Tuesday, June 9, 2009

DVD Picks of the Week: June 9th, 2009

I'm going to try real hard to not look past this week to next week, where Criterion will finally release The Seventh Seal, my favorite film of all time, on to the Blu-ray format. Accompanying it will be a brand new and remastered standard definition release.

With that said, this week contains a few hits among some misses, which is typical of most weeks. Before I start to think too much about the wonderful thought of seeing Max von Sydow trotting along the Swedish country amid a plague, let's get to this week.

Gran Torino [DVD][Blu-ray]

One of the more enjoyable films of 2008 was what is supposedly Clint Eastwood's last performance as an actor. Gran Torino is the culmination of a career best recognized and remembered for the undeniably badass, headstrong and witty characters Eastwood portrayed such as Dirty Harry and Blondie in Serigo Leone's spaghetti westerns. This film is essentially Detective Harry Callahan even more grown up and retired, sitting on his porch with that intimidating scowl. Gran Torino isn't the perfect or masterpiece film some might take it to be, but it is certainly a great send off for the legendary artist who will continue to inspire from behind the lens. Oh, and to anyone who didn't like Clint's singing at the end of the film, lighten up just a bit.

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music

With the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock on hand, a plethora of material is being released to capitalize on the legendary event. Last week I made note of a release very similar in style and taste, the Last Days of the Fillmore DVD. Much like that release, this exhaustive and large collection contains the four hour director's cut of the original documentary film about Woodstock, among with great extras like expanded concert footage from the likes of Santana, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and more. For collectors and big spenders, the ultimate collector's edition contains a whole bunch of retro goodies including a 60+ page Life magazine reprint, a Woodstock patch, a lucite lenticular display featuring 3 vintage festival photos and more. This seems like the ultimate collection for all fans, young and old, of this era that is sadly long gone.

The International [DVD][Blu-ray]

The International reminds me so much of last week's release of Defiance. Just like Defiance, The International is a film I saw trailers for almost every time I went to see a new film in the theater. By the time the film actually came out, I was terribly sick of it! Also like Defiance, this Clive Owen led film seems to be a decent watch, but nothing out of the ordinary. It appears to be a rather out of the mold action thriller combination at first glance. Of course, the film does have good bloodlines. Tom Tykwer, the film's director, was the man behind the exploratory and experimental film Run Lola Run. I think I'll watch this one sooner than later.

The Jack Lemmon Film Collection [DVD Box Set]

Jack Lemmon is one of the most terrific comedic actors in American history. I became a fan of his with what is perhaps his most popular film, the Billy Wilder classic Some Like it Hot (and then later with Glengarry Glen Ross, whose cast serves up one of the best ensemble performances of that decade). Some Like it Hot is one of the funniest films of all time, with a sense of humor somehow lost upon Americans. Not that I have anything against dirty, violent or toilet humor, but there truly is an art to the eloquent and witty comedic performances of actors like Lemmon. This set contains five films I myself haven't seen, but it seems to be a good entry set to expanding one's knowledge of Lemmon. Those looking to be introduced to Lemmon for the first time might want to start the way I did, because it sure made me recognize the talent bestowed upon Mr. Lemmon.

Predator 2 [Blu-ray]

It's Predator 2. On Blu-ray. What more should I say?

Z Rock - Season 1 [DVD]

Z Rock is a show that found its home on the Independent Film Network (IFC). I've only actually seen one episode of this show, and it was absolutely hilarious. I'd always been meaning to watch the rest of the show, but never got around to it. Perhaps I finally will. It sure seems to be worth watching. One of the hidden gems in an overcrowded generation of television.

What else comes out this week: The Shield: Season Seven, Iron Maiden: Flight 666, Crossing Over, Fired Up (Unrated)/[Blu-ray], Survivorman: Season Three, The Cleaner: First Season, Fatal Attraction [Blu-ray], Nobel Son, Zane Grey Theatre Complete Season One, The Siege [Blu-ray], Time Warp: Season One [Blu-ray]/[DVD], Indecent Proposal [Blu-ray].

What to stay away from: With so much absolute SHIT to stay away from, I don't know how I could only pick just one. Actual, when I saw this listing, I didn't have much trouble choosing. I'm sure you'll understand yourselves. Steer clear of the Judge Judy - 2 Pack. My eyes opened into a gaze when I saw that this was an actual product and not some sick joke made by Amazon. Courtroom television dramas are the absolute bottom of the barrel of television programming. The genre is certainly a pioneer of the reality television genre, and that along is a large enough strike against the whole thing. But secondly, it seems to just be a platform to expose and exploit people who are in situations less greater than our own. If the validity of the "trials" is as true as they want us to believe they are, the whole thing is more than sad. I do hope that if this is indeed a guilty pleasure of any of yours, you ask yourself why exactly you enjoy watching an overbearing "judge" shout over less fortunate people.

Ah well, that puts to end today's significant releases. Not that much to choose from, so maybe you should just save your precious money for The Seventh Seal's reissue and Blu-ray debut next week. Tune back in next Tuesday where you'll be treated to a post too long enough even for my own good to celebrate the release of one of the greatest films ever made!


Karen from Mentor said...

Amen to Jack Lemmon.
Karen :)

Michael Walsh said...

Thanks for agreeing, and reading!