Category Archives: DVD Triage

dvd-triage

DVD Triage: 15 May 2012

Last week I was complaining because there were hardly any releases worth glancing at; this week I opted to put in a second row of highlighted covers because there are a LOT of releases, including a bunch of last year’s festival circuit films that I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle. Still a slow week on the Instant Watch front, for both new additions and expirations, but there are a few gems in there you won’t want to miss.

New Release Pick of the Week

Chronicle
A nice surprise in the midst of February doldrums to find this small but satisfying take on what would happen if a group of high-schoolers got the power of telekinesis. Both the “ordinary people get superpowers” and found footage genres are getting stale, but Chronicle uses both to good advantage, chiefly by being spot on in how teenagers would react to their new-found powers.
2012 USA. Director: Josh Trank. Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan.

Other New Releases

Afghan Luke (2011 USA, dir Mike Clattenburg, stars Nick Stahl)
Agent Vinod (2012 India, dir Sriram Raghavan, stars Kareena Kapoor)
Chained: Code 207 (2012 USA, dir Tino Struckmann, stars John Greer)
The Devil Inside (2012 USA, dir William Brent Bell, stars Fernanda Andrade)
Dragonslayer (2011 USA, dir Tristan Patterson, stars Josh ‘Skreech’ Sandoval)
eCupid (2011 USA, dir J.C. Calciano, stars Andy Anderson)
Flashpoint: Season 4 (2011 USA, stars Amy Jo Johnson, Hugh Dillon)
Golf in the Kingdom (2010 USA, dir Susan Streitfeld, stars David O’Hara)
Hell on Wheels: Season 1 (2011 USA, stars Anson Mount, Colm Meaney)
Mortuary (2005 USA, dir Tobe Hooper, stars Dan Byrd)
My Perestroika (1010 USA/UK/Russia, dir Robin Hessman)
My Piece of the Pie (2011 France, dir Cédric Klapisch, stars Karin Viard)
The Tenants (2009 Brazil, dir Sergio Bianchi, stars Fernando Alves Pinto)
The Universe: Season 6 (2007 USA)
Victorious: Season 2 (2011 USA, stars Victoria Justice)
We Were Here (2011 USA, dir David Weissman, Bill Weber)
Windfall (2011 USA, dir Laura Israel)
The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake (2011 Hong Kong, dir Herman Yau, stars Rose Chan)

Catalog Pick of the Week

Being John Malkovich Criterion
There are no films that define “mindfuck” quite like Being John Malkovich, and yes, I pretty much mean that literally. When John Cusack discovers a door that leads inside the brain of John Malkovich, it’s only the beginning of one of the most bizarre and brilliant films I’ve ever seen. I’m glad to see Criterion honoring newer, deserving films like this.
1999 USA. Director: Spike Jonze. Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich, Catherine Keener.

 

Other Catalog Releases

Before and After Blu-ray (1996 USA, dir Barbet Schroeder, stars Meryl Streep)
Born Yesterday Blu-ray (1993 USA, dir Luis Mandoki, stars Melanie Griffith)
Bringing Down the House Blu-ray (2003 USA, dir Adam Shankman, stars Steve Martin)
Caravan (1946 USA, dir Arthur Crabtree, stars Stewart Granger)
D.O.A. Blu-ray (1988 USA, dir Annabel Jankel, Rocky Morton, stars Dennis Quaid)
Duets Blu-ray (2000 USA, dir Bruce Paltrow, stars Gwyneth Paltrow)
Eagle’s Wing (1979 USA, dir Anthony Harvey, stars Martin Sheen)
Fanny by Gaslight, aka Man of Evil (1945 UK, dir Anthony Asquith, stars James Mason)
Forbidden Zone Blu-ray (1982 USA, dir Richard Elfman, stars Hervé Villechaize)
Gone Fishin’ Blu-ray (1997 USA, dir Christopher Cain, stars Joe Pesci)
Hazel: Season 3 (1963 USA, stars Shirley Booth)
Holy Man Blu-ray (1998 USA, dir Stephen Herek, stars Eddie Murphy)
Love Story, aka A Lady Surrenders (1944 UK, dir Leslie Arliss, stars Margaret Lockwood)
Mr. Wrong Blu-ray (1996 USA, dir Nick Castle, stars Ellen DeGeneres)
The Odessa File Blu-ray (1974 UK, dir Ronald Neame, stars Jon Voight)
The Order Blu-ray (2001 USA, dir Sheldon Lettich, stars Jean-Claude Van Damme)
Riverboat: Complete Series (1959-61 USA, stars Darren McGavin, Dick Wessel)
Spaghetti Western Double Feature: Grand Duel / Keoma (1972/1976 Italy, dir Giancarlo Santi/Enzo G. Castellari, stars Lee Van Cleef/Franco Nero)
Terminal Velocity Blu-ray (1994 USA, dir Deran Sarafian, stars Charlie Sheen)
Walking Tall Trilogy (1973-1977 USA, stars Joe Don Baker / Bo Svenson)
White Squall Blu-ray (1996 USA, dir Ridley Scott, stars Jeff Bridges)

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DVD Triage: May 1, 2012

New Release Pick of the Week

Haywire
So far, Haywire is still sitting at the top of my Best of 2012 list; granted, I’ve only seen five or six 2012 films so far, but still. Steven Soderbergh’s old-school take on the action genre doesn’t waste any time getting to the point, and lets Gina Carano loose to do her thing, and her thing is pretty awesome.
2012 USA. Director: Steven Soderbergh. Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas.

