Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TUESDAY BLUs (& DVDs): This Week's New Releases 5/7/13


What a week!  Among this week's interesting releases are Fringe: The Complete Series, Mama, a ghost story from producer Guillermo del Toro, Superman Unbound, the latest entry in the DCU Animation line, Tom Cruise's starring turn as Jack Reacher, Upstream Color from the genius behind Primer, and several major catalog releases including The Verdict, The Great Escape, and a Shanghai Noon/Shanghai Nights Double Feature.

As always, fire up that queue and prep that shopping cart and check out this weeks' latest releases!
  


Mama

A mother's love is forever.  Guillermo del Toro, the Academy Award-nominated writer of Pan's Labyrinth, presents this supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their parents were killed. When the young sisters are found alive in a decrepit cabin, their uncle (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones) and his girlfriend (Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty) take them in. As they try to introduce the children to a normal life, Annabel (Chastain) begins to wonder if the traumatized girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home.  Extras include featurettes, deleted scenes, original short with introduction By Guillermo Del Toro, and audio commentary.


Citizen Hearst

Citizen Hearst, directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks and narrated by William H. Macy, traces the 125-year history of the Hearst media empire, from William Randolph Hearst's pioneering and controversial days of headline-grabbing yellow journalism to the global impact of the company's many successful media brands. Iwerks provides a rare glimpse behind the glass walls of the Hearst Tower, interviewing top magazine editors of Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire, among others, and gaining unprecedented access to the Hearst Castle and family members in San Simeon, California. Extras include deleted footage and Hearst Castle Episode from The A&E Television Series America's Castles.
 
Superman: Unbound

An unstoppable android on the horizon. A mysterious fireball hurtling toward Earth. A fearless - and beautiful - reporter, Lois Lane (Stana Katic) who'll stop at nothing to get her story. It's just another day for the heroic Man Of Steel... only this time, for better or for worse, he has his unpredictable cousin, Supergirl (Molly C. Quinn), by his side. The gritty adventure begins as Superman (Matthew Bomer) learns about the ruthless force known as Brainiac (John Noble), who has seized and miniaturized Krypton's capital city of Kandor. Determined to liberate the captured metropolis and protect his home planet form Brainiac's increasing power, Superman takes on his most menacing enemy yet in this DC Universe animated original movie based on the gripping comic book miniseries. Extras include featurettes, commentary, preview of upcoming animated movie, digital comic excerpt and four bonus cartoons.


Great Gatsby: Midnight in Manhattan

Produced in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Great Gatsby, this fascinating documentary explores the turbulent life and dark creative spirit of its writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald. It examines his disappointing college days at Princeton, his disastrous marriage to Zelda, his difficult relationship with Hemingway, and his tendency to sell out and compromise his talent for cash, which led to his turbulent last days in Hollywood. It dispels the age-old mythology surrounding Fitzgerald, largely created by himself, which tends to glamorize the Jazz-Age and his alcoholism. Including contributions by the author's granddaughter Eleanor Lanahan, plus writers Hunter S. Thompson, George Plimpton and Jay McInerney, this program presents a fascinating portrait of this most enduring American icon.

Jack Reacher

Ex-military investigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) leaps off the pages of Lee Child's bestselling novel and onto the big screen in the explosive thriller. When an unspeakable crime is committed, all evidence points to the suspect in custody who offers up a single note in defense: "Get Jack Reacher!" The law has its limits, but Reacher does not when his fight for the truth pits him against an unexpected enemy with a skill for violence and a secret to keep.  Extras include featurettes and commentary.

K-9: The Complete Series

This kid-and-family sci-fi/comedy spinoff from the hugely popular Doctor Who series, features his longtime robot pet dog, K-9, as reimagined by Doctor Who creator Bob Baker. K-9 is a cybernetic construct from the 50th century with the appearance of an earth dog. He arrives travels to the 21st century, arriving at the London home of Professor Gryffen, a renowned scientist working on the Alien Space-Time-Manipulator (STM), which can open a portal to anywhere in space and time. When alien warriors attack Gryffen and two teenagers - Starkey, a homeless rebel, and Jorjie, an intelligent young girl - K-9 self-detonates to save them, but is soon regenerated thanks to a device implanted in his mainframe. The new-look K-9 can fly and has more capabilities than ever before. However, he has lost his long-term memory, and so begins a quest to not only protect humanity but also to discover more about his time- and space-travelling past.

