Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Black Sheep's Blu-Tuesday

It is an extremely busy day for film releases and most of them are actually pretty good too.  What are the odds?! Maple Pictures releases KICK-ASS, the critically acclaimed R-rated anti-superhero movie failed to connect in theatres but will surely find its audience on Blu-ray.  If it doesn't though, that sequel is pretty much done for.  20th Century Fox puts out medium sized family hit, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID as well as Kevin Costner/Susan Sarandon baseball hit, BULL DURHAM.  I've not seen either but BULL DURHAM should be arriving shortly so I will know soon enough. And the 25th anniversary edition of THE BREAKFAST CLUB finds its way to Blu-ray, courtesy of Universal.  Here are a few more highlighted titles ...

Roman Polanski's latest thriller is fairly devoid of thrills I'm afraid.  This is mostly because he can't seem to decide whether his intention is to make a point about pushing the boundaries of torture in the name of preventing terror or whether it is simply to tell a strong story.  His complete lack of focus makes for a fairly disjointed mystery and a mediocre experience.  Ewan McGregor takes on an assignment to ghost write the memoirs of a past British Prime Minister but gets himself into way more than the paycheck is worth when the PM (Pierce Brosnan) finds himself at the center of an international war crimes scandal at the same time.  THE GHOST WRITER is a functional piece of film but ironically, it feels as though someone other than Polanski actually called the shots.  (E1 Entertainment)

Like many other people, I did not catch this film upon its initial 1996 release.  It was Henry Selick's follow-up to one of my all time favorite films, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, but yet it could not grab my attention.  I've grown now, as has my palette and I think it is time to take a great big bite of this big old peach.  JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH tells the story of young orphan James trying to find his way in the world.  It features voice work by  David Thewlis and Susan Sarandon and is based on a Raold Dahl book (FANTASTIC MR. FOX) so all the elements are in place for it to be real juicy.    Perhaps it was just ahead of its time or perhaps we were all just behind on our own time. (Walt Disney) 

I'm very excited about this title.  BLOOD SIMPLE is the debut feature from Joel and Ethan Coen.  You likely know them better as the Coen Brothers and they began their tradition of complication and quirk long before they made contemporary classics like FARGO and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.  This one is about a guy who hires another guy to kill his cheating wife and her boyfriend; only the guy he hires to kill them has got some plans of his own.  I am thrilled to have this title on Blu-ray as I have not seen the 1985 film in quite some time. (I only first saw it about ten years ago; I won't pretend to have been on the Coen Bros. band wagon since the beginning.) I do remember though that you can see their genius being born and knowing where their careers go, it is a delight to see where they began. (MGM)

ALSO AVAILABLE NOW: As if there weren't enough titles already listed, right?  I reviewed the brilliant Franch film, A PROPHET (click the link for review) last week and you can buy it now. Uh, and you should ... buy it now.  I personally found ROAD TO PERDITION and NATURAL BORN KILLERS to be lackluster films from reputed directors but their loyal followings will be happy to get their newly remastered incarnations, I'm sure.  And nearly 30 years after its initial release, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, starring a young, strapping Kurt Russell - or at least, an eye-patch wearing Kurt Russell anyway - gets its day on blu-ray.

Source: Blu-ray.com

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