April 20, 2010

DVD Pick of the Week: Fist of Legend

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.

Fist of Legend (Blu-ray). Yes, I know this is not the first title you think of when it comes to this week's freshman class, but it is one you should know about. I cannot speak to the quality of the transfer, but I can speak to the quality of the movie. It is a loose remake of the Bruce Lee film The Chinese Connection (it has also been called Fists of Fury), a movie that saw Lee studying abroad only to return home to avenge the death of his master. This version sees Jet Li step into the lead role. Now, it is not the most original story, but it is told very well here. What makes this work so well is primarily because of Jet Li. He is not the greatest actor, but he has a quiet intensity and amazing physical prowess. His abilities are paired with skilled fight choreographer Yuen Woo Ping. Together they create some of the best fight sequences put to film. Be sure to check this one out.

Avatar (also Blu-ray). Here is the title that is getting the big push this week, as if it really needs it. James Cameron's latest is the biggest money maker in history. Fortunately, the movie is pretty good. It may tell a familiar story and feel a little like Dances with Wolves meets Ferngully but it still works and I suspect it was a calculated choice that pays off. On the other hand, the effects and overall world are downright amazing. Plus there is the highlight performance of Zoe Saldanna as one of the natives. I am looking forward to revisiting this on Blu-ray and seeing how it holds up at home and not in 3D.

Crazy Heart (also Blu-ray). Reminiscent of The Wrestler, while not climbing to those heights. It tells of a broken down country singer who still works the road and still has something to offer. Jeff Bridges turns in a fantastic lead performance, one that won him an Oscar. He is the reason to see this film.

The Young Victoria (also Blu-ray). I never did get around to seeing this, although I must admit to not being the biggest fan of costume dramas. That said, I do like Emily Blunt and have heard she gives a very strong performance. I may catch this as a rental at some point.

Minority Report (Blu-ray). Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg are the men responsible for this movie. It is a very good movie that does not really get the respect it deserves, at least not that I have experienced. This is an exciting film with a nice gritty look as we take a look at the policing of the future. I have not watched it in a long time, but I bet it looks good in high definition.

The Lovely Bones (also Blu-ray). Peter Jackson's latest is a a lovely mess. It has some interesting components and a good performance from Stanley Tucci, but it is otherwise not a very good movie. The idea of a murder mystery told through the perspective of the victim and the grieving family, but I just don't care about these characters. There is little tension and it feels lethargic. I would love to see Jackson get back to his roots, much like Sam Raimi did with Drag Me to Hell.

Necrosis. I don't know much about this movie other than it is a low budget horror outing that stars former pop-star Tiffany. Besides that, do you need to know anything else? I know I'm interested.

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