/USA. Director: David Yates. Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray (movie only) | Amazon Blu-ray (2-disc) | Netflix

Great Directors
Angela Ismailos interviews some of her filmmaking idols about their careers and filmmaking philosophies. It’s an eclectic group of directors, and it’s fascinating to hear their thoughts juxtaposed together. Also on Instant Watch.
2011 USA. Director: Angela Ismailos. Starring: Angela Ismailos, Bernardo Bertolucci, Catherine Breillat, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Todd Haynes, Richard Linklater, Ken Loach, David Lynch, John Sayles, Agnes Varda.
Amazon DVD | Netflix

OTHER NEW RELEASES
Beginners (2011 USA, dir Mike Mills, stars Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Bellflower (2011 USA, dir Evan Glodell, stars Evan Glodell, Tyler Dawson; Blu-ray/Netflix)
The Change-Up (2011 USA, dir David Dobkin, stars Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Larry Crowne (2011 USA, dir Tom Hanks, stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Putty Hill (2010 USA, dir Matt Porterfield, stars Sky Ferreira; Netflix)

Classic Picks of the Week

The Three Colors Trilogy
Film fans have been waiting for Criterion to release this for a very long time, and the wait is finally over! Kieslowski’s interpretation of the French motto “liberty, equality, fraternity” becomes a wonderful set of thematically related films.
1993-1994 France. Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski. Starring: Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Irene Jacob.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix: Blue / White / Red

The Lion King
After a very successful theatrical rerelease (and accompanying 3D conversion), one of Disney’s best contemporary films comes to DVD again and Blu-ray for the first time. Definitely one for the collection if you don’t already have it.
1994 USA. Director: Rob Minkoff & Roger Allers. Starring: Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

Jean Harlow Collection
A rare box set from the Warner Archive collection, with seven of Jean Harlow’s most notable MGM-era films, from Bombshell to her final film Saratoga, completed after her death in 1937. Other films include The Girl from Missouri, Personal Property, Reckless, Riffraff, and Suzy.
1933-1937 USA. Director: various. Starring: Jean Harlow.
Amazon DVD

The Rules of the Game Criterion
This Renoir film routinely makes critical best lists, hitting the top of the prestigious Sight & Sound list quite often. I need a rewatch on it personally, since I didn’t get much out of it as a green teenager, and with a Criterion blu-ray upgrade, it’s getting more tempting all the time.
1939 France. Director: Jean Renoir. Starring: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

OTHER CLASSIC/OLDER RELEASES
7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964 USA, dir George Pal, stars Tony Randall, Barbara Eden; Netflix)
Fanny and Alexander: Criterion Collection (1983 Sweden, dir Ingmar Bergman, stars Borje Ahlstedt, Allan Edwall; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Fashions of 1934 (1934 USA, dir William Dieterle, stars William Powell, Bette Davis)
Juarez (1939 USA, dir William Dieterle, stars Bette Davis, Paul Muni)
The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968 USA, dir Robert Aldrich, stars Kim Novak, Peter Finch)
Metropolis: Moroder Edition (1927/1984 Germany, dir Fritz Lang, stars Brigitte Helm; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Tom Thumb (1958 USA, dir George Pal, stars Bernard Miles, George Pal)

Blu-Ray Picks of the Week

West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition
This is one of my all-time favorite films, so this is tempting even though I’ve owned it in both VHS and DVD formats. All that amazing balletic dancing can only look amazing in Blu-ray, though, and looks like there are some good special features, too.
1961 USA. Directors: Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins. Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, George Chakiris, Rita Moreno.
Amazon Blu-ray

Blue Velvet
Far from my favorite Lynch film, but I’m in the minority on that. It is definitely one of his most popular and highly-regarded films, turning its unrelenting gaze on suburban corruption and downright weirdness.
1986 USA. Director: David Lynch. Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper.
Amazon Blu-ray

OTHER BLU-RAY RELEASES
Absense of Malice (1981 USA, dir Sydney Pollack, stars Paul Newman, Sally Field)
Cannonball Run (1981 USA, dir Hal Needham, stars Burt Reynolds, Dom Deluise)
The Collector (1965 UK, dir William Wyler, stars Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar)
Evil Dead 2 (1987 USA, dir Sam Raimi, stars Bruce Campbell, Dan Hicks)
The Fisher King (1991 USA, dir Terry Gilliam, stars Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams)
Infernal Affairs (2002 Hong Kong, dir Wai-keung Lau, Alan Mak, stars Andy Lau, Tony Leung)
Little Big Man (1970 USA, dir Arthur Penn, stars Dustin Hoffman, Martin Balsam)
My Fair Lady (1964 USA, dir George Cukor, stars Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison)
To Die For (1995 USA, dir Gus Van Sant, stars Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon)

Television Picks of the Week

Doctor Who: Series Six, Part 2 (11/8)
The second half of Series Six definitely improves on the first half, bringing it all to a conclusion of the River Song storyline that started way back in Season Four. Do note that if you haven’t gotten the first half on its own, the whole series set is coming out next week, so you may want to wait for that if you’re interested.
2011 UK. Showrunner: Stephen Moffat. Starring: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

OTHER TELEVISION RELEASES
Farscape: Complete Series Blu-ray (1999-2002 Australia, creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, stars Ben Browder, Claudia Black; Netflix)
Mr. Magoo: The Television Collection (1960-1977 USA, dir Steve Clark, stars Jim Backus, Mel Blanc)

Instant Watch Picks of the Week

Meek’s Cutoff
One of the best movies of 2011, its slow pacing perfectly matching the hellish journey a small group of pioneers undertakes across the Western wilderness, led by Meek, whose promises of a shortcut seem more and more unbelievable as time goes on. It’s very austere, but extremely worthwhile.
2010 USA. Director: Kelly Reichardt. Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood.

