Welcome back to the DFW.com DVD Drawer. Although we make mention every week of the new releases, some of the more esoteric discs slip through the cracks. I’ll still throw a little light on the blockbusters, but hopefully, I can draw your attention to flicks that might otherwise pass you by. Let’s get started, shall we?
On the eve of summer’s final hurrah, there’s little worthwhile hitting stores. The brutal Michael Caine drama Harry Brown is new in stores, as is the craptastic Marmaduke, along with a slew of TV-on-DVD releases, including the first season of Parenthood. Of particular note is the mesmerizing Red Riding Trilogy makes its debut on DVD and Blu-ray. These three films, directed by three different directors, will inevitably be reshaped by Hollywood; seek out this grim masterpiece instead.
New on Blu
A busy, busy week on Blu-ray, with Lionsgate unloading a lot of top-notch catalog titles on the format: High Tension, Hard Candy, The Blair Witch Project, Bad Lieutenant, Secretary and Wonderland.
Since I missed much of the month, here’s a quick look at other notable discs that arrived in the month of August.
Major new releases include Date Night and The Joneses. The Criterion Collection delivered the sublimely odd documentary Crumb, complete with a new commentary track, along with director Terry Zwigoff’s lesser known work, Louie Bluie. For ‘80s TV geeks, the complete Max Headroom series made its home video debut, along with the freshman season of Titan Maximum.
New on Blu
Warner Brothers ushered National Lampoon’s Vacation and European Vacation onto Blu-ray, along with the screwball classic What’s Up Doc?. The excellent space doc In the Shadow of the Moon also debuted on Blu-ray.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have created some of the most indelible comedy of the last decade, but the pair stumbles mightily with their dramatic feature-length debut Cemetary Junction. Elsewhere on the new releases shelf, Claire Danes earned some of the best reviews of her career for her turn in HBO’s Temple Grandin (which also just bagged a bunch of Emmys). The first season of Cougar Town arrived in stores, as did the fourth seasons of Dexter, Ugly Betty and Friday Night Lights.
New on Blu
The biggest – literally – flick to hit Blu-ray this week? Writer-director Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet arrives on the high-def format in all its 70 mm glory. (The extras are ported over from the earlier, two-disc 2007 DVD release.) Other notable Blu-ray arrivals include Nanny McPhee and Criterion’s reissue of Black Orpheus.
The tightly wound Australian thriller The Square headlines this week’s releases, with a sprinkling of inane blockbusters (The Back-Up Plan) and direct-to-DVD horror (George Romero’s latest, Survival of the Dead). TV also has a good showing, thanks to the 13th season of The Simpsons and the final season of Lost (also available in a complete series package).
New on Blu
Image dropped a quartet of catalog titles: Withnail and I, The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa and Time Bandits. Although the visual quality on some -- Friday, in particular – is lacking, it’s still great to have these cult classics on high-def.