February 16, 2010

It's a bit of a down week for DVD...

...but that's not to say that there's nothing to be found, just that the quality options are rather limited. On that front, my choice for the PICK OF THE WEEK is a real powerful, if hard to watch, flick. It's:
This rough drama gets the Criterion treatment right out of the gate, and it's a great movie that's well worth watching, especially for Michael Fassbender's searing performance. He gives his all, and it shows. Check it out if you think you can handle it.
-Also out getting a recommendation from me is the indie comedy Splinterheads. It's pretty silly, but it's wittier than I expected, so while it won't set the world on fire, it's a solid choice for something to watch that won't give you any heartburn, as my grandfather likes to say.
-The rest of the releases this week are flawed, at best. Tops here are the blaxploitation parody Black Dynamite, which most people liked more than I did, but I contend is more a good idea than a good movie. There's also the biopic Coco Before Chanel, which suffers from, frankly, being boring. We have Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair, which never engaged me like it should have, and at the bottom of the pile is the steaming turn known as Law Abiding Citizen. It's an insult to anyone's intelligence, and I recommend steering clear of this and finding a more competent film to watch.
-My Vintage pick is, in honor of the release of Shutter Island, a couple of movies by director Martin Scorsese that are underrated and fit in with his impending release. They are Bringing Out the Dead and Cape Fear. Really, any Scorsese film works, though if you have the time, throw in a Hitchcock flick to prepare yourself for Friday's new release.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?


  1. There you have it...go for Spellbound.

  2. Amongst Hitchcock's films that I have yet to see, "Spellbound" sounds like the one with the most potential.

    As far as your recommendations go, Joey, I really wanted to love "Bringing Out the Dead", but I didn't. There were a lot of great ideas running throughout the film (including a number of great performances by Cage, John Goodman, and Ving Rhames), but many of the same ideas kind of bogged the film down. I remember thinking that whenever there was a great moment in the film, another moment would quickly come along to ruin it.

    As far as "Cape Fear" is concerned, I too think it's a very underrated work by Scorsese. De Niro gives one of his best performances in that film, especially since it is easily his most obvious villain role. One could argue that his performance in "Angel Heart" stirred more evil thoughts, but for my money its his version of Max Cady. Plus, it's great to see a sort of role-reversal of both Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck. Also, someone who is almost never spoken of when that film is mentioned is Nick Nolte, who is extremely convincing as a man who becomes that desperate.

  3. Interesting thoughts. I'm not in love with Bringing Out the Dead, but I find it very interesting...

  4. I honestly find Cape Fear to be way too over-the-top to be taken seriously, and my main problem with it is that I hated the family of Nick Nolte's character, so I didn't care if they lived or died. And, when seen back-to-back with Robert Mitchum's chilling turn as Max Cady, De Niro's looks like a caricature. The film did not work for me.

    I believe Scorsese's most undervalued film is The Last Temptation of Christ, a film that despite it's biblical baggage works incredibly well as drama, and those last 45 minutes left me glued to the screen (I'm Jewish by the way, so it's a tribute to Scorsese that his film worked so well for me). I'm really looking forward to Shutter Island as well.

  5. Agreed, especially since I'm Jewish by birth and Agnostic by choice.

  6. I also agree that "Last Temptation" is one of his most underrated films, and that the last act of the film is extremely stirring and spirital -- not religious, but very spiritual.

    Back to his "Cape Fear", I personally think that the two-faced nature of Bowden's family only adds to the film itself. It also makes for much more realistic and fascinating characters, as well as adding to the idea that perhaps Cady is right -- at least until they really understand how cruel he is. In addition, I think that the scene in the theater between Juliette Lewis and De Niro is one of Scorsese's best-directed scenes.

  7. Also, in reference to "Last Temptation", I was also raised Jewish, lol.