Sunday’s New Release Round-Up!

New movies to blu-ray and DVD for Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

We have reached that unfortunate time of year for new releases, where all of the below average movies that were release in theaters in the early months are now finding their way to our homes. I suppose it’s more of a good news-bad news scenario, as we didn’t really want to see these films in the theater, but perhaps we will give them a try now, at a fraction of the cost.

This particular week is enhanced by three new editions to The Criterion Collection, as well as a couple of previously unreleased classics making their first appearances on blu-ray. Here is the run down for this week:

    • “Jack the Giant Slayer” (2013): With a title like that, not much is left to the imagination. Of course there isn’t much imagination in this film anyway. Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)Director Bryan Singer (“The Usual Suspects” & “X-Men”) wanted to make a bigger-than-life adaptation of this classic tale, but what started as a quest for fun, quickly turned into a commercial for the future of 3D movie watching. The film stars Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane and Bill Nighy, but even they can’t save this awful script and disappointing action sequences. The 3D visuals are used nicely, and audiences around the age of 13 should have a good time, but without a 3D TV, this is easily one to miss.

    • “Safety Last!” (1923): Safety Last! (1923)Harold Lloyd is a legend of silent comedy, and “Safety Last!” is his masterpiece. Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, this comedic gem is a must see for anyone, and a must own for fans of classic comedy. This film is being inducted into The Criterion Collection this week, and the bonus features include a 108-minute documentary on Lloyd, as well as three newly restored Harold Lloyd short films: “Take a Chance” (1918), “Young Mr. Jazz” (1919) and “His Royal Shyness” (1920).

    • Things to Come” (1936): Things to Come (1936)From director William Cameron Menzies, comes this science-fiction drama, based on the H.G. Wells story. The film opens in the future world of 1940, as a second world war begins. It covers the next 100 years, as the world first collapses, and then rebuilds itself on the foundation of advanced scientific technology. “Things to Come” stars Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson and Cedric Argyle, and is one of the most interesting films you will find concerning the future. It is included as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, and is being inducted into The Criterion Collection this week, after years of poor quality prints and disappointing audio tracks. It will be wonderful to finally see this film restored to its former glory.

    • “Marketa Lazarova” (1967): This film has never been previously available in the United States, but in 1998, it was voted the greatest Czechoslovakian film of all time, making it a movie worth seeing.Marketa Lazarova (1967) Obviously, I have yet to see this critically acclaimed film for myself, but I will be remedying that oversight as soon as possible. “Marketa Lazarova” is an epic middle-ages drama about a young girl (Magda Vasaryova) whose father is a lord. She is kidnapped by a rival kingdom, and becomes the mistress to one of the knights. This is the third film being inducted into The Criterion Collection this week, filled with bonus features to enjoy. This is another film that is included in “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, making this one of the rare weeks where we are graced with two films from their book, both making their blu-ray debuts the same day.

    • “Stoker” (2013): From internationally acclaimed director Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy”), comes this horror/psychological thriller starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney and Jacki Weaver. Stoker (2013)The film centers on a recently widowed woman and her daughter, as they become closer to the likable, yet potentially dangerous brother of their loved one. “Stoker” was made as a homage to Alfred Hitchcock and his film “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), even going so far as to give the central character the same “Uncle Charlie” name. Reviews have been somewhat mixed, yet I am still intrigued, simply based on Chan-wook’s visual style and the creepy feeling that the trailer embodies. I also think this film was released at the wrong time, thus keeping more audiences away. Thankfully, we can have another chance to see it now.

    • “Quartet” (2012): Quartet (2012)Directed by Dustin Hoffman, this film centers on a home for elderly, retired musicians. Four of the residents come together to create something magical, despite the personal differences that have kept them apart throughout their professional careers. This films stars Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Coutenay, Pauline Collins and Michael Gambon.

    • “21 & Over” (2013): 21 & Over (2013)I wonder how quickly I can sum this one up. Immature 21-year-olds, who act like immature 21-year-olds. That should cover it. This movie stars Justin Chon, Miles Teller, Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright, and was directed by the writers from “The Hangover” (2009), Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.

    • “Of Human Bondage” (1934): Of Human Bondage (1943)Here’s one of those classic films that is almost too depressing to even remember. The story falls around a man and a woman that just can’t seem to find a way to be happy, with or without one another. This film, directed by John Cromwell, stars Bette Davis and Leslie Howard, but it is Davis who steals the film.

    • “Hell’s House” (1932): Hell's House (1932)Another Bette Davis feature making it’s blu-ray debut this week, is this drama film about the awful conditions of a reform school. “Hell’s House” also stars Pat O’Brien and Frank Coghlan Jr., and was directed by Howard Higgin.

  • “Flame of Barbary Coast” (1945): The Flame of Barbary Coast (1945)When a Montana cowboy (John Wayne) gets cheated out of his money at a gambling house in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, he vows revenge. It’s not enough to win back his money, though, as he sets himself on a path to take over the gambling in that area, and also steal away his rival’s gal.

0 thoughts on “Sunday’s New Release Round-Up!

    • Paul says:

      Thanks for coming! “Quartet” looks really interesting, and with such an amazing cast I have high expectations. Hoffman as a director is also intriguing. Hopefully I will catch up with this one soon.


  1. R.A. Kerr says:

    Some interesting selections here. Am looking forward to your review of the Czech film, because it’s certain you’ll see it long before I ever do.

    I had to laugh at the big-shouldered futuristic costumes of “Things to Come”, although it is not meant as disrespect towards the film. The film itself sounds totally worth it.


    • Paul says:

      I did get “Marketa Lazarova” and am looking forward to seeing it soon. I’m sure I will have a few thoughts when I’m done!

      There are many parts of “Things to Come” that are laughable, but also many that were surprising. H.G. Wells certainly was creative.


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