Crandall runs down the list of MUST HAVE movies that are hitting Blu-ray in April 2013. We are also giving away a couple blu-rays, so make a comment, share the vid etc. to get entered to win!
Archive for the ‘New to Blu’ Category
dun dun…dun dun…dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun BA-DA-DA-DAAAAA-BAAHHH!! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Jaws hits blu-ray. It’ll make you smile, you sonofaBOOM!
Hey everybody! You may have noticed that New to Blu took July off. Slacking yet again, July had only a small handful of titles that are really worth adding to your collection.
The Blue Brothers – The classic comedy finally hits high-def so break out the shades!
Limitless – Bradley Cooper carries this cool and crazy thriller – the last act isn’t perfect but the movie is refreshing and original.
Source Code - Speaking of refreshing and original, although it lifts concepts from The Matrix and a few others, Duncan Jones’ follow up to MOON, starring Jake Gyllenhaal is a great thrill ride. Touching, thoughtful and exciting.
Insidious - The scariest flick of 2011 hits blu-ray to scare you at home!
Now onto August!
Better Off Dead – I doubt you’ll be able to find this for ‘Two Dollars!’, but regardless, I’m forking over the cash for one of my favourite 80′s comedies, finally in high def. John Cusack stares as a hapless teenager, love sick over a girl who dumps him for the hotshot on the ski team (for real). After several failed suicide attempts, Lane takes part in an exciting ski race to win the heart of Beth. Lots of wacky character inhabit this world and you’ll be quoting this flick for years to come. “Now that’s a real shame when folks be throwin’ away a perfectly good white boy like that.”
Conan The Barbarian - Both Arnold Conan flicks arrive in new HD version on blu-ray and hopefully they’ve been treated right. The original Milius’ flick is a bonafide classic.
Eastbound & Down: Season 2 – Vulgar, disgusting and repulsive…also hilarious. That’s the best way to sum up both season 2 of this show and lead character Kenny Powers played by Danny McBride. If you like McBride’s borderline grotesque schtick, you’ll have a blast. If you don’t, avoid!
Super – I didn’t get a chance to see James Gunn’s latest flick, since it didn’t get much of a release up here in Canada, but it’s got a good cast, featuring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and Nathan Fillion. On paper it sounds like a touch of Kick-Ass meets Defendor but I’m sure Gunn will put his signature ‘sick’ spin on it. Could be cool.
Paul - After the great success of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, director Edgar Wright went off to do Scott Pilgrim, while Pegg and Frost wrote this alien flick, directed by Superbad’s Greg Matolla. Paul is pretty damn funny, especially for fans of sci-fi. Great performances from Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Jason Bateman and Seth Rogen, along with Pegg and Frost make this something memorable. A few jokes miss the mark, but for the most part, I really enjoyed this one.
Demolition Man – a guilty pleasure, the dvd looked horrible, so I’m hoping for a significant upgrade. I think this probably should have been on a double feature with another cheap Stallone flick but if I can find it cheap, I’ll be watching Snipes get smashed to pieces in HD.
Dexter: Season 5 - after one of the best seasons of any TV show, featuring John Lithgow as the Trinity Killer, Dexter had it’s work cut out for it… I don’t think season 5 reaches those heights but it remained engaging and extremely well done. A worthy addition to your Dexter collection, can’t wait for season 6.
The Big Lebowski - FINALLY! The world’s most quotable flick, one of my top 10 of all time and the Coen Bros. crown jewel. The dude will finally abide in blu. Lebowski is a real ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ affair, and I hope if you are in the ‘hate it’ camp, you’ll give it another shot to maybe be won over by it’s crazy charms. “Over the line! Mark it zero, Dude”
The Muppets Take Manhattan/Muppets From Space – also in the ‘it’s about damn time’ column, Sony releases two Muppet flicks, as Muppet fever officially kicks off leading up to the new film. Manhattan was a special movie to me as a child, and I still love every minute of it. Muppets From Space is underrated IMO and has a lot of great moments. Fingers crossed that these look good.
August 23 is pretty weak.
Sons of Anarchy: Season 3 - The boys from Charming are back, on a mission to save Abel from the Irish. A few episodes really feel dragged out and watching while they aired week to week got painful, but I have a feeling breezing through them on disc will hide most of the flaws. The first two seasons were so dynamic, the stagnation of plot lines here was glaring…however the finale is explosive and nearly redeemed the lesser moments, so I’ll be rewatching this in preparation for Season 4.
