January 12, 2010

Could this be the BEST WEEK EVER for DVD releases?

Well, that's a bit of a stretch, since there's a stinker or two in the group today, but not only is this one of the most chock-full weeks for DVD in recent memory just in terms of sheer volume, it's also the first time in the history of this column that there's been a tie with my choice for the PICK OF THE WEEK. Yes, I couldn't make up my mind, so the two films sharing this rare (I don't expect to ever do it again) honor are:
The Hurt Locker & Moon
Two of the absolute best films of the year (expect both to show up on my top 10 of 2009 list) hit DVD today, and they are instant classics in my eyes. Both are smaller budget films that look better than many films triple their budget. Both deal with the effects of harsh elements on the male ego, psyche, and brain. Both feature actors doing absolutely incredible work. Where they differ is that The Hurt Locker is a war film that will rake in the Oscar nominations next month, and Moon is smart science fiction film that unfortunately will not (though in a perfect world, Sam Rockwell would be a shoo-in for a nomination). I can't recommend either of these titles enough to you. They're films that every cinema lover should own!
-There are a number of other very good films out this week too. We have the hilarious English satire of politics and war In the Loop. We have Patton Oswalt giving a mesmerizing performance as a tormented New York Giants fan in Big Fan, the directorial debut of the writer of The Wrestler. There's also Departures, the winner of the Best Foreign Language Film award at the Oscars, plus the immigration dram Amreeka. Finally we have the con movie The Brothers Bloom, which finally gets a retail release after only being available for rental.
-We also have some lesser films out, though the first two are actually decently good. There's the rather odd sequel Halloween II, which shows growth by Rob Zombie as a director, but is a weaker movie than his first installment. There's also Downloading Nancy, which features one of Maria Bello's best performances, but it's such a bleak movie that it will turn off many (it partially turned off me). Getting progressively worse we have the mediocre teen flicks Fame (the remake of the superior film of the same name) and Post Grad, while delving even further down in the depths we have the grammatically poor Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Last, and certainly least, we have one of the worst films of the year. It's The Burning Plain and it's one of the biggest wastes of talent I've ever seen. Avoid it at all costs.
-My Vintage pick this week is, in honor of the release Friday of the Cannes-screened English drama Fish Tank, another coming of age story. It's The War Zone, and it's one of the hardest films to sit through that I've ever seen. It's the sole directorial credit of actor Tim Roth, and its powerful look at growing up in England with a confused life and a dark secret will reduce almost anyone to tears. It's tough stuff to handle (people who can't handle the topic of incest being tackled should steer clear), but it's a great film and has one of the first roles of Colin Farrell's career. Give it a shot if you can deal with it.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?


  1. The Hurt Locker was my favorite film of the year. It's practically flawless. It's brilliantly paced, acted, written, and directed. Deserving of every single nomination and award it's gotten and is sure to get in the future. As much as I loved Avatar, The Road, and The Lovely Bones, I can't express just how amazing The Hurt Locker was. The last times I remember being this impressed by a film was The Dark Knight, No Country for Old Men, and There Will Be Blood.

    I haven't seen Moon, but I've heard so many good things it may end up being a blind buy for me. I'm a big sci-fi fan and it looks fantastic based on trailers and word of mouth.

    Big Fan looks pretty good too. I honestly hated In the Loop. I felt it mistook bile for dark humor, and the result just left me feeling bitter, disappointed and icky after watching it. All I wanted to do was take a shower and never see it again. The other movies are all crap so I won't even mention them.

    I can't stress enough how incredible The Hurt Locker is. I really feel strongly about the film and I hope everyone gets a chance to see it on it's home video run.

  2. Wow this is the single greatest DVD release day I've ever seen... my highlights that I'm going crazy for are a littleeee different. The Brothers Bloom and Big Fan are the 2 that I'm actually going to buy. The Hurt Locker is one of the best things I've ever seen, I can't wait to watch it again. In the Loop was phenomenal I had so much fun I can't figure out why it had so little staying power with me. Amreeka and Departures I am excited to finally see! And finally of course Moon is one I have to see again, watch all the special features, and sit awe struck at what Duncan Jones did with that film. Rockwell this Rockwell that, Duncan Jones was my favorite part (but I happen to be a Rockwell fan and he was great too).

