New Criterion Collection Titles for October 2013

Here we are again, gaining a new group of films that, come October, will forever be cemented into The Criterion Collection. Yes, I know I Married a Witch (1942)I’m a bit late this month, and I apologize. These pieces of cinematic history include nine films, six of which are already in the collection and are now getting updated (and much appreciated) blu-ray editions. Also, being the month of Halloween, in which people often look to the scary or mystical for their entertainment, some of these films follow in that general theme, creating both chilling and pleasant journeys into the supernatural. Here is the run-down for October, 2013.

To be released on October 8th, 2013:

    • “I Married a Witch” (1942): I Married a Witch (1942)This lighthearted comedic romp opens in the 1600’s, as a prominent member of the Wooley family has accused a young woman and her father of being witches, and had them burned at the stake. Before they died, leaving their souls trapped beneath a tree, the young witch cursed the Wooley family to forever be unhappy in love- until, of course, a time comes where she can seek her vengeance. Jump to the early 1900’s, where the witch (Veronica Lake) and her father (Cecil Kellaway) are released from their supernatural prison, and return to seek revenge on the Wooley descendant, Wallace (Frederic March). I Married a Witch (1942)Of course things don’t go as planned (for anyone), as she quickly becomes enamored with his suave good looks and endless charm. The result is a romantic comedy that will delight from beginning to end, full of hilarious dialogue. Directed by revolutionary French director Rene Clair (“Le Million”) while working in America during WWII, this is a welcomed addition to The Criterion Collection, with its witty screenplay by Robert Pirosh and Marc Connelly, and a highly amusing and unusual performance from the great Frederic March. This film remains one of the most enjoyable comedies from 1942, and deserves to be placed alongside other films from that year, like “To Be or Not to Be” and “The Palm Beach Story.” This is a “bare-bones” release, as there are limited special features included- bad news for those of us who love to delve into the world of special features; good news for everyone, as it has a reduced price tag.

To be released on October 15th, 2013:

  • “Eyes Without a Face” (1960): Also known as “Les yeux sans visage,” this visionary French horror film from director Georges Franju has slowly crept its way up through the ranks of cinema’s greatest horror films, and along the way has inspired an entire generation of filmmakers rooted in suspense and terror. Eyes Without a Face (1960)The story revolves around a doctor (Pierre Brasseur) who is responsible for the disfigurement of his daughter (Edith Scob) in a car accident, that has resulting in her having to ware a faceless mask. Now, he continuously kidnaps young women, surgically removing their faces and attempting to transplant them onto his daughter. There are plenty of great bonus features included, with this title including Franju’s 1949 documentary, “Blood of Beasts,” about the slaughterhouses of Paris, and a new interview with actress Edith Scob. “Eyes Without a Face” is already part of The Criterion Collection, but now will be coming out on blu-ray. It is also currently available on Hulu.

To be released on October 22rd, 2013:

  • John Cassavetes: Five Film Collection (1959-1977): John Cassavetes was a revolutionary filmmaker. He was one of the pioneers of independent films, with his unprecedented style and unique ability to project the most intense of emotions, with an unconventional, partially documentary approach. Shadows (1959)He wrote, directed, acted, and even sometimes was forced to finance his films. There was very little (possibly nothing) he couldn’t do. This collection of films, features five of his most prolific movies, four of which have been included in the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” The movies featured are as follows: “Shadows” (1959), “Faces” (1968), “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974), “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” (1976) and “Opening Night” (1977). The list of bonus features included in this set is unbelievably long, but I will mention that there is a 2000 documentary by Charles Kiselyak, entitled “A Constant Forge- The Life and Art of John Cassavetes” included as a sixth disc.

    • “The Uninvited” (1944): The Uninvited (1944)A young man (Ray Milland) and his sister (Ruth Hussey) decide to purchase an impressive, cliff-top estate that has a low price tag. What they weren’t expecting was that the house was haunted. Director Lewis Allen creates a surprisingly serious supernatural thriller with a memorable score by Victor Young, and Academy Award nominated black and white cinematography by Charles B. Lang. This is another “bare-bones” disc with an unusually low (and much appreciated) price.

