DVD Triage: Week of Nov 29

This week I can blame at least part of the lateness of this post on the windstorm and subsequent power outage that hit my area last night just as I was sitting down to finish it up. Ah, well. There are a WHOLE BUNCH of new releases this week, both crappy and solid, mainstream theatrical releases and indie/festival hits. But there’s not much of anything else, even on Instant Watch. The studios must be cranking out their recent releases in preparation for the holiday season.

New Release Picks of the Week

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
I’m so pleased that this film got theatrical and DVD distribution; it’s one of the most enjoyable horror/comedy hybrids in recent years. A pair of well-meaning rednecks on vacation at their cabin in the woods get mistaken for backwoods murderers by a group of college kids. Some easy laughs, but overall clever and fun.
2011 USA. Director: Eli Craig. Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
My vote for best 3D film still falls to Herzog’s exploration of the Chauvet Caves, which should also be fascinating without the 3D. Herzog goes on some intriguing philosophical tangents, but by and large lets the ancient and beautiful cave paintings speak for themselves. Also on Instant Watch.
2010 USA/Germany. Director: Werner Herzog.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

The Future
Hard to believe this is only Miranda July’s second feature, but it’s a very strong one, with a couple’s relationship faltering because of their sudden awareness of their own mortality. Sounds heady, and it is, but it’s also very human, dark, and memorable.
2011 USA. Director: Miranda July. Starring: Miranda July, Hamish Linklater.
Amazon DVD | Netflix

Another Earth
I didn’t care for this sort of sci-fi existential crisis film as much as most people did, but I think I do owe it a rewatch – there were lots of elements I liked, I just found the tone and pacing offputting. But I’m in the minority.
2011 USA. Director: Mike Cahill. Starring: Brit Marling, William Mapother.
Amazon DVD/Blu-ray | Netflix

One Day
Reviews for this were not as strong as I’d hoped and I skipped it in theatres, but I’m still interested in checking it out on the strength of the cast and Scherfig’s previous work (An Education).
2011 USA/UK. Director: Lone Scherfig. Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

OTHER NEW RELEASES
30 Minutes or Less (2011 USA, dir Ruben Fleischer, stars Jesse Eisenberg; Blu-ray/Netflix)
The Art of Getting By (2011 USA, dir Gavin Wiesen, stars Freddie Highmore; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Friends with Benefits (2011 USA, dir Will Gluck, stars Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Our Idiot Brother (2011 USA, dir Jesse Peretz, stars Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks; Blu-ray/Netflix)
The Smurfs (2011 USA, dir Raja Gosnell, stars Neil Patrick Harris, Anton Yelchin; Blu-ray/Netflix)
5 Days of War (2011 USA, dir Renny Harlin, stars Rupert Friend; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Adele Live at Royal Albert Hall (2011 UK, dir Paul Dugdale, star Adele; Blu-ray)
Chillerama (2011 USA, dir Adam Rifkin, Adam Green, stars Richard Riehle; Blu-ray/Netflix)
Kidnapped (2010 Spain, dir Miguel Angel Vivas, stars Guillermo Barrientos, Dritan Biba; Netflix)
Seven Days in Utopia (2011 USA, dir Matt Russell, stars Robert Duvall, Lucas Black; Netflix)
Snowmen (2010 USA, dir Robert Kirbyson, stars Bobby Coleman, Ray Liotta; Netflix)

Classic Picks of the Week

Eclipse Series 30: Sabu!
Only a couple of classics out this week, so I figured I’d feature them both, even though I’m woefully underprepared to write about them. Sabu was an actor in a bunch of India-set British action films in the early forties, and Criterion celebrates him with an Eclipse release of Elephant Boy, The Drum, and The Jungle Book.
1942 UK. Director: Zoltan Korda, et al. Starring: Sabu, etc.
Amazon DVD

Flying Guillotine
I haven’t seen anything from the Shaw Brothers’ Hong Kong production studio, except a few clips here and there on YouTube that look FREAKING INSANE. This is one from 1975, with an emperor developing the titular weapon and getting a little crazy using it on all his potential enemies. Yep, sounds insane.
1975 Hong Kong. Director: Meng Hua Ho. Starring: Kuan Tai Chen, Feng Ku.
Amazon DVD

