Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Releases On Blu Ray & DVD 2/19/13

Just in time for the Oscars comes the Blu ray/DVD release of one of the major contenders: Ben Affleck’s ARGO. The 2-disc Blu ray edition contains such Special Features as a commentary by director Affleck, Feature Length Picture in Picture: Eye Witness Account, and several featurettes including “Rescued from Tehran: We Were There,” “Argo: Absolute Authenticity,” “ARGO: The CIA & Hollywood Connection,” and “Escape From Iran: The Hollywood Option.”

Read my review of ARGO (it was #3 on my Top 10 of 2012 BTW), and check out the movie that should have gotten Affleck a nomination for Best Director (and that I hope will win Best Picture). The Blu ray/DVD combo also includes an UltraViolet digital copy. 

ANNA KARENINA, nominated for four Oscars, also drops today in a Blu ray release with the obligatory DVD, and digital copy add-ons. I was “Anna Karenina”-illiterate when I saw it last December, but appreciated the artsy approach to the material that Joe Wright took, which involved an old theater backdrop that evolved with the production (my review here). Perhaps the best of Wright and Keira Knightley’s literary trilogy, it looks like a shoo-in to win the Best Costume Design Academy Award on Sunday night. 

Special features: Deleted Scenes, commentary with Wright, and a batch of featurettes (“Anna Karenina: An Epic Story About Love,” “Adapting Tolstoy,” “Keira as Anna,” “On the Set with Director Joe Wright,” “Dressing Anna,” and “Anna Karenina: Time-Lapse Photography”).

Another big new release today is the second season of HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones on Blu ray and DVD. My wife and I are about halfway through this new 5 disc box (seems like they only put two or so episodes a disc to make it a more expensive set), and I’m enjoying the war of the Lannisters and Starks families a lot more than in season one. Some of the effects stand out unconvincingly, and I may get a few of the characters confused, but the lavish landscapes, spectacular battles, and wicked wit in the wordplay (especially coming from Peter Dinklage as "The Imp" Tyrion Lannister) more than suffice.

Haven’t explored the exclusive Blu ray features much since we haven’t finished the season, but they include an interactive guide “War of the Five Kings,” Hidden Dragon Eggs, featurettes such as “Histories and Lore,” “Creating the Battle of Blackwater Bay,” “The Religion if Westeros,” 12 audio commentaries, and a roundtable discussion of Game of Thrones’ Inner Circle. The thick book-like Blu ray box also includes DVD copies, and a Digital Copy of the complete season.

A lesser release, in my opinion that is, today is the Ethan Hawke horror movie SINISTER, directed by Scott Derrickson, on Blu ray and DVD. I wasn’t a fan of the film (my review), which has Hawke as a true crime writer who moves his wife and kids in into a house where a family of four was found hanged from a tree in the backyard, but some critics liked it (Ebert gave it 3 stars, Entertainment Weekly named it the best horror film of 2012) so decide for yourself. It’s your funeral. 

SINISTER’S Special Features include a commentary with director Derrickson, and a second one with Derrickson and C.Robery Cargill, a “True Crime Authors” featurette, “Living in a House of Death” featurette, Deleted Scenes (with optional audio commentary with Scott Derrickson), and the theatrical trailer.

More later...

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