To be released on October 29th, 2013:

    • ” La Notte” (1961): La Notte (1961)This follow-up film to Michelango Antonioni’s masterfully “L’avventura” (1960), revolves around an unfaithful married couple whose relationship has reached a breaking point. Filmed beautifully on location in Milan, and crafted impeccably by one of cinema’s all time greats, “La Notte” is a true work of art that fits perfectly in Antonioni’s unofficial trilogy, between “L’avventura” and “Eclipse” (1962). This film also features some perfect acting from Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau and Monica Vitti in the major roles.

New Release Round-Up! July 23rd 2013

Another fairly light week for releases, but a couple of Criterion Collection titles do mix things up a bit. What will you be watching?

  • “Babette’s Feast” (1987): This film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film upon its initial release, and it has only become better with the passing years. Babette's Feast (1987)Two sisters, living in a quiet town in Denmark, have grown older, trying to keep their father’s religious sect going after his death. Enter Babette, a French woman seeking refuge from her past. She lives with the sisters for years, working beside them, until she wins a great deal of money in a lottery and asks her housemates if she can cook them a glorious French dinner in celebration. Everything about this film from beginning to end is enjoyable, creating what is a must see film experience. As well as being released on both blu-ray and DVD, “Babette’s Feast” is also available through Hulu.

  • “The Ice Storm” (1997): Before we all knew director Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Brokeback Mountain” & “Life of Pi”) was brilliant, he tried to show us with this intense human drama about two families living near each other during one fateful ice storm in the 1970’s.The Ice Storm (1997) Few films have captured this era as perfectly, showcasing everything that makes human nature so complex. It is a dark film full of masterful editing and remarkable cinematography, and it is almost certain to leave anyone at a loss for words. “The Ice Storm” boasts a remarkable cast that includes Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elija Wood and Katie Holmes. It is already in The Criterion Collection, but this is the first time it has been made available on blu-ray.

  • “Kiss of the Damned” (2013): Vampires and sex. Kiss of the Damned (2013)That’s pretty much all you need to know about this film from director Xan Cassavetes ( yes, as in daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands). In the film, a human (Milo Ventimiglia) falls in love with a vampire (Josephine de La Baume), and decides to join the vampire world in order to remain with her.

Also being released this week are a few other films that I know very little about, such as “Trance” (2013), “Welcome to the Punch” (2013), “Summer and Smoke” (1961) and “Harlow” (1965). Happy watching everyone.

New Release Round-Up! July 16th, 2013

There aren’t many choices this week, but still a couple of titles worth checking out. Looking ahead to the rest of July, things aren’t going to get too much better either. Perhaps August will find a way to wow us.

    • “42” (2013):42 (2013) Jackie Robinson: Everybody knows his name; now you can see his story. Director Brian Helgeland masterfully pieces this historic story together in a way that is both informative and entertaining. The entire cast gives great performances, particularly Chadwick Boseman in the title role, Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson, and of course, Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey.  This film falls under the heading of “highly recommended” from Lasso the Movies, as it seems to be a film for everyone to enjoy… not just baseball fans. Go Dodgers!

    • “Lord of the Flies” (1963)Lord of the Flies (1963): Way back when The Criterion Collection was first getting started, they inducted “Lord of the Flies” as the 43rd film into their collection. Now, many years later, as the collection now has 664 films to date, “Lord of the Flies” is being reintroduced on both blu-ray and a new DVD edition. In this wonderful adaptation of William Golding’s classic novel, Director Peter Brook has found a way to transport audiences to the island paradise that quickly becomes a violent nightmare to the young boys who are stranded there. This new edition comes loaded with bonus features, both new and old, and has a newly restored 4K digital film transfer on the blu-ray edition.

    • “Evil Dead” (2013)Evil Dead (2013): Who would have ever thought that we needed a retelling of this story? Director Fede Alvarez was chosen by “Evil Dead” creator Sami Rami to take over the directing duties in what is essentially the fourth film in the franchise. Surprisingly, this film has received mostly positive reviews, as it encompasses many of the same traits that made the original a cult classic; such as the violence, gore and thrills. The only area in which it lacks seems to be the humor. Imagine that.

