Blu-Ray Releases: Feb. 3 – Feb. 9
Welcome to another weekly preview of upcoming Blu-Ray releases! In this week’s edition, Flight makes a good case for taking the train to your next vacation destination, Here Comes the Boom hits store shelves with a – well with a boom I guess, and a beloved family classic finally gets a Blu-Ray release.
Ready for this week’s Blu-Ray releases? Then read on.
Starring: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, and Melissa Leo.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
An American drama film from Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis. It was well received by critics and was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Actor (for the film’s star Denzel Washington) and Best Original Screenplay.
Plot: An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunction reveals something troubling.
My Thoughts: I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Denzel Washington has done some really fine work and I never have any trouble believing him as a character whenever I see him on the big screen. I’m still a bit pissed at Robert Zemeckis. He brought us Back to the Future II in 1989 and, even though it’s now 2013, I’m still waiting for my hoverboard. Why would you show us something so cool on the big screen Robert, knowing that we could never have it? For your Useless Information Pile: Flight is Zemeckis’ first live-action film since Cast Away, which was released in 2000.
Our Rating: 4.5/5
To see why the film earned such a high rating, check out our review of Flight.
Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno, Giancarlo Esposito, and Edward Burns.
Director: Rob Cohen
An American crime thriller that was panned by critics but earned praise for actor Tyler Perry, who steps out of his comfort zone to portray Alex Cross ( the main character of a series of excellent novels by author James Patterson) on the big screen.
Plot: After Washington DC detective Alex Cross is told that a family member has been murdered, he vows to track down the killer. He soon discovers that she was not his first victim and that things are not what they seem.
My Thoughts: I haven’t committed to giving this a shot yet. Even though I’m a fan of James Patterson’s novels, and of crime thrillers in general, I may wait for a word-of-mouth recommendation; I’m also not terribly familiar with Tyler Perry’s work. That being said, the film received mostly negative reviews due to many issues with the plot, but many viewers said Perry portrayed a great Alex Cross. Give this a watch if you like the genre or are a Tyler Perry fan. For your Useless Information Pile: the character of Alex Cross was previously portrayed by Morgan Freeman (the man whom I would love to give my eulogy) in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider.
Our Rating: 4/5
Check out our Alex Cross review to read what our reviewer had to say about the film.
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, and Eric Christian Olsen.
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
A comedy-drama film that received positive reviews from critics and earned writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay.
Plot: Celeste and Jesse met in high school, married young, and at 30, decide to get divorced but remain best friends while pursuing other relationships.
My Thoughts: I’ll be giving this a watch with the old ball and chain at some point (it’s OK she’s doesn’t read these articles anyway). The film’s been praised for its accurate portrayal of real-life relationships and shrewd approach to the romantic-comedy genre. If you like your romantic comedies bitter sweet, then this is for you.
Here Comes the Boom
Starring: Kevin James, Henry Winkler, Salma Hayek, Greg Germann, Gary Valentine, and Reggie Lee.
Director: Frank Coraci
A sports comedy film that received mixed reviews from critics, but was praised for its heart and the ever-likable performance of leading man Kevin James.
Plot: A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school.
My Thoughts:I enjoyed it but I’m a real softie for heartwarming sports films. I couldn’t help but like Kevin James’ character, mostly because I tend to identify with the underdog in these types of films. As a short and geeky guy, I’ve always been outclassed in any sporting event, and so I love rooting for the expected-loser in these kinds of scenarios. If you’re an MMA fan or just want something light to watch over the weekend, then you should bring home the boom (I can’t believe I wrote that either).
Our Rating: 2.5/5
For a more detailed rundown of the film, check out our review of Here Comes the Boom.
Side by Side
Starring: David Fincher, Lars von Trier, Christopher Nolan, David Lynch, Robert Rodriguez, and Danny Boyle.
