DVD Picks of the Week: April 20, 2010

Hey folks, decent week, let’s get to it.

Avatar [DVD][Blu-ray] (April 22 release date)

The highest grossing film of 2009 hits shelves this week with a special Thursday release to line up with Earth Day. I never actually gave Avatar a full-fledged review, but if I had, I imagined it would have gone something like this. The film captivated me visually with 3D that was more than a simple gimmick. It was an immersive tool that truly planted the viewer into James Cameron’s brand new world. On the other hand, the film stalled story-wise. The plot was soft and a bit weak, nothing I haven’t seen or thought about before. The characters were rather typical and cliche, offering nothing out of the ordinary. I’m not sure I would really care to see this film again without the big screen 3D experience being part of it. If you haven’t seen the film at all, I definitely recommend it, although your experience won’t be the same as mine or the others who saw it in 3D. I’m just glad it didn’t win the big Oscar.

Crazy Heart [DVD][Blu-ray]

Jeff Bridges got what he deserved. In Crazy Heart, Bridges turns in a soulful and moving performance, one of the most powerful and emotional ones in his career that ended up earning him the Oscar for best actor. The film itself wasn’t particularly mindblowing, but it was a nice watch with one great headline performance (Bridges) and another solid one (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Still, this was one of the better American films of 2009 and is an absolute treat to watch thanks to Mr. Bridges.

Battleship Potemkin [Blu-ray]

One of the most influential films of all time is coming to Blu-ray. Battleship Potemkin, often imitated for its famous Odessa Steps scene, has been a stand out for years and years and Kino finally gives it an even more pristine treatment than they did the last time they released it in a deluxe DVD edition. If you haven’t seen this film, you owe it to yourself to find out how it helped early cinema begin.

Vivre sa vie [Criterion DVD][Criterion Blu-ray]

Let me list a few good things: More Criterion, more Criterion Blu-ray, more Jean-Luc Godard and more Anna Karina. All this comes to you in the form of Vivre sa vie. I haven’t seen this particular Godard flick, but good or not it certainly will lend to an interesting watch.

Summer Hours [Criterion DVD][Criterion Blu-ray]

Also coming from Criterion this week is Summer Hours. The issuing of Olivier Assayas’s film brings yet another recent title (the film was released in 2008) to Criterion’s growing collection. I was impressed with their additions of films like Revanche, Hunger, Gomorrah and Che in the last few months, so hopefully this is the sign of things to come. I like a nice parallel between older classics and future classics in the collection.

44 Inch Chest [DVD][Blu-ray]

I don’t know much about this film, but I’m interested in it. It was clearly given a low-key release, but look at the cast. Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson. Those are four beefy names. Even if this film stinks, those four actors could bring it into at least the average territory. I’m intrigued.

What else comes out this week: The Young Victoria, The Lovely Bones, Minority Report [Blu-ray], Fist of Legend [Blu-ray], Peacock, Cheech & Chong’s Hey Watch This!,Batman [Blu-ray]Batman Returns [Blu-ray], The Basketball Diaries [Blu-ray], Uncertainty, Zappa, Frank The Freak Out List.

What to stay away from: Crimes of Fashion. Cause I fucking said so.

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