Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Couch Time with Sheldon

It's ironic really. At least I think it is. I'm not always so sure about that though so how about you tell me? Yesterday, when I was supposed to be posting the COUCH TIME WITH SHELDON feature on its regularly scheduled day, I spent most of the day on the couch with a bad headache. Hence the reason I'm a day late. I'm pretty sure that counts as irony.

Instead of focusing on some of the big blu-ray title announcements this week, I want to highlight something altogether different instead. Barnes & Noble, an American retailer that focuses mostly on books, is having a sale. This isn't just any sale though. This is 50% off Criterion sale. Criterion, in case you don't already know, is committed to restoring and honouring some of the greatest films of all time for our consumption. They are also infamous for being a little pricey. Now you can get great titles like HUNGER and the just released THE DARJEELING LIMITED for 20 bucks! (Click either film title for the full Black Sheep review.) Titles are available in both DVD and BD format and the sale runs until November 21. Click here for more details.

And now let's take a look at what Sheldon watched in the last week ...

It may seem simplistic to suggest that Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO is one of the greatest films of all time but it really is. 50 years after its initial release, this masterpiece is sure to captivate even modern audiences. There is something inherently addictive about PSYCHO for me. I've seen the film four or five times now and I can never take my eyes off the screen. The twisted Joseph Stefano screenplay, the all new remastered Bernard Hermann score and the constantly captivating camera work transcend time. Sure, it isn't as shocking to see a toilet on screen as it would have been in 1960 but when the action is this engaging, who cares. PSYCHO, released through Universal Pictures, is simply a must see for anyone who wants to call themselves even a loose fan of narrative filmmaking.

This 2010 title is no Hitchcock but I assure you that the plight suffered by WINTER'S BONE heroine, 17-year-old, Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), is no less captivating than what Vivian Leigh goes through in the Bates Motel. Ozark Moutain resident, Ree has a few days to find her deadbeat, crackhead dad and make sure he shows up for his court date. If she fails, she loses her family home, which essentially amounts to everything for her. At 17, she takes care of everything but herself - from her two younger siblings to her mentally unfit mother. Lawrence is absolutely brilliant in this Debra Granik film. It is a competitive year for lead actresses but Lawrence deserves to hear her name amongst the nominees come awards season. WINTER'S BONE itself, from Maple Pictures, is so compelling and engaging that it too deserves its place on many year end lists. Do not miss this original, harrowing thriller. Click here for the full Black Sheep review.

Sometimes I don't understand how I manage to go so long without seeing certain titles. I knew after about five minutes of this Milos Forman Best Picture winner that I was going to love it. Sometimes you can just tell. Jack Nicholson is R. P. McMurphy, a criminal who has been sent to a mental institution for observation. The question at hand is whether he is crazy and should be institutionalized or whether his defiant behaviour is just a way to get out of his work duty sentence. The question then becomes, as McMurphy shakes up the daily operations of this facility and all who inhabit it, what is crazy really? The tete-a-tete between McMurphy and head nurse, Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), is what takes this film from an insightful look at the definition of insane to the brilliant mind game it is. Warner Brothers has just released an amazing collector's edition that comes with a commemorative book and playing cards with Nicholson's face on them.

I would ordinarily never see this film but my friend, Naqeeb, was coming over to watch a movie and he and I have distinctly different tastes in film. He thinks BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is unwatchable and I've seen in six times. Somehow, we both loved this sci-fi franchise thriller, from director, Nimrod Antal. A bunch of seemingly unrelated individuals are dropped in the middle of a jungle without any knowledge as to how they got there. From there, it is as much a mystery to us as it is to them as to how to get out of their predicament. I didn't fully buy Adrian Brody as an action hero and I wasn't entirely certain whether Lawrence Fishburn was acting crazy or just drunk but ultimately, I was fully into this thriller. Thanks to the folks at 20th Century Fox for sending over this screener. I may never have seen it otherwise.

The holidays are coming so plenty of high profile titles will be coming your way on Blu-ray in the weeks to come. This week sees the biggest hit of 2010 hit shelves, TOY STORY 3. The Pixar hit is the biggest animated movie of all time and with good reason. Click here for the Black Sheep review ... In other Tom Hanks news, his collaboration with Steven Spielberg, HBO miniseries, THE PACIFIC, is now available to own from Warner Brothers. WB also puts out the 25th anniversary edition of THE GOONIES, for the first time on BD. Also making its first appearance on BD is the 45th anniversary edition of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, from 20th Century Fox. The hills are alive with the sound of movies apparently.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week on the couch.


No comments: