Welcome to another preview of some great upcoming Blu-Ray releases! This week, the much-talked about Argo hits store shelves, Sinister will convince you to never watch home movies again, and Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome lands on Blu-Ray with some science-fiction style.
Ready for this week’s Blu-Ray releases? Then read on.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, Clea DuVall, and Chris Messina.
Director: Ben Affleck
An American thriller film directed by Ben Affleck and based on the true story of a 1979 CIA operation. The film has won a number of awards and is nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alan Arkin).
Plot: During the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, a CIA ‘exfiltration’ specialist concocts a risky plan to free six Americans who have found shelter at the home of the Canadian ambassador.
My Thoughts: A really great film and one that I would recommend to almost anybody. Ben Affleck has come a long way since Good Will Hunting and while I’m not fan of the man’s acting, his directing and storytelling only continue to get better. Oddly enough, while he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director this year, as well as the British Academy Film Award, he wasn’t nominated for a Best Director Oscar. Silly Academy.
Our Rating: 4.5/5
To see why the film earned such a stellar rating, check out our review of Argo.
Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Alicia Vikander, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew MacFadyen, and Kelly MacDonald.
Director: Joe Wright
A British drama film adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel of the same name. It premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival and received generally positive reviews from critics.
Plot: Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky.
My Thoughts: I’m still on the fence about this one, but I’m carrying some baggage; I’ve already read the novel and generally I don’t watch adaptations. However, that aside, the film has a cast that has been garnering some high praise and the production level is stellar. If you enjoy period pieces, then definitely give this a watch. For Your Useless Information Pile: A poll of 125 contemporary authors conducted in 2007 by J. Peder Zane declared that Anna Karenina is the ‘greatest novel ever written’.
Check out our review of Anna Karenina to read what our reviewer had to say about the film.
Atlas Shrugged: Part II – The Strike
Starring: Samantha Mathis, D.B. Sweeney, Michael Gross, Ray Wise, Jason Beghe, and Esai Morales.
Director: John Putch
A direct sequel to the 2011 film Atlas Shrugged: Part I and the second installment of a trilogy of films based on the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
Plot: With the global economy on the brink of collapse, Dagny Taggart discovers what might be the answer to a mounting energy crisis and races against the clock to prevent the motor of the World from being stopped for good.
My Thoughts: Another film based on a book that I’ve already read, so I haven’t watched this film or Part I either. You may want to give them a miss too unless you\re a fan of the book, since the reviews are scathing. If any of you have ever read Atlas Shrugged, then you know that adapting it for the big screen is an epic undertaking. While everyone I’ve met who has read the book said that it influenced them in some way, it’s also a hefty read and one that has the potential to make an insomniac fall into a coma. In a few years, the only sales of this film will be to college students who are too busy with weekend keggers to bother reading the original novel (and who can blame them?).
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, James Ransone, and Fred Dalton Thompson.
Director: Scott Derrickson
A supernatural horror film that premiered at the SXSW festival and received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Plot: Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how, and why, a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed it. I’m a bit of a horror nut, dating back to a period in my teens when all I watched were horror films. While the true horror aficionado may see the ending coming, it’s a fun ride. Pick this up if you like the genre, or if you’re one of those people who already knew that the original mask worn by the murdering Michael Myers in Halloween, is actually a mask of Star Trek‘s William Shatner painted white. Whaaat?
Our Rating: 4.5/5
What did our reviewer like about the film? Read our Sinister review to find out.
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome
Starring: Luke Pasqualino, Ben Cotton, Jill Teed, Lili Bordán, and John Pyper-Ferguson.
Director: Jonas Pate
A prequel to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series, this film began as a 10-episode online series and recently aired as a televised movie on Syfy.
Plot: Set in the tenth year of the First Cylon War, the story follows William Adama, a young pilot who just graduated from the Academy, assigned to the newest battlestar in the Colonial fleet: Galactica.
My Thoughts: Loved it. I thought it was absolutely awesome and think it’s completely bonkers that Syfy hasn’t ordered a full television series of Bood and Chrome. In true Syfy network fashion, the acting is often poor, but the action, story, and visual effects make this a fun ride. If you’re a Battlestar fan then this is a must-purchase and any science fiction lover will enjoy it too.
Starring: Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall, and Lindsay Crouse.
Director: Michael Mann
A 1999 film directed by Michael Mann, based on the true story of a 60 Minutes segment about tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand. The film was critically-acclaimed and was nominated for seven academy awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Russell Crowe.
Plot: A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a “60 Minutes” expose on Big Tobacco.
My Thoughts: Although I haven’t seen this film since it was released, I remember it being a riveting drama with some great performances. A great addition to any Blu-Ray collection, The Insider may surprise you with its intensity during seemingly-slow moments, and I highly recommend that you give it a watch.
Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season
Starring: Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Mark Addy, and Michelle Fairley.
The second season of HBO’s hit fantasy series is now yours to own on beautiful Blu-Ray. This season consists of ten episodes and is adapted from A Clash of Kings, the second book of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin, of which the series is adapted.
Plot: Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. The struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plots, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; and all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords, and honest men…all will play the Game of Thrones.
My Thoughts: I can’t get over how excellent this television series is; even my parents watch it and my mom thought Bilbo from The Hobbit was called Bobo. If you like your maidens naughty, your fantasy epic, and your political intrigue…intriguing, then this is the series for you. The second season alone has been nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards and I’m sure they won’t be the last. Add it to your collection or get it for that special someone in your life who already has the first season sitting on their shelf.
That’s all for now, but we’ll be back next week with more Blu-Ray releases. Stay warm and remember that wearing two pairs of socks is like having insurance: better to have it and not need it, than to not have it and freeze your goddamn toes off.
Are you a fan of any of this week’s releases? Let us know in the comments below.