    • “Bullet to the Head” (2013)Bullet to the Head (2013): Sylvester Stallone stars in this action spectacle in this film from director Walter Hill (“48 Hours”, “Another 48 Hours” & “Last Man Standing”), where he does what he has always done best: violence and action. This crime story revolves around a contract killer seeking revenge for the murder of his partner. Receiving less than great reviews, “Bullet to the Head” is the kind of action film that might have been entertaining at one time, but has trouble finding its place in today’s cinematic world. Perhaps home is the best place to catch this one.

Well, that’s it for this week. What are you going to watch?

New Release Round Up!

New Releases on blu-ray and DVD for Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

We have another week of lack-luster releases, as all those less than great films that came out in the slow months of the year are finally making their way to DVD and blu-ray. Although not many great films to see, at least we have some new choices, right?

    • “Spring Breakers” Spring Breakers (2012)(2013): This film directed by Harmony Korine, revolves around a group of four college girls (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Bensen & Rachel Korine) who decide to steal money in order to go enjoy “spring break.” Once there, they grab the attention of a local gangster (James Franco) and become members of his drug-dealing lifestyle.

    • “The Life of Oharu” The Life of Oharu (1952)(1952): Painful, saddening, unforgettable and brilliant. This film from director Kenji Mizoguchi is deeply haunting to watch, as the events of an older prostitute’s life are recounted and reflected upon. The tale is not an uplifting one, but has an extremely personal feel, as Mizoguchi dealt with many of these themes in his own life. It is a film that should not be missed, and is being inducted into The Criterion Collection this week.

    • “Dead Man Down”Dead Man Down (2013) (2013): This crime film revolves around a violent man (Colin Farrell) who has infiltrated a criminal organization run by a ruthless killer (Terrence Howard), in order to extract revenge for the murder of his wife and daughter. He is contacted by a woman (Noomi Rapace) who at first pretends to be his friend before revealing that she has a video of him killing a man, and she threatens to take it to the police unless he kills the man who disfigured her in a car accident. The film is plagued by plot twists and unoriginal ideas, but at least the acting keeps things entertaining.

    • “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing”Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) (1955): This Best Pictured nominated drama-romance film is about a man (William Holden) who falls in love with a Eurasian woman (Jennifer Jones) just prior to the Korean War. Directed by the great Henry King (“The Gunfighter”), “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” is a well made, well acted film that deals with major events of its day.
    • “Admission” Admission (2013)(2013): An admissions officer at Princeton (Tina Fey) is confronted by a former college classmate (Paul Rudd) who works at an “alternative” high school. He presents her with a young prodigy (Michael Sheen) who is both off the wall and brilliant, and oh yeah, might also be her son.

Sunday’s New Release Round-Up!

New Releases on blu-ray and DVD for July 2nd, 2013


Every once in a while one of those weeks comes along where you can’t help but be disappointed by the selections. We have found that week. With the exception of two classic film releases (one of which came out in the Hitchcock box set last year), there is little to nothing for us movie fans to get excited about. Then again, maybe you feel differently.

    • “The Producers”The Producers (1968) (1968): Mel Brooks is a comic genius. No doubt about it, he will always be one of the greatest directors of comedy films that ever lives. Films like “Young Frankenstein” (1974), “Blazing Saddles” (1974), “Spaceballs” (1987) and “History of the World Part I” (1981) are all staple films that everyone should see… eventually. It is, however, his first film, “The Producers,” that is his most acclaimed film, and the only time in his career that Brooks won an Academy Award (Best Original Screenplay). The plot involves a theater producer who teams with an accountant in an attempt to make the least successful Broadway musical of all time. This amazingly intelligent film stars Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, and would be a welcomed addition to any film collection. Besides, can anything make you smile faster than hearing “Springtime for Hitler”?