Raising Arizona – Speaking of Coen Bros. classics, before Nicolas Cage got crazy, he was hilarious as an inept criminal who falls in love with a police woman, Holly Hunter. The two find out they can’t have children, so they take to kidnapping a baby from a group of quints. Hilarity ensues. (also available as part of a box set with Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing and Fargo).
The Vampire Diaries: Season 2 – If you like Twilight and Dawson’s Creek, this show is right up your alley. This show is definitely a guilty pleasure but has lots of fun twists and turns (however it seems for every 2 things right, they do something inanely stupid). The snappy dialogue and sharp characters make this one better than just ‘another vampire/werewolf’ cash in.
That’s it for August – too bad September doesn’t have any high profile titles coming out… oh, wait. Crandall out.
Welcome back to New to Blu for June! I’m taking a slightly different format here – each month there are movies that I think are worth buying, some that are better as rentals and a few that you should avoid. So with this edition, I’m breaking the weekly releases into those categories. We finally get a decent amount of releases to keep us entertained in between the big summer blockbusters at the theatre. Here we go!
One of the last great 2010 movies to hit blu-ray, the Coen bros. deliver again, in this remake. Jeff Bridges and Hallie Steinfeld are completely awesome and True Grit is a movie I’m sure I will revisit again and again. Mercy also flipped out for it, as seen in our original review.
Breaking Bad: Season 3
Breaking Bad is one of the most intense hour long dramas on TV. Each episode is a slow burn in tension and a masterclass in acting. The third season was nearly flawless (“the fly” episode being the only spot on a great run), had a fantastic cliff hanger and tested my nerves. The show is dark, edgy and the work of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul is completely deserving of the Emmy’s they both won. If you haven’t checked this show out, now is the time – Season 4 kicks off in mid-July and it is sure to be explosive. Can’t wait.
Superman: Motion Picture Anthology
This package is loaded with special features, is the first time that Superman III and IV are on blu-ray and FINALLY includes both theatrical and extended/alternate cuts for the first two films. I may be in a minority, but I really like having the original versions I grew up with, so that’s a main selling feature here – as well as some of the new extras, including the rumoured Krypton opening of Superman Returns. The price is a bit steep at $100 but Warner seems to have made it worth our while.
Rent: Green Lantern – Emerald Knights, Blue Crush 2 & Just Go With It
Green Lantern fans, start your engines! The hype for this months huge blockbuster really gets into high gear with this dtv animated movie, which is supposed to be decent, I’m intrigued. Blue Crush 2 is probably another Universal dtv cash grab along the lines of Death Race 2, but I really enjoyed the charms of the first film, so I’ll have to give this one a shot too. Adam Sandler churns out another inoffensive comedy that is passable but not memorable. A few good moments here and there, but nowhere near his long fading past glories of inspired flicks like Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer.
Foo Fighters: Back and Forth
While my ‘superfan’ status makes me slightly biased, this documentary stands as one of my favourite films of 2011 so far. Bieber isn’t the only one with a great music flick, and although Never Say Never also functioned as a concert film, the Foo Fighters go the straight doc route. The movie brings us up to speed on the formation of the band, the early years growing pains and revolving doors of band members. Things get serious when drummer Taylor Hawkins nearly dies of a drug overdose, however the Foo’s soldier on and the movie concludes with a look at the recording of their latest album ‘Wasting Light’, a high point in their long career. This probably plays better to fans, but there is enough drama for onlookers to be intrigued as well.
Jackass 3D was inspired lunacy and this should be more of the same. This features over an hour of bits shot during the making of 3D that didn’t make the original cut, but I’m sure there is enough bodily harm/bodily functions to make it a worthy addition to the Jackass library.
Rent: Hall Pass & Battle: LA
Hall Pass comes in an ‘extended’ version that hopefully dials up the funny, because the absurd certainly outweighed it in the theatrical cut. A strange little movie but I’m interested to see how it plays on video. Our original review of this Farrelly Bros flick is here. Mercy and I were split on Battle: LA in our original review. This is the kind of movie that is probably easier to forgive on video, just check your brain at the door and get ready for ‘splosions.
Avoid: Red Riding Hood, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
The Adjustment Bureau
A strange movie that is 1/3 Howard hawks screwball comedy, 1/3 Dark City-esque sci-fi and 1/3 romance. OK, so maybe the romance angle rises to the top, but I was genuniely impressed with this one. Great snappy dialogue and perfect casting go a long way. John Slatterly is great as one of the bureau agents and the chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt is incredible…like lightning in a bottle good. It does veer on the sappy side, but the movie had me smiling and the final chase sequence is fantastic. Can’t wait to see this one again.
