November 10, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: Near Dark

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope 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 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.

Near Dark (Blu-ray). Arriving on Blu-ray is one of the best vampire films ever made. Katherine Bigelow directs this 1987 film that never once utters the "v" word. It brings an innocent young man a whole world of trouble when it turns out the woman he is hitting on is a member of a traveling group of blood suckers. It is a gritty, involving film that will hold your attention from start to finish. The cast includes Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein. I wonder how much the high resolution upgrade will help it?

Up (also Blu-ray). Another week this would have been my top pick. It is one of the best films to hit the screens in 2009. This is an amazing film that works on so many levels. It gets to you on an emotional level. This movie nearly had me in tears inside of fifteen minutes before moving into a grand adventure. Through it all, you will be involved with the characters. Pixar has done it again and everyone needs to have this in their collection. It will be available in multiple versions, single and 2-disk DVD, and four disk Blu-ray. The only way to go is the four disk, as it has a DVD even if you don't have a Blu-ray player yet.

Monsters, Inc. (Blu-ray). Just like Up, this Pixar release is a four disk set that is sure to cover all the bases. It is not my favorite Pixar film, but there is no such thing (not yet, anyway) as a bad Pixar film. I am sure the Blu-ray will look spectacular, so it may be worth it to take a look.

Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut (also Blu-ray). Not sure I am going to pick this up, as I think the previous release covers most of the bases. If I am reading it right, the only difference is the inclusion of The Black Freighter, which had been previously been available separately. Still, it is an amazing film, that you should get if you haven't already.

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 7: 1952-1954. Volume seven already? I think I have missed a few. I own the first couple of releases and they are fantastic. Remastered and released in their original chronological order. There is nothing like old school comedy.

Heat (Blu-ray). Michael Mann's classic crime film was the first to put Al Pacino and Robert Deniro in the same frame for the very first time. It has been some time since I have seen it, but I do recall the opening heist sequence to be rather exciting. Perhaps I should pay it a revisit?

Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days. I grew up on Sesame Street, but it was in the days before Elmo threatened to take it all down. This set should give some great memories of my very young days.

The Accidental Husband. Did this ever reach the big screen? I remember seeing the trailers in theaters, but do not recall it ever having a release. The film stars Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Colin Firth in an odd love triangle. I guess they realized it was not going to go anywhere and hope to recoup their costs on the home market.

The General (Blu-ray). The 1926 Buster Keaton comedy may be the first silent to arrive on Blu-ray. I cannot find reference to any others yet. It is a good one. Keaton is one of the greats of the silent era.

The Ugly Truth (also Blu-ray). Here is a movie that purports to put a spin on the romantic comedy, yet by the time the climax arrives it has slipped back into the tried and true cliches of the genre. Watch as Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl spar on their way to the inevitable.

Logan's Run (Blu-ray). Classic from the 1970's. This film centers on a future society where everyone lives in a bubbled metropolis and have every need tended to as they pursue hedonism. All is smiles until they reach their thirtieth birthday and must attend Carousel. That is until Logan chooses to run. Michael York stars.

Godzilla (Blu-ray). The 1998 Roland Emmerich disaster arrives on Blu-ray. You know, with a couple of tweaks and a different name, this probably would not have been nearly as bad. As it, I bet it looks pretty snazzy in high definition.

Hurt. This horror film seems to have some good buzz floating around it. I cannot say I had heard of it before, but the idea of a good psychological horror film sounds good to me! It centers on a family whose patriarch dies and is forced to move in with his brother in an old junkyard and the things that happen upon their arrival.

The Echo (Blu-ray). The trailer for this feature looks like a Japanese ghost story told in an American setting. A man moves into an apartment building and begins seeing and hearing things that may be malevolent. May be good, may be derivative. Anyone out there know?

Star Wrecked. This is a fan made film that spoofs Star Trek and Babylon 5. I have not read much about the plot, but it seems to have been well received by the fans of both series. Maybe it is worth taking a look at.

I really need a Netflix account....


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