January 19, 2010

This week's DVD haul isn't too impressive, but there's still some good stuff to be found...

...all you have to do is look. Nothing really screams for top honors this week, but one must be selected. My choice for the PICK OF THE WEEK is an underrated film that should find an audience on DVD. It's:
A sci-fi film that was dumped into theaters, this is a movie with some ideas in it, a feature sadly lacking in most films. It plays like a better version of Event Horizon and has good performances from Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid, so if that type of film is up your alley, this one is for you as well.
-Also worthy of a recommendation this week is the very good documentary Outrage, which documents how closeted politicians try to prevent the very lifestyle they secretly lead, the Ricky Gervais comedy The Invention of Lying, and finally, the Criterion version of Che. I include this because this is the way it was meant to be seen, and while it's a chore to sit through, overall it's worth it in order to appreciate Steven Soderbergh's vision.
-The other two films this week aren't terrible, but neither are very good. There's the action film Gamer, which is like watching someone else play a boring video game. The other one is the suspense film Whiteout, which wastes Kate Beckinsale's talents in a boring slog of a movie.
-My Vintage pick this week is, in honor of Friday's dueling Paul Bettany releases (Creation and Legion), an underrated film of his. It's Wimbledon, and it's a very good sports film that has wonderful chemistry between him and Kirsten Dunst. It's worth checking out if you haven't already.
-What will you be watching this week on DVD?


  1. I really loved Soderbergh's Che--I like that he kept politics aside and focused on what life was like to be a revolutionary. Very good film and worth the length...also Del Toro is larger than life as always.

    I think I'll be picking that one up today actually...Next week Paris, Texas (my favorite movie)is coming out on Criterion so they will be getting a lot of money from me between now and then!

  2. Pandorum nearly ruined my assessment that 2009 was the year of sci-fi lol. Sorry, but I thought it sucked. Sci-fi films these days try too hard to be one of four previous classics. Either they are trying to be Star Wars, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, or Alien. Pandorum tried too hard to be like Alien with some Blade Runner thrown in for good measure. Not a fan at all.

    Che, on the other had, was brilliant. I was one of the few people that got to see the original 4 + hour cut, as opposed to watching the split up version. I think the film was lucky enough not to suffer an editing fate akin to Red Cliff. But I loved it. I honestly think it deserved pick of the week more than Pandorum, because it's still technically a new release, as this is the first time we get it on dvd here in the states. But that's just me. To each their own. But you're right, Criterion did a great job with their disc treatment of the film. They always do. I know a lot of people who picked up the Criterion release of Benjamin Button even though they were lukewarm on the film simply because the supplements (like all Criterion releases) were so extensive and interesting, as well as an incredible AV quality. Bottom line, I'm loving that Criterion is releasing the films that the now defunct (I think) IFC would have given sub-par dvd releases, like Gomorrah, Che, Hunger, Summer Hours, Revanche, and more to come. Films like Gomorrah and Che especially deserve such masterful treatment.

  3. Don't worry, I know I'm in the minority with liking Pandorum. When I told Ben Foster that I saw and enjoyed the film he responded "wow, you're the one".

  4. Saw Pandorum yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. I had thought the trailer looked promising, but didn't see it in theaters based on the overwhelmingly bad reviews. I wish it would have fared better at the box office as supposedly there were plans on a prequel and sequel.

  5. I think everyone was disappointed that it failed. Like I said, Ben Foster was shocked I had even seen it. He felt that the film was just dumped, which it was. Is it a great film? No. But, it's a better one than people make it out to be.