Before Michael Bay became all about transforming robots, he made this high octane sci-fi flick, with ugly leads Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannson. It finally arrives on blu-ray and should look awesome. The soundmix on the dvd was bombastic and the blu-ray will hopefully sound even better. It ain’t high art, but this is a great guilty pleasure. I recommended it in our Right Direction: Michael Bay segment.
Ed Helms has had great success playing second fiddle in movies like The Hangover or on TV’s The Office, but here he gets to star as mild mannered insurance salesman Tim Lippe. This odd little flick is equal parts sweetness and crudity. It is never over the top hilarious, but I found it completely charming. Helms is great, Anne Heche brings a unique likeability and John C. Reilly gets to go all out as sleezebag Dean Ziegler. Some crazy stuff happens in Cedar Rapids and there are more than a few memorable lines that you’ll be quoting plus it has one of the funniest references ever to HBO’s show The Wire.
Rent: The Eagle & Unknown
The Eagle is very similar in story to last year’s fun CENTURION. It is hard to take Channing Tatum seriously but the movie does have it’s moments and Jamie Bell is great. The low budget nature hurts the ‘epic’ feel that Kevin McDonald was clearly shooting for but if you like period Roman drama, it is worth a look. Liam Neeson is always watchable and Unknown is no exception. January Jones does her best to kill the picture with her horrible acting and the script is basically a total rehash of an older action movie (which I can’t name here without completely ruining the ‘twist’ of the movie, but let me just say the other picture was a lot more fun). If you like Neeson it’s worth a watch but it’ll fade quickly from memory once it is over.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy Extended
After buying the theatrical blu-ray editions, it’s tough to cough up more money into the Lord of the Rings pit, but this collection seems pretty great. All the previous special features are ported over and hopefully the extended editions look a little bit better than the previous release. It’s rare that I want to sit down and watch over 10 hours of movie, but if I do, it’ll be nice to do it in HD.
Jumanji & Zathura
Jumanji was a favourite of mine when I was younger, a great mix of action and comedy. Joe Johnston (who is currently putting finishing touches on Captain America) made board games exciting with the dazzling effects and a great feeling of adventure. I haven’t watched this in years, so the blu-ray will be a nice reason to revisit it. 10 years later, Jon “Iron Man” Favreau made Zathura, which is basically the sci-fi version of Jumanji, but a TON of fun. A highly underrated movie featuring a pre-twilight Kristen Stewart, Josh Hutcherson and Dax Shepard. These two will make a great family fun double feature.
Rent: Sucker Punch Director’s Cut
The theatrical cut of Zach Snyder’s weirdo Sucker Punch earned a Turd Alert in our original review. Now it arrives on blu-ray in an EXTENDED DIRECTOR’S CUT that is nearly 30 minutes longer. I’m not sure that adding to the movie can save this mess, but I’m definitely interested to see if this makes it suck any less – but my expectations are LOW.
Avoid: Season of the Witch, Beastly
That’s it for this edition, see you next month!
New to Blu took a month and a bit off – why? Because most of the movies being released in April/May are only New Releases, which we’ve already reviewed on the show. In this spot it’s fun to point your attention at older movies finally hitting blu-ray or that gem you might have missed at the theatre – chances are the latest Harry Potter isn’t something you’ve never heard of With that in mind, this is the abridged version – the following are the great titles from April that you hopefully already bought:
May is similarly dry, with only a small handful of great titles:
Hopefully June will bring us a lot more to get excited about!
March sees the release of a few Oscar films, some great catalogue titles finally hit blu-ray and a big finish to the month on the 29th. Break out the piggy bank, this is going to get expensive! If you’re in the K/W Guelph area, Steve’s Movieworld is the best place to pick these up at great prices. (link to the right!) If not, there is always Amazon.
BAMBI: Diamond Edition
Disney is really ramping up the speed that there classic films are coming to blu. The third ‘classic’ in nearly as many months, Bambi comes with a sparkling new transfer, great extras and a dvd to boot. I loved this movie as a kid and Disney has done such a good job with these blu-ray versions that they really are must owns.
Sometimes following up an Oscar smash can put directors between a rock and a hard place – which is exactly where Danny Boyle put James Franco when it came time to move on from Slumdog Millionaire. This true story of Aaron Ralston’s harrowing struggle for survival is intense and moving. James Franco gives a rock solid performance and carries the movie with ease. The final moments are extremely hard to watch, but this is a great example of an actor and filmmaker at the top of their game.
