This week, after what felt like an endless and repetitive tradition of reporting on subpar Blu-Ray and DVD slates, I can gleefully declare that we’re back in the swing of things, at least for now. There will be rough weeks ahead, but this week more than makes up for the lacking prior ones. There are 3 legitimately strong contenders for my top slot, something I haven’t been able to say in what feels like forever, so I’m relishing it. For my PICK OF THE WEEK I had to choose between two highly regarded action flicks (one a blockbuster and one a foreign film) as well as an Oscar nominated documentary. Which one did I pick? Well, I went with the artier of the action titles. The honoree this week? It’s none other than:
The Raid: Redemption
This Indonesian action tale is pound for pound among the most fun films to come out in 2012. It may have the best plot in the world (or really much of one), but it’s about as well staged as any film in the genre during the past few years. If this winds up just being more or less a calling card for Gareth Evans, I’m fine with that, as he’s quite the directorial discovery. If you like action flicks that actually deliver with more than just a few bland fights, then this is going to be a real treat for you, as the fights are kinetic and relentless in all of the right ways. I had a blast with it and highly recommend you pick it up and enjoy like I did!
-Coming in second place was the improbably good adaptation of The Hunger Games. There’s no telling how the franchise will fare quality-wise in the future, but for now we have a well made and engaging melodramatic action film that pretty much appeals to just about anyone. It’s not nearly as good as some have made it out to be (though Jennifer Lawrence is in the lead role), but I have no problem recommending it now that it’s out in the world again and available for home viewing.
-The other recommended titles out this week include one of last year’s nominees for Best Documentary Feature in Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, the grimy drama Hick (which isn’t great, but still is better than its reputation suggests), plus the suspense film The Snowtown Murders, which I’m suggesting based on my colleague Robert Hamer’s endorsement (I’ll be seeing it shortly though). These all are interesting flicks and I think they’re well worth your time…
-Also hitting shelves today we have the slightly underwhelming horror film Kill List, the only a little above average comedy Tonight You’re Mine, as well as the suspense flick Breathless (which I didn’t see) and the horror comedy hybrid Juan of the Dead (which I’m about to see). These are a notch below the other titles this week, but short of the suspense film mentioned, I think they’re all still somewhat worthwhile. It’s truly a week with lots to choose from, so make your selections wisely!
-My Vintage pick, in honor of this week’s release of Cosmopolis (stay tuned for my Early Review in a day or so), is my pick for the best David Cronenberg flick to date. I’m a big fan of A History of Violence, but for me…his crowning achievement is Videodrome. One of the most bizarre films (not to mention most prescient in many ways) I’ve seen, Cronenberg merges science fiction, horror, and in some ways film noir with such a masterful touch that I’ve found myself watching this movie more than I should probably confess to. As James Woods sees his life spin out of control, you have no choice but to just follow along and subject yourself to the ride. It pays to keep the current state of television in mind while watching the film, as Cronenberg skewers it almost 30 years earlier in a perfect way. I don’t want to spoil many of the things that happen in the film for those of you who’ve never seen it, but those who have are probably smiling right now. Give it a watch…it’s something you’ll likely never forget!
-What will you be watching on Blu-Ray/DVD this week? Discuss in the comments!
Tags: blu ray, DVD, Joey's DVD Column, Joey's DVD Picks of the Week, joeys dvd pick of the week, weekly DVD column