Every week, dozens of DVDs and Blu-Rays are released unto the world, and in this economy it gets harder and harder to decide what to spend your money on. The Weekly DVD Heist is here to tell you what your primary objective is, determine the difference between high priority and low priority targets, and help you decide what to leave behind.
It’s actually a pretty big week for DVD and Blu-Ray releases, but I’m feeling really under the weather right now so forgive me if I only focus on some of the highlights. And, of course, the lowlights, like that piece of s**t Avatar.
April 20th, 2010
Minority Report (DVD/Blu-Ray)
Not the Spielberg movie everyone wanted in high-definition first, or second or even third for that matter, but there’s a really strong argument for Minority Report being Spielberg’s best film of the last decade. A beautiful, exciting and genuinely intellectual thriller that deserves a little more credit for being amazing. Even the ending – which some people inaccurately believe goes on too long – is fantastic, although the reported original caption before the closing credits (which hung a lantern on the larger sacrifice made at the end of the movie) would have indeed improved matters. Seriously, Minority Report is so good that I’ll even forgive the God-awful cover, which looks like a particularly lame ad for Project Natal.
Battleship Potemkin (Blu-Ray)
It’s Battleship Potemkin. In high definition. You have no reason not to want this. Also, if the Minority Report guys are reading, THIS is how you do a DVD cover.
Crazy Heart (DVD/Blu-Ray)
Jeff Bridges won a much-deserved Academy Award for his portrayal of a fading country music superstar, but Crazy Heart is worthy of other lauds as well. The music – most of it original – is all fantastic and Bridges’s supporting cast, including the always sublime Maggie Gyllenhaal, stand out in each of their roles as well. If I have any complaint with Crazy Heart it’s that we have genuinely seen it all before, last year, when it was a bit more depressing and called The Wrestler.
Summer Hours (DVD/Blu-Ray)
I haven’t seen this film from Oliver Assayas, about three siblings (including Juliette Binoche) who must decide what to do with her mother’s estate after she dies. It doesn’t sound like a heart-pumper, but it’s Criterion, and it’s rare indeed that they don’t have a damned good reason for releasing a film you’ve never heard of.
Vivre Sa Vie (DVD/Blu-Ray)
It’s Godard. On Criterion. In high definition. You have no reason not to want this either.
The Lovely Bones (DVD/Blu-Ray)
The Lovely Bones was probably one of the most anticipated movies of the year, a factor which helped make Peter Jackson’s latest film one of the most disappointing as well. This story of a girl who is raped and murdered and watches over her family as they grieve her loss inspired a few, but pissed off everybody else. Some were offended by the story’s portrayal of the afterlife, which made being raped and murdered seem like a pretty awesome thing to do, while others – like myself – found the film horribly uneven, cutting from a decent Hitchcockian thriller, in which the family searches for a cunning murderer, and a New Age film about achieving inner peace. Neither of the two films, which constantly compete for screen time rather than working together to create a cohesive cinematic experience, end satisfactorily. An interesting rental, but sadly that is all.
The Young Victoria (DVD/Blu-Ray)
Nobody had anything bad to say about The Young Victoria, but aside from the production values (which won an Academy Award), nobody had anything particularly good to say about it either. Let’s hope it’s better than the dull-as-hell The Duchess, at any rate.
LEAVE IT BEHIND:
Avatar (DVD/Blu-Ray) (Actually released on the 22nd, as if anyone who counts really cares)
I’m not sure how much more I can say about how absolutely, 100% motherf*ing bad James Cameron’s Avatar really is, and now that the film is being released exclusively on 2-D DVD and Blu-Ray I hope that the rest of you are able to see past the technical wizardry to see the morally reprehensible, idiotically plotted and shameless “topical” bullst this film is filled with. A lot of people liked it, okay, but a lot of people thought slavery was awesome and that women didn’t deserve the right to vote. Seriously, people… The emperor has no clothes.
The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie (DVD)
Whenever anybody complains about how Family Guy relies on disgusting, offensive or otherwise irresponsible humor instead of decent scriptwriting, I always point to Drawn Together, a show which actually sometimes manages to offend even me, and I am not easily offended. If you love the show – as is your right, although don’t smoke too much weed, okay? – you’re already getting this. If you don’t, or are unfamiliar with it altogether, I’d seriously recommend staying far, far away.
Fist of Legend (Blu-Ray)
Fist of Legend is one of Jet Li’s best movies, and features some of the most incredible action choreography you are ever likely to see. So why should you “Leave It Behind?” Because Dragon Dynasty has released an awful lot of Hong Kong classics lately and they’ve been releasing them with substandard, 1080i transfers. I even recommended a few of them sight unseen, and for that I am sorry. If the reviews are strong this will be worth picking up, but Dragon Dynasty has demonstrated absolutely no respect for some of the finest movies ever made, and we need to take a stand.
William Bibbiani is a highly opinionated film, TV and videogame critic living in Los Angeles, California. In addition to his work at the “California Literary Review” William also contributes articles and criticism to “Geekscape” and “Ranker” and has won multiple awards for co-hosting the weekly Geekscape podcast and for his series of Safe-For-Work satirical pornographic film critiques, “Geekscape After Dark.” He also writes screenplays and, when coerced with sweet, sweet nothings, occasionally acts in such internet series as “Bus Pirates” and “Heads Up with Nar Williams.” A graduate of the UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media, William sometimes regrets not pursuing a career in what he refers to as “lawyering” so that he could afford luxuries like food and shoes.
William can be found on both the Xbox Live and Playstation Network as GuyGardner2814, and on Twitter as – surprisingly – WilliamBibbiani.