Mighty Fine

Set in the 1970's, Mighty Fine is the story of Joe Fine (Chazz Palminteri), a charismatic, high spirited man, who relocates his family - wife Stella (Andie MacDowell), daughters Natalie and Maddie - from Brooklyn to New Orleans, in search of a better life. Joe's devotion to his family knows no bounds, and he seeks to provide them with the ultimate in the good life, from a palatial home to a steady string of extravagant gifts. Unfortunately, Joe's spending spree is wildly out of touch with reality, his apparel business is teetering on the brink of collapse, a fact he refuses to accept. His business woes fuel a growing rage that threatens the very fabric of the family. Mighty Fine ultimately shows how coming to terms with the past without judgment is the most fruitful way to move towards the future.

The Oranges


Fresh-squeezed laughs and sexy fun sweeten this critically-acclaimed comedy with an all-star cast, including Leighton Meester, Hugh Laurie, Oliver Platt and Catherine Keener. What does it take to be truly happy? Two suburban families are about to find out when the Ostroffs' rebellious daughter Nina (Meester) returns home and starts an adulterous affair with long-time family friend David Walling (Laurie.) The outrageous scandal reaches a hilarious new heights during the holidays and makes these New Jersey neighbors tear apart more than just wrapping paper. Love is a wrecking ball headed straight for The Oranges...and it may just change all of their lives forever.  Extras include featurettes.

Assassin's Blade

Zhu Yanzhi (Charlene Choi) is the daughter of a wealthy wine merchant (Ti Lung), sent into the mountains disguised as a man to learn martial arts with an elite clan.Once she begins her intense training, Zhu finds herself at odds with her trainer and superior, Liang (Chun Wu). But soon, a stronger connection is revealed between the two, and as their attraction grows, so does the danger of Liang discovering Zhu s real identity, Could it be that they're destined to be together?As the two lovers dare voice their feelings, Zhu learns that her parents are in danger and she must return home immediately, in the company of a childhood friend who also happens to be an aspiring court politician. Could there be more to his intentions than she knows? From the action director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers, this comedy romance crackles with action, danger, hidden identities and unrequited love.

The Great Escape


In 1943, the Germans opened Stalag Luft North, a maximum security prisoner-of-war camp designed to hold even the craftiest escape artists. In doing so, however, the Nazis unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military history - brilliantly portrayed here by Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburn - who worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted. One of the most ingenious and suspenseful adventure films of all time, The Great Escape is a masterful collaboration between director John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven), screenwriter James Clavell (Shogun) and W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar), and composer Elmer Bernstein. Based on a true story, The Great Escape features audio commentary and featurettes.

The Verdict

Nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best director and Best Actor, The Verdict Blu-ray - release is packed with compelling special features including on-camera interviews with Oscar winner Paul Newman and legendary director Sidney Lumet.  Frank Galvin (Newman) is a boozy washed-up attorney with a losing streak a mile long. so when he's handed a lucrative out-of-court settlement, everyone expects him to take the money and run. But Frank is tired of running. In a desperate bid to reclaim his self-respect, he recklessly brings the case to court - only to discover that if finding the whole truth is a little like trial and error, then finding real justice is a lot like trial by fire.  Extras include commentary, Paul Newman: The Craft Of Acting, Milestones In Cinema History: The Verdict, Sidney Lumet: The Craft Of Directing and Two Additional Featurettes.

