Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DVD Picks of the Week: April 28, 2009

Hello folks! Coming to you a day late (thanks, allergies), but I'm here, and that's all that counts. Without further clutter, here's what came out on DVD and Blu-ray yesterday, April 28, 2009.

JCVD [DVD][Blu-ray]

I'll be leading off with one of the sleeper hits of 2008. Mabrouk El Mechri's directorial breakout comes at the same time as Jean-Claude Van Damme's stunning comeback. The film, which I positively reviewed back in December, is a self-reflective one for Van Damme. He's able to take a look at himself, and it all comes pouring out at the now well-known monologue scene. Van Damme proves he can act, even if its as a version of himself. You'd be doing yourself a favor to check out this film, Van Damme fan or not, as it was positively one of the best of 2008.

The Hit [Criterion DVD]

The Criterion Collection increased its collection this week with the arrival of a few new titles. The Hit, title #469 in the collection of "continuing series of important classic and contemporary films", stars John Hurt, Terence Stamp, Tim Roth, Laura del Sol and was directed by Stephen Frears, who would go on to later direct notable films like High Fidelity and The Queen. All signs point to this being one cool English film. Check out the trailer below, which is obviously one of the strongest signs of all.

In the Realm of the Senses [Criterion DVD][Blu-ray]

Criterion usually releases in bunches, and this week is no exception. Title #466 is Nagisa Oshima's sexually explicit film In the Realm of the Senses. Oshima's film is "A graphic portrayal of insatiable sexual desire set in 1936 and based on a true incident that depicts a man and a woman consumed by a transcendent, destructive love while living in an era of ever escalating imperialism and governmental control." A trailer to this taboo and groundbreaking film can be found on the Criterion Collection website here.

Empire of Passion [Criterion DVD]

Oh boy, Nagisa Oshima fans are in for a treat this week. Criterion decided to release not one, but two of Oshima's most notable films. Empire of Passion, a film that won Oshima best director at the Cannes Film Festival, is title #467 in the company's ever-expanding collection of films. Much like the above title, Empire of Passion is erotic, but this time its mixed with a dash of horror. Oshima is a filmmaker I am unfamiliar with, but by the looks of things, I want to be familiar with his work. Take a look at the clip provided by the Criterion Collection on their website and you might agree with me.

Martyrs [DVD]

Martyrs is a film that I'm upset at myself for not having seen yet. I have a copy of it sitting on my hard drive just waiting to be watched. Perhaps renting it from Netflix will kick my butt in gear and make me finally watch it. Anyways, from all I've heard and all I've seen this film is supposed to be one of those truly brilliant and brutal films of modern filmmaking. We'll see if the hype holds up! Trailer below.

Nothing But the Truth [DVD]

Being a journalism major myself, any decent film concerning the practice intrigues me. But that doesn't mean a good one shouldn't grab your attention either. Nothing But the Truth is one of the films that flew under the radar in 2008 among the mass of great films we were treated to. Kate Beckinsale stars and Rod Lurie directs (best known for The Last Castle and The Contender? Ok. He's also remaking Straw Dogs). Worth checking out for sure.

What else comes out this week: Star Trek: The Original Series [Blu-ray], Bride Wars [DVD][Blu-ray], The Uninvited [DVD][Blu-ray], The Reader [Blu-ray], The Da Vinci Code [Extended Blu-ray], American Dad! Vol. 4, What Doesn't Kill You [DVD][Blu-ray], The She-Beast.

What to stay away from: Legally Blondes. This one doesn't need to be explained to you, does it? It's a straight to DVD sequel to Legally Blonde 2 and it doesn't star Reese Witherspoon, it's only "presented" by her. I guess there are two stupid blondes this time, and they're twins or something. I don't know. Who cares? It's fucking stupid. Yay America!

What a strong week for DVD and Blu-ray! Okay, maybe not for all of you, but for me it is. Lots of material that has sparked new interests for me. Oshima and Frears both reign heavy in that area. I'm going to be Googling them all night.

I won't see you all again until May! How about that!? Let's hope for some beautiful weather to go along with some beautiful releases! Next week sees the The Curious Case of Benjamin Button get its release on Criterion that seemingly came out of left field that I discussed last March. I also noticed Twilight comes out on if you're like me and would like to see Kristen Stewart in high-definition, you're in luck. This all comes along with a few neat Blu-ray releases that you'll have to come back to read about if you want to find out what they are! Or you can just look at the release lists online and guess. So long!

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