August 17, 2010

DVD Pick of the Week: Hamlet

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.

I look at this week's slate of releases and to be honest, I think I may be more excited about the new Iron Maiden album. Although it is a little close with this week's top pick.

Hamlet. This is the 1996 Kenneth Branagh directed (and starring) epic adaptation of the William Shakespeare play. The film clocks in at nearly four hours and is an absolutely gorgeous production with lavish sets, wonderful performances, and accuracy to the source. I remember seeing it in a small arthouse theater with my then girlfriend. We arrived shortly before it began and the only seats left were a couple of wooden folding chairs in the back. We didn't care, nor did we notice as we were completely taken into this old world. Granted, I was happy for the intermission that was built into the film. Fans waited years for it to arrive on DVD, I am glad we do not have to wait an equal time for the Blu-ray release. I bet this is going to look fantastic.

Friday Night Lights: The Complete Fourth Season. Easily one of the best shows on television. It is just a shame that more people do not watch. I am thankful that DirecTV stepped in to help foot the bill with NBC to save it for a fourth and fifth season. The fourth season just ended its run on NBC and now we can relive it all over again. This season was a great watch as the show recreated itself with the school district split and introducing new characters as familiar faces leave. I think the biggest surprise amongst the returning cast is Taylor Kitsch's Tim Riggins, he shows some interesting growth beyond what we knew him to be the other day.

Dexter: The Fourth Season. I have only seen the first two seasons of this series but I eagerly look forward to more. This season features Dexter becoming a father and the arrival of John Lithgow as the rival serial killer. Michael C. Hall is just fantastic as the title character and I want to see more of his deeds in the third, fourth, and future fifth season.

The Last Song. When this arrived in theaters earlier this year I knew I wanted nothing to do with it. For one I do not have a lot of interest in watching Miley Cyrus act. Secondly, I have had my fill of Nicholas Sparks adaptations, something I realized after seeing Nights in Rodanthe. This one has city-living Cyrus shipped off for the summer to stay with her dad (Greg Kinnear), life lessons and romance ensue.

Cougar Town: Season One. This show has a few moments of hilarity but a lot of it is just sad as Courteney Cox-Arquette is looking for love. It is a show I thought had promise going into the season but the further it went I found it was not really all that well written. The characters all strike me as whiny. Oh well, I guess I know what I'm not buying.

Slayer: Live Intrusion. Recorded during the 1995 Divine Intervention tour. Fans have been waiting for this release for some time. Meanwhile, I have been oblivious to its existence. I have seen a clip and it looks like a really good show. There is nothing like Slayer tearing it up on stage. The set even includes a cover of Venom's "Witching Hour" with help from Machine Head's Robb Flynn.

Furry Vengeance. No sooner had I seen one clip of the trailer for this did I know that I wanted nothing to do with it. Brendan Fraser stars as a land developer whose been hired to design in a wooded area. The animals have a different idea and team up to stop him. Next.

Article first published as DVD Pick of the Week: Hamlet on Blogcritics.


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