    • “The Trouble with Harry” The Trouble with Harry (1955)(1955): Alfred Hitchcock isn’t remembered as being a director of comedies, but this 1955 dark comedy is a remarkably entertaining film that is certain to please and delight. In this film, the body of Harry Worp has been found dead. Unfortunately for many of the residents of this small Vermont town, they all think they might have been the one who killed him, and they all want to cover it up. Staring Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe, Shirley MacLaine and Mildred Natwick, “The Trouble with Harry” is not a typical Alfred Hitchcock movie, but it still is one worth seeing, and promises to leave an impression.

    • “Venus and Serena” (2012):Venus and Serena (2012) This documentary from directors Maliken Baird and Michelle Major takes a behind the scenes look at the life and relationship of the world’s most famous sports sisters. I haven’t heard much about this film, but it certainly looks like an informative picture.

  • “The Kentucky Fried Movie” (1977): The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)Before raunchy, sex filled comedies were everywhere, there was “The Kentucky Fried Movie”. This film consists of several unrelated comedy sketches, each making fun of other films and film genres. This film paved the way for many of the comedies that would be released in the 1980’s and 90’s. “The Kentucky Fried Movie” was written by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, and was directed by John Landis.

  • “Up Series” (1964-2012): Up SeriesThis documentary film series originated in 1964, when director Paul Almond followed 14 seven-year-olds in their day-to-day lives. Every seven years since, director Michael Apted has rejoined with as many of the children (now adults) as are willing to participate. Now at the age of 56, the show is still running and is said to be just as interesting of a social experiment as any film series ever made. Roger Ebert included the “Up Series” on his list of great films, and this is the first time it has ever been available in America. This release is only available on DVD.

A Reason to be Excited: Cavalcade (1933)

It has finally happened! After years of waiting, and waiting, and waiting, there is reason to celebrate. Being released on blu-ray through Olive Films on August 6th, 2013, is the Best Picture winning drama, “Cavalcade.” At this moment, “Cavalcade” is the only Best Picture winner to have never been released on DVD or blu-ray in Region 1. Cavalcade (1933)That makes this a historic event, as this film can finally be seen and appreciated once again by the general public.

“Cavalcade,” directed by Frank Lloyd, is based on the play of the same name by the legendary Noel Coward, and centers on the lives of an upper-class English couple, from New Years Eve 1899, up through 1933. The film showcases many historic events that took place during that time, and shows how these events affected the people of the world.

In addition to winning Best Picture, “Cavalcade” was also nominated for three other Academy Awards in 1933. (That’s fairly impressive because it was only eligible for eight categories back then.) Frank Lloyd won the award for Best Director, and William S. Darling won for Best Art Direction. Diana Wynyard was nominated for Best Actress, but lost to the young up and comer, Katharine Hepburn in “Stage Door” (1933).

Sunday’s New Release Round-Up!

New blu-ray and DVD releases for Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

This week’s group of new releases are mostly uninspiring, due to the fact that most of these are films released in the early months of 2013, when studios tend to release their “less than stellar” titles. Hopefully next week will give us a better selection. Anything here that you are going to watch?

    • “Shoah” (1985):Being inducted into The Criterion Collection this week is this French documentaryShoah (!985) directed by Claude Lanzman that centers of the Holocaust, particularly in Poland. There have been several different film versions over the years, this one runs at 550 minutes (yes, that’s right), and  includes a plethora of bonus features, including three other movies directed by Lanzman. “Shoah” has earned many accolades over the years, and is including as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.”

    • “Help!” (1965): Help! (1965)John, Paul, George and Ringo need help! Making its blu-ray debut this week is this Beatles classic that is still as entertaining as ever. It’s directed by Richard Lester, and features the band trying to fight off a villainous cult.

    • “Upside Down” (2013): Upside Down (2013)In this science fiction/romance film, the world is separated into two class systems, each with their own gravitational pull. The film is a love story between a man and a woman who come from different classes, and must face unbelievable odds in order to be together. Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst star in the film, and it was directed by Juan Diego Solanas.

    • The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” (2013):The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013) In this poorly reviewed comedy film, Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi star as has-been magicians who go up against a highly intriguing street magician (Jim Carrey). This film also stars Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini and Olivia Wilde, and is directed by Don Scardino.