Director: Christopher Kenneally
An American documentary film co-produced and narrated by Bill and Ted‘s Keanu Reeves (whoa!). It premiered at the 2012 Belin International Film Festival and was also shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Plot:A documentary exploring the ongoing debate between traditional celluloid and digital film. In conversation with a number of world renowned directors and industry experts including David Lynch, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and Anthony Dod Mantle, the documentary tells the story of filmmaking and gives those on both sides of the debate the chance to argue their points and preferences as digital film begins to assert itself as a more cost-effective and accessible means of production.
My Thoughts: I know the plot makes it sound really boring to a mainstream audience, and most likely it is, but this is a must-watch for any film buff. The debate between traditional celluloid and digital film is an interesting one, and it couldn’t be better explored than by some of the biggest names in the film industry. Pick it up if you’re a film aficionado or get it as a gift for the aspiring filmmaker in your life.
A Star is Born
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Barbra Streisand, Gary Busey, Marta Heflin, Sally Kirkland, and Paul Mazursky.
Director: Frank Pierson
A 1976 rock musical film that received mostly negative reviews from critics, but became an instant classic that went on to win a number of awards (including five Golden Globe awards and an Academy Award for Best Original Song) and made Barbra Streisand a household name.
Plot: A has-been rock star falls in love with a young, up-and-coming songstress.
My Thoughts: I saw it years ago with a friend of mine of the female persuasion, and while I agree with the critics that it isn’t a great film, it’s definitely an entertaining one. I try not to judge older films too harshly because many things have changed in the past three decades, but if you can get past some of the cheesier elements, then you will enjoy it. I highly recommend it for the older woman in your life or any Barbra Streisand fan. For your Useless Information Pile: Neil Diamond, Marlon Brando, and Elvis Presley were all considered for the male lead.
Starring: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Heather Angel, Bill Thompson, and Paul Collins (I).
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, and Jack Kinney.
The 1953 Walt Disney animated classic finally arrives on Blu-Ray to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
Plot: Join mischievous Peter Pan, the young boy who refuses to grow up, his hot-tempered pixie pal Tinker Bell, and the Darling children as they soar away to the mysterious Never-Never land where childhood lasts forever in this magical, musical adventure.
My Thoughts: I love Peter Pan! It’s genuinely heartfelt and touches the inner child in all of us (who wouldn’t love to stay young forever?). I can’t say enough good things about this movie, and if you’re a parent who hasn’t watched this with your kids yet, then shame on you. A highly recommended addition to any Blu-Ray collection. For your Useless Information Pile: Peter Pan is the final Walt Disney film in which all nine members of ‘Disney’s Nine Old Men’ worked together as directing animators.
House of Cards Trilogy
Starring: Ian Richardson, Susannah Harker, Miles Anderson , Alphonsia Emmanuel, Malcolm Tierney , and Diane Fletcher.
A 1990 UK political-thriller television series set after the end of Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Plot: House of Cards is a spell-binding dissection of naked ambition, greed, and rampant hypocrisy in the corridors of power. The series documents in thrilling detail the rise of Tory Chief Whip Francis Urquhart, a man with unwavering contempt for those with “no background, no bottom.” With the downfall of Margaret Thatcher, a bitter internecine power struggle ensues within the Conservative Party. Urquhart schemes more devilishly than Iago to depose Thatcher’s colorless John Major-style successor. And even Machiavelli would balk at Urquhart’s methods. Any and every act — including murder — is legitimate and the ends very much justify the means.
My Thoughts: A great series with an excellent cast and a must-watch for anyone who enjoys the political genre. The series was very popular when it first aired and was critically praised for its accurate depiction of backdoor political wheeling and dealing. The show has been recently remade into an original series in the US starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher; the first episode airs tonight.
That’s all for this week. I wish you all a Happy Superbowl Weekend! Eat a lot of chickens wings, drink a lot of beer, and pass out on the couch at 5:30pm like I do.
Are you a fan of any of this week’s releases? Let us know in the comments below.