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This Week on DVD & Blu-ray (08-13-13)

August 13, 2013



Out of the three recent releases we’re looking at this week, two of them, “The Company You Keep” and “Emperor”, barely received a recognizable theatrical release, while “Olympus Has Fallen” wound up being one of two Die-Hard at the White House movies this year.  “The Company You Keep” is a thriller directed by Robert Redford, a filmmaker who, like Clint Eastwood, hasn’t slowed down with age, but instead continues to produce films that mean something to him, while drawing an impressive cast. Redford stars as a Weather Underground activist who finds himself on the run once a journalist (Shia LaBeouf) outs him.  That sounds like the political leanings we’ve come to expect from Redford. Another film that had a limited theatrical run earlier this year is “Emperor” the one where Tommy Lee Jones portrays General Douglas McArthur during the American occupation of Japan, just after Emperor Hirohito’s World War II surrender. Directed by Peter Webber (whose last film was 2007’s “Hannibal Rising”) and co-starring Matthew Fox, “Emperor didn’t register with moviegoers, nor did it receive praise from critics. But, something about Jones playing a historical figure, one you’d thing he’d be perfect for, has my curiosity. As for “Olympus”, an Antoine Fuqua action thriller that looks to deliver nothing more than what you’d expect,  well, somehow I gravitate to a movie that is probably as ridiculous, cliche-riddled and insulting as everyone says it is.

I’d watch any of those three movies, in a heartbeat, over the wretched comedy “The Big Wedding”. It’s one of those White People Weekend Wedding comedies deemed “uproarious” (ugh) instead of painful and recycled. It stars once-consistently great actors like Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon – oh oh and guess what? Robin Williams plays (wait for it) a priest! It wouldn’t be complete without lazy rom-com regulars Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried. How can I lambast a movie I haven’t even seen? Because I know a thing or two and I was subjected to the trailer one too many times.

On the flipside,  “What Maisie Knew” had a trailer which piqued my interest, especially when I found out it’s a modern rework of a Henry James novel.  One could describe it as a story about a precocious six year-old girl who gets caught up in her parent’s bitter custody battle, but it looks generally compelling instead of emotionally cloying. It stars Onata Aprile, Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård and Steve Coogan, and directed by David Seigel and Scott McGehee (who made 2001’s “The Deep End” together).

The documentary “A Band Called Death” tells the story of a  1970s punk trio out of Detroit that received a cult following decades after they had all but disappeared. Credited as the first punk band (not to mention black punk band) Death receives a wider recognition with this film, directed by newcomers Mark Christopher and Jeff Howlett, which has been called both “bittersweet” and “soul-searching” by critics. I’m sold.

Criterion has released a movie I’ve never even heard of, a twisty psychological drama starring Rock Hudson from 1966 called “Seconds”, directed by John Frankenheimer.  It looks to be a paranoid thriller with a dash of identity crisis, but what has me sold is how it looks like a feature-length episode of The Twilight Zone (my favorite television show ever).  The film also stars Salome Jens, John Randolph and Will Geer (who became popular as Grampa Walton in his later years).  Yes, this one looks to be a must-see on my list.

If you’re looking for a thoroughly enjoyable family classic to introduce to your children, one that you yourself can find enjoyment in, look no further than “The Muppet Movie” from 1979.  Directed by James Frawley (who had previously directed a handful of episodes of  “The Monkees” and “That Girl” in the 60s (thank you, IMDb), with contagiously enjoyable tunes by Paul Williams and Ken Ascher, such as “The Rainbow Connection” (nominated for an Academy Award) and “Movin’ Right Along”.  Disney has released an edition of the Jim Henson production called the “Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition” – which makes me feel old. If you’ve never seen this one, I don’t know what to tell ya other than “see it”.  It’s sweet and delightful and infectiously funny.

New to Blu-ray this week is another assortment of random 80s movies like: Peter Hyams’ “The Presidio”, Adrian Lyne’s “Flashdance” and Brian DePalma’s “Body Double”. I recommend DePalma’s ode to film noir and Hitchcock, that has Craig Wasson playing a claustrophobic actor who’s unwittingly embroiled in a bizarre whodunnit. It also features Melanie Griffith, a creepy Gregg Henry and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Also out this week on Blu-ray for the first time is the Western classic , the highly-influential “Shane”. Can you believe I’ve never seen it? Yes, it’s true. But I do plan on rectifying that.

Okay, that’s enough for this week. As usual, links to previous reviews are highlighted below. Enjoy the Rundown…..



  • A Werewolf Boy (DVD)
  • A Band Called Death (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Big Wedding (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Captains Close Up (DVD)
  • Chihuahua Too (DVD)
  • The Company You Keep (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Deadly Swarm (DVD)
  • Detour (DVD)
  • Doctor Who: The Green Death – Special Edition (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Emperor (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Enlightened: The Complete Second Season (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Family Ties: The Seventh and Final Season (DVD)
  • Flashdance (Blu-ray)
  • Girls: The Complete Second Season (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Guillotines (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • I Killed My Mother (DVD) (DVD)
  • The Mindy Project: Season One
  • The Muppet Movie: The Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
  • The Odd Angry Shot (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • The Office: Season Nine (DVD)
  • Olympus Has Fallen  (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Presidio (Blu-ray)
  • Seconds (Criterion Collection) (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Shaft (2000) (Blu-ray)
  • Shane (Blu-ray)
  • Southland: The Complete Fifth & Final Season (DVD)
  • Super Storm (DVD/Blu-ray)
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