THE CABLE GUY
The Cable Guy is easily one of the most underrated comedies in recent memory. This gem was directed by Ben Stiller and stars Jim Carrey in a dark, maniacal performance in a movie that was clearly ahead of it’s time. Finally it gets the love it deserves, with this feature packed edition including a BRAND NEW commentary from Stiller & Carrey. I can not wait to see this!
OUT OF SIGHT
Speaking of under appreciated movies, Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight finally hits blu-ray. It was a critical darling but the masses never really got it. Out of Sight is probably one of my favourite romantic movies of all time – sure it’s not a run of the mill romance, filled with Elmore Leonard’s special brand of criminals, but watch the infamous trunk scene and tell me this isn’t a great rom-com. Razor sharp dialogue, incredible cinematography and great performances make this one memorable. I’ve seen it countless times and I’m sure to wear this blu-ray out. If you haven’t seen it, please fix this NOW!
THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON 1
Frank Darabont, the director of The Shawshank Redemption and the underrated The Mist, brings us this realistic look at world overrun by Zombies. Based on the comic series by Robert Kirkman, the show takes it’s time to populate the world with real flesh and blood characters. It is refreshing to see horror television of this caliber and fans of the Zombie genre will be thrilled with this. The only downside is that season 1 was only 6 episodes but hopefully the show can maintain this level of quality and intelligence in the years to come.
THE NEXT THREE DAYS
Russell Crowe stars in this thriller from Paul Haggis, about a man who decides he needs to break his wife out of prison. The majority of the film takes us through the day to day of Crowe’s life without his wife, his decision to take action and then the final third is loaded with slam bang action. Haggis asks the audience to forgive a LOT of plot holes and forget common sense, but if you can go with it, this is a very fun thrill ride. It is a little drawn out and could have been about 10 minutes shorter, but I was entertained.
Morning Glory is a charming little rom-com – check out our review here.
ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY
One of the best comedies of the last 10 years hands down. Will Ferrell just kills it in this infinitely quotable flick about San Diego’s classiest newsman, Ron Burgundy. Great supporting performances from Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate help keep the jokes moving. I can watch this movie at the drop of a hat, having it in HD is going to be great. Certainly not for everyone (it’s weird pacing and out there humour can be offputting) but I love every minute of it.
Fresh off Oscar wins for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, The Fighter comes to blu-ray. One of 2010′s best films, with exceptional performances all around and a heartwarming story that doesn’t shy away from the darker side of the subjects presented. David O. Russell did an excellent job making this feel credible and not like just another boxing movie. See our original review here.
Predictable but fun crime thriller about a case of mistaken identity. Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are likeable, the pace moves well and Paul Bettany turns in a very strong supporting role, but it all adds up to less than the sum of it’s parts. The story feels like 2/3 of a movie and the last act has a twist that really rings false (and you’ll have called it well before the ‘big reveal’). However, the charisma of the leads goes a long way into making it an enjoyable if hollow experience.
STAND BY ME
Rob Reiner’s classic coming of age story, based on the Stephen King source, still holds up all these years later. If you don’t love Stand by Me, you must not have seen it yet. ‘Nuff said.
ERNEST DOUBLE FEATURE
Hey Vern, Jim Varney’s Ernest makes his way to high def in this double feature that includes Ernest Goes to Camp and Ernest Goes to Jail. I have a sneaking suspicion these movies are probably more annoying than they are charming, but as a kid, I thought they were hilarious and at a low list price, I’m certainly willing to chance it. It’s a shame that Varney passed away but his leagacy lives on!
Walt Disney’s Tangled was one of my favourite films of 2010. This new spin on the Rapunzel story is funny, sweet and gorgeous. Zachary Levi, TV’s CHUCK, does a great job as the scoundrel Flynn, who stumbles upon beautiful Rapunzel, who has been living a sheltered life in a tower. The two go on a great adventure, sing a few songs and believe it or not, fall in love. Classic Disney stuff but it’s presented in a very slick and fun package.
Natalie Portman deserved the Oscar for her haunting performance as Nina Sayers, a ballerina who is chasing perfection and falls into a world of delusion trying to seek it. Black Swan is breathtaking, frustrating and exhilarating all at once. Great supporting turns from Vincent Cassell (always a creep) and Mila Kunis (hot) along with the steady and unwavering direction of Darren Aronofsky make this one special. Thematically it’s almost a companion piece to The Wrestler but set in a darker world. One of 2010′s best.
