Blu-ray Highlights: Week of April 5th, 2015 – A Mostly Unexciting Week

Did you buy some of those big Blu-ray titles that got released last week? I hope those can hold you over for a bit, because this week slows down considerably.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (4/7/15)?

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New Releases

A Most Violent Year‘ – Primarily notable for the amount of cleavage that Jessica Chastain (an actress who doesn’t usually flaunt such things) shows off in the trailers, this 1980s-set Mob drama from director J.C. Chandor (‘All Is Lost’) tanked at the box office back in January, after a limited release at the very end of December also failed to nab it any Oscar nominations. Oscar Isaac stars as a legitimate businessman who gets dragged into shady affairs with organized crime, mainly due to his wife (Chastain). Most reviews were supportive, if a little unenthusiastic about the film.

The Voices‘ – Ryan Reynolds plays a mentally ill psycho killer who believes his pets are talking to him and driving him to murder. Oh, I should mention that the movie is a quirky comedy from Marjane Satrapi, the creator of ‘Persepolis‘. The concept is intriguing, but most reports say that the film fails to find a workable tone.

The Immigrant‘ – Back around 2008 and 2009, Joaquin Phoenix’s notorious personal meltdown completely overshadowed the drama ‘Two Lovers’ that he swore at the time would be his last ever acting performance. Now he’s back and trying to rehabilitate his image, and apparently director James Gray has forgiven him. In this period piece set during the early 1920s, Marion Cotillard plays a vulnerable Polish immigrant who falls into the hands of an exploitative pimp (Phoenix). Strong performances from both stars are said to carry a somewhat melodramatic script.

Home Sweet Hell‘ – In our house, my wife has a saying that she lives by: “Katherine Heigl ruins everything.” My wife is rarely steered wrong by heeding this mantra. You would be advised to do the same.

Catalog Titles

Sci-fi fans nostalgic for a time before CGI strangled the life out of the genre might want to go ‘Silent Running‘ with Douglas Trumbull’s ecological parable about a hippie space gardener and his robot pals, take a ‘Journey to the Far Side of the Sun‘ with ‘Thunderbirds’ creators Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, or fight off ‘Invaders from Mars‘ in Tobe Hooper’s cheese-filled 1986 remake of a 1950s B-movie.

Warner Bros. goes rocking back to the 1990s with ‘Singles‘, ‘Empire Records‘ and ‘Detroit Rock City‘.

Hard though it may be to recall today, Burt Reynolds was once one of the biggest movie stars in the world, thanks to pictures like the action comedy ‘Hooper‘. He tried to parlay that success into a directing career as well, as evidenced by ‘Sharky’s Machine‘.

Richard Gere’s Hollywood remake of ‘Breathless‘ was widely panned in 1983 for having very little in common with the original Jean-Luc Godard classic it takes its name and general concept from, but has some points of interest if judged on its own merits. Quentin Tarantino calls it one of his favorite movies.

The tropical heist caper ‘After the Sunset‘ is perhaps Brett Ratner’s most tolerable movie. That may sound like damning with faint praise, but when it comes to Ratner’s output, “tolerable” is a huge step up from the norm. Putting Salma Hayek in a bikini helped.

He may have been the coolest badass in international cinema at the time, but Chow Yun-Fat struggled to make a transition to Hollywood in the late 1990s. Studios didn’t know what to do with him, and kept slotting him into B-grade action schlock like ‘The Replacement Killers’ and ‘The Corruptor‘. I recall hoping that ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ director James Foley might be able to make something decent out of the latter, and being quite disappointed when I left the theater. Other than a general sense that it wasn’t very good, I’ll be damned if I can recall a single thing about the movie. That’s how unmemorable it was.

Television

The only significant TV offering this week is the WGN network’s ‘Manhattan‘, a soapy period drama centered around the race to develop the first atomic bomb. I’ve never seen it, and have heard very mixed things about it.

My $.02

I will put ‘Silent Running’ and maybe ‘Journey to the Far Side of the Sun’ on my wish list for the future. ‘A Most Violent Year’ might be worth a rental, but I have a feeling it’ll show up on cable soon enough. I like ‘Singles’ but not enough to own it.

Beyond that, nothing calls to me this week. How about you?

21 comments

  1. Chris B

    Renting A Most Violent year, tempted to blind-buy Thunder Road because Robert Mitchum was so damn cool. Probably wait for a review though to make sure the transfer doesn’t look like dogshit.