Starlet

Starlet explores the unlikely friendship between 21 year-old aspiring actress Jane (Dree Hemingway) and elderly widow Sadie after their worlds collide in California's San Fernando Valley. Jane spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates and taking care of her chihuahua Starlet, while Sadie passes her days alone, tending to her garden. After a confrontation at a yard sale, Jane finds something unexpected in a relic from Sadie's past. Her curiosity piqued, she tries to befriend the caustic older woman. Secrets emerge as their relationship grows, revealing that nothing is ever as it seems.  Featuring exceptional debut performances by Dree Hemingway (great granddaughter of Ernest and daughter of Mariel) and 85 year-old Besedka Johnson, who received a Special Jury Recognition at SxSW, Starlet is at once provocative, haunting, unpredictable, and surprisingly sweet.


Upstream Color
A woman (Amy Seimetz) is abducted and hypnotized with an organic material harvested from a specific flower. When she falls for a man (Shane Carruth), the two come to realize he may also have been subjected to the same process. They search urgently for a place of safety within each other and struggle to assemble the fragments of their wrecked lives, unknowingly drawn into the life cycle of a presence that permeates the microscopic world.

30 Rock: Season Seven


Go to there all over again with the complete seventh and final season of the Primetime Emmy, SAG, Peabody, and Golden Globe Award-winning comedy, 30 Rock, hailed by The Washington Post as "the equivalent of a whole platter of night cheese", and praised by bloggers and snail writers with all different parts of speech like "lines", "emotional", "laughing", "jokes-per-minute", "Lutz" and "self-cancelled." Primetime Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe Award winners, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, are back one more time as weird buddies/work spouses, Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy. As Jack schemes to take control of KableTown or sink the whole company trying, Liz strives to balance her uncharacteristically blissful personal life with the constant chaos of her career. Even with Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer), life-long NBC devotee, temporary janitor, and immortal creature not of this earth, around to tend to TGS' lovable misfit stars, Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), 30 Rock mayhem ensues with a season full of network tanking, election meddling, upward spiraling, funeral weddings, Florida, reverse health scares, sacrificial bunions, symphonic "Sanford and Son" arrangements, last lunches and boat modeling.

Shanghai Noon & Shanghai Knights: 2 Movie Collection

East meets West in two wildly hilarious comedies starring legendary action star Jackie Chan and funnyman Owen Wilson. Experience Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights for the first time on Blu-ray, featuring new digital restoration with enhanced picture and sound. Chinese Imperial Guard Chon Wang is in for a real kick when he travels to the rough and tumble Old West to rescue the beautiful kidnapped princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu). Teamed with laid-back cowboy outlaw Roy O'Bannon, the two mismatched partners face jail, brawls and the vilest villains this side of the Great Wall. Then jump in the saddle for the wild and woolly sequel as the two unlikely heroes make their way to London on a daring quest for honor and revenge.

In Shanghai Noon, Chan plays Chinese Imperial Guard Chon Wang who hightails it to the wild and woolly West to rescue the beautiful kidnapped Princess Pei Pei (Liu). When he meets up with laid-back outlaw cowboy dude Roy O'Bannon (Wilson) - the best mismatch ever made in the rough and tumble Old West -- the two face jail, brawls, bordellos and the vilest villains this side of the Great Wall.

In Shanghai Knights, when Chon Wang (Chan) gets news of his estranged father's murder in Shanghai, he leaves his honorable life as Carson City's sheriff in a cloud of dust and reunites with his yarn-spinning sidekick, Roy O'Bannon (Wilson). Together they make their way to London on a daring quest for honor and revenge. Hilarious escapades and hair-raising adventures ensue as our heroes find themselves in the middle of a devious plot to eliminate the entire royal family. And Chon gives Victorian Britain a royal kick in the pants as he tries to avenge his father's death and keep love-struck Roy away from his sister.

Felicity: Season 3
Felicity: Season 4

The education continues during Felicity's junior year. Golden Globe winner Keri Russell (Felicity) returns to the University of New York for a new course in self-discovery. Her big decision to move in with Ben shapes the direction of the school year, but it's just one of the many exhilarating challenges in a spectacular season of passion, heartache and excitement in the city.  What began four years ago as a bold journey of self-discovery culminates in Felicity's stunning senior year. And in the show's final season, discover the fate of each of your favorite characters. Will Felicity move on to a new life with Ben, or will she end up with Noel?

