Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This Week in DVD and Instant Watching

The Book Thief: You know, as an avid reader and longtime lover of books, I find it reprehensible that anyone would steal books. What kind of despicable human being would do that? What? The movie is about what?

Oh. Never mind!

Out of the Furnace: There should be more films set in Western PA steel country. And they should all find cameos for former Pittsburgh Steelers. This one doesn't have the charm of, say, a Kevin Greene cameo, but it looks like an intense, gritty drama. And really, how can you go wrong with Christian Bale, who is Mr. Intensity; and Casey Affleck, who clearly learned about adversity while growing up as Ben Affleck's brother?

The thing that gets me, though, is the presence of Woody Harrelson as some kind of menacing figure. Come on, who is ever going to accept Woody from Cheers is something dark and intense as this? Why not throw in Wooderson while you're at it? LOL

Inside Llewyn Davis: I know we're all supposed to love the Coen brothers, but there's just something about this movie that feels off-putting to me. Plus I must admit I want to see it even less after being irritated by having to look up how to spell "Llewyn" just now.

Homefront: Jason Statham action movie written by Sly Stallone (wait, really? I don't remember hearing that) and featuring Winona Ryder. I'm really sad that Winona seemingly only gets these character parts in lower-budget films now. Doesn't she still have a lot to offer?

Instant reader feedback: Hey, when was the last time you supported her by seeing one of those lower-budget films? And did you ever get around to seeing her in Iceman, the movie you were so glad to see was coming to Netflix a few months ago?

Ed. Note: Shaddap!

Warner Archive: I'm intrigued by the triple feature of the 1930 prison classic The Big House, which features the original English-language version AND the French and Spanish editions done with different crews and different casts. I was heartbroken to learn that they didn't have Wallace Beery speak French and Spanish in the foreign releases, but this is still a cool way to add value to a movie that was previously part of the WA collection. Of course, they added PRICE to it, too...

Also new is a slate of TV movies. Normally when WA releases a bunch of TV movies, I kind of think, "Eh, 1990s TNT Originals," and move on. But there are some intriguing 1970s/early 1980s efforts this time, including The Delphi Project, the pilot for a cool-sounding spy/adventure series. Maybe the series will follow. And Andy Griffith stars in The Girl in the Empty Grave.

Dennis the Menace Volume 1: Sure, the panel strip, the Dell comic book, and the black and white family sitcoms all have their adherents, but for many the 1980s DIC animated series is THE definitive Dennis. Just don't ask me to name any of these people/ This Mill Creek set contains the first 33 episodes of the series because--well, because. I guess 34 would have compromised the video quality of the set.

WCW Greatest PPV Matches: This is an interesting release in that just about all this content is now available for WWE Network subscribers. Not only that, but much of it was already released on other compilations. Not a lot here for serious fans, but I don't know how attractive it will be as a general release, either, which makes me wonder what direction WWE is heading with its home video releases in the Network era.

And in streaming:

It's still slow times for Netflix, which did add Rectify Season 1. Sundance Channel continues to try to establish itself as THE home for distinctive, fresh TV series that fill the gaps between endless "Law and Order" reruns.

The whole run of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is up, including the premiere of season 6. I may have to try to get into this. But does the series cover trade routes? I'm only interested if it delves into intergalactic trade routes.

There's another of those many movie parody movies up, The Starving Games, and if the title is an indication...I'm more interested in The Improv: 50 Years Behind the Brick Wall, but I'm disappointed it's only 58 minutes.

Hey, Hulu, I'm still waiting for the...OK, even I'm tired of saying it at this point.

Warner Archive Instant has had an odd several weeks. The New Additions row was messed up for a few weeks, and then just today I noticed it was fixed with some actual new movie additions. It's an eclectic group of 9 movies including Private Benjamin, The Killing Fields, The Left-Handed Gun, Elvis in It Happened at the World's Fair, Pink Floyd The Wall, and The Return of Dr. X. And if that isn't eclectic enough for you, how about 1985's Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer?

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