    James Gray thrives on melodrama, examples being the aforementioned Two Lovers and We Own The Night. He’s
    more about huge emotional breakdowns driving the story as opposed to…you know…stuff happenning.

    I remembering seeing The Corruptor in the theatre as well and was also kind of underwhelmed. I revisited it years later on DVD and found I liked it more than I remembered, but not enough for an upgrade. It seems like people are starting to champion it as a misunderstood gem..kinda like you personal favorite Black Rain Josh. 😉 At least it looks pretty.

      • Chris B

        Yeah! I read he saw a poster for the film and was inspired to write a song with the same title. Great song, hopefully it’s at least a good movie.

        • William Henley

          LOL, this reminds me of how disappointed I was when I finally saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s. No rock song and no cafe. I went back and listened to the song again, and realized I had the lyrics wrong for years.

          And I said What about breakfast at Tiffany’s
          And she said I think I remember the fillets
          Yes I recall we both really liked it
          and I said well thats the one thing we got.

          So up until I saw the movie, I thought Breakfast at Tiffany’s was an 80s film about a dinner, and probably talked about some people having some relationship difficulties.

  2. William Henley

    Nothing this week, although Journey To The Far Side of the Sun sounds interesting for a B movie weekend. I don’t think I would buy it, but it may be worth looking up on Netflix or somehting

  3. There’s actually a lot of curious stuff. Some of those 3d nature shows might be interesting, but I’d rather hear thoughts on it before a blind buy. Best Buy had those in last week for about $17 a piece. Invaders From Mars might be fun to revisit. I liked Detroit Rock City and still own the dvd, but I don’t know how it’ll hold up now . Empire Records was also a lot of fun back in the day, back when I actually used to like Liv Tyler. Renee Zellweger as a dirty little bitch was pretty awesome too. I delivered a pizza to Ethan Embry once. It was a Stuffed crust pizza and it was late. Not my fault. I gave it to him for free but he still stiffed me. He did shake my hand though. Lucky me :). I never saw Singles, but I absolutely love the soundtrack for it, especially the Mother Love Bone track, awesome. I’ll probably rent A Most Violent Year as well. I think I should avoid the stores this week, because I would probably pick up one of these titles just for the hell of it, but I don’t absolutely have to own any of these right now.

  4. HuskerGuy

    Biased as hell here, but Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways deserved at least a mention in the commentary. It’s not just a show for Foo Fighters fans, but pretty much anyone who likes music period. The band travels to various cities throughout the US and goes over each citites musical history. It’s not just rock either, as they touch on blues, jazz, country, etc. They record a song at a famous studio in each city and interview musical icons from area. The end of each episode is the Foo Fighters perofming a song written that week. If you aren’t a Foo fan, you can just skip the last couple of minutes, but the rest is absolutely worth a watch.

    Absolutely worth a look for anyone who likes music.

        • William Henley

          I am listening to Fox News right now. I listened to 19 Kids and Counting last night. Over the weekend I listened to Star Trek The Next Generation, Robot Chicken, and American Dad.

          BTW, I don’t have a choice on Fox News. It has to play throughout the day at work. I was able to talk them into BBC World when DirectTV started carrying it, but it got moved into a different teir that we are not subscribed to, so back to Fox News.

          I am hoping to get to listen to Interstellar sometime this weekend.

    • You are absolutely right! I’ve seen three episodes, and it truly is a unique approach. You get to hear great stories from everyone involved. A veritable who’s who of American music in general. A must-buy for music fans!

      • Chris B

        I dunno if I’d call it a must buy for music fans…I’m a big music fan but I loathe the Foo Fighter’s music….their presence is a deal-breaker.

        • You are absolutely entitled to your opinion 🙂 You can always listen to HuskerGuy’s suggestion: “If you aren’t a Foo fan, you can just skip the last couple of minutes, but the rest is absolutely worth a watch.”

  5. Absolutely nothing screams “must buy me this week” but there are a few wishlist items. As always this means either impulse or find a great deal on, they are:
    Invaders From Mars, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, Planet Dinosaur 3D, Tiny Giants 3D, Wings 3D, Massacre Gun.

      • Chris B

        It’s not a gangster movie for one, too many unanswered questions at the end, failure to capitalize on the period setting, anti-climactic ending etc. I think the movie received most of it’s positive reviews because it looks so damn pretty and comes of as purposeful and sure-handed, but the story is just really thin, it needed a few re-writes to tighten up the focus IMHO. Anyways, opinions are like assholes…lemme know what you think when you get around to watching it.

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