Check out the new release and catalogue DVD and Blu-ray releases for the week of March 20th, 2012, with recommendations, links for purchasing, and retailer-specific information where applicable.
There are quite a few heavy-hitting new releases out this Tuesday, including The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Muppets, Carnage, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (which co-stars Tom Hardy, recently in Pittsburgh for both The Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises). On the catalogue film front, we have new-to-Blu-ray editions of The Ring, Battle Royale, The Hills Have Eyes part 2, Letter Never Sent, and oddly enough That ’70s Show: Season 1. And finally we have one of those rare Friday releases – this time, it’s Universal’s Easter-themed Hop on DVD/Blu-ray March 23rd.
Read ahead for my recommendations and thoughts on some notable releases, followed by a more complete list of what is coming out this week.
Notable releases for Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 (3/20/2012)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
DVD and Blu-ray (Click links for product pages at Amazon)
From director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network) comes this English-language adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s international bestseller, following closely on the heels of the 2009 Swedish film of the same name. Rooney Mara transforms into the cyber-goth Lisbeth Salander, a young woman who straddles a fine line between kickass and mentally unstable, in this dark murder mystery. All the victims investigated by the Mara / Daniel Craig team-up are young girls, and this violence towards women is the unique element in this otherwise by-the-numbers story. This has been a divisive issue – certainly a large number of women have been drawn into this book, and now film, series and seem to get more out of it than male readers, but Larsson’s story has also been criticized of exploiting rape and violence against women for its sensational value. While Larsson is deceased and can’t defend himself on this count, it is worth noting that his original motivation to create Lisbeth and write this book was guilt over a real-life rape he witnessed and was not brave enough to intervene in to stop. Fincher’s movie adaptation excels in all technical areas, as one would expect with his eye for perfection. However it doesn’t bring much new to the table. If you’ve read the book, and seen the Swedish film, this is simply one more repetition of it. I did particularly enjoy the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song that Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Atticus Ross, and Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) contributed to the film’s soundtrack.
The Muppets (2011)
DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray “Wokka Wokka” Value Pack
The first Muppet movie in over a decade, this eponymous film is a “getting the band back together” affair where the Muppet studio is in danger of being demolished and Kermit and co. need to round up all the old friendly faces and put together a plan to save their home. Co-starring Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Amy Adams (Enchanted, Doubt, next year’s The Man of Steel), this film is largely the brain-child of Segel himself who is a long-time Muppets fan and convinced the studio to fund a new theatrical excursion. Receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews (besides a few naysayers from the old regime who were unhappy that a new generation was taking control of the Muppets), the film has a litany of guest stars and musical numbers (including 2012 Oscar winner for Best Original Song, “Man or Muppet”), and is a wonderful experience for young and older viewers alike.
Manufacturer’s coupon for $5 off “Wokka Wokka” value pack available here. Lunchbox edition, as well as MetalPak pre-order bonus available exclusively at Best Buy. DVD sampler with episodes from the original Muppet Show available with purchase at Target.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
DVD and Blu-ray
George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is forced from retirement to uncover a Soviet double-agent within the upper ranks of the British MI6 in this Cold War-era spy story. A slow-paced meditative film with many characters to keep track of (Tinker, Tailor, etc. are spy codenames, and there are many beyond what is listed in the title), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a cerebral film that rewards patience and benefits from a second watch. Gary Oldman is certainly deserving of his Best Actor nod (though the fact that this was just his first such nod is criminal considering his body of work), and the supporting cast is filled with hard hitters like John Hurt, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock series, the upcoming Star Trek 2), and Tom Hardy (recently in Pittsburgh for both The Warrior and this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises).
The Ring (2002)
While the basic premise (a video tape that can kill you) seems ridiculous on the surface, don’t sell this movie short – The Ring is one of the best horror films of the last decade. According to the urban legend, after you watch this specific tape, you receive a phone call that simply says you will die in 7 days. And then, after 7 days, you die. Naomi Watts is drawn into the story of the tape after her young niece dies gruesomely exactly one week after watching it. Initially trying to solve the mystery of her niece’s death, she’s soon in a race against time to save her and her son’s lives after she becomes convinced the legend is true. This film is one constant build-up of suspense, with foreboding music and chilling imagery that will stick with you long after the credits roll. There is one scene involving a closet that has stuck with me to this day, ever since first seeing the film in theaters in 2002. I know what’s in the closet. I know, practically frame-by-frame, what will happen once the closet door is opened (thanks in part to a particularly sadistic friend who would send me frame-by-frame clips from this film). Yet I still shudder when that door is opened. An exceptional film, and one of the few cases where the English-language remake thoroughly trounces the original.
