Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Black Sheep's Blu-Tuesday

The month of September was a little busy for me. There was that little film festival, TIFF. It really took up a good chunk of my time so I was not able to keep up with the current Blu-Ray releases each week. Well, September is definitely over and instead of focusing on what came out today to rent and own, I will take a look back at the bigger titles that were missed in the weeks prior.

(Warner Brothers)
It is not surprising that Tim Burton likes B-movies. It is a little more surprising that he is such a big Hollywood player now when you watch his 1996 film, MARS ATTACKS! This is a B-movie done A-styles. Everyone from Jack Nicholson and Annette Bening to Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan stars in this ode to the aliens from outer space movie. Although the film no longer inspires me to, “Ack! Ack! Ack” alongside those hilarious, homicidal aliens, it is still a ridiculous good time.

(Warner Brothers)
This 1992 film will certainly be counted amongst the late Robert Altman’s greatest achievements. With the exception of some questionable hairstyles and shoulder pads, THE PLAYER holds up very well. Tim Robbins plays Griffin Dunne, a Hollywood executive who is being stalked by a writer. It gets hairy and it couldn’t come at a worse time considering there is talk around the studio that he is on his way out. Everyone from Angelica Huston to Bruce Willis to Julia Roberts cameos in this Hollywood murder mystery. It will grab you and get you hooked from the opening 8 and a half minute shot.

(20th Century Fox)
There is no denying it. GLEE is the biggest new show to emerge from last year. Fox is so happy with it that they have renewed it through its third season already. Watching the first season straight through was actually a lot of fun. The moments that didn’t work so great when the show was airing (ie. the return from hiatus) aren’t as bad sandwiched between all the fantastic moments that came out of the first year at McKinley High (ie. The Power of Madonna episode, start to finish). My neighbours must be sick of me singing along to every single song … except “U Can’t Touch This” in the library. I totally skipped that one.

(Criterion Collection)
I had the pleasure of catching this 1963 Stanley Donen picture this past weekend. I must admit that I had never even heard of it but it jumped out at me on the shelf and was exactly the speed I needed that night. Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant star in this occasionally hokey but more often than not twisty comedy that actually keeps you guessing until the end. The pair are delightful and the cinematography is often surprisingly ambitious and impressive. Henry Mancini’s jazzy score makes it the perfect film to watch if people come over for cocktails.

(Criterion Collection)
I wish I had known that Criterion was planning on restoring and releasing this Jean-Luc Godard classic. If you know the site, then you might already know that this Nouvelle Vague masterpiece is one of my all-time favorite films. And it isn’t just me. It is widely considered to be a quintessential piece of film history. This doesn’t make it for everyone but the way Godard pokes fun at American cinematic conventions is so ludicrously delightful that you cannot help but get on board if you’re in the right mood. Before you know it, you will be lost in the breathtaking black and white imagery – so French, so romantic, so meaningless. (Read the full BREATHLESS Black Sheep review here.)

I’ve always loved this film. I think I saw it four or five times in the theatre alone. When I sat to watch it again recently, more than ten years after its initial release, I marveled at how shocking it still was. I could pretty much mouth the entire film if I tried but this particular viewing kept throwing me off. So many of the film’s elements – from the video taping to the pot smoking – are almost completely conventional now but were practically unused at the time. Even the central awakening of Lester Burnham’s (Kevin Spacey) character comes from a sexual fascination with an underage teenager (Mena Suvari). This Best Picture Oscar winner still stands as one of the best pictures of all time and you haven’t seen roses fall from the ceiling until you’ve seen them on blu-ray.

With all this catching up to do, I haven't even touched October yet. Here are a list of choice titles available today on Blu-Ray for the first time ...


THE KARATE KID (Walt Disney)

THE EXORCIST (Warner Brothers)

GRINDHOUSE (Vivendi Visual Entertainment)


THE MALTESE FALCON (Warner Brothers)


SPLICE (E1 Entertainment)

Source: blu-ray.com

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