February 9, 2010

DVD Pick of the Week: Bronson

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.

Bronson (also Blu-ray). Like last week, I have chosen a film I have not seen but would really like to. It is about a man sentenced to seven years for armed robbery and ends up spending thirty in solitary. This confinement lets his alter ego take rise. I am not sure about the big picture, but I have heard many good things and am definitely intrigued.

A Serious Man (also Blu-ray). The latest Coen brothers film came and went from theaters pretty quietly. Granted, it is not as flashy a film as say No Country for Old Men or The Big Lebowski, but it is no less interesting. It is the story of a harried man having a very bad week. I cannot say I got all of the underlying meaning, but it is a fascinating film. It is made particularly so by a fantastic lead performance by Michael Stuhlbarg. If for nothing else, see it for him.

Couples Retreat (also Blu-ray). A strong cast cannot save this one. Its tale of relationship woe in the guise of a breezy comedy would have been better as a sitcom. Instead we get a film that is more of a travelogue. The cast is good and includes Vince Vaughan, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Jon Favreaue, Faizon Love, Kristen Davis, and Jean Reno. It also is the directorial debut of Peter Billingsley.

The Time Traveler's Wife (also Blu-ray). There moments and ideas that I liked, but overall I cannot say I cared much for the film. It suffered from a lack of chemistry between the leads. Eric Bana stars as a man who has come unstuck in time and makes random jumps through time. Through all of this, he keeps coming back to a young woman played by Rachel McAdams. I am sure many love it, just not me. In any case, it is now out for you to enjoy!

Stargate: Universe 1.0 (also Blu-ray). I think I am one of the few who actually like this show. Yes, it may be trying a little too hard to be Battlestar Galactica, but it still works for me. Here is the first half of the first season that finds a team of military, scientists, and civilians transported to an unmanned Ancient ship on a predetermined course. They must discover its secrets and hopefully find a way home.

The Running Man (Blu-ray). I learned something new about this movie today, it was directed by the dude who played Starsky on Starsky & Hutch. It is loosely based on a Stephen King novel and tells the story of a man wrongly accused of a crime and put into a game show for a public execution. Not a great film, but a fun one that should look good in high definition.

The Phantom (Blu-ray). This comic book adaptation did not make much of a splash when it was in theaters back in 1996. Billy Zane stars as the title character, an African hero travels to New York to stop a bad guy from acquiring three magical skills that will give him the secret of ultimate power. I remember enjoying it but do not remember many of the details.

Maria Full of Grace (Blu-ray). This 2004 film is fantastic. It tells the story of a young pregnant woman looking to get to America to give her child a chance at a better life. The problem is that the only way she is able to get to America is by acting as a drug mule. This brings all manner of issues. It is great film that you all should check out.

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