New Release Round-Up! August 6th, 2013

New Release on Blu-ray and DVD for Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Well there is no point in beating around the bush this week- I have never been so excited by a week’s releases! It just seems like all the good films that could have been spaced out over the last month have been culminated into this “hall of fame” week.The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) Let me give you a quick run-down as to what I mean: The Criterion Collection came through with a great blu-ray debut, Disney has released three of their classics in blu-ray editions for the first time, we have a special release from the only Academy Award winning Best Picture that has yet to be available on home media, as well as the only two films from 2013 that I have given a rating of ★★★★★. And just in case that wasn’t enough, we also get a first time blu-ray release of an Alfred Hitchcock classic, and Terrance Malick’s latest opus. (Can you tell I’m a bit excited here?) So tell me, how many of these films will you be watching this week?

  • “Mud” (2013): Mud (2013)I loved this movie. Matthew McConaughy gives a knock-out performance as a man on-the-run, hiding on a small island along the Mississippi River. He is found by two young boys (Tye Sheridan & Jacob Lofland) who try to help him escape the law and reunite with his on-again off-again girlfriend (Reese Witherspoon).The film is brilliantly made and combines the perfect blend of warmth and drama. “Mud” boasts an amazing supporting cast as well, including Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Ray McKinnon and Sarah Paulson. Trust me when I say that this is a movie worth watching.

  • “The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013):The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) Another film released earlier this year that surprised me with its quality was this drama directed by Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine”). The film stars Ryan Gosling as a motorcycle stunt man who puts his driving to use by becoming a bank robber. Bradley Cooper plays the police officer whose life is forever changed because of the decisions that he makes while trying to stop the robberies. With brilliant editing, haunting music and spot on performances from the entire cast, including Eva Mendes, Bruce Greenwood and Ray Liotta, “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a stunning example of expert filmmaking.

  • “The Earrings of Madame de…” (1953): The Earrings of Madame de... Getting a much deserved blu-ray release through The Criterion Collection is this brilliantly conceived and constructed French film from director Max Ophuls. The story is about the wife (Danielle Darrieux) of a wealthy General who decides to sell a pair of earrings that her husband (Charles Boyer) gave to her on their wedding day. Although the earrings don’t seem to mean much to her now, through a series of fateful events, these expensive jewels find their way back to Madame de through her new love (Vittorio De Sica), once again giving them (and her life) new purpose. Few films are as perfectly designed as this one, and it’s easy to see why, “The Earrings of Madame de…” has become one of the most acclaimed French films of all time.

  • “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956): Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart were a great team. They made four incredible and unforgettable films together, between 1948 and 1958. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1954)Sure “Vertigo” (1958) and “Rear Window” (1954) are the most acclaimed and remembered of the group, but to overlook either “Rope” (1948) or “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956) simple because they are not as good as the other collaborations would be a serious mistake. In this film, Stewart plays a man on holiday with his wife (Doris Day) and young son (Christopher Olsen). Through a series of coincidences and mistakes, a spy is killed and passes sensitive information, asking him to deliver it to the British government. The nefarious villains kidnap the couple’s son and threaten to kill him if anyone is alerted to their plan. This film is a remake of Hitchcock’s 1934 film of the same name, and although there are many similar plot points, his maturity as a director (and the presence of Stewart and Day) make this the superior film. In addition, this movie also boasts the Academy Award winning song, “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)”, which plays an important role in the film’s plot.

  • “Robin Hood” (1973):Robin Hood “Oo De Lally”! You can laugh if you want, but I’m not afraid to admit that Disney’s “Robin Hood” is one of my all-time favorite films. For starters, the cast is filled with wonderfully comic voice performances, headlined by Peter Ustinov as the thumb-sucking Prince John. Then, there are the songs that were spectacularly written and are guaranteed to be stuck in your head, giving you something to whistle all day long. Say what you will about the so called greatest animated films of all time, I think I’ll take “Robin Hood” any day.

