Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DVD Roundup - 8/23

Tough sledding this week, friends. In the days to come we'll be getting a steady stream of TV-to-DVD releases but the first wave (this week) is always the worst. Hang in there!

The Beaver (2011) - Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin
After watching his family self-destruct, an angry business man (Gibson) finds a beaver hand puppet in a dumpster and uses it as a strange form of therapy. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this film. I love Mel Gibson. If that makes me a horrible person well...then so be it. Do I want to hang out with Mel Gibson in a pub? No thanks. But do I watch and enjoy most of his movies? Yes, yes I do. It remains to be seen whether "The Beaver" can resurrect Gibson's career but the reviews were mostly positive and for me, there are few actors who can command the screen when they're on their game the way Gibson can.

In Home Viewing Recommendation: If, like me, you're generally capable of putting an actor's personal issues aside when watching a film, you should see this one. If watching Mel Gibson is just going to make you angry then why bother?

Win Win (2011) - Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor
A shady lawyer (Giamatti) who also serves as a high school wrestling coach sees his life's fortune change with the discovery of an athletic prodigy but soon finds that he's bitten off more than he can choose. With outstanding reviews and hearty support, "Win Win" has an outside shot at some award attention when that time of the year rolls around. But here's the thing: Paul Giamatti doesn't make films for me. I've said it many times before: the guy is an outstanding actor but I almost never really want to see anything he's in. If I was 10 years older, maybe. If I was thoroughly discontent with my life, maybe. But as a 28 year old dude who generally likes his place in life and also enjoys a good fart joke now and then? I just can't relate to the guy.

INVR: Honestly, you should see this movie. Everything I hear tells me it's really quite good. For me, however, it's exactly the type of film that I put into my Netflix Instant queue and then never watch because I don't have anytime to watch both it and "Resident Evil 18" and how am I not going to watch "Resident Evil 18"?! (This is my cry for help.)

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011) - Morgan Spurlock
Documentarian Morgan Spurlock sets out to make a film financed solely through the utilization of product placement. I dig documentaries and Spurlock might be the most recognizable name in the documentary industry. He makes fun, relatively insightful films that are (probably) grounded in fact (I think) and he picks interesting subjects.

INVR: Probably worth a rental but I imagine "TGMES" will show up on your Netflix Instant sooner rather than later.

New to Blu Ray Pick of the Week
Rounders (1998) - Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich
A card shark (Damon) working his way through law school gets sucked back into the world of underground poker after his buddy (Norton) is released from jail. Before the big poke boom of the mid-2000s, there was "Rounders", the film that introduced most of us to the game Texas Hold 'Em. This is one of my favorite films and one that I consider to be HIGHLY underrated. You've got a young Matt Damon who's just about to come into his prime, Norton in a villainous-like role, and what I would consider to be Malkovich's best performance. If you've never seen "Rounders" I highly recommend a viewing. Lots of fun mixed with a healthy amount of tension and a great storyline.

Also New to Blu

Swingers (1996) - Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Heather Graham
A decent enough comedy that has really gotten more respect than it deserves.

Bambi II (2006) - Patrick Stewart, Alexander Gould
What are the odds that one of Bambi Junior's parents don't die within the first 15 minutes?

Hostage (2005) - Bruce Willis, Ben Foster, Kevin Pollack
Great concept, poor execution. Not one of Bruce's better films.

Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (1985) - William Katt, Sean Young
If you've never seen "Baby" then you probably weren't born in America between 1980 and 1988. Also, you're probably better off than the rest of us that were born between 1980 and 1988.

Play it to the Bone (1999) - Woody Harrelson, Antonio Banderas
I like to call these "the lost years" for Harrelson.

Also New
NCIS: Season 8 (2010) - Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly
Gossip Girl: Season 4 (2010) - Blake Lively, Leighton Meester
Brothers and Sisters: Season 5 (2010) - Sally Field, Calista Flockhart
NCIS: Los Angeles: Season 1 (2010) - LL Cool J, Chris O'Donnell
The Event: Complete Series (2010) - Jason Ritter, Blair Underwood
Troll Hunter (2010) - Otto Jerspersen, Robert Stoltenberg
Blitz (2011) - Jason Statham, Paddie Considine, Luke Evans


  1. I really wanted to see "The Beaver" when it was in the theaters for its two week run, but didn't get a chance. His personal life aside, I've always liked Gibson's acting, and this story is intriguing. It doesn't hurt that the major character sort of parallel's Gibson's life.

    I'm going to have to watch "Rounders." For some reason I never have.

  2. I missed both The Beaver and Win Win in theaters and hope to be able to watch them both here shortly! Thanks for the reminder!

    Nice work!

  3. @Talmid, I think you'd like Rounders but you might see if you can catch it on TV. Lot of language.

    @Scarletspider, I rented The Beaver today but after a long day of work I just couldn't get to it today. Sometimes you need a touching family drama, sometimes you need Big Bang Theory reruns!

  4. Finally saw The Beaver. A little too dark for my taste, and a lot too dark for Mom's. Had its moments, though.

  5. Yeah, I saw it this week, too. A little further off the wall than it needed to be. Gibson was pretty darn solid, though.


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