MAD MEN: SEASON 4
Jon Hamm’s Don Draper returns with a new agency, for the 4th season of this critically acclaimed show. I was starting to tire of the drama in it’s third year, thematically it was starting to get lazy, walking a familiar road and under utilizing a lot of it’s great characters. The season 3 finale was dynamite and that creative energy continues through the 4th season, easily the best year since season 1. Complex characters, meticulous attention to detail and snappy dialogue continue to make this show appointment television. If you aren’t watching Mad Men, you should be!
When I was younger, the idea of a basketball playing werewolf seemed like a slam dunk, especially when that wolf is played by Alex P. Keaton. It’s been years since I’ve revisited this one, and if you can forgive the 80′s cheese, I think there is a lot of fun to be had. Sure the concept is stupid but Fox can sell ice to an eskimo. He just makes it work.
Also of note:
March 1: Burlesque, Faster (boring), Love and Other Drugs (1/2 of a good movie)
March 8: Jackass 3 (funny but gross), Excalibur, Exit Through the Gift Shop
March 15: Hereafter, Skyline (idiotic but mildly amusing)
March 22: Yogi Bear, The Sandlot, Anastasia
March 29: Fair Game, Treme: Season 1,
-You can follow Matthew Crandall on Twitter or find him locked in the trunk of a car with Jennifer Lopez.
The bitter cold of February brings a cold spell for the blu-ray slate, with only a handful of noteworthy titles for the month. A nice break for the wallet and a few of these are definitely worth owning. If you’re in the K/W Guelph area, Steve’s Movieworld is the best place to pick these up at great prices. (link to the right!) If not, there is always Amazon.
LET ME IN
Matt Reeves, the director of Cloverfield remakes the quiet thriller Let the Right One In and does a great job of making a very moody, atmospheric picture. Kody Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz are fantastic but some of the special effects leave something to be desired. It’s not an offensive remake by any stretch but doesn’t bring a lot more to the table, making it non-essential. If you can handle the slow pace, there is a good little movie here.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND 60th Anniversary Edition
Off with her head! The Disney animated classic finally arrives on blu-ray (I was surprised they didn’t time this for a release alongside the Tim Burton version). I’ve always enjoyed this version of Alice and Disney does a great job on making the blu-ray versions of the animated classics Must Own titles.
Gary Ross’ Pleasantville is a movie that had held up pretty well over the last few years. It starts off as a wacky comedy and over the course of it’s running time becomes a very sweet, heartfelt movie about self discovery, racism and what it means to be alive. It seems like a lot to tackle but the excellent cast and sure direction make the preceedings a lot of fun. This should look great in HD.
I’ve always been a fan of John Candy and him teaming up with John Hughes for Uncle Buck resulted in a bonafied comedy classic. Sweet without being too sacarine, lots of good laughs and those cute kids, Uncle Buck is a movie that holds up on repeated viewings really well and reminds us how much of a loss it was to lose both John Candy and John Hughes before their time.
THE RIVER WILD
The River Wild is a highly underrated little thriller. Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon star in this fast paced thrill ride, directed by Curtis Hanson. A family on a rafting trip is taken hostage by some killers and forced to take them down a very deadly river. I haven’t seen this in years and revisiting it on blu-ray should be a blast.
Tony Scott loves to team up with Denzel for a hyper-stylized action flick, so it was refreshing to see Scott’s a.d.d. style be toned down a bit with Unstoppable. The story of a runaway train, the pace is quite good, making a realistic event become an edge of your seat thrill ride. Chris Pine and Denzel bring a lot of likeability to the tired “old vet/young pup” part of the story but the movie is really well done and much better than I thought it would be. SNL also did a hilarious parody that is a must see.
I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore! One of the all time best movie quotes was spoken by Peter Finch in this masterpiece of a movie. Great tone, fantastic cinematography and knockout performances make Network one of the great movies of the 1970′s. It won 4 academy awards and I’m really hoping the blu-ray delivers. Definitely worth seeing if you’ve never gotten around to it.
Following up The Hangover is no easy task, so Todd Phillips enlisted the reliable Robert Downey, Jr. to anchor this road comedy. RDJ and Zach Galifanakis hit the road in this comedy that has moments of brilliance but gets bogged down in some mean spirited/annoying humour. Overall it is worthwhile but certainly no classic. Check out our original review here.
WEEDS: SEASON 6
Weeds is a show that I used to love. The first two seasons are comedy perfection. The show started to lose it’s way during the third season, then completely misfired in year 4 and was seeking redemption in the fifth season. Trying to wipe the slate clean for season 6 made the show FUN again. It is still not as FUNNY as it used to be, but this season was a blast, with the Botwins on the run from a drug cartel and the police. Hopefully the show will maintain this sense of rejuvenation in seasons to come.