WWII From Space 

WWII From Space delivers World War II in a way you've never experienced it before. This two-hour History special uses an all-seeing CGI eye that offers a satellite view of the conflict, allowing you to experience it in a way that places key events and tipping points in a global perspective. By re-creating groundbreaking moments that could never have been captured on camera and by illustrating the importance of simultaneity and the hidden effects of crucial incidents, History presents the war's monumental moments in never- before-seen context. And with new information brought to the forefront, you'll better understand how a nation ranked 19th in the world's militaries in 1939 emerged six years later as the planet's only atomic superpower. 

Fringe: The Complete Series

Teleportation. Mind control. Invisibility. Astral projection. Mutation. Reanimation. Phenomena that exist on the Fringe of science unleash their strange powers in this thrilling series, co-created by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias), combining the grit of the police procedural with the excitement of the unknown. The story revolves around three unlikely colleagues – a beautiful young FBI agent, Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv),  Walter Bishop (John Noble), a brilliant scientist who’s spent the last 17 years in a mental institution and the scientist’s sardonic son, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) – who investigate a series of bizarre deaths and disasters known as “the pattern.” Someone is using our world as an experimental lab. And all clues lead to Massive Dynamic, a shadowy global corporation that may be more powerful than any nation. In Season 2 of Fringe the overarching narrative is a mind-bending investigation of a parallel reality that threatens to destroy ours. In Season 3 the Fringe team escapes from the parallel universe – except for Olivia, trapped in the other world and replaced in ours by her double, who turns Peter and Olivia’s tentative relationship into a love affair. When Olivia returns, bonds of trust fray, ever more bizarre and terrifying phenomena occur and secrets that stretch back to 1985 threaten to destroy our universe. Or theirs.  As season 4 begins, Peter mysteriously returns to our world after sacrificing himself to save both realities. But he has been forgotten – by Olivia, by Walter, by everyone. It’s as if he never existed. At the same time, shape shifters controlled by an unknown master begin an onslaught of destruction, and now the two former enemy universes must cooperate to defy a common foe. And in this season, events may prove that the most powerful force in our universe – or theirs – is not a doomsday device, not a paranormal force, but human love. And finally in season 5, picking up from events depicted in season four’s flash-forward episode, the seemingly peaceful Observers seized control of our universe in 2015. Now, in 2036, they have become ruthless rulers who stand unopposed. What awaits in the future, however, is the Fringe Team’s final stand, which will bring together all they have witnessed in preparation for the final battle to protect our world. In a final season filled with struggle, surprises, and sacrifice, Olivia and Peter’s now-grown daughter, Etta (Georgina Haig), joins the Fringe team.  The complete series features all 109 episodes with fan-favorite bonus features including featurettes, a digital comic book excerpt, gag reel and more. 

One Hour Photo
Sy "the photo guy" Parrish (Robin Williams) has lovingly, painstakingly developed photographs for the Yorkin family, Will and Nina (Michael Vartan and Connie Nielsen). since their son was a baby. But as Yorkins' lives become fuller, Sy's only seems lonelier, until he eventually convinces himself that he is a part of their family. When "Uncle Sy's picture perfect fantasy" collides with an ugly dose of reality, Sy becomes unhinged and becomes a creepy, indignant martyr, pushing the psychologically troubled man to crack, sending the social malcontent on his own seething mission of righteousness.   Extras include commentary, multi-angle location scouting vignettes, featurettes, The Charlie Rose Show, and storyboards trailers, commercials and poster explorations. 


Barrymore

Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer (Best Supporting Actor, Beginners) reprises his Tony Award-winning performance as iconic stage and screen idol John Barrymore in this bold and brilliant tour-de-force film.   At the height of his remarkable career, John Barrymore was the most celebrated entertainer of his generation. The reigning king of both Broadway and Hollywood, his decline and fall from grace was the tragic result of a self-destructive spiral into vice and excess. And now, with his career in tatters, he makes one final attempt to reclaim his former glory on the stage in this powerful, heartbreaking, humorous and compassionate portrait of a tortured soul and living legend. Extras include a Behind-the-scenes documentary.

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