December 26, 2007

DVD Pick of the Week: Eastern Promises

As I write this, it is already out of date. You see, with the Christmas holiday falling on a Tuesday, the normal release day, most releases were pushed to Wednesday the 26th. Then a last minute decision came down and the release was pushed up to Sunday the 23rd. Not that big of a deal as stores should have received their shipments the prior Friday at the latest. So, they pulled out their boxes and the titles I am writing about have been on store shelves for days now. However, I feel a strange need to soldier on and let you know what the preeminent choice(s) are for the week. You see, there is always going to be a title that stands above the rest and this week is no different, regardless of when the disks hit the shelves.

While the actual release date was jockeyed around the schedule a few times, it is not that meaningful in the long run when you consider the relatively small number of releases this week. Then when you count out the the extraneous specialty and small run titles, there are precious few titles of note. This translates to you being able to spend your Christmas cash on titles that you have been meaning to catch up with over the busy weeks leading up to the big day.

The one title that stands above the rest is David Cronenberg's latest creation, Eastern Promises. This new film is set within the world of Russian mobsters operating in London. It is a film that is less about plot and more about the people that inhabit this world. Is it a perfect experience? Now, at times it moves along at a sluggish pace which lulled me into complacency. Still, there is a depth here that will keep you interested throughout.

Eastern Promises is a fascinating story that has a plot that will keep you interested, but it is much more than that. This is a fully developed world where characters live and breathe. While everything is obviously scripted, it does not feel that way. We are presented with characters that have their own thoughts and beliefs that inform their actions. It is well developed and fully realized. Plus, there is some nice gore and one of the best knock-down, drag-out fights committed to film in some time.

The DVD is a little slim on extras, containing only a pair of featurettes:
  • SECRETS AND STORIES – Go behind the scenes as director David Cronenberg brings screenwriter Steven Knight’s brilliant script to life in the rainy dark streets of contemporary London.
  • MARKED FOR LIFE - Director David Cronenberg notes that in Russia, Georgia and other provinces, men are tattooed with their stories, there is no need for words. This feature will examine how the tattoos are used and what they mean for honor and code.

Also out this week:

  • The Kingdom. The first of the recent spat of war-themed films to arrive on DVD. It will be interesting to see if its reception is any different. For what it's worth, the movie was quite good, plenty of action and excitement and some good performances. It is well worth checking out.
  • WWE: The Best of RAW 15th Anniversary. This three disk set covers all of RAW's history. I may have stopped watching some time ago, but this may be worth picking up to relive some of those moments from when I was watching.
  • The Heartbreak Kid. This is the middle ground in between stuff like Good Luck Chuck and Knocked Up. It also shows the Farrelly's attempting to get back in form. The biggest problem is that there really aren't any characters to actively like. Worth renting.
  • Lost and Found: The Harry Langdon Collection. I have never seen a Langdon film, but back in the silent era he was as big as Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd.
  • The Brothers Solomon. This was a "blink and you missed it" feature when it hit theaters in September. It does not help that it reviewed horribly. I am still interested in this because of Will Arnett's involvement.
  • Galactica 1980: The Complete Epic Series. Anyone remember this crapfest? Funny thing is that I would like to revisit it, if for nothing other than nostalgia to when I was a kid.

Until next week!


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