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This Week on DVD & Blu-ray (03-26-13)

March 27, 2013

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Rising to the top of the list this week are two recent releases from last year, “Lincoln” and “Killing Them Softly“.  Daniel Day-Lewis Oscar-winning performance as the 16th U.S. President is the reason to see Steven Spielberg’s latest historical drama. Other than his lead role, the  production design and score by John Williams, I was in the minority, finding more problems than praise with the film. As much as Andrew Dominik’s new film “Killing Them Softly” was anticipated, it apparently turned out to be a disappointment for many. I look forward to coming to my own conclusion once I catch up with the crime thriller. Robert Bresson’s 1957 masterpiece “A Man Escaped” must also take its rightful place at the top of the list, as it gets the Criterion Collecton treatment. It’s a compelling war thriller about an imprisoned French activist who plans an elaborate escape from a Nazi prison. Those are just three releases, but there’s plenty of others to choose from.

The 18th century historical drama, “A Royal Affair“, which recently received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, is now out.  The Danish film stars Mads Mikkelson, Alicia Vikander and Mikkel Følsgaard, and focuses on the  mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark, and the romance between his wife, Caroline Matilda of Great Britain, and the royal physician Struensee. It’s written and directed by Nikolaj Arcel, who also wrote the screenplay for the Swedish “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“.

Also out this week is “Easy Money” – no, not the Rodney Dangerfield comedy from 1980! – a 2010 Swedish film otherwise known as “Snabba Cash”. The thriller, directed by Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House“), which received a limited theatrical run in U.S. theaters last year, stars Joel Kinneman (American audiences know him from AMC’s “The Killing”, but he’ll soon be seen as the next “Robocop”) as Johan “JW” Westlund, a lower class individual living a double life in the upper class areas of Stockholm. He’s lured into the enticing world of organized crime after meeting a wealthy girl and begins to sell cocaine to afford his expensive lifestyle.

If you’re so compelled to take in a park-your-brain family comedy, there’s the recent “Parental Guidance” starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as a pair of grandparents who agree to take care of their daughter’s (Marisa Tomei) children. Hilarity ensueth? I can’t tell ya, but let’s just remind ourselves that there’s an audience for everything. The DVD comes with a gag reel, deleted scenes, a commentary with director Andy Finkman (“Race to Witch Mountain”) and a typical behind-the-scenes featurette.

Now, if you’ll look close enough at the list below, you’ll see this week is showing some love to actor Christopher McDonald for some reason. He starred in horror film, “The Collection” (a sequel to the 2009 “The Collector”, once again directed by Marcus Dunstan, screenwriter of the “Saw” franchise), which came out last November. Yeah, I didn’t bother either. McDonald was also in 1995’s “Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back” and  1993’s “Benefit of the Doubt”.

Besides “A Man Escaped”, the other Criterion title out this week is “Monsieur Verdoux“, a black comedy from 1947 written, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin. The film, which also stars Martha Raye, Marilyn Nash and William Frawley (Fred Mertz!), includes a documentary focusing on the film’s production and the controversy surrounding the film’s release, interviews with the cast conducted by Chaplin, radio ads, etc. Basically, the usual awesomeness from Criterion.

Also out this week: The beloved coming-of-age family film “The Sandlot” celebrates 20 years and a Collector’s Edition of cult-favorite “Phantasm II” and because the first one is getting a theatrical 3D re-release, all the “Jurrasic Park” movies are getting a Blu-ray, with a special emphasis on the 20th anniversary of the first movie in the franchise.

That’s enough for this week (even though there’s more gems to discover on the list). Previous reviews are highlighted below. Enjoy the Rundown!

  • A Man Betrayed (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • A Man Escaped (Criterion Collection) (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • A Royal Affair (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Adventures in Zambezia (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • American Son (Blu-ray)
  • The Atomic Kid (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Bangkok Revenge (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Beautiful Girls (Blu-ray)
  • Benefit of the Doubt (Blu-ray)
  • Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back(Blu-ray)
  • The Borgias: The Second Season (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Bounty Hunters (1996)(Blu-ray)
  • China Gate (Blu-ray)
  • The Collection (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Continuum: Season One (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Day of the Falcon (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Dead Sushi (Blu-ray) 
  • The Devil and Miss Jones (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Digimon Adventure: Volume 2 (DVD)
  • Down to You (2000) (Blu-ray)
  • Easy Money (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Frankenstein Theory (DVD)
  • From Beyond (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • Futureworld (Blu-ray)
  • Immortality (1996)(Blu-ray)
  • Inuyasha: The Movie – The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
  • Ironweed (Blu-ray)
  • Jurassic Park (Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • Jurassic Park III (Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot: The Complete Series (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Killing Them Softly (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Late Bloomers (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Lawless Nineties (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out (DVD)
  • Lincoln  (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Lost Wod: Jurassic Park (Blu-ray)
  • MADtv: Season Two (DVD)
  • McLintock! (Blu-ray)
  • Men at Work: The Complete First Season (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Monsieur Verdoux (Criterion Collection) (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Music of the Heart (1999) (Blu-ray)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVI (DVD)
  • The Official Digimon Adventure Set: The Complete Second Season
  • Panic in the Street (Blu-ray)
  • Parental Guidance (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Phantasm II (Collector’s Edition) (1988) (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Playing By Heart (Blu-ray)
  • Ruthless (Blu-ray)
  • The Sandlot: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)  
  • Senseless (Blu-ray)  
  • The Shipping News (Blu-ray)  
  • Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One (Blu-ray)  
  • Sun Shines Bright (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • To The Arctic 3D (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Veep: The Complete First Season (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Westwward Ho (1935) (Blu-ray)
  • Womb (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Wyoming Outlaw (DVD/Blu-ray)
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