February 13, 2007

DVD Pick of the Week: The Butcher Boy

This week brings with it the good, the bad, and the ugly, everything the movie world has to offer. Filmmakers from Martin Scorsese to Neil Jordan, Sofia Coppola to Andrew Lau are represented among the releases of the week. There are a number of releases of interest this week, but like all of the weeks before it, I have been able to successfully boil the hundreds of new releases of the week down to a select spotlighted few, and then even further down to a singular choice.

This week's pick is Neil Jordan's 1997 film The Butcher Boy. This is a movie that I first encounteres on VHS when it was released way back in that same year. I was blown away by how great it was. I have that job at the video store to thank, without it, I may never have discovered this hidden gem. It has been years since I have seen it, but it has remained at the top of my DVD wish list for some years know. Not that I actually have a list, but if I did, this would be on it. It has been out of print and unavailable for years. Now Warner Brothers is finally releasing it on DVD.

The movie tells the story of young Francie, an Irish boy living a troubled youth. He has a violent father and a suicidal mother, and everything in his head jumbled. It is a film carried by the excellent performance of Eammon Owens, who plays Francie, in one of the finest child performances I have seen. It is a story that blends fantasy with reality, all trying to help a young boy cope with the awful things that surround him in his young life. Joining owens are Stephen Rea and Fiona Shaw.

The DVD release contains a commentary from Neil Jordan, along with the original trailer and some deleted scenes. It may not be the best release it could be, but I am more than happy to just have the movie on DVD, finally.

Also out this week:

  • The Departed. Potential Best Picture winner, on DVD just in time for you to watch before the awards. It is a fantastic gangster film, a cat and mouse thriller that is fun to watch. It is a remake of Infernal Affairs.
  • Marie Antoinette. Not an accurate portrayal of history, but an interesting film nonetheless. Sofia Coppola paints an alluring visage of the doomed Queen, played by Kirsten Dunst.
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Complete First Season. I have faint memories of this series, but anything with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman can't be half bad.
  • Half Nelson. Another Oscar nominated film to be released this week. Ryan Gosling is nominated for his performance as the teacher. I have not yet seen it, so now is my chance.
  • Infamous. Hot on the heels of last year's Capote, comes another story of the writer. I cannot say I have any desire to see it, but I have heard it is quite good.
  • School for Scoundrels. Disappointing black comedy, not quite funny enough to be a comedy and not quite dark enough to be black. There was so much squandered potential.
  • Zoom: Academy for Superheroes. A pale imitation of the vastly superior Sky High. This is not a good movie, and well worth avoiding.
  • The Infernal Affairs Trilogy. The series that inspired The Departed, available together in one set. Parts 2 and 3 are also being released separately this week, Part 1 was released last year.
  • The Quiet. Camilla Belle and Elisha Cuthbert star in this thriller I have never heard of. May be worth a rental, but probably not much more.
  • Police Story 2. I can't recall if I've seen this one or not, the first is a classic and I tend to enjoy most of Chan's work.
  • Men Behaving Badly: The Complete Series. Anyone rememeber this series? Anyone? It starred Ron Eldard and Rob Schneider as a couple of slobs. I think I liked it, it's been so long.
  • 13 Tzameti. Missed this in the theater, good chance to catch it now. The trailer looked great. It is about a man looking to make some money who enters an underground game of Russian Roulette, although I think it is much more than that.
  • The Gloria Swanson Collection. A collection of silent era classics, looks to be a nice set for the price.
  • Android Apocalypse. This was a Sci-Fi Channel original that was actually pretty entertaining. It stars Scott Bairstow and Joseph Lawrence, and features the acting debut of Chris Jericho.

What are you getting this week?


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