Other New Releases

Suits Season 1 (2011 USA, creator Aaron Korsh, stars Gabriel Macht)
W.E. (2011 UK, dir Madonna, stars Abbie Cornish, James D’Arcy)

Catalog Pick of the Week

Tim Burton Collection Blu-ray
A pretty nice-looking Amazon-exclusive set of Tim Burton Blus, mainly focusing on his early career, which is a very good thing. Although I would’ve included Edward Scissorhands over Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for sure (or a number of others). Still, if you don’t have these already, it’s a decent box.
Includes Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Mars Attacks!, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Other Catalog Releases

WARNER ARCHIVE
Bridge to the Sun (1961 USA, dir Etienne Périer, stars Carroll Baker)
Flareup (1969 USA, dir James Neilson, stars Raquel Welch)
Hullabaloo (1940 USA, dir Edwin L. Marin, stars Frank Morgan)
This Could Be the Night (1957 USA, dir Robert Wise, stars Jean Simmons)

About a Boy Blu-ray (2002 UK, dir Chris & Paul Weitz, stars Hugh Grant)
Jeremiah Johnson Blu-ray (1972 USA, dir Sydney Pollack, stars Robert Redford)
Meet Joe Black Blu-ray (1998 USA, dir Martin Brest, stars Brad Pitt)
Men in Black II Blu-ray (2002 USA, dir Barry Sonnenfeld, stars Will Smith)
Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997 USA, dir Michael Cohn, stars Sigourney Weaver)
The Virginian Season 6 (1968 USA, stars James Drury)
Wagon Train Season 5 (1961 USA, stars Frank McGrath)

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DVD Triage: April 24, 2012

New Release Pick of the Week

The Innkeepers
Easily one of my favorite films of last year (it even made my top ten list), Ti West’s take on the haunted house is equal parts well-played comedy and atmospheric horror, and both parts work perfectly. I loved every second of this film, and I’m looking forward to revisiting the Yankee Pedlar soon.
2011 USA. Director: Ti West. Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis.

Other New Releases

11-11-11 (2011 USA, dir Darren Lynn Bousman, stars Timothy Gibbs)
Albatross (2011 UK, dir Niall MacCormick, stars Felicity Jones)
Cinema Verite (2011 USA, dir Shari Springer Berman, stars Diane Lane)
Dark Tide (2012 USA, dir John Stockwell, stars Halle Berry)
The Fields (2011 USA, dir Tom Mattera/David Mazzoni, stars Tara Reid)
Let the Bullets Fly (2010 Hong Kong, dir Wen Jiang, stars Chow Yun-Fat)
Night Wolf (2012 USA, dir Jonathan Glendening, stars Gemma Atkinson)
Return (2011 USA, dir Liza Johnson, stars Linda Cardinelli)
Some Days are Better than Others (2010 USA, dir Matt McCormick, stars Carrie Brownstein)
The Theatre Bizarre (2011 USA, dir various, stars Udo Kier)
Titanic (2012 USA, stars Peter McDonald)
Young Goethe in Love (2010 Germany, dir Philipp Stölzl, stars Alexander Fehling)

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DVD Triage: April 17

New Release Picks of the Week

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
This film got much better reviews than I ever expected it to, and that’s after I was already interested due to Brad Bird and Jeremy Renner (sorry, Tom). Busy holidays kept me from it, though, so I’ll have to catch it on DVD…which is sadly not IMAX-sized.
2011 USA. Director: Brad Bird. Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner.

Shame
A divisive film in many ways, with some praising Fassbender and the film’s style, while other were put off by its lack of depth. I didn’t manage to get out to see it in theatres, but I definitely want to catch up with it before too long.
2011 UK. Director: Steve McQueen. Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan.

