Tuesday, April 02, 2013

New Releases On Blu Ray & DVD 4/2/13

The biggest release, literally, today on Blu ray is the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One - Avengers Assembled (10-Disc Limited Edition Six-Movie Collector's Set). The set contains: 

MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray)
THOR (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray)
IRON MAN 2 (Blu-ray)
IRON MAN (Blu-ray)

Also included are deleted scenes, extended scenes, featurettes, animatics, collectible packaging with exclusive memorabilia (prop reproductions and artifacts), and an exclusive inside look at IRON MAN 3 and other films from Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Looks pretty f-in’ exhaustive which is great for Marvel movie fanboys, but may come as across as overkill to casual fans like me. I mean, I wouldn’t even have room on any shelf in my house for the damn thing!

Anyway, on to what I think is the best release of the day: Don Coscarelli’s 2012 horror comedy JOHN DIES AT THE END. I saw it a few months ago at the 14th annual Nevermore Film Festival at the Carolina Theatre in Durham (same place I’ll be in a few days for Full Frame), and it’s a meta treat. Special features include a commentary with Director Coscarelli, stars Chase Williamson, and Rob Mayes, and producer Brad Baruh, “Getting Sauced: The Making of JOHN DIES AT THE END” featurette, “Creature Corps: The Effects of Soy Sauce” featurette, deleted scenes; casting sessions, Fangoria interview with Giamatti, and theatrical trailers, one of which you can see here:

The Bible: The Epic Miniseries also comes out today. That’s the one made by the History Channel that has come under fire for having an actor playing Satan in it that some think resembles President Obama. As that’s all I know about it, I’ll move on.

A classy yet dull HBO telefilm, Philip Kaufman’s HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN drops today on Blu ray and DVD. Concerning the romance between Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen) and WWII correspondent Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman), the lofty production starts off interestingly enough with a charismatic meeting of the leads at a bar in Key West in 1936, but gradually becomes a stiff set of scenes, narrated by Kidman in docudrama style, that all too routinely tell the tale. 

The attempt to replicate old grainy footage of the era doesn’t quite work either. The intriguingly chosen cast - an odd mix of recognizable faces including Parker Posey, Tony Shaloub, David Straithairn, Robert Duvall, and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich (!) - helps keep it moving from historical footnote to footnote, but at 155 minutes it often drags maddeningly. For those who are fans of the actors or the Hemingway angle, there are a few Special Features worth checking out: Audio commentary with Kaufman and editor Walter Murch, and a few “Making of” featurettes. 

Several films that I haven’t seen come out today as well: Barry Battle’s action comedy THE BAYTOWN OUTLAWS starring Billy Bob Thornton (which looks awful), Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg’s baseball documentary KNUCKLEBALL (which looks possibly good), and Nick Love’s update of a ‘70s British TV crime drama THE SWEENEY, starring Ray Winstone (which looks like it could go either way).

More later...

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