Television Picks of the Week

30 Rock: Season 5
Other NBC shows have supplanted 30 Rock as the best comedy on TV, but even though it’s declining a bit, it’s still pretty high quality compared with sitcoms on other networks.
2010 USA. Creator: Tina Fey. Starring: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski.
Amazon DVD | Netflix

OTHER TELEVISION RELEASES
The Amazing Race: Season 4 (2003 USA, creator Elise Doganieri, Bertram Van Munster; Netflix)
Mission: Impossible: The ’88 TV Season (1988 USA, creator Bruce Geller, stars Peter Graves; Netflix)
The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 1 (1974 USA, creator Harve Bennett, stars Richard Anderson; Netflix)
Smallville: Season 10 (2010 USA, creator Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, stars Tom Welling; Blu-ray/Netflix)

Instant Watch Picks of the Week

Elizabeth
Cate Blanchett’s breakout role as Queen Elizabeth I, surrounded by quality actors and gorgeous production design. I found the film a little cold personally, but perhaps that’s intentional.
1998 UK. Director: Shekhar Kapur. Starring: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes.

Morning Glory
I don’t have a whole lot of interest in this news station anchor comedy, despite its having a pretty solid cast, but it is a relatively major recent release, and it’s always good when Netflix can wrangle some of those for Instant Watch.
2010 USA. Director: Roger Michell. Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton.

OTHER INSTANT WATCHES
Chillerama (2011 USA, dir Adam Rifkin, Adam Green, stars Richard Riehle)
Eye of the Beholder (2000 USA, dir Stephan Elliott, stars Ewan McGregor, Ashley Judd)
Final Destination 2 (2003 USA, dir David R. Ellis, stars Ali Larter, A.J. Cook)
Five Minutes of Heaven (2009 UK, dir Oliver Hirschbiegel, stars Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt)
I Sell the Dead (2008 UK, dir Glenn McQuaid, stars Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman)
Kidnapped (2010 Spain, dir Miguel Angel Vivas, stars Guillermo Barrientos, Dritan Biba)
Viva Riva! (2010 Congo, dir Djo Munga, stars Patsha Bay, Manie Malone)
Waiting to Exhale (1995 USA, dir Forest Whitaker, stars Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett)

See all new and upcoming titles.

Instant Watch Expiring Picks

Annie Oakley (1935 USA, dir George Stevens, stars Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster) [12/6] Crank 2: High Voltage (2009 USA, dir Nevaldine-Taylor, stars Jason Statham, Amy Smart)
Absolute Power (1997 USA, dir Clint Eastwood, stars Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman)

See all expiring titles.

Disclaimers

  • Amazon links use my affiliate account, and will kick a small percentage of your purchase back to me. You pay the same price you would anyway.
  • Not all new releases are available on Netflix immediately. Some studio films have a 30-day release window before Netflix can rent them, and some smaller releases are not picked up by Netflix immediately. Add them to your “saved” queue if you’re interested; that tells Netflix there is demand for the disc.
  • Not all new Blu-ray releases are available on Netflix – Netflix usually buys both DVD and Blu-ray editions of new releases, but if a DVD has already been released, they don’t always get the Blu-ray when it comes out later.
  • Instant Watch releases are not always 100% accurate – often the data from the API is not fully accurate until the actual day of release. I always check on release day to make sure things actually do hit Instant Watch, but for things that come out later than Tuesday when I publish this post, I won’t be able to tell.
  • Instant Watch expirations are not always 100% accurate – sometimes they don’t expire after all, sometimes things expire with little advance warning. I always check to make sure the data is accurate to the best of my knowledge when I publish the post, but things could still change, especially since I’m giving expiration warnings up to two weeks in advance.
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Jonathan Hardesty
Guest

Nice! Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, The Future and Another Earth are ones I’ve been meaning to see for varying lengths of time. Obviously I’ll be wanting to see Tucker first as I’ve been following that production since the beginning and have missed all my chances to see it on the big screen.

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