MEMENTO: 10th Anniversary Edition
It should be awesome. Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece of non-linear editing finally gets the blu-ray treatment it deserves in this brand spanking new 10th Anniversary Edition. This edition has the Nolan Commentary from previous versions, a new featurette looking at the legacy of the film and most importantly, a new high def transfer. It should be awesome.
THE LAST UNICORN
I haven’t since this movie in 20 years but remember loving it as a child. The story of a unicorn on an adventure filled with lots of talking animals and moral lessons, hopefully this movie will stand the test of time. This blu-ray edition has a few bonus features as well, so it’s not just a cheap rush job, which is nice.
March is going to be a great one, with lots of Oscar movies hitting disc. See you then!
-You can follow Matthew Crandall on Twitter or find him riding down a river with Sammy Jankis on an unstoppable adventure to find a unicorn who does network broadcast news.
Happy Blu Year! 2011 promises to be the biggest year for blu-ray yet, with lots of eagerly awaited catalogue titles on their way (hello Star Wars! and there are rumours of a Jurassic Park set – YES!). The first month of the year brings us some great new releases. Let’s get to it.
Dinner For Schmucks – January 4
Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd star in this crude comedy from director Jay Roach. I thought it was mean spirited, a little long and extremely funny. It’s got a lot of awkward humour but I laughed a lot. Jemaine Clement is awesome in a scene stealing role and Barry’s Mouse-terpieces are worth the price of a rental alone.
The Social Network – January 11
One of 2010′s best films comes to blu-ray in a stunning 2 disc edition. There is a fantastic 90 minute making of documentary, great featurettes on the creation of the score and 2 commentaries. Fincher is meticulous (doing 50+ takes on a lot of sequences) and this package really shows the artistry at work here. Fans of the film will not be disappointed and this is a must own title. Check out our original review here.
Piranha 3D – January 11
Alexandre Aja has made a name for himself with strong horror showings like High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes remake. He knows how to keep the blood flowing on-screen and keep the audience on the edge of their seat. With Piranha 3D he brings us back to the 80′s with a film that is loaded with goofy B movie moments, gratuitous nudity and one of the screen’s most gory massacre scenes EVER. Not for the reserved or faint of heart – but Piranha 3D delivers on it’s over the top premise and is worth checking out for schlock fans. The disc also has a very indepth 2 hour making of documentary that is worthwhile.
Buried – January 18
Ryan Reynolds in a coffin. That’s the just of Buried, a movie that manages to take one actor, in a box, and make it riveting for 80 minutes. Hitchcockian execution and a great performance from Reynolds make this one a must see.
Justified – Season 1 – January 18
Timothy Olyphant stars in this exceptional show about a US Marshal who gets sent from the big city to his quaint hometown in Kentucky, where he has to deal with his childhood friends on the wrong side of the law. With quick wit, decent action and great performances, this is one show that you’ll want to watch more than once.
Saw 3D – January 25
The ‘final’ installment of the torture porn series had it’s moments but didn’t take full advantage of the 3D premise. Check out our split review here.
RED – January 25
Bruce Willis and co. deliver some good laughs, decent action and a lot of fun in this one. Check out our review here.
January only has a few noteworthy releases but the big ones (The Social Network) are great.
Christmas is coming and that means a FLOOD of new releases arriving just in the nick of time. A few of the best flicks of the year are hitting blu-ray this month, hopefully some of these will wind up under the tree!
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – December 4
The best film in the popular series arrives on blu-ray with the average bells and whistles…or should I say Bella’s and whistles. See what I did there? Yeah. Catch our review here.
Inception – December 7
Christopher Nolan’s brilliant follow-up to The Dark Knight is easily one of the “Must Own” titles of 2010. We did an epic review when it was out in theatres and I can’t wait to dig into the maximum movie mode to get all the behind the scenes info from Nolan and Co. on the making of this fantastic achievement in big budget filmmaking.
Despicable Me – December 14
Here is a movie that I had very low expectations for and it ended up being one of my favourites of the summer. Steve Carell is great as super villain Gru, who winds up raising three adorable orphans. Funny and very sweet – on a much higher level than the other animated villain flick of 2010 Megamind. If you want a good family film with some decent laughs and heart, this one is for you.
The A-Team – December 14
You can see our original review here, but needless to say, if you love outrageous action flicks, this one delivers. Big time. I was sceptical that Joe Carnahan was the right guy to update The A-Team but he came out swinging and made a film that is a jolt of energy from start to finish.
