With the release of ‘The Social Network‘ (one of last year’s best reviewed and highest grossing films), last week was pretty good for Blu-ray, wasn’t it? Unfortunately, things slow down considerably this week. There are no truly major titles on the docket today. However, we still might be able to find a thing or two of interest if we look.
Here’s the weekly release slate:
- ‘Animal Kingdom‘ (Sony)
- ‘The Army of Crime‘ (Kino)
- ‘Buried‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Checking Out‘ (Image)
- ‘Cold Dog Soup‘ (Image)
- ‘Down Terrace‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Fire on the Amazon‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Jack Goes Boating‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Justified: The Complete First Season‘ (Sony)
- ‘Lebanon‘ (Sony)
- ‘The Naked Kiss‘ (Criterion Collection)
- ‘Shock Corridor‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Stone‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Takers ‘ (Sony)
I’ll start by highlighting the complete first season of FX’s ‘Justified‘, in which Timothy Olyphant parlays his ‘Deadwood’ cred into another lawman role. This time, he’s a (contemporary) U.S. Marshall reluctantly assigned to return to his home town in Kentucky, where he has to deal with issues from his past and a lot of redneck tomfoolery. His primary antagonist is played by Walton Goggins, who has created a remarkably different character than the one he was known for on ‘The Shield’. The series is based on a story by Elmore Leonard, and does a very good job of capturing the tone of the author’s writing. It’s a really good show that didn’t get as much attention as it deserved during the broadcast run, though FX has fortunately renewed it for a second season.
There was a lot of buzz for ‘Buried‘ at the Toronto Film Festival last year, but it didn’t make much of an impact in general release. The film is mostly a one-man-show for Ryan Reynolds, playing a civilian contractor in Iraq who’s kidnapped and buried alive in a casket with only his cell phone to help him. I didn’t get a chance to see this one, but have been told by people I respect that director Rodrigo Cortés wrings a surprising amount of suspense from the confined setting.
In a sort-of similar vein is ‘Lebanon‘, which is apparently set almost entirely inside a tank driving through the Lebanese war zones. I’ll be honest that I’d never even heard of this until Aaron’s rave review (follow the link above) got me interested.
I’ve also heard good things about the Australian crime drama ‘Animal Kingdom‘. I need to check that one out too.
On the other hand, most of the buzz about the prison drama ‘Stone‘ claims that it wastes the talents of Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, and Milla Jovovich. (Yes, Jovovich is talented when given an appropriate role.) The trailers looked terrible too. My interest in this is minimal.
Finally, the Criterion Collection delivers a pair of classics from director Samuel Fuller, ‘The Naked Kiss‘ and ‘Shock Corridor‘. The studio also commissioned cartoonist Daniel Clowes to design the cover art, which sounds like a much better idea in theory than it winds up being in practice. Both covers are pretty hideous and totally unsuited to the films in question.