June 2, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: The Legend of Blood Castle

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope that this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.

Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists that I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.

The Legend of Blood Castle. As I looked over this week's list of releases, I must admit to being a little underwhelmed. There were no titles that immediately jumped out as a Pick of the Week. That said, I ultimately decided to go with a title that is sure to go largely ignored. This 1973 film from Spain was helmed by Jorge Grau and went by the title Ceremonia sangrienta. Grau also helmed the zombie film Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. This film has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with Gothic horror. The countess of the castle has discovered the blood of virgins can restore her youth and beauty. She subsequently falls in love with a young soldier and must keep killing, in addition to keeping her bloody secret. Could be a winner.

Prison Break: The Final Season. Well, the series has finally run out of steam. Frankly, I am surprised it made it through a fourth season. I mean, with a title like Prison Break you would think the options are limited. That said, I felt this last season was also the weakest as Scofield and the rag tag gang go up against The Company and wind up splintering into different factions. It in no way comes anywhere near the entertainment value of the first season.

Defiance (also Blu-ray). Good movie. It fails to excel to come anywhere near greatness, but the story it tells is an interesting one and the fact that people went through anything resembling this is amazing. It is a film worth spending some time with and it will affect you emotionally, just be prepared to be left just a little bit cold in the execution. Defiance plays well on the emotional impact and heroism implicit in what they do. If nothing else, you will come away with the wonderfully uplifting knowledge of a small group of people fighting the odds and saving lives. However, as touching as the impact of the story is, I cannot help but feel the film could have been better and more involving on a personal level.

He's Just Not That Into You (also Blu-ray). The movie is a bit talky at times and the relationships may be over-simplified, but they do succeed in broad strokes. What makes it work as well as it does is the large cast and their ability to command your attention. Is it worth checking out? Sure. The film is a little silly, but it is fun.

Revolutionary Road (also Blu-ray). This movie is carried on the shoulders of Kate and Leo. These two are downright intense throughout and it's very hard to look away. I guess it helps that director Sam Mendes has these relationship things down pat; he is not a terribly visual director, but he knows to make it authentic. Then there is the dialogue, it sparks and snaps with aggression, depression, and sadness that is hard to enjoy, yet drags you into suburbanite hell. Just hope this never happens to you. Revolutionary Road is an unmatched experience. As much as I was captured and haunted by what unfolded on the screen, I cannot imagine drawing actual entertainment from it. That feels odd to type, considering this is a very good film. Still, I will not be revisiting this anytime soon.

The Graduate (Blu-ray). The Dustin Hoffman classic takes a bow on Blu-ray this week. How will it look? Most likely the best it has since it was on the big screen. It has been so long since I've seen this, the high def experience should be enough to get me back in the fold.

Glory (Blu-ray). The film that gave Denzel Washington his first Oscar (for supporting actor) arrives on the high definition format. The Civil War film features a strong cast in addition to Washington, including Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, and Andre Braugher (in his big screen debut).

Air Force One (Blu-ray). "Get off my place!" How can you not like this movie? No, it is not great classic, but it is classic Harrison Ford. Add in Gary Oldman as the villain and the entertainment is all but secured. Put it all in high definition and a good times are guaranteed.

Road House (Blu-ray). One of the best late night B-movies ever. How can you go wrong? Patrick Swayze kicking some butt in high definition. Makes me want to see it again.

Navy Seals (Blu-ray). Before becoming a sitcom sensation, somebody saw Charlie Sheen as an action star, resulting in Navy Seals!


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