  • “To the Wonder” (2012): Terrence Malick… in my opinion, you either love him or don’t understand him.To the Wonder (2012) His films are legendary for having the most beautiful images, combined with a unparalleled narrative style. His latest film, “To the Wonder”, tells the story of a mid-western man (Ben Affleck) who falls in love with a French woman (Olga Kurylenko). She comes to live with him in America, but things quickly begin to become stale. Complicating the issue further is the emergence of his high-school sweetheart (Rachel McAdams) who begins to pull his affections away. The film, which has very little dialogue that isn’t done in voice over, seems unusual to many movie-goers, but for viewers who can be patient, the payoff is well-worth the time invested. It is visually stunning and once again proves that Malick is a pioneer director, forging the way for future filmmakers prepared to think outside the Hollywood way of doing things.

  • “Oblivion” (2013): Oblivion (2013)Tom Cruise and Olga Kurylrnko star in this science fiction film that takes place in the future, after the human race has abandoned Earth. Only a couple of people remain behind to finish collecting the water from the oceans, until things go terribly wrong. This film pays homage to many of the science fiction films from the 1960’s and 70’s, but ultimately falls short with a story that just doesn’t seem to hold any interest. The visual effects are a plus, but still aren’t enough to keep the mediocre story afloat.

  • “The Sword in the Stone” (1963): The Sword in the Stone Here’s another Disney classic finally getting a blu-ray release. This classic tale of King Arthur’s fictitious childhood comes to life with the help of Merlin, the fantastic wizard, and his owl, Archimedes. The special features aren’t anything to be excited about, but there is a four-minute, never before seen opening sequence that could be interesting. At this point, I’m just glad to see these Disney classics gaining new interest after so long. Anybody up for a wizard’s duel?

  • “Cavalcade” (1933): Cavalcade (1933)This is the Best Picture winning film from 1933, that is FINALLY becoming available on DVD and blu-ray. Directed by Frank Lloyd, the story follows an English family from New Years Eve, 1899 all the way through present day (1933). Many scenes revolve around major world events such as different wars, the Titanic sinking and the death of Queen Victoria. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be many (or any) special features with this release, but because I’m so excited that I can finally watch the movie, I’m not going to be too picky.

  • “Oliver and Company” (1988): Oliver and Company (1988)Billy Joel, Bette Midler and Joey Lawrence lead an all-star cast in this modern-day (by modern-day I mean 1988) spin on Charles Dickins, “Oliver Twist”. This is clearly a flawed Disney classic, but still one that entertains, mostly because of the toe-tapping songs.

Also being released this week are a fewer less-popular films that may be of some interest. We have the 35th anniversary edition of the science fiction classic, “Battlestar Galactica” (1978), the comedy/action film “Silver Streak” (1976), starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Wesley Snipes’s action extravaganza “Passenger 57” (1992), Kevin Bacon’s bicycle drama, “Quicksilver” (1986), and the Macaulay Culkin fantasy film, “The Pagemaster” (1994).

0 thoughts on “New Release Round-Up! August 6th, 2013

  1. Richard Kirkham says:

    Cavalcade, Mud, the Disney films and Hitchcock. I have yet to see Pines, saw Oblivion but don’t need to own it, not a Malick fan. Not sure about the Criterion disc, it sound interesting but I am unfamiliar with the movie. You asked so that’s my answer. I have good memories of Robin Hood and Oliver. Sword and the Stone is a vague memory but it is Disney so I do need it.


    • Paul says:

      Thanks for your rundown. It looks pretty similar to mine. I haven’t seen “Cavalcade” yet (and am hoping that the price comes down). I do recommend “The Place Beyond the Pines” and “The Earrings of Madame de…”. I thought “Oblivion” was awful.


  2. R.A. Kerr says:

    I am a big fan of “The Man Who Knew too Much”. It’s too bad it’s often overlooked; the performances are stellar. Doris Day is really fab in this dramatic role, no?


    • Paul says:

      She is great, in fact the whole film is great. I see that compared to the other films Hitchcock was making around the same time, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” doesn’t have that same spark, but when watched singularly, without any preconceived notions, this is a highly enjoyable film.


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