The Town – December 17
Ben Affleck directs an all star cast in this tight, gritty thriller. This one feels authentic, following a group of Boston bank robbers who are on the cusp of getting nabbed by FBI agent Jon Hamm after leaving a potential witness alive…not only that but Affleck falls in love with her – complicated! Affleck has upped his acting game here and continues to prove that he has a great eye for putting a scene together. Highly recommended.
Salt – December 21
Big, dumb and fun. That’s the best way to describe this spy thriller…but it really is a blast and Jolie has some great physical scenes. Check your brain at the door and get ready for some twists and turns. In the first half I genuinely had no idea where the film was going – it seemed to have some serious balls that I wasn’t expecting. However by the resolution of the second half, things become much more textbook and predictable, but the action is enough to forgive those missteps.
Easy A – December 21
Smart and sweet teen comedy starring the likeable Emma Stone, with great supporting turns by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as her parents. There are a few subplots that could have been cut or played out better and the film does lose comedic steam in the second half, but it remains one of the better films of this genre.
Futurama Volume 5 – December 21
Years after cancellation, another Fox animated sitcom rises from the ashes – this one, however, is still funny. Fans of the series will be delighted to see that after the average TV movies from the last few years, the series rebounds with a solid batch of episodes that stand to remind us just how stupid the Fox network execs truly are.
Also of note:
December 7: Shrek Forever After
December 14: The Other Guys
December 17: Legend of the Guardians – The Owls of Ga’Hoole
December 21: Step Up 3D, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Devil
December 28: Resident Evil Afterlife, The American
-You can follow Matthew Crandall on Twitter or find him within a despicable dream filled with vampires and salty secret agents who love it when a plan comes together.
After a hectic October spending spree full of great catalogue releases, November arrives chock full of New Releases. This column is late in arriving because I’ve been trying to get through half of the blu-rays I got in October. It’s nice to have a little break for November, but a lot of the great movies from the summer are arriving fast and furious!
Toy Story 3 – November 2
As shown in our glowing video review, Toy Story 3 is another Pixar home-run and the blu-ray is loaded with features and excellent video quality. I could go on and on about how great this movie is, but I think you’re better off just watching it for yourself. A MUST OWN.
Centurion – November 2
I really like Neil Marshall movies. His early work on a shoestring budget was excellent (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) and even the over-the-top craziness of Doomsday didn’t put me off like it did for some. Here Marshall takes us to the days of old, following a group of soldiers from the Roman Empire as they take on the deadly Pict tribe in gruesome combat. There are some great bloody battle sequences and a nice performance from Michael Fassbender. It’s not high art but if you like epic action flicks you will have a good time.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World – November 9
Still my favourite movie of 2010 and despite tanking at the box office, Universal loaded the disc with tons of special features. If you haven’t seen it, now is the time to discover what you’re missing. Some movies I’ll skim the bonus stuff on the disc because I’m not that interested, but I’ll be watching every second of them on here – including a slew of audio commentaries that should be a blast. I think this disc will easily be one of my ‘most watched’ discs ever. Check out our video review here.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol – November 16
Robert Zemeckis has made a few of these 3D motion capture computer animated flicks and this one, despite the TIRED subject matter, is pretty good. Jim Carrey gives a great performance, the visuals are great (despite the dead-eyes the characters still seem to have) and there is some good action and fairly creepy sequences. This will be available in 2D and 3D versions, so those with a 3D TV can see it the way it was meant to be seen.
Avatar: Extended Edition – November 16
Technically this is a catalogue release but since it’s an all new version, I included it here. This is the REAL version of Avatar on video we’ve been waiting for. 3 discs, an extended cut and hours of special features. If anyone knows how to do an extended cut it’s Cameron. I saw the special edition in theatres and the additional footage added a lot more depth to the characters/situation and I’m sure this version, which is even longer, will be an improvement. Finally we can see Cameron tip his hand on how they created the groundbreaking effects. The only thing missing here is the 3D version, which is a Panasonic exclusive coming out in December for owners of Viera 3D televisions.
The Expendables – November 23
Mindless action and leathery faces. Stallone assembled a great cast for this action flick, which I really enjoyed in the theatre – however since then I’ve found it to be almost instantly forgettable. Nowhere near the classic film this should have been it’s probably worth watching if you’re bored on a Sunday afternoon or something. I’ll only pick it up if it’s cheap Check out our video review.
