Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and Digital Debuts for the week of May 29
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist releases of the week
"Man on a Ledge" (Summit), a heist movie pitting talented amateurs against a sleazy millionaire, stars Sam Worthington, Ed Harris, and a very improbable plot. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand, also available at Redbox kiosks. Videodrone's review is here.
In "Coriolanus" (Anchor Bay), Ralph Fiennes returns to a role and an interpretation of the Shakespeare play he debuted on stage more than ten years before and adapts it to the big screen for his feature film directorial debut. Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack, DVD, and On Demand, also available at Redbox kiosks. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
"We Need To Talk About Kevin" (Oscilloscope), vividly directed by Lynn Ramsay and featuring Tilda Swinton in a distraught performance, is a horror film of a parent's worst nightmare: a sociopathic child. DVD and Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack, available at Redbox kiosks.
Seann William Scott is "The Goon" (Magnet), a bar bouncer turned enforcer on a minor league hockey team in this comic take on a true story. Blu-ray and DVD, available at Redbox. While "The Goon" had a trouble release but good reviews, "Gone" (Summit), a serial killer thriller with Amanda Seyfried, was released wide to savage reviews. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand, available at Redbox kiosks.
Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To looks at the reverberations of the Greek financial critis from the street in "Life Without Principle" (Vivendi) a fast-paced, sometimes comically-inflected action drama. DVD only.
Also new this week: "Memorial Day" (Image), about two generations of American soldier facing two very different wars (Blu-ray and DVD); the indie comedy "Hello Lonesome" (Film Movement) (DVD only); and the documentary "Sing Your Song" (Docurama) about singer / actor / activist Harry Belafonte (DVD only).
TV on Disc:
"True Blood: The Complete Fourth Season" (HBO) added a whole new world to the crazy supernatural convergence on the little bayou town of Bon Temps, Louisiana: a coven led by a medium possessed by the spirit of someone with a grudge against the vampires. And that doesn't even cover the werepanther cult, the shapeshifter family conflict, or the nasty creatures over in the fairy world. 13 episodes on Blu-ray and DVD with a small coven of supplements. Videodrone's review is here.
"Maverick: The Complete First Season" (Warner), one of best American westerns shows of its time, stars James Garner as Brett Maverick: gambler, con-man, and all-around dapper wit on the frontier. Jack Kelly joined the show a few episodes in as his brother Bart and shared lead duties in alternate episodes, but the best episodes paired them up as a tag team. 27 episodes on seven discs. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
"Henning Mankell’s Wallander" (Music Box) features the first season of the original Swedish TV detective series. 13 feature-length episodes on seven discs, DVD only.
"Monroe: Series 1" (Acorn) is yet another of James Nesbitt's British shows. In this one, he plays a witty, egotistical neurosurgical genius. Six episodes on two discs, DVD only.
Cool, Classic and Cult:
"Summer Interlude" (Criterion) and "Summer With Monika" (Criterion), the tenth and twelfth films (respectively) directed by Ingmar Bergman, debut on Blu-ray and DVD in beautiful restored editions. They make a fine match set showing off the two Bergmans: the elegant, philosophical artist steeped in metaphor, and the psychologically complex filmmaker interested in the complications of human relationships. Videodrone's review is here.
"Run For Cover" (Olive), directed by Nicholas Ray, is a rare western starring James Cagney, by way of a juvenile delinquent drama with John Derek as the angry young man. Blu-ray and DVD.
Also new this week: the westerns "Silver City" (Olive) and "Denver and Rio Grande" (Olive), both directed by Byron Haskin, and the musical theater production of "Love Never Dies" (Universal). All on Blu-ray and DVD.
And don't forget our Videodrone B-Sides round-up of direct-to-disc and made-for-cable pictures, including "Beyond" (Anchor Bay) with Jon Voigt, "The Fields" (Breaking Glass) with Cloris Leachman and Tara Reid, and the SyFy original "Metal Tornado" (Arc) with Lou Diamond Philips, among others.
Kino resumes its series of restored editions of cult director Jean Rollin's erotic horrors with three new releases: "The Rape of the Vampire" (Kino Lorber/Redemption), the film cited as the first French vampire film; "Requiem For a Vampire" (Kino Lorber/Redemption), a mad mix of dark fairy tale and surreal poetry and one of Rollin's masterpieces; and "The Demoniacs" (Kino Lorber/Redemption) a surreal pirate film with a dreamlike tale of revenge. Rollin's collision of eerie beauty and kinky decadence is unique and his narrative sensibility has the loony logic of a waking dream. Also available on DVD. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Grand Duel / Keoma: Spaghetti Western Double Feature" (Mill Creek) presents two classics of Italian western cinema, one with Lee Van Cleef in the lead, the other with Franco Nero.
Another double feature arrives via "Traveller / Telling Lies in America: Double Feature" (Mill Creek), a pair of independent dramas for 1997, and I suppose you could call "New York Stories" (Mill Creek) a trilogy of sorts: it's an anthology film with short pieces directed by Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Woody Allen.
New on Netflix Instant:
"Henry's Crime" (2010), an indie caper comedy with Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga and James Caan, never quite comes to life according to MSN film critic James Rocchi, who complains that it "dawdles when you want it to jump, skips when you want it to sizzle."
From France comes "The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch" (2008), a corporate thriller with Tomer Sisley and Kristin Scott Thomas, and from Norway comes "The King of Devil's Island" (2010), about a rebellion at a reform school.
"Full Contact" (1992), a sleek, stylish, hard-hitting revenge picture with Chow Yun-Fat and Anthony Wong, is one the great Hong Kong action films of the nineties. Not quite as classic is "Initial D" (2005), the first of the "drift" racing films of the era, also with Anthony Wong.
Reaching back a little farther, we find the comedies "The Addams Family" (1991) and "Addams Family Values" (1993), and on the TV front is the British detective series warhorse "A Touch of Frost: Seasons 1-13" (1992-2008) with David Jason.
Available from Redbox this week:
Arriving the same day as Amazon, video stores, and other outlets is the heist thriller "Man on a Ledge" (Summit), Ralph Fiennes' Shakespeare adaptation "Coriolanus" (Anchor Bay), Tilda Swinton in "We Need to Talk About Kevin" (Oscilloscope), "Gone" (Summit), "Goon" (Magnet), and "Memorial Day" (Image). Enjoy!
Coming next week:
"John Carter" (Disney)
"Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" (Warner)
"Safe House" (Universal)
"Machine Gun Preacher" (Fox)
"Seven Days in Utopia" (Arc)
"Act of Valor" (Relativity)
"Breaking Bad: The Complete Fourth Season" (Sony)
"Falling Skies: The Complete First Season" (Warner)
"Fairly Legal: Season One" (Universal)
"Necessary Roughness: Season One" (Universal)
"Arn: The Knight Templar – The Complete Series" (eOne)
"Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Second Season" (Warner)
"Burn Notice: Season Five" (Fox)
"White Collar: Season Three" (Fox)
"In Plain Sight: Season Four" (Universal)
"Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eighth Season" (HBO)
"Yellow Submarine" (Capitol)
"Hondo" Blu-ray (Paramount)
"The Sting" Blu-ray (Universal)
"The Color of Money" Blu-ray (Disney)