Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Releases On Blu Ray & DVD: 5/28/13

This week's releases are cluttered with season sets of TV shows I haven't seen, and movies I've never heard of, but, hey, you can’t always have A-list titles to cover, right? 

On the shows I haven’t watched front, there’s the 2 disc DVD-only edition of Longmire: The Complete First Season, the A & E crime drama starring Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, and Lou Diamond Phillips. The show, the second season of which premieres this week, comes packaged with only one Special Feature: a featurette entitled “The Slow Burn: Shooting Longmire.” From the good reviews I’ve read, and the fact that it was A & E’s highest rated scripted drama last summer, it looks like something possibly worth checking out.

Another show I’ve been considering checking out is Doctor Who, but I’m overwhelmed by 50 years of episodes, and all the layers of mythology. Those who are all caught up in it most likely will already know about today’s release of Doctor Who: Series Seven - Part Two, available in both Blu ray and DVD 2-disc sets. The eight episodes of the second half of the season are only joined by two episode prequels: “The Bells of Saint John” and “Clarence and the Whisper Men,” both only running a few minutes. Hmm, seems like that they could’ve fit all that on one disc.

What they did put out today on one disc, aptly as it’s only an hour long, is the Christmas Special Doctor Who: The Snowmen, available on both Blu ray and DVD.

Other shows that I’m not familiar with that drop today: Covert Affairs: Season Three (4-discs, DVD only), Suits: Season Two (4-discs, Blu ray + UltraViolet, and DVD), George Gently: Series Five (2-discs on Blu ray, 4-discs on DVD), and Red Widow: The Complete First Season (2-discs DVD only).

New movies releasing today on Blu ray and DVD that I’d not heard of before: Kasper Barfoed’s THE NUMBERS STATION, a thriller starring John Cusack and Malin Akerman, which is rated at 30% at Rotten Tomatoes so it looks like I haven’t been missing much, and Scott Stewart’s sci-fi horror flick DARK SKIES, starring Keri Russell, rated at 35% at Rotten Tomatoes - also pretty unappealing looking.

What does look appealing is Cate Shortland’s LORE (93% RT rating), an Australian-German production about five German children of an SS Officer who journey through their devastated country in the days after the end of World War II to get to their Grandmother. Saskia Rosendahl, in the title role, got some Australian award action as the strong teenager who leads her sister and three brothers. Special Features include a few brief featurettes, an alternate ending and deleted scenes. Incidentally, despite this home video release, LORE will be opening exclusively in the Triangle area at the Chelsea Theater in Chapel Hill, N.C. (my hometown) on Friday.

Horror fans may be interested in Patrick Rea’s NAILBITER  (2013), starring Joicie Appell, Emily Boresow, and Jason Coffman, out today only on DVD. The indie release, about a family forced to take refuge in a seemingly abandoned storm cellar from a deadly tornado, (IMDb description), comes with such Special Features as two commentaries (one with cast, one with crew) and a “Storyboard to Screen Comparison” featurette.

On the older film front, Mike Leigh’s 1990 comic drama LIFE IS SWEET, starring Jim Broadbent, Alison Steadman, and Claire Skinner, gets the Criterion Collection treatment, in a package (available on both Blu ray and DVD) that features a new high-definition digital restoration, a recently recorded audio commentary featuring director Mike Leigh, an audio recording of a 1991 interview with Leigh, and a booklet featuring an essay by critic David Sterritt.

Some other older titles releasing today: Three John Wayne movies (1940's DARK COMMAND, 1941's LADY FROM LOUISIANA, and 1942's IN OLD CALIFORNIA), Joseph McGrath’s THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN (a beautifully bizarre 1969 British comedy starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr making its Blu ray debut), and Nancy Buirski’s excellent documentary THE LOVING STORY, which I saw at its North Carolina premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival back in 2011.

As usual, check out Amazon’s extensive list of titles (i.e. much more than I could even hope to cover) for more of today’s releases.

More later…

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