Cinematical's Spin-ematical: New on DVD and Blu-ray for 8/24

Today might as well be renamed 'Lost-day,' since DVD and Blu-ray sets for the TV show's sixth and final season are out, along with collections of all six seasons. Mainstream fare is limited to one big turkey, unfortunately, but Indies on DVD and Blu-ray library titles (both to be found after the jump) are overflowing with possibilities. For now, let's gather the biggest three titles releasing today.

The Back-Up Plan
"A gross-out yuck-fest disguised as a generic Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy," says Cinematical's John Gholson. "The image on the poster features Lopez playfully covering the eyes of her co-star Alex O'Loughlin, perhaps to spare him the carnival of vomit, feces, and vaginal blood that this movie mistakes for actual comedy writing." Skip it.

Buy at Amazon

City Island
Raymond De Felitta's film stars Andy Garcia and is "a merry comedy about one of those quarrelsome Italian-American families where everybody fights a lot but ultimately loves one another," Eric D. Snider wrote in his review. "In real life, I find relationships with loud, argumentative people exhausting. In the movies, though, they can be a lot of fun to watch." Buy it.

Add to Netflix queue | Buy at Amazon

George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead
He's alive! And still making zombie movies! Though it hasn't received the best reviews, our own Jeffrey D. Anderson suggests that it deserves a look: "I suspect that in time, it will be seen as another of his uniquely personal films, brimming with his own ideas." Rent it.

Buy at Amazon



'The Square'The Square

"When I tell you that The Square is about two lovers who try to take the money and run, you might think that you've seen it all before," observed William Goss. "But you haven't. Not quite like this. Whichever Murphy they named that law after? This puppy would do him proud. ... When something this tight and this taut and this relentlessly compelling arrives, it deserves attention all its own." Buy it.

Buy at Amazon

I Think We're Alone Now
Sure to make you squirm, this documentary about overly-devoted fans -- one gentleman in particular -- of aging pop star Tiffany is deeply unsettling. "You'll find yourself jerking back from the screen in horror, while simultaneously wanting to cry at the naked misery of its subjects, and then laughing at how quickly a lifelong affection can be forgotten," wrote Elisabeth Rappe.

Ajami
"The Middle East is such a powder keg that we've come to assume every film from that region will be ABOUT the fact that it's a powder keg," commented Eric D. Snider. "Ajami is what you'd expect in that regard, but in nearly every other way it's a surprise, a bold and serious film about the frail threads that keep -- or fail to keep -- a society from falling apart."

Also out: Korean thriller Seven Days and biographical documentary Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg.



'Time Bandits' on Blu-rayTime Bandits

When a knight in full armor riding a magnificent horse crashes through a boy's wardrobe ... it's magic. Or, maybe it's better defined as the delightful and scary directorial imprint of Terry Gilliam, staking out his claim in dark fantasy that goes places most others fear to tread.

This is a journey across the ages, featuring wild meetings with Napoleon (Ian Holm), Robin Hood (John Cleese), and Agamemmon (Sean Connery). It's filled with light comic touches and extravagant adventures; I can't quite recall the plot, but I do remember that it was a sheer delight on the big screen, and the new Blu-ray edition should bring back those memories for those of us who are older, and also serve as a fine introduction to Gilliam -- and why he's such a rare and wonderful talent -- for newer fans.

Also out: Shogun Assassin, The Long Good Friday (ferocious Bob Hoskins!), Machine Gun McCain, Mona Lisa, Withnail and I.



The Criterion Collection: 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg
Underworld, The Last Command, The Docks of New York

From the Critertion Collection comes a set sure to excite dedicated film fans. DVD Savant comments: "The three stunningly creative titles presented here have been relegated to film schools and museums for decades. Restored transfers allow us to appreciate the director's meticulously crafted images and his careful direction of actors. ... These three very late silents, produced when part-talkies were already taking hold of audience tastes, are vastly superior to most of 1929's crude talking pictures."