    • “The Call” (2013): Halle Berry stars in this The Call (2013)thriller from director Brad Anderson. In the film, Berry plays a 911 operator who is listening as a man attacks and kills a young woman. Feeling responsible, she begins to do everything she can to discover his identity, as he brings his maniacal violence to her. “The Call” also stars Morris Chestnut and Abigail Breslin, and has earned mostly negative reviews.

    • “Phantom” (2013): This is a cold war submarinePhantom (2013) adventure film that stars Ed Harris, David Duchovny and William Fichtner. The plot centers on a Soviet Naval Captain who attempts to prevent war in the late 1960’s. Despite seeming like it could have been a decent adventure film, “Phantom” has received extremely negative reviews.

    • “No” (2012): This film, which was nominated for No (2012)an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, takes place in Chile, in the 1980’s. The story is about an advertising man (Gael Garcia Barnel) who brings the advertising world into the political arena. “No” is directed by Pablo Larrain, and has earned extremely positive reviews.

The Criterion Collection Has Announced Their September Titles!

The Criterion Collection titles for September are here, and I can honestly say that I have never seen a group of films so perfectly suited, and so desperately in need of being included in their (and my) collection. Each of these films, in their own right, are groundbreaking, revolutionary and immensely perfect. Here’s hoping everyone else is just as pleased as I am with these glorious films. As always, all of these films are available for pre-order at The Criterion Collection site.

September 10th, 2013:

  • “La Cage Aux Folles” (1978): This French film directed by Edouard Molinaro is based on the stage play of the same name by Jean Poiret, and centers around a gay couple running a nightclub. ProblemsLa Cage Aux Folles (1978) ensue when their son decides to marry a girl from a conservative family. This film has been critically acclaimed since its initially release, and spawned two less than adequate sequels and an American remake entitled, “The Birdcage” (1996), directed by Mike Nichols. Great comedy is hard to find, but “La Cage Aux Folles” makes it look easy.
  • “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” (1965): Richard Burton had a long and gloriousTha Man Who Came in From the Cold (1965) career, but when you sit down and examine each of his marvelous performances one by one, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” stands out above the rest. The plot, based on the novel of the same name by John le Carre, revolves around a British agent who goes into East Germany and becomes accepted as a communist. Directed by Martin Ritt (“The Outrage”, “Norma Rae”), and costarring Oskar Werner and Claire Bloom, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” is a piece of magnificent filmmaking. It, actually, is reminiscent of a James Bond film with a slightly higher quality attached.

September 17th, 2013:

  • “Autumn Sonata” (1978): Unquestionably, the two greatest cinematic things that have ever come outAutumn Sonata (1978) of Sweden are director Ingmar Bergman and actress Ingrid Bergman. Throughout their illustrious careers, they only worked together once, but that film, “Autumn Sonata,” is one to be remembered. The story centers on a classical pianist who is reconnected with her estranged daughter (wonderfully portrayed by Liv Ullmann). This film was the last film released starring Ingrid Bergman, and earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.  
  • “Slacker” (1991): Director Richard Linklater has made a career out of “unconventional” films. By that,Slacker (1991) I mean films that might not seems like something important or relevant, but believe me, they are. These films, such as “Dazed and Confused” (1993), “subUrbia” (1996), “School of Rock” (2003) and “Bernie” (2011) go beyond just being comical, because they have a serious and extremely important message to deliver. And don’t even get me started on how important “Before Sunrise” (1995), “Before Sunset” (2004) and “Before Midnight” (2013) are in today’s world. “Slacker” has often been called a “film with no plot”- a bunch of 30-something year-olds, living through one somewhat meaningless day doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it truly is remarkable!

