With Oscar season finally over, this week’s new Blu-ray release slate brings us some awards hopefuls that, unfortunately, walked away empty-handed when all was said and done.
‘Inside Llewyn Davis‘ – Of all the movies that Oscar ignored this year, the Coen brothers’ acclaimed musical drama was perhaps the most glaring snub. Despite glowing reviews, the film failed to secure any nominations in major categories. It only received nods for cinematography and sound mixing, both of which it lost to ‘Gravity’. Nevertheless, the Coens can usually be counted upon to make interesting movies (the occasional exception notwithstanding). I definitely plan to give this a look.
‘The Book Thief‘ – This uplifting WWII drama about a young German girl who steals books to share with Jewish refuges is such obvious Oscar bait that I’m surprised the Weinsteins didn’t produce it. If they had, perhaps the movie would have locked more than a single nomination (for Best Original Score). As it is, reviews were mixed and the Academy didn’t take much interest.
‘Out of the Furnace‘ – Director Scott Cooper received a lot of attention (and landed Jeff Bridges his first Oscar) with his film ‘Crazy Heart’ a few years ago. I’m sure he expected that the good will would carry over to this bleak crime drama starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck. Surely the actors would at least be recognized? Not so much. Critics tore it apart.
‘Homefront‘ – Jason Statham is an actor who neither expects nor receives awards attention. His latest action thriller is based on an old, unused script originally written by Sylvester Stallone as a ‘Rambo’ sequel. Regardless of its origins, the finished project looks exactly like every other Jason Statham movie. Oddly, James Franco decided to go slumming in this as a villain, because… well, why the hell not? Franco does stuff like that. I actually like Jason Statham, but most of his movies are generic and interchangeable.
‘In the Name of the King 3: The Last Mission‘ – Even Jason Statham had the good sense to drop out of this ridiculous franchise from uber-hack Uwe Boll. Dolph Lundgren stepped in for the second installment, but by this third one, the best Boll could do was ‘Prison Break’ star Dominic Purcell. No, not even the good ‘Prison Break’ star – the other one.
Remember when David Gordon Green seemed like a promising indie talent with a distinctive voice for character relationships, and not a pathetic sellout who makes awful stoner comedies and that unwatchable Danny McBride sitcom on HBO? The Criterion Collection looks back to those naïve times with Green’s debut feature, ‘George Washington‘ – which, no, is not a bio-pic about the Founding Father.
At the end of World War II, a cadre of Nazis launched themselves into space and hid in a secret base on the far side of the moon, biding their time to return and reclaim the Earth. (We probably wouldn’t have this problem if JFK had shot people into outer space to deal with it in the 1960s. Did you think about that, Justin Timberlake?) That’s the premise of the silly cult flick ‘Iron Sky‘. The movie was previously released on Blu-ray back in 2012, and must have sold well enough to justify a Director’s Cut double-dip in SteelBook packaging.
James Dean’s three feature films (‘Rebel Without a Cause’, ‘East of Eden’ and ‘Giant’) appeared on Blu-ray a few months ago in your choice of individual Digibooks or an Ultimate Collector’s Edition box set. If those were too pricy, Warner has reissued all three in standard keepcase packaging with a lower MSRP.
‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ is a definite rental for me, but I don’t think I’ll buy anything this week. How about you?