Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Releases On Blu Ray & DVD: 2/18/14

Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season leads the pack of new releases on home video today. The wildly popular HBO show, based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by author George R. R. Martin, returning for its fourth season on April 6th, is available on DVD in a 4-disc set or in a 7-disc multi-format edition (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy). The wealth of Special Features consists of 12 audio commentaries with cast and crew, Deleted/Extended scenes, and a bunch of featurettes including “Inside the Wildlings” and “Roots of Westeros.”

The not as popular Showtime series Nurse Jackie has its Season 5 available today in 3-disc DVD or 2-disc Blu ray sets. I’ve previously not been partial to the hospital-set dark comedy drama despite Edie Falco’s solid work in the title role, and this season with its jaded jerky characters’ aimless storylines, sure didn’t change that. Still, fans should at least know that this release includes a gag reel, deleted scenes, several episode commentaries and a few featurettes.

Also out today TV-series season set-wise is Beware the Batman: Shadows of Gotham Season 1 Part 1, The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 5, Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Epic Series (the original '70s one), and Gentle Ben: Season Two – you know, the ‘60s show about a kid (Clint Howard, Ron’s brother) whose best friend is a kindly bear? Dennis Weaver was on it too.

Today is sorely lacking in any major new movie releases, but on the indie film front, Jill Soloway’s AFTERNOON DELIGHT is a likable cringe comedy that shouldn’t be overlooked. Kathryn Hahn stars as an unsatisfied housewife (married to How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor) who befriends Juno Temple as a stripper, or “sex worker” as she refers to herself. Quentin Tarantino picked this film as one of his top 10 films of 2013 (something that the back of the DVD/Blu ray box states in all caps), and while I wouldn’t rank it that high, he’s got a point as Hahn’s increasingly unhinged performance is killer and the writing has an intelligent warmth. Bonus Features: Commentary with writer/director Soloway and Hahn, 13 + minutes of deleted scenes which are actually worth watching, a nearly 10 minute Behind-the-scenes featurette, and the theatrical trailer.

A few other little seen films hit home video today: Christopher Hatton’s 2013 sci-fi thriller BATTLE OF THE DAMNED, Erik Matti’s Fillipino crime flick ON THE JOB, J.T. Petty’s comic horror HELLBENDERS, and Woo-Suk Kang’s actioner FISTS OF LEGEND.

On the older film re-issue front today, there’s the Criterion Collection Editions of Wes Anderson’s charming 2009 animated Roald Dahl adaptation FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2009), and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 spy thriller FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, as well as a Collector’s Edition of Sam Raimi’s DARKMAN, the 1990 Liam Neeson superhero flick that I guess has a cult following.

Also out this week as a Walmart Exclusive on DVD (also available on Digital HD And Video On Demand), is the latest release by singer, comedian, celebrity impressionist, and America’s Got Talent winner Terry Fator, “Terry Fator: Live in Concert.” Filmed live at The Mirage in Las Vegas, the performance features Fator opening with a big strained song number intro that I didn’t know performers still tried to pull off these days. Coming off like a cross between crooner Wayne Newton and puppeteer Jeff Dunham, Fator does a series of bits with Muppet-esque dummies that can only be considered extremely light comedy.

Having never seen Fator’s act before this, I’ll contend that he’s a fine ventriloquist (his skills at not moving his lips are more impressive than most I’ve seen) and his impersonations are mostly dead-on (his Stevie Wonder especially), but his characters are largely stock caricatures (especially country singer Walter T. Airedale, one of the oldest parts of his act in obviously more than one way), and the material is made up of eye-roll inducing cheap gags. Special Features: Commentary, “Leroy and Me” music video, “Walter’s Preshow Message,” and “Walter’s Presidential Campaign Endorsements Part 1” & “Part 2,” and a few more featurettes.

More later...

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