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This Week in DVD & Bluray (04-20-10)

April 20, 2010

After the past few rough weeks on the new release shelves, this week will feel like a tall cool Budweiser for those in desperate thirst for great home viewing possibilities.   This week is filled with must-buys if you’re a Bluray enthusiast, as well as several Oscar nominees and winners.  Enjoy!


Avatar (2009) – DVD & Bluray

Whether love or hate, everyone has an opinion about James Cameron’s green-screened blue-alien epic Avatar.  Re-live the adventure of Jake Sully, a paraplegic marine who finds a second chance as a large blue alien while he infiltrates an unknown civilization on the moon called Pandora.  In what is sure to be a bare-bones release with no special features or added scenes, there is solace in knowing that the Bluray will at least look good!


The Lovely Bones (2-Disc Special Edition) (2009) – DVD & Bluray

Peter Jackson – director of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy – returns with another special effects heavy film with “The Lovely Bones”, an adaptation of the bestselling book by Alice Sebold.  A quiet neighborhood man murders a young girl named Susie Salmon, but her family only knows that she’s missing.  Due to the nature of her death, Susie is trapped between the land of the living and the dead, as she intervenes in the real world to help her family find the identity of her killer.  Though the film received very few positive reviews, Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” will, like “Avatar”, at least look great on Bluray.


Crazy Heart (2009) – DVD & Bluray

Scott Cooper’s writing and directorial debut “Crazy Heart” features an Oscar-winning performance as Bad Blake, a washed-up alcoholic country-music star who is going through a major low-point in his life.  Blake begins to reassess his life when he meets a young newspaper columnist named Jean Craddock.  In what may seem like a Greek tragedy, there is a great story buried beneath all the heartache in “Crazy Heart”.


Other DVD/Bluray releases for the week of 04/20/10):

The Basketball Diaries – Bluray

Battleship Potemkin — Bluray

Cheech & Chong’s Hey Watch This – DVD & Bluray

Crimes of Fashion — DVD

Deadly Impact — DVD

The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie! – DVD

Handy Manny: Big Race — DVD

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys – Season 1 — DVD

Homecoming — DVD

Merlin: The Complete First Season — DVD

Minority Report (2-Disc Special Edition) — Bluray

Necrosis — DVD

Neowolf — DVD

Peacock — DVD

Summer Hours (Criterion Collection) – DVD & Bluray

Vivre sa vie (Criterion Collection) — DVD

Xena: Warrior Princess – Season 1 — DVD

The Young Victoria – DVD & Bluray

Go forth and conquer the video stores, Netflix queues, and Redboxes near you!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. mATtHEw gRAmItH permalink
    April 20, 2010 12:23 pm

    BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN out on Blueray! Nothing has seriously tempted me to buy a blueray player and an HD projector up ’til now, but if the great European classics of the silent era are going to start getting the blueray treatment, I may have to rethink!
    There are those who argue that the great European silents represent the very best of pure cinema. When I watch a film like BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, I’m not so sure they’re wrong. Books on and instructors of basic filmmaking often advise novice filmmakers to watch films such as these to see how to tell compelling stories using just images. For me, the experience of watching these is similar to watching a Coen Brothers, Stanley Kubrik, or David Lynch film. There’s something in the images that tells me that if I reach a little, think a little, the payoff will be fulfilling, and it usually is. There is a great, six part series about European Silent films, narrated by Kenneth Branaugh, called CINEMA EUROPE: THE OTHER HOLLYWOOD. I have it on VHS, but I think it’s available on DVD.
    If you haven’t seen BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, this moving, important film to the history of cinema, give yourself a treat and spend some time with it. The director, Sergei Eisenstein was the Spielberg AND Godard of his day. Then check out some other silent greats like THE LAST LAUGH, NOSFERATU, MOTHER, STRIKE, EARTH, THE STUDENT OF PRAGUE, THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, J’ACCUSE, NAPOLEON, THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, METROPOLIS, and MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA.

    • April 20, 2010 12:25 pm

      Sounds like somebody’s taken a Film Appreciation course!

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      April 20, 2010 12:51 pm

      Eisenstein is on my radar as someone whose work I need to catch-up with (it’s a long list) and is often mentioned on filmspotting! Wait, what’s a VHS?

  2. mATtHEw gRAmItH permalink
    April 20, 2010 2:22 pm

    Paul: Yeah, I know I can come off as a pretentious film snob sometimes, but I’m not posing/trying to show off. I just love great films regardless of their age, and across all genres and types, and languages. Just as people find good books based on the author or genre, I try to find ways to group films to point me towards the excellent ones. And their are many excellent European silent films among the ones that are currently available to watch.
    But yes, I did take a bunch of film classes in the mid 90’s – majored in Film Studies. I studied lots of genres and eras but mostly have paid better attention to foreign classics after college. European silents and British New Wave ( or 60’s “Kitchen Sink” or British Free Cinema movement) are among my favorite film eras/movements.

    David: VHS – I know, it felt weird just typing that! I haven’t even owned a VCR in years. Gotta pick up a used one for $5 somewhere to watch the handful of videos I still have.

    • April 20, 2010 2:24 pm

      I can loan out one of my two VCRs!

    • April 20, 2010 2:25 pm

      Matt – Good for you! The world needs more schooled film enthusiasts. Keep preaching the good word.

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      April 20, 2010 2:46 pm

      REMINDER: Listen to filmspotting! (they often praise the British New Wave)

  3. David J. Fowlie permalink*
    April 20, 2010 2:41 pm

    I think the only VHS I kept was Harrison Ford hosting “Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark” which gave an overview of movie stunts while focusing on “Raiders” stunts as well….back when Ford wasn’t such a grump.

  4. mATtHeW gRAmITh permalink
    April 20, 2010 3:07 pm

    Paul: I’m always trying to spread the good word when it comes to film! I think if people saw more quality films their lives they would be the better for it.
    I’ve forgotten way more than I’ve retained from my film studies. I was always more interested in film production but ended up in film studies…it’s a long story. I did learn though how just a little understanding of the art of film (or of the filmmaker’s intentions) can turn what one considers to be a mediocre film into a great one. I think of my own approach towards appreciation for film as a sort of hybrid between the academic and intuitive. I try to see film as art.

    David: I don’t think I have a single feature length film on VHS either, just the above 6 part series and some homemade/student films and …hmmm….I’ll have to open some boxes and see. Now I’m curious.
    I’ve long suspected that Harrison Ford is actually a big stoner and gets irritable when he’s not high. Just a theory.

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      April 20, 2010 3:47 pm

      Ah yes, “film as art” the neverending topic. Well, film certainly “can” be art and that’s great but when it’s not and it’s still not a waste of time or doesn’t insult or bore me….that’s cool too. Ford a stoner! That explains much. Could it explain was his last great role was in “The Fugitive?”

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