Other New Releases

After the Banquet (2009 South Korea, dir Kim Yoon-cheol, stars Sin Seong-woo)
American Dad!: Volume 7 (2011 USA, creator Seth MacFarlane)
Bob’s Burgers: Season 1 (2011 USA, stars H. Jon Benjamin)
The Divide (2012 USA, dir Xavier Gens, stars Lauren German, Michael Biehn)
Garbo: The Spy (2009 UK, dir Edmon Roch, stars Nigel West)
Girlfight (2011 USA, dir Stephen Gyllenhaal, stars Anne Heche)
A Heavenly Vintage (2009 New Zealand, dir Niki Caro, stars Keisha Castle-Hughes)
Hell’s Labyrinth (2011 USA, dir Drew Maxwell, stars Leah Rose)
The Last Rites of Joe May (2010 USA, dir Joe Maggio, stars Dennis Farina)
Man on the Train (2011 USA, dir Mary McGuickian, stars Donald Sutherland)
7 Below (2012 USA, dir Kevin Carraway, stars Val Kilmer)
Up from Slavery (2011 USA, dir Kevin R. Hershberger)

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DVD Triage: March 20

Another week in a row of extremely solid DVD releases! Studios are really cranking out their end-of-the-year Oscar-type films like crazy, so there are lots of good things to choose from. Even on the catalog release front, there are some really great early older films coming out, including some outstanding Frank Capra and some better-known-than-usual pre-codes from the Warner Archive. See the full list of releases here on Row Three.

New Release Pick of the Week

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
This may have been an unnecessary remake, and it may have been something Fincher could do in his sleep, but regardless, this still came out as one of the most satisfying thrillers of the year, even improving on the original film in subtle ways and more than earning its right to existence.
2011 USA. Director: David Fincher. Starring: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig.

Other New Releases

Catalog Pick of the Week

Lady for a Day DVD & Blu
When Cinefamily did an early Capra retrospective a couple of years ago, this one easily came out on top – a perfect combination of character actor-driven humor and Depression-era hardship, Lady for a Day has it all, and in spades. Simply a gem that ought to be remembered as much as any of Capra’s other classics.
1933 USA. Director: Frank Capra. Starring: May Robson, Warren William, Guy Kibbee, Glenda Farrell, Ned Sparks, Walter Connolly, Jean Parker, Nat Pendleton.

 

Other Catalog Releases

WARNER ARCHIVE
Blessed Event (1932 USA, dir Roy Del Ruth, stars Lee Tracy, Mary Brian)
Dangerous (1935 USA, dir Alfred E. Green, stars Bette Davis, Franchot Tone)
The Steel Trap (1952 USA, dir Andrew L. Stone, stars Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright)
Thirteen Women (1932 USA, dir George Archainbaud, stars Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy)
Untamed (1929 USA, dir Jack Conway, stars Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery)

Instant Watch Picks of the Week

Mysteries of Lisbon
Daunting runtime notwithstanding, I still hold Mysteries of Lisbon as one of my favorites from the LA Film Fest last year. An intricate story weaving through Europe in the 18th century, it’s a marvel of plotting any way you look at it, and I’m looking forward to looking at it again.
2010 Portugal. Director: Raul Ruiz. Starring: Adriano Luz, Maria Jo&atild;o Bastos, Ricardo Pereira.

Slacker
Richard Linklater is known for making conversation-driven films, and that’s pretty much all this one is – a nearly plotless wandering around the streets of Austin, picking up unrelated conversations here and there, then moving on to the next one. A pioneer of Austin’s indie film scene, Linklater manages to capture Austin’s character perfectly here, and the film is much more engrossing than you’d expect.
1991 USA. Director: Richard Linklater. Starring: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine.

Other Instant Watch Releases

Expiring Picks of the Week

All About Eve [4/1]
I recently put this film atop my list of favorite Academy Award winners, and I stand by that decision. It’s a classic of double-dealing show business people, all caught up in the roles they play onstage and off, with some of the best dialogue and ensemble performances ever put on film. Don’t miss this one.
1950 USA. Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe.

Black Adder [4/1]
Rowan Atkinson may be best known in the States as Mr. Bean (or other dumb-playing roles like Johnny English), but for my money, his absolute best series is Black Adder, where he plays a series of British noblemen (each season is set in a different century) with dry wit and an unfortunate lot of idiotic hangers-on. Throw in Hugh Laurie as a ditzy courtier and Miranda Richardson as a childish Queen Elizabeth in some seasons, and this never gets old.
1982-1989 UK. Starring: Rowan Atkinson.

Firefly [4/1]
I’m pretty sure I feature Firefly every time it goes on or off Instant, but I don’t care, I love it that much, and I’m going to keep talking about how much I love it until every breathing person on this planet has seen it. As much as I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and consider it central to my media tastes and life, Firefly is Joss Whedon’s masterpiece.
2002 USA. Creator: Joss Whedon. Starring: Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Ron Glass.

Le doulos [4/1]
One of Jean-Pierre Melville’s many incredible crime films, with Jean-Paul Belmondo standing in for frequent Melville star Alain Delon. The cool factor is maintained. I have particular love for this one simply because it’s the one that made me sit up and notice Melville, especially when the plot and themes come together at the end, making everything that went before seem that much better than it initially did. Vague, I know, but you’ll understand when you see it. Which you should.
1962 France. Director: Jean-Pierre Melvill. Starring: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Raggiani, Jean Dasailly, René Lefèvre.

Other Instant Watch Expirations