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This Week on DVD & Blu-ray (02-21-12)

February 21, 2012

With this being Oscar week, the spotlight is on two releases that were overlooked by the Academy – one thankfully so, while the other quite erroneously. First, there’s the underwhelming collaboration between Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”, that came out last fall. It initially earned some end-of-the-year nomination buzz, but that thankfully that fizzled out. But “Martha Marcy May Marlene”, an impressive directorial debut from writer/director Sean Durkin, was erroneously overlooked – maybe because, like the titular character (excellently played by Elizabeth Olsen), Oscar was confused. Whatever the reason, this uneasy character study is definitely worth your time. Other titles out today: the Bret Ratner/Eddie Murphy (no Oscars for them!) semi-hit, “Tower Heist”, also starring Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick, and “London Boulevard” the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan ( “The Departed” ), starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightly, which saw a limited release overseas with only a short VOD release here in the States.

Two respectable Criterion are out now on DVD & Blu-ray, and they are Otto Preminger’s “Anatomy of a Murder” and Rainer Werner Fassbender’s “World on a Wire”.  Preminger’s 1959 film is a courtroom crime drama starring James Stewart, George C. Scott, and the recently deceased Ben Gazarra. Known for its creative title credit sequence, it is one of the first films to deal with sex and rape in graphic detail. Fassbinder’s 1973 sophisticated, philosophical and inventive sci-fi film about a supercomputer of the future that simulates artificial worlds (long before “Avatar”) and the paranoia and confusion that brings.
Other releases that stand out – “I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac”, being a fan of the late comedian, and the 20th anniversary Blu-ray release of Eastwood’s “Unforgiven”, a Best Picture and Best Director winner.
There’s also Dreamworks’ Oscar-nominated “a quality spin-off from the tedious “Shrek” series, coming out this week as well – on Friday, not Tuesday!
Well, that’s it for this week – previous reviews are highlighted in the list below. Enjoy the Rundown….

  • Anatomy of a Murder (Criterion Collection) (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Bad Actress (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Blank City (DVD)
  • Borgia: Season One (DVD)
  • The Fades: Season One (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Five Star Day (Blu-ray)
  • Hazel: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
  • Honey (Blu-ray) 
  • Honey 2 (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac (DVD)
  • J. Edgar (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Last Fast Ride: The Life, Love, and Death of a Punk Goddess (DVD)
  • Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1991 (DVD)
  • London Boulevard (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Mighty Macs (DVD)
  • Nurse Jackie: Season Three (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Puss in Boots (DVD/Blu-ray) – 02-24-12!
  • Retreat (DVD)
  • The Space Between (DVD)
  • The Story of Ireland (DVD) 
  • That Show with Joan Rivers: Vol. 3 (DVD)
  • Tower Heist (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • Track 29 (DVD)
  • Underdog: Complete Collector’s Edition (DVD) 
  • Unforgiven: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray) 
  • War of the Arrows (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • Weeds: Season Seven (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • World on a Wire (Criterion Collection) (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • ZAAT(DVD/Blu-ray)
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