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This Week on DVD & Blu-ray (08-27-13)

August 27, 2013

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While a new “Transformers” movie is being filmed in Chicago right now, director Michael Bay’s recent movie “Pain & Gain” is now available to rent or own – and believe it or not, it was on some critic’s Top Five Films of 2013 (so far) lists. I didn’t get around to seeing the based-on-a-true-story action comedy in theaters, so I’m interested to see how it fares at home. On the flip side, I can’t see how Baz Lurhmann’s “The Great Gatsby” can have any impact at home unless you have a home theater system with 3D capabilities. The F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan didn’t do too much for me other than the razzle dazzle it offers, but many viewers really enjoyed it. “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (so many reasons why I shouldn’t like that title, but I do) didn’t find many viewers though. It might’ve been due to its limited release or maybe the time of year it was released or maybe that title after all.  Directed by Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding” and “The Namesake”), someone whose films I enjoy, this intriguing thriller follows a young Pakistani man who finds himself caught between following his dreams here in America, getting finger-pointed for terrorist acts and finding himself pulled by the call of his homeland.

A film I saw months ago that I recommend is “Kon-Tiki“, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language film at this year’s Oscars earlier this year (it was also nominated in the same category for last year’s Golden Globes). Kon-Tiki was the name of a large raft made out of balsa wood (named after the Inca god of Sun and storm) which was made and used by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl back in 1947 for his six-man expedition that took him from South America to the Polynesian Islands. The purpose was to prove that the indigenous Polynesian people actually came from South America and settled there in a pre-Columbian era, a theory that most anthropologists at the time did not subscribe to.  This film is a dramatized thriller, in the survival-at-sea subgenre, (unlike the documentary with the same name, on the same subject, from 1950) and, if you’re like me and you find such films interesting and absorbing, you won’t be disappointed here.  Like many films nominated in the Best Foreign Language category, American audiences really didn’t get a chance to see “Kon-Tiki” (or any of the other nominees) until after the Oscar telecast or sometime in the Spring/Summer schedule, even though the film was released last August.

Also out: 

– The 2012 South Korean thriller “A Company Man“, directed by Im Sang-yoon, about a hitman who finds himself targeted by his ex-employers after he falls in love with a single mother and quits his job.

– The 2011 French film “The Painting” or “Le Tableau” is a beautiful animated feature directed by Jean-François Laguionie that finally saw a limited release in the States this year. This is a creative film, both in animated execution and in storyline and that observation is solely based on the trailer I watched. My wife and daughter saw it and highly recommend it, so that’s good enough for me. It’s been available on iTunes and other rental avenues for months now, but this weeks come out on Blu-ray (hopefully with some cool making-of featurettes).

New to Blu-ray: 

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh“, this 1977 Disney feature is often dismissed for being a tad slow and maybe even boring. I scoff at such a description. I grew up on this enjoyable musical, with its whimsy and delightful characters, so maybe there’s a bias. But anyone who watches this and doesn’t feel a rumbly in their tummy, a butterfly tickle (if you will) that recalls wonderful nostalgia for storybook adaptations, well: no honey for you.

Q – The Winged Serpent, a 1982 horror film written and directed by Larry Cohen and starring Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine and Richard Roundtree. It’s about, well, a female winged serpent who takes residence at the Chrysler Building in New York City. I never saw this movie, but the theatrical poster by fantasy artist Boris Vallejo always grabbed me. Shout Factory, which has done a stellar job re-releasing cult classics on Blu-ray with great care and special features, has made this release possible.

Well, that’s it for this week. Previous reviews are highlighted below. Enjoy the Rundown….

 

 

  • 1939: Battle of Westerplatte (DVD)
  • A Company Man (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • Among Friends
  • And Then There Were None (Blu-ray) 
  • At Any Price 
  • Barbie Mariposa & the Fairy Princess (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • Billy the Kid
  • Call Me Fritz: The Complete Third Season
  • Dark Angel (Blu-ray) 
  • Eclipse Series 39: Early Fassbinder (Criterion Collection) 
  • Elementary: The First Season
  • Free Angela and All Political Prisoners
  • The Great Gatsby (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • Guilty Crown (Part 1 Limited Edition) (Blu-ray) 
  • Guilty Crown (Part 2 Limited Edition) (Blu-ray) 
  • Hanging for Django (1969) 
  • The Idolmaker (Blu-ray) 
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Blu-ray) 
  • Ministry: Enjoy the Quiet – Live at Wacken 2012 (Blu-ray) 
  • Monsters Wanted
  • NYC Underground
  • Only the Valiant (Blu-ray)
  • Pain & Gain
  • The Painting (Blu-ray) 
  • Pawn Shop Chronicles (Blu-ray)
  • Penny Serenade (Blu-ray) 
  • Pink Floyd: Classic Albums – The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon (Blu-ray) 
  • Q: The Winged Surpent (Blu-ray)
  • Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray) 
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist
  • The Rolling Stones: Stones in Exile (Blu-ray) 
  • Sapphire & Steele: The Complete Series
  • Sons of Anarchy: Season Five (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • Stranded (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • Supper Buddies
  • To Be or Not to Be (Criterion Collection) (DVD/Blu-ray) 
  • Unit 7
  • The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season
  • WWE: The Best of MSG (Blu-ray) 
 
 
 
 
 

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