Did you burn through your Blu-ray budget for March last week? I hope you set at least a little money aside for today, because we still have a few notable new releases to look at.
Here’s the weekly release slate from now through Friday:
- ‘The B-52s with the Wild Crowd! Live In Athens, GA‘ (Eagle Rock)
- ‘B.B. King: Live at Royal Albert Hall‘ (Shout Factory)
- ‘Battle Royale‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Battle Royale: The Complete Collection‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Carnage‘ (Sony)
- ‘Disclosure‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 7‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)‘ (Sony)
- ‘The Hills Have Eyes: Part 2: Remastered Edition‘ (Redemption)
- ‘Hop‘ (Universal – March 23rd)
- ‘Lady for a Day‘ (Inception Media Group)
- ‘Letter Never Sent‘ (Criterion)
- ‘A Lonely Place to Die‘ (MPI)
- ‘Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts 1934-1937‘ (Kino)
- ‘The Muppets: The Wocka Wocka Value Pack‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘The Muppets (2011)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘National Lampoon’s The Legend of Awesomest Maximus‘ (Image)
- ‘The Ring (2002)‘ (DreamWorks)
- ‘Roadie‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Russell Mulcahy’s Tale of the Mummy‘ (Echo Bridge)
- ‘The Sitter: Totally Irresponsible Edition‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Splintered‘ (Well Go USA)
- ‘Striptease‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘ (Focus Features)
- ‘The War Room‘ (Criterion)
‘The Muppets‘ are back, in a new hit movie shepherded to the big screen by writer/star (and long-time Muppet enthusiast) Jason Segel. While I may wish the film were a little less nostalgic and a little funnier, it’s clear in every frame how much Segel loves the Muppets and how much he wants to make their comeback work. Largely, he does. Despite its flaws, this is my must-have title of the week. I mentioned last week that Best Buy offered an exclusive metal case for shoppers who pre-ordered the Blu-ray through their store. Collectors may also note that Walmart has its own exclusive gift set that comes with some cool Muppet finger puppets.
Call it a remake of the previous Swedish movie or a re-adaptation of the bestselling novel. In either case, David Fincher’s English-language version of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘ wasn’t quite the mega-hit that the studio wanted. Nonetheless, star Rooney Mara managed to climb out from the under the shadow of Noomi Rapace and make the character her own. She even scored a much-unexpected Oscar nomination. Why didn’t the movie do better? Were people just Dragon Tattoo’ed out by the time it was released?
Also garnering an Oscar nomination (shockingly, his first) was Gary Oldman in the new adaptation of John Le Carre’s Cold War thriller ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘. Some of our readers may recall that divided opinions over this film sparked an interesting debate between Luke and Aaron during its theatrical release. I still need to see this one.
Controversial director Roman Polanski stepped back into the spotlight again last year with the black comedy ‘Carnage‘, based on Yasmina Reza’s hit play ‘God of Carnage’ about two sets of parents who launch into an epic battle over a minor skirmish between their children. The film is essentially a closed-room actors’ showcase for stars Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly. Am I the only one who’s completely over Reilly as an actor? I can’t take him seriously in dramas anymore, and he stopped being funny in comedies a long time ago. He seems desperately outclassed by his costars here.
The raunchy comedy ‘The Sitter‘ is so old that it was made back when Jonah Hill was fat the first time around, before he lost a bunch of weight and then started gaining it back again. The picture sat on a studio shelf for a couple years. Judging by the reviews, it probably should have stayed there.
Can anyone explain to me why ‘Hop‘, that kids’ movie about the Easter Bunny’s son, is being released this Friday, instead of… oh, I don’t know… a couple of weeks from now, when it will actually be Easter? Not that I was going to buy it, but this just strikes me as odd, like someone at the studio wassn’t paying attention.
Our last new release this week is the indie drama ‘Roadie‘, starring that guy who played Shep on ‘ER’ as, obviously enough, a band roadie. The movie doesn’t look even vaguely interesting and got terrible reviews, so let’s just move on.
The late Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku’s cult hit ‘Battle Royale‘, which is about a dystopian future where the government forces high school students to fight to the death for sport, was long unavailable in the United States due to legal issues. Starz has apparently sorted all that out just in time to release it on video here to coincide with Lionsgate’s theatrical release of ‘The Hunger Games’. Hmmmm… That couldn’t just be a coincidence, could it? Naaaaahhh…
Gore Verbinski’s American remake of the Japanese horror thriller ‘The Ring‘ is arguably as good as or possibly a little better than the original. Having seen both, I largely attribute this to the original film being wildly overrated. It’s a decent enough little shocker, though. Early reports claim that the Blu-ray has been slathered in teal in some attempt to make the 2002 film look more modern or something, and less like an artifact of the distant, distant past, from those archaic times before all movies had the same monotonous and gaudy color palette. So, umm, thanks a ton for that, DreamWorks.
Someone at Warner Bros. has either been feeling sorry for Demi Moore or is trying to capitalize on the publicity of her recent personal problems. This week, the studio issues two of the actress’s lesser 1990s efforts, ‘Disclosure‘ and ‘Striptease‘, both of which happen to have been based on popular novels by notable authors (Michael Crighton and Carl Hiaasen respectively), and neither of which turned out to be terribly good as movies.
Finally, the Criterion Collection brings us new editions of the 1960 Russian drama ‘Letter Never Sent‘, of which I know next to nothing about (it’s apparently about geologists searching for diamonds in Siberia, and has nothing to do with the later R.E.M. song of the same title) and ‘The War Room‘, D.A. Pennebaker’s acclaimed 1993 fly-on-the-wall documentary about Bill Clinton’s first Presidential campaign. The latter is the movie that made James Carville and George Stephanopoulos household names, for better or worse.
Are you buying anything this week?