  3. It's not the best decision by the studios to clutter the shelves with so many, but with 2 certified classics in the midst and literally something for everyone, it's a remarkable week for DVD...

  4. Thank you for reminding me that The Hurt Locker came out today, I bought 5 minutes ago...

  5. My pleasure. I personally picked up The Hurt Locker, Moon, Big Fan, and The Brothers Bloom. My bank account hurts but my heart is happy...

  6. You'd think that with all the hoopla over Sam Rockwell by critics and bloggers, he would have recieved SOMETHING by now. Well, I guess he did win the Golden Space Needle Award and the Catalonian International Film Festival Award for Best Actor, but nothing from the critics groups? I can understand their awards to Renner and even Bridges to a lesser extent, but why did most of them flock to George Clooney?

  7. Speaking for myself as a critic, I saw about 130 films this year, and there are over a dozen lead actor performances that I would love to see nominated, so when you sit down to narrow the field to 5, a lot of deserving candidates get left out in the cold. As for George Clooney, they could perhaps feel that his performance is the best of the year. I sort of think it myself, though I'm torn...

  8. Don't understand any of the hype around any single aspect of Crazy Heart including Bridges... I also didn't know there were any other Bloom fans! yes!

  9. You're entitled to your opinion, but I myself think that it's a very good film with the second best performance of Bridges' career.

    As for Bloom, I was lukewarm on it the first time I saw it (hence my 2 and a half star review here on the site), but I caught it again when a friend was anxious to see it and I had nothing better to do, and it grew on me.

  10. I bought The Hurt Locker (took me looking through three different stores to find one with the blu-ray edition) and Moon (same story) on blu-ray. I saw Che on dvd at Best Buy, but I want it on blu-ray, so I decided to wait. My bank account hurts as well lol.

  11. Indeed. Sorry you had to go searching for it. I didn't have that trouble, but i've been in that situation before...

  12. Joey, what is Bridges' best performance in your opinion? Lebowski or something else?

  13. President Jackson Evans in The Contender is his best to me, though I completely understand the Lebowski love (I'm not big on the film, though he's good in it) to an extent.

    If I had to rank the performances, I'd probably do this as his top 10:

    1. The Contender
    2. Crazy Heart
    3. The Last Picture Show
    4. The Door in the Floor
    5. The Fisher King
    6. Starman
    7. The Big Lebowski
    8. K-PAX
    9. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
    10. Tucker: The Man and His Dream

    But that's just me...

  14. Wow, that's crazy. Just after I made my post I went to Jeff Bridges IMDb page to construct my own top ten list.

    1. The Big Lebowski (1998)
    2. The Fisher King (1991)
    3. The Last Picture Show (1971)
    4. Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
    5. The Contender (2000)
    6. Crazy Heart (2009)
    7. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
    8. The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
    9. Blown Away (1994)
    10. Wild Bill (1995) terrible movie though

    I haven’t seen Starman yet, I don’t know why. I also have high hopes for the Coen Bros.’ remake of True Grit in which The Dude will give us his take on The Duke


  15. I was quite surprised when I returned to see you already beat me to it.

  16. I'm shocked that neither of you mentioned my personal favorite Jeff Bridges performance: Fearless. Have you seen it?

  17. I've seen it. I would have been my #12, after The Fabulous Baker Boys at 11...

  18. Fearless came in at #11. I almost put it above Wild Bill because the movie is so much better, but I enjoyed him more in the latter.


  19. Oh, and in case anyone cares abotu Criterion Collection releases, Frederico Fellini's 8 1/2 came out today on blu-ray. The transfer and supplements are fantastic, and the film itself is worth a buy.