Available on Blu-ray exclusively at Best Buy starting March 20th, 2012, for an undisclosed amount of time (most likely until this Fall when it will hit all retailers for a Halloween promotion).
Battle Royale: The Complete Collection (2000)
DVD and Blu-ray
The cynic in me says this was specifically timed to tie-in with the similarly-plotted The Hunger Games, opening in theaters this Friday. However, in all fairness, the plots are so similar that you could just as easily say The Hunger Games ripped off Battle Royale – so let’s just call it even. Battle Royale is a Japanese film where a class of schoolchildren is picked at random and forced to fight to the death on an abandoned island in an event that is part reality show, and part method to keep the youth under control of the government. Each student is given a weapon and a bag of supplies, and what follows is a bloodbath of epic proportions as childhood friendships and rivalries devolve into kill-or-be-killed survival of the fittest / cruelest. The “Complete Collection” includes the original theatrical cut and the “director’s cut” of the first film, as well as the largely forgettable sequel Battle Royale II: Requiem. There is also a 1-disc edition with just the “director’s cut” of the original film (on DVD and Blu-ray) – however, as a symptom of the industry’s terrible marketing methods, the theatrical cut is actually the director’s true favorite, and the version called the “director’s cut” is considered inferior by most. So I’d honestly recommend The Complete Collection even if you aren’t interested in the sequel, as that is the only way to get the most authentic version of this modern classic.
Other titles released this week:
Carnage (DVD, Blu-ray)
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (DVD, Blu-ray)
The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (DVD, Blu-ray)
Hop (DVD, DVD combo pack, Blu-ray) – available Friday, March 23rd
Lady For A Day (DVD, Blu-ray)
Letter Never Sent – The Criterion Collection (DVD, Blu-ray)
A Lonely Place To Die (DVD, Blu-ray)
Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts (Blu-ray)
Roadie (DVD, Blu-ray)
Satan’s Slave (DVD)
The Sitter (DVD, Blu-ray)
Splintered (DVD, Blu-ray)
This Is Not A Movie (DVD, Blu-ray)
The War Room (DVD, Blu-ray)
The Adventures of Tintin: Season 2 (DVD)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Season 2, Part 2 (DVD)
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 7 (DVD, Blu-ray)
Hey Arnold!: Season 2, Part 1 (DVD)
Lady and the Tramp (DVD-only edition, following previously released BD/DVD combo)
Lexx: The Complete 3rd Season (DVD)
Lexx: The Complete 4th Season (DVD)
That ’70s Show: Season 1 (Blu-ray)
Best Buy has the best exclusives of the week, with a lunch-box edition and a pre-order MetalPak for The Muppets, as well as a Blu-ray edition of The Ring not currently sold anywhere else. Click here for Best Buy locations in Pittsburgh. Target offers a free sampler disc with episodes of The Muppet Show when you purchase The Muppets, and they also have an exclusive version of Hop available this Friday with a bunny-shaped case. Click here for Target locations in Pittsburgh. For information on other Pittsburgh retailers that should stock most of these titles: Barnes & Noble locations in Pittsburgh, Wal-Mart locations in Pittsburgh. For online shopping, Amazon usually has the best prices.
Post a comment with your own thoughts on this week’s releases! Tune in next week (March 27th, 2012) when we’ll discuss new releases like A Dangerous Method and South Park: The Complete 15th Season – as well as Blu-ray upgrades including a new remastering of Casablanca, The Bodyguard, Strip Nude For Your Killer, and the David Lean Directs Noel Coward collection from Criterion.
Like this article? Click on the ‘Subscribe to get instant updates’ link at the top and receive automatic notifications when new content has been posted!
Interested in writing for nextooze.com yourself? Click here to pick a topic and apply today!