Friday, November 6, 2009

DVD Picks of the Week: Oct 27 + Nov 3

My trip to Austin got me a little behind as far as updating my weekly picks DVD and Blu-ray is concerned. So I decided to turn the two past missed weeks into one. I'll only be touching on the really super cool stuff here.

October 27th

Night of the Creeps [DVD][Blu-ray]

I already made comment on this terrific 1980's campy b-movie that blends horror with satire and spoof. Night of the Creeps finally gets its long-awaited DVD and Blu-ray release, and is really an essential edition to anyone's collection. Even if you haven't seen this film, just go buy it. If you love the genre you'll love this too.

Orphan [DVD][Blu-ray]

I missed seeing this in theaters because my friends collectively thought it was stupid. Ever since its theatrical release, I've only heard good things from fans of horror about this title. I meant to watch it during the month of October, but time didn't allow for it. It's on the top of my list.

Whatever Works [DVD][Blu-ray]

Been waiting on this one for awhile. Whatever Works is the collaboration between Larry David and Woody Allen. What perfect timing as I watched this today. It's a different style of humor. David is able to successfully separate his character from the one seen on Curb Your Enthusiasm all the while staying true to a similar form of social comedy that everyone loves out of him. Well worth watching.

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue [Blu-ray]

I could have sworn this film had already been released on Blu-ray. First known to me by its alternate title of Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, this is one of the unheralded zombie classics. Of all time. It has a slow-moving pace like most other European zombie titles, but the complete package is totally worth it. Increase your zombie experience with this title.

Z [Criterion DVD]

Z gets a reissue by Criterion. Add this to the list of films I've meant to watch. That is all.

The Sam Fuller Film Collection [DVD]

Boy did I pick a busy week to skip. A new collection featuring the films of the great Sam Fuller has been released. Gotta love Sony and what they've been doing lately. This collection includes: IT HAPPENED IN HOLLYWOOD, ADVENTURE IN SAHARA, POWER OF THE PRESS, SHOCKPROOF, SCANDAL SHEET, UNDERWORLD USA. Sorry about the caps. Blame Amazon!

What else came out this week (Oct. 27): Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Monty Python: Almost The Truth, Nothing Like the Holidays, Tales from the Darkside: The Second Season, Luis Bunuel's Death in the Garden, Black Devil Doll, 42nd Street Forever 5: Alamo Drafthouse Edition, Sauna, Messiah of Evil: The Second Coming, Il Divo, Tinto Brass Collection, Vol. III
Stan Helsing, Fear(s) of the Dark, The Asphyx, Night of Death!.

What to stay away from (Oct. 27): Two things. One for quality. Stan Helsing because it's one of those stupid spoofs from one of the seven writers of Scary Movie. The other for stupidity in packaging. Adult Swim in a Box, while containing quality television programming, is a baffling collection. You get random seasons of some of the best shows. Season 2 of Sealab 2021, Season 3 of Space Ghost and so on. So unless the stars align and you need those exact seasons, this would be a strange way to begin an Adult Swim collection.

November 3rd

North by Northwest [DVD][Blu-ray]

The real treat with this new release is the Blu-ray. North by Northwest is probably the film that made me fall in love with Alfred Hitchcock. I've only seen one film of his that left a bad taste in my mouth (Topaz). Hitchcock had one of the most remarkably consistent careers of any filmmaker. His worst is best than some director's best. North by Northwest is an especially alluring film for its epic sweeping of the country. It's a grandiose adventure unlike anything else the master of suspense created. Fans should look to eat up this beautiful new release and Blu-ray transfer. And to save space I'll mention this here. Also released this week is a collection of four Hitchcock classics. In TCM's continuing series of budget releases, Suspicion, Strangers on a Train, The Wrong Man and I Confess are packaged together in one affordable collection of Hitchcock goodness. Strangers on a Train is probably the best film here, but all four are some of his best work.

Wings of Desire [DVD][Blu-ray]

One important service of these blog posts are to remind me that there are artists out there that I personally haven't checked out yet. I probably would have seen Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire had it not been out of print back when I searched for it on Netflix. Now Criterion has pulled another miracle and given the film its supposed due with a DVD and Blu-ray release. I gotta check this one out.

Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol 1. [DVD]

I'll own this set one day. I'm only familiar with Fritz Lang's The Big Heat out of the collection of five films. Included are (The Big Heat / 5 Against the House / The Lineup / Murder by Contract / The Sniper). What this set does great is bring some hidden gems out of the woodwork and gives them great transfers. The Sniper is an especially appealing film from Edward Dmytryk, one of the more unheralded film noir directors of his generation. Look into this set, noir fans.

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