Rabbit Hole
Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play parents trying to come to terms with the tragic death of their son in this well-received drama. I missed seeing it last year even though I really wanted to; looks like a good chance to correct that misstep.
2010 USA. Director: John Cameron Mitchell. Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart.

Edward Scissorhands
Remember when Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were really good together? Aw, nostalgia. I love this film, from the sweetness of Edward making snow to Vincent Price’s wonderful turn as the old inventor.
1990 USA. Director: Tim Burton. Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder.

Big
One of Tom Hanks’ most popular roles, as the grown-up version of a 12-year-old boy who wishes he were big at a strange carnival kiosk. Amusing antics ensue, of course, as he’s still 12 on the inside, and reacts to everything – job, romantic entanglements, etc. – like a 12-year-old.
1988 USA. Director: Penny Marshall. Starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins.

Dead Calm
An early role for Nicole Kidman, in a creepy thriller about a couple vacationing on their boat plagued by a becalmed stranger who may not be nearly as benign as he initially seems.
1989 Australia. Director: Phillip Noyce. Starring: Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Billy Zane.

Sense and Sensibility
Emma Thompson stars in and scripts this adaptation of one of Jane Austen’s best books, and with Ang Lee’s controlled direction, it becomes one of the best of all the Austen adaptations, with an immediacy in the performances that a lot of period pieces lack.
1995 USA. Director: Ang Lee. Starring: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant.

OTHER INSTANT WATCHES
50 Dead Men Walking (2008 USA, dir Kari Skogland, stars Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess)
Aeon Flux (2005 USA, dir Karyn Kusama, stars Charlize Theron, Sophe Okonedo)
Arabesque (1966 USA, dir Stanley Donen, stars Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren)
Backdraft (1991 USA, dir Ron Howard, stars Kurt Russell, William Baldwin)
Battlestar Galactica: Complete Epic Series (1978 USA, creator Glen A. Larson, stars Lorne Greene)
Bugsy (1991 USA, dir Barry Levinson, stars Warren Beatty, Annette Bening)
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982 USA, dir Carl Reiner, star Steve Martin, Rachel Ward)
Dragonheart (1996 USA, dir Rob Cohen, stars Sean Connery, Dennis Quaid)
The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989 USA, dir Steve Kloves, stars Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer)
Father Ted (1995-2011 UK, creators Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews, stars Dermot Morgan)
Gigli (2003 USA, dir Martin Brest, stars Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez)
Gods and Monsters (1998 USA, dir Bill Condon, stars Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser)
Hard Target (1993 USA, dir John Woo, stars Jean-Claude Van Damme)
Hope Floats (1998 USA, dir Forest Whitaker, stars Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr.)
Insidious (2011 USA, dir James Wan, stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne)
Let’s Make Love (1960 USA, dir George Cukor, stars Marilyn Monroe, Yves Montand)
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970 USA, dir Don Siegel, stars Clint Eastwood, Shirley MacLaine)
Ulzana’s Raid (1972 USA, dir Robert Aldrich, stars Burt Lancaster, Bruce Davison)
Velvet Goldmine (1998 UK, dir Todd Haynes, stars Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Ewan McGregor)

See all new and upcoming titles.

Instant Watch Expiring Picks

Dans Paris (2007 France, dir Christophe Honorél, stars Romain Duris, Louis Garrel) [11/20]
Gates of Heaven (1978 USA, dir Errol Morris) [11/20]
Nights and Weekends (2008 USA, dir Joe Swanberg, stars Greta Gerwig, Joe Swanberg) [11/20]
Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980 USA, dir John Sayles, stars Bruce MacDonald, Maggie Renzi) [11/20]
Bio-Dome (1996 USA, dir Jason Bloom, stars Pauly Shore, Stephen Baldwin) [11/21]
Lenny (1974 USA, dir Bob Fosse, stars Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine) [11/22]
The Little Princess (1939 USA, dir Walter Lang, stars Shirley Temple, Richard Greene) [11/22]
Alice in Wonderland (2010 USA, dir Tim Burton, stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp) [11/24]
Chicago (2002 USA, dir Rob Marshall, stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones) [11/25]
The Long Voyage Home (1940 USA, dir John Ford, stars John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell) [11/25]
Torchwood: Miracle Day (2011 UK/USA, creator Russell T. Davies, stars John Barrowman) [11/25]
In the Mouth of Madness (1994 USA, dir John Carpenter, stars Sam Neill, Julie Carmen) [11/29]

See all expiring titles.

Disclaimers

  • 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.