Knight & Day – November 30
Worth seeing for Tom Cruise alone, who gives a great manic performance as a spy on the run. Our video review can be found here.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – November 30
Along with Prince of Persia, Disney/Bruckheimer had TWO big budget misfires this summer. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the better of the two and it’s a shame it didn’t find an audience. It is directed by Jon “National Treasure” Turtletaub and like those movies, it’s a mish-mash of other ideas, rolled together with a very loose semblance of a plot, and a TON of fun. Seriously. Watching Nic Cage chew the scenery in his over-the-top crazy mode is a blast, Jay Baruchel is a great everyman and the special effects are very cool. It does sag a bit in the middle but for pure fun, it really does the trick.
The Bridge on the River Kwai – November 2
Directed by David Lean starring William Holden and Alec Guinness, River Kwai is a bonified classic. Winner of Best Picture, Director and Actor (Guinness) this award winning masterpiece comes to us with a brand new transfer, a great digibook packaging complete with lobby cards, pages of info about the film and a dvd copy to boot – all for $20. If that’s not a steal, I don’t know what is. If you’ve never gotten around to seeing this one, now is the time! I can’t wait.
The Goonies – November 2
One of my all time favourites. Growing up I watched The Goonies on a weekly basis and it never gets old. Directed by Richard Donner, written by Chris Columbus and produced by Spielberg, the story follows a group of kids as they search for pirate treasure. It is goofy, scary and fun. This movie is from a time when kids movies were actually scary/intense (Gremlins) and they didn’t pander to the audience. It’s fun to see the gang 25 years later and in high-def the movie will feel new again. Unfortunately, this version is only available in a huge box that comes with a board game, magazine replica and some other trinkets that might be neat to look at once…but I just want the movie.
Tremors – November 9
The graboids are coming! The graboids are coming! Tremors spawned a series of mediocre direct-to-video sequels and a for fans only TV show, but the original is a blast. The story of Perfection, Texas – a small town ravaged by horrific giant killer ‘worms’ and the townsfolk banding together to blow them up good. Fun performances from Kevin Bacon and scene stealer Michael Gross make this one memorable. It’s just a fun creature feature that still holds up.
The Hunting Party – November 23
A hidden gem. Richard Sheppard’s black comedy about a discredited journalist (Richard Gere), a young journalist (Jesse Eisenberg) and a cameraman (Terrance Howard) who go searching for the number 1 war criminal and get mistaken for a CIA hit squad is extremely well done. Great performances are the core of the movie, and Sheppard knows how to write snappy dialogue that is loaded with zingers. A great mix of action, satire and pathos. It didn’t find an audience but I saw it twice in theatres and was hoping for an HD release, which is finally here.
The Pacific – November 2
From the creative team who brought us the classic mini-series Band of Brothers, comes The Pacific. The production value is extremely high, the action thrilling and the acting is dynamite. Brothers still stands as the superior series, but this one comes damn close. We don’t get to know the characters here as well and it takes a few episodes to become focused but it is well worth watching more than once. A great piece of work.
V: Season 1 – November 2
ABC’s remake of the classic sci-fi mini-series is surprisingly good. There are a few shoddy f/x and some cheesy dialogue but overall it’s fun. Lots of good twist and turns, decent action and interesting characters. The first season is 13 episodes and if you’re a sci-fi fan, it really delivers. Check your brain at the door though. It’s a shame ABC practically killed the show with horrible scheduling, airing 4 episodes in ’09 and waiting months before airing the back 9. This made the show hard to find for fans and many had lost interest and moved on – hopefully they’ll check out the blu-ray release of season 1 and tune in for season 2 when it starts up.
Deadwood: The Complete Series – November 23
One of the best westerns of all time comes to high definition. It still stings thinking that HBO cancelled Deadwood before the story had come to a full conclusion but the first two seasons are among the best I’ve ever seen. Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane carry the series, and all the supporting characters are just as good – so many of these actors have gone on to great series since, you’ll recognize nearly everyone. The production value is excellent and David Milch’s dialogue is perfection. He turns swearing into Shakespearian high art. The third season isn’t as focused as the first two and it’s slow pace is made all the more painful knowing that the series ends there – with very little resolution at all. Had Milch known the third was to be the last, perhaps it’d have been a bit more exciting. Still, this is one set you have to pick up you motherf#&$ing c@#*sucker.
Also of note:
November 2: The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
November 9: Grown Ups, Charlie St. Cloud
November 16: The Polar Express 3D, Mutiny on the Bounty, Lottery Ticket
November 23: Eat Pray Love, The Pillars of the Earth, Flipped, Metropolis
November 30: Fantasia/Fantasia 2000, Meet the Parents/Fockers, Vampires Suck
-You can follow Matthew Crandall on Twitter or find him having a drink at Al Swearengen’s saloon.