Clockwise from upper left: Revolutionary Road, Defiance, He's Just Not That Into You, The Graduate, Anaconda, Fletch.
Leonardo DiCaprio re-teamed with Kate Winslet, Michael
Sheen Shannon * in a blistering supporting role, Sam Mendes examining suburbia, an adaptation of a classic American novel by Richard Yates; what could possibly go wrong? "In truth, it's both relentlessly grim and nearly pointless," wrote Jeffrey M. Anderson. "The only thing it does really well is create a feeling of suffocation." Also on Blu-ray. My choice: Rent it.
He's Just Not That Into You
Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper and Scarlet Johansson star in a movie that will rot your brain. Put more kindly by William Goss: "This film feels more like a one night stand than anything else: you'll enjoy taking it home overnight, but when tomorrow comes, it's less a matter of calling it as merely recalling it." Also on Blu-ray. My choice: Skip it.
Daniel Craig drinks martinis protects fellow Jews from the Nazis in Edward Zwick's drama, based on a true story. "An uneasy mix of action and suspense with meaningful themes, of emotion and adrenaline," opined James Rocchi. "You sincerely hope it sends people to the truth even as it fails as fiction." Also on Blu-ray. My choice: Rent it.
After the jump: Indies on DVD, more Blu-ray picks, and a "legendary" Collector's Corner!
Inning by Inning: Portrait of a Coach
Richard Linklater's documentary profiles college baseball coach Augie Garrido. "it's fascinating to see personal, almost intimate moments when Garrido talks to the college players one-on-one, or as a team," observed Jette Kernion. It's "worth a look even if you don't care much about sports. I'm not into baseball at all, but Garrido is fascinating to watch at work."
Includes a 90-minute documentary on the 2006 Texas Longhorns baseball season and a 60-minute feature on Garrido's coaching philosophy entitled "Extra Innings with Augie."
Une Femme Mariee
Writing about the Region 2 edition, Glenn Kenney declared at The Auteurs that Jean-Luc Godard's 1964 film "is magnificent. Unimpeachable." Need we say more? Alright, an official description: "Charlotte (Macha Méril), an alienated Parisian woman, drifts between morning affairs with the artistic Robert (Bernard Noël) and evenings with her paternalistic husband Pierre (Philippe Leroy). Unsure of whether she loves either man, she discovers she is pregnant and must come to terms with her emotional infidelities."
Mike Nichols' remarkable second film has lost some of its sting as a searing indictment of the pampered, rich, Los Angeles lifestyle in the mid-1960s, but none of its edge in depicting the tricky emotional and romantic territory that recent college graduate Dustin Hoffman must navigate without a compass. With Anne Bancroft and Katherine Ross. Songs performed by Simon and Garfunkel. Screenplay by Buck Henry.
Sadly, DVD Beaver reports: "It's better in terms of color and a bit in the detail but overall this is a shabby way to treat such a classic ... the Blu-ray has the best transfer currently available but MGM really appears to have scrimped." The Blu-ray package includes the 2007 Anniversary DVD, with all its commentaries and featurettes.
Kurt Russell's piercing performance galvanizes Ron Shelton's police corruption drama, based on a story by James Ellroy. With Scott Speedman and Ving Rhames.
Thanks to Michael Ritchie's gliding, graceful direction, Chevy Chase is free to fumble and bumble his way through a sprightly, entertaining private detective adventure. With Joe Don Baker, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, and Tim Matheson.
I have no guilt in admitting the pleasure I take in Jon Voight's hilarious, fully-committed performance as a mysterious stranger encountered by an unlikely documentary film crew headed by Jennifer Lopez. Accept no substitutes. With Eric Stolz, Owen Wilson, and Ice Cube. Directed by Luis Llosa.
Also out: Air Force One, Bruce Almighty, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, Glory, Inside Man, Navy Seals, Out of Time, Road House, Rollerball (2002), Walking Tall (2004).
The Legend of the Blood Castle
"A Nightmare Tale of Depravity!" screams the DVD cover for the 1972 Spanish horror flick directed by Jorge Grau. According to George R. Reis at DVD Drive-In, the film is based on the legend of a "sadistic Hungarian countess and female serial killer" who lived from 1560 to 1614 and was "rumored to have bathed in the blood of her victims to retain her youth ... If you can get past the initial dullness and stick with [it], it's a rewarding viewing experience and one of the best-produced genre films to come out of Spain."
A box set of four martial arts films produced by the Shaw Brothers: Legendary Heroes of China (1982, directed by Lau Kar-leung); The Shadow Whip (1971, directed by Lo Wei, with Cheng Pei-Pei); The Shaolin Intruders (1983, directed by Tong Gai, with Derek Yee); and The Deadly Breaking Sword (1979, directed by Sun Chung, with Ti Lung).
I've linked to authoritative reviews by John Charles of Hong Kong Digital; based on his generally positive comments on the films themselves, this bargain-priced new box set sounds like a good investment for martial arts / Shaw Brothers fans.
* UPDATED: Thanks to Paul for kindly pointing out my error in the comments.