DVD Picks of the Week: February 16, 2010

It’s a busy week, let’s get to it.

Black Dynamite [DVD][Blu-ray]

One of the funniest films of the year and one of the best spoofs to come around in a long time, Black Dynamite is a modern day recreation of the blaxploitation genre. Every joke is well-timed and every moment is well-choreographed. It’s clear they absolutely understood the genre they were going for. This is a funny and endlessly entertaining film, one of the most overlooked in 2009 among mainstream audiences.

Revanche [Criterion DVD][Criterion Blu-ray]

There are some nice releases from Criterion today, both of the more recent nature. The first is Revanche. The 2009 Austrian film was well-received with critics and was nominated for the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. This one looks like a good watch, and I plan on checking out. Netflix has it available as an instant watch in HD. Count me in.

Hunger [Criterion DVD][Criterion Blu-ray]

The second of the Criterion releases on Tuesday was Hunger. The 2008 film told the story of the 1981 Irish hunger strike. Directed by Steve McQueen (not THAT Steve McQueen), the film rounds out Criterion’s more modern additions to its collection as another critically acclaimed film…that I have yet to see.

Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros. [DVD]

In the “It would be nice to own, but I never would” category comes a 19-disc Clint Eastwood set consisting of films made with Warner Bros. Featured inside the box set of 35 films are classic films such as the Dirty Harry series and key Eastwood westerns such as The Outlaw Josey Wales. The set gets as recent as 2008, including the film Gran Torino, said to be his last acting job. This is one convenient set featuring the films of one of America’s most prolific actors.

Lola Montès [Criterion DVD][Criterion Blu-ray]

I have seen zero Max Ophüls films, so I can’t really comment much on this. This apparently his last film and only one he shot in color, so it’s interesting in those two aspects alone. But it’s also always worth noting when Criterion adds to their DVD/Blu-ray collection.

Goodfellas [Blu-ray]

The classic film Goodfellas hits shelves this week on a reissued Blu-ray as a 20th Anniversary release. Not much more can be said about this film.

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever [DVD]

I recently reviewed the fantastic The House of the Devil. There Ti West created a clearly personal film built on inspirations of his. West also “directed” this second film in the Cabin Fever series. I use directed loosely, as West left the film after studio control got to be too much for him. He didn’t even want his name attached to the project as far as I can tell. So you might want to stay away, unless you really don’t care. Accompanying this release is Cabin Fever on Blu-ray. I didn’t feel like making another post for that.

Studio Canal Blu-rays [Ran][The Ladykillers][Contempt]

These are hard to write about. Criterion planned to release Ran, the Akira Kurosawa film, on Blu-ray until an issue came up with keeping the rights to the film in house. Studio Canal (of Lions Gate) took control of the rights and released their Blu-ray of it. I haven’t heard great things so far, so I can’t recommend it. I’m not sure of the quality. I know Criterion used to also have the rights to Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt, as they have already released it on DVD. Perhaps they lost that too. And then The Ladykillers, which was never been released by Criterion, rounds out the three. You might want to take a closer look at the quality of these discs before you drop the cash on the counter for them.

What else comes out this week: Law Abiding Citizen, Halo Legends, Coco Before Chanel, Good Hair, Women in Trouble, The Secret Policeman’s Private Party, Freeway Killer.

What to stay away from: This creepy and fucking awful looking Alice in Wonderland thing. Look at that cover art.

Shit says “state-of-the-art CGI animation.” I’m calling lies on that one, ladies and gentlemen.

Cya.

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