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This Week on DVD & Blu-ray (05-21-13)

May 23, 2013


NOTE: It appears I was incorrect when I announced that Steven Soderbergh’s latest “Side Effects” was recently released – It comes out this week.  So, I encourage you to check out the potentially last Soderbergh film as it is quite a surprising thriller, especially considering how refreshingly different the film is from its trailer. Well done. And then there’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, who returned to headlining a film this past January with “The Last Stand”, the American debut of South Korean director Kim Ji-woon. It’s in no way classic Ah-nuld, but it has a classic Western tale to it and it plays to action icon’s age. It may be predictable and cheesy, but it’s also a bloody good time. “Parker” is another tough guy movie that came at the same time and stars Jason Statham in the titular role. It’s actually the latest adaptation of writer Donald E. Westlake’s (under the pseudonym Richard Stark)Parker character. This was diretor Taylor Hackford’s (“Ray”)stab at film noir and although I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks like it has a miscast lead and that’s not a good sign. 

Also out this week….

“Beautiful Creatures” – an adaptation of the first in the American Young Adult novel series the Caster Chronicles. Written and directed by Richard LaGravenese (“A Little Princess”), the Southern romantic fantasy stars  the likes of: Alden Ehrenreich (“Stoker”), Alice Englert (“Ginger & Rosa”) , Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann & Emma Thompson. Sounds interesting with a solid cast. I’ll get to it eventually.

“Captain America” – did you know the Red Skull was actually Italian? Did you know that J. D. Salinger’s son, Matt played Steve Rogers aka Captain America? That’s all true. It happened in a 1990 film adaptation of the Marvel Comic, directed by Albert Pyun. For it’s time, it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Cap has certainly been through worse live-action iterations, but this one, which co-starred Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox, is probably the most chastised. Sure, it’s cheesy and has a visibly meager budget, but it’s fun to compare the Cap we have now to this. Now, for the first time, it’s available in a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray.

“National Lampoon’s Vacation” – Warner Bros. is celebrating the 30th anniversary of this classic 80s comedy. Feel old? Remember when Chevy Chase was funny? Randy Quaid for that matter? Well, if you don’t then you need to check this out. The just-okay sequels, “Christmas Vacation” and “Vegas Vacation” are also out this week (they went and skipped over “European Vacation”), but nothing compares to the Griswald family’s first outing, as they make their way from Chicago to Wallyworld. Oh Clark!

“My Neighbor Totoro” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” – Disney is finally releasing two of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s fan-favorite animated features on Blu-ray. “Totoro” is my personal favorite. It’s fun, funny, a little cooky and kinda creepy. “Howl’s” is more aggressive and sprawling; with a specific charm all its own. Both Studio Ghibli films have subtle social commentaries, fantastic female heroines and are typically  beautiful and are amazing and great for all-ages.

“Medium Cool” – written and directed by famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler, this 1969 cult favorite  is finally getting the Criterion treatment. It takes place during a time of social and political upheaval in the U.S. Haskell’s directorial debut takes place in Chicago, during the Democratic National Convention, where he combines fictional storytelling with a cinema vérité documentary style to tell a story of the working world and romanticism of a television cameraman (Robert Forster), that climaxes with an extended sequence shot in the middle of the actual rots in Grant Park. I haven’t seen it, but have been meaning to catch up with it for some time now. It also stars Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz, Marianna Hill and Harold Blankenship.

“Stand Up Guys” – Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, star in this supposedly reflective crime comedy that revolves over-the-hill hitmen. It sounds awful and to many it was (except the late Roger Ebert). I’m still scratching my head, wondering why this movie opened up last year’s Chicago International Film Festival last fall. Directed by Chicago native, actor Fisher Stevens (“Short Circuit”) and also stars Lucy Punch and Julianna Marguiles, with a song by Jon Bon Jovi – say what?

That’s enough for this week! Previous reviews are highlighted below. Enjoy the Rundown….



  • The Aquabats! Super Show! Season One (DVD)
  • Beautiful Creatures (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Best of Warner Bros 25 Cartoon Collection – Hanna Barbera (DVD)
  • The Burning (Collector’s Edition) (Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • Call the Midwife: Season Two (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Captain America (1990) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • Cleopatra (50th Anniversary 2-Disc Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • Cold Eyes of Fear: Remastered Edition (1971) (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin: The Complete First Season (DVD)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s Cool Air (DVD)
  • Laverne & Shirley: The Sixth Season (DVD)
  • LEGO Batman: The Movie – DC Superheroes Unite (Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • Love Sick Love (DVD)
  • Medium Cool (Criterion Collection) (DVD)
  • Monsuno: Power (DVD)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
  • National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation (Blu-ray)
  • Nightfall (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn (DVD)
  • Open Road (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Parker (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Perception: The Complete First Season (DVD)
  • Picture Day (DVD)
  • The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Royal Collection (Box set) (DVD)
  • Saving Hope: The Complete First Season (DVD)
  • The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine: Remastered Edition  (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Sommersby (Blu-ray)
  • Stand Up Guys (DVD)
  • Subspecies: The Blu-ray Collection – Volume 1 (Blu-ray)
  • This Girl Is Badass (Blu-ray)
  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown (Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • Teen Wolf: Season Two (DVD)
  • This Girl Is Badass (DVD)
  • True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Ultimate Gangster Collection Classic (Blu-ray)
  • Ultimate Gangster Collection Contemporary (Blu-ray)





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