New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (3/04/14)

12-years-a-slave-quad-940x400This week, in a rather fantastic bit of timing no less (obviously not an accident), the newest Best Picture winner headlines the films on the release schedule, along with a few other flicks as well. Unlike last week, when the the vast majority of the movies hitting shelves on Blu-Ray and DVD today were worth picking up, today the slate of flicks is a bit more hit and miss This is more or less the usual, and while this is a solid enough group of films coming out today, aside from my top pick there’s nothing to really go wild over. That being said, this is the sort of lineup that makes up the vast majority of my columns, so there’s that. There’s one very poor movie hitting shelves too, but other than this, it’s average or better for the most part. For my PICK OF THE WEEK though, I’m glad to be able to cite this new Oscar winner, which also is on my 2013 Top Ten list as well. Some of you have remarked that I seem rather glum about this past weekend’s Academy Awards, but I’m always that way, even last year when I was in love with the Best Picture winner (Argo, remember), so it’s just my way. That being said, you’ll see me praise this winner again shortly, but for now, I’m going to turn my attention briefly to my Vintage picks, as I’m prone to do at this point in the column every week, so here we go!

Vintage Viewing

dawn-of-the-dead-retrospective-part-2-e11628327In honor of this week’s release of 300: Rise of an Empire (which I see tomorrow, for whatever that’s worth), my choice here is a film from the director of the previous movie in this now franchise, one Zack Snyder. It’s the remake of Dawn of the Dead, which really impressed me when I first saw it. Snyder really took the original and made it his own, and I still give him major kudos for that. It wasn’t an easy task, but he aced it. He’s a divisive figure due to Man of Steel and the upcoming Batman vs Superman flick, but if you want to be reminded of his talent this week, I’d suggest taking this route and popping in this film again…

Recommended Movie(s)

This second place title that I’m about to discuss is very solid and well worth picking up, but it just couldn’t compare to my top choice. Still, my thumb is very much up here, so let’s discuss this one a bit now:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (special note…this one comes out on Friday, not today)

the_hunger_games__catching_fire__final_poster__by_phoenixpx-d6ufj3rAs much as I liked the first film in the franchise, I think this one is better in most ways. Ironically, I really was gripped by the story and only started to fade when the actual games began in this one. Overall though, this is quite a good movie, as I said in my review right here. It’s a franchise that I’m eager to see continue on, and that’s not something that I always say, so that’s a real compliment. Obviously, this was a big hit and just about all of you saw it, so I don’t need to urge you to pick this one up, but if you’re inclined to get it, I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, and more…
Total Box Office: $423,905,466 (and counting)
Major Awards: None

Other Films Being Released

Here now is just a list of what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, just sans my own personal recommendation. Behold:

Cold Comes the Night

A fairly mediocre thriller, this is the sort of thing that used to go straight to video. Still, it’s not terrible, so if you’re desperate for this sort of thing, you could do worse I suppose…

Box Office: $16,971

Girl Rising

I haven’t seen this documentary, but it’s been in theaters almost a full year, so that must say something about it, right? If you know about this one, feel free to let me know or vouch for it, because I quite simply can’t.

Box Office: $1,696,494 (and counting)

336008,xcitefun-the-grandmasterThe Grandmaster

Nominated for two technical Oscars, this foreign flick seemed to disappoint many who were expecting a potential classic. I wasn’t, so I wasn’t exactly disappointed, but the pacing especially left something to be desired. It’s a beautiful Blu-Ray though (I’ve already been sent a copy, so I can assure you of that part at least), so there’s that part to look forward to, if nothing else…

Box Office: $3,622

Hours

One of Paul Walker’s final projects doesn’t have a box office total, but I’ve heard it’s among his best performances ever, so if you’re a fan, you probably should make it a point to pick up this drama and take a look at it.

Box Office: N/A

The Last Days on Mars

This sci-fi flick is decent enough, but it’s lacking that extra something that makes for a memorable movie. It’s not quite a film to seek out, but it’s not one to overtly ignore either, for what that’s worth…

Box Office: $24,084

Oldboy

An incredible disappointment, somehow everything went wrong with this remake. I went over my many problems with it in this review here, but man did this one stink. I rarely shake my head throughout a press screening, but that’s just what I did with this one. I’m not a big fan of the original, but by comparison, it’s a classic. It was a huge disaster at the box office too, so at least audiences had the good sense to reject this turd.

Box Office: $2,193,658

TV Releases

  • Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season
  • Breaking Amish: Season 1
  • Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor
  • The Venture Bros.: Season Five

PICK OF THE WEEK

12 Years a Slave

12-years-a-slave-solomon-northupEven if I don’t think it’s an absolute masterpiece, this movie is still excellent and a deserving enough Best Picture winner. Many of you forget that I praised the film heavily in this review right here, but I did, and I stand by my praise. Ys, I liked other flicks more, but I liked tons less too, so it’s still high up there. In fact, only eight other pieces of cinema in 2013 impressed me more than this one, so I’m certainly a fan. If any of you haven’t seen it by now, and you really have no excuse for that, but today/this week is the perfect time to finally check it out. For the rest of you, it’s now available to own and add to your Best Picture winners collection if you have one.

Special Features: Featurettes, and more…
Total Box Office: $50,336,296 (and counting)
Major Award: Won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay  at the Academy Awards

What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!