September 24th, 2013:

  • “3 Films By Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman” (1950-1954): Alright, are you ready to be extremely excited? Here is the release to beat all releases! Roberto Rossellini made many great films, in fact, let’s just be honest, everything he touched is at least worth examining. In this collection,Stromboli (1950) three hard to find films starring his wife, Ingrid Bergman, are being released. These three film are, “Stromboli” (1950), “Europe ’51” (1952) and Journey to Italy (1954). All three of these films are “must-see” and should be held in higher esteem than they are, but because of a serious lack of availability, they have become somewhat overlooked. I can’t say enough about these films, and promise that you (as a lover of great classic films) will be thrilled with this investment. It is also worth mentioning that the bonus features for these films are unbelievable, including the English-Language version of “Journey to Italy,” featuring George Sanders!

I, of course, realize that I sound like an obsessed, slobbering fan right now, but I can’t wait until September to see these films. It doesn’t matter what The Criterion Collection has planned for October, because it will just be a let down compared to these films.

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.

Sunday’s New Release Round-Up!

New Releases on blu-ray and DVD for Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

There aren’t a lot of releases this week (being the beginning of summer and having young audiences spending most of their time outdoors), but there are a couple of films that are still worth checking out. The question is, with a Wednesday theatrical release of “This is the End” (2013) and the upcoming Superman film “Man of Steel” (2013) coming out on Friday, will anyone be watching movies at home?

    • “Oz the Great and Powerful” (2013): From director Sam Raimi, comes this fantasy film that hardly needs an introduction. Set 20 years before the original books, “Oz the Great and Powerful” centers on aOz the Great and Powerful (2013) Kansas magician (James Franco) who travels by hot air balloon to the land of Oz. Once there, he is charged with restoring order to the land, as it has been torn apart by the evil Wicked Witch. This film also stars Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Bill Cobbs and the voice talent of Zach Braff as a winged monkey. Despite poor reviews, “Oz the Great and Powerful” became one of the early financial successes of 2013, grossing almost $500 million worldwide. It is available for streaming, or on either DVD or blu-ray, with additional editions that include a 3D version of the film.

    • “Wild Strawberries” (1957): Being released into The Criterion Collection this week is this Ingmar Bergman classic, starring Victor Sjostrom and Bibi Andersson. The film centers on an elderly manWild Strawberries (1957) recounting the events of his life. “Wild Strawberries” is often considered one of Bergman’s most inspirational films, and due to an amazing performance by Sjostrom in his final role and with breathtaking cinematography by Bergman regular, Gunnar Fischer, it has now earned the distinction of being one of the best films in Bergman’s illustrious career. “Wild Strawberries” is already a part of The Criterion Collection, but this will mark the first time the film is available on blu-ray. It is also on DVD in a couple of different editions, and can currently be streamed on Hulu.

    • “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” (2013): What happened to those children from the classic fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm? Apparently they  grew up and decided to continue hunting witches.Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star in this fantasy/horror-action film directed by Norwegian filmmaker, Tommy Wirkola. Although critics despised the film overall, audiences worldwide seemed to enjoy the abundance of violence that the film entails, helping to earn a worldwide box office gross of more than $200 million. You can look for more films in this series coming soon. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is available on instant video, DVD, blu-ray, and blu-ray 3D. There is also an extended unrated edition, as well.

    • “Snitch” (2013): This action film stars Dwayne Johnson as a father who agrees to go undercover intoSnitch (2013) the drug world for a US Attorney (Susan Sarandon), in order to decrease his own son’s jail sentence. This film, directed by Ric Roman Waugh, also stars Benjamin Bratt and Barry Pepper, and has earned mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. It is available for pre-order on instant video, DVD and blu-ray.

    • “The Only Game in Town” (1970): Not aThe Only Game in Town (1970) critical or commercial success in any way, this drama film was the last movie made by legendary director George Stevens. The film focuses on a woman (Elizabeth Taylor) who is waiting in Las Vegas for her lover’s divorce to be finalized. While there, she meets a gambling piano player (Warren Beatty) and they fall in love. This is the first time this film has appeared on either DVD or blu-ray, and is only available through Screen Archives Entertainment for a limited time.
    • “How to Survive a Plague” (2012): ThisHow to Survive a Plague (2012) documentary focuses on the early events of the AIDS epidemic. Directed by David France, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary last year. This was previously available on DVD, and is now making its first blu-ray appearance.

Well that’s it for this week. What are you going to watch?