Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DVD Roundup - 8/30

Um...this is awkward. There is not a single major studio release of note heading to DVD this week. That makes my job a bit tough so we're going to skip the new movie release circuit altogether and jump straight into the TV to DVD and Blu Ray features.

Sons of Anarchy: Season 3 (2010) - Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katie Segal
The FX original series centering around a gun running biker gang in Charming, California. They're not so much "outlaws with hearts of gold" as they are "outlaws with a very refined sense of principle and justice." "Sons" is not for everyone (very harsh and dark at times...okay, almost all the time) but if you're into gritty dramas and you haven't been watching this show then you are seriously doing yourself a disservice. Simply put, this is the best show currently airing on television and there's nothing anyone could say to sway my opinion. I love "Mad Men", I'm sure "Breaking Bad" is great, and everything HBO is amazing (minus "True Blood" which I really don't get) but "Sons" trumps them all. Season 3 is an example of TV done right as it featured a mature, winding narrative that moved slow and yet covered a TON of ground in each episode. The characters are perfectly defined and the plot line is always fascinating and ALWAYS delivers a payoff. Incredible show.

In Home Viewing Recommendation: Again, not for everyone but if you enjoy the other shows on FX, AMC, or HBO, you should watch this show. The first two seasons are on Netflix Instant and you can catch up in no time at all.

Parenthood: Season 2 (2010) - Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, Craig T. Nelson
An ensemble that focuses on the many members of the Braverman family, NBC's "comedy that's really a family drama with a few laughs" had a solid sophomore season. As with most network ensembles, the storylines are a mixed bag: some are really enjoyable and engrossing, some you just sit through so you can get to the characters you really care about. The writers just can't keep themselves from straying into "Generic TV Drama" territory every now and then but on the whole, I've found "Parenthood" to be a reasonable show that touches on family realities. And, it usually features excellent music.

IHVR: "Parenthood" is definitely targeted at an older audience but it gets the seal of approval from me. Worth a look.

House, M.D.: Season 7 (2010) - Hugh Laurie, Olivia Wilde, Robert Sean Leonard
Brilliant and cantankerous Doctor House (Laurie) continues to peddle his strange and experimental methods of healing. I know a lot of people whose opinions I respect who love "House" but I can't stand it. I hate the characters. All of them. To each his own, no judgment here, I just can't get on board for a show that continually pushes me toward punching my TV.

IHVR: I really do believe this is a good show so if you can watch it without bursting into a Hulk-like figure and smashing your living room furniture, then go for it.

Detroit 187: Season 1 (2010) - Michael Imperioli, James McDaniel, Aisha Hinds
Initially designed as a "Cops"-like drama, "Detroit 187" had to switch formats after a death on an actual cop reality show based in Detroit. The result is a fairly -by-the-numbers cop prodecural that has its moments but never gave me a reason to invest. Imperioli is an excellent actor but his character is pretty "meh" and "187" was usually the last thing I watched from my DVR each week. Still, it's better than most of the other cop shows out there these days and could make for an enjoyable experience.

IHVR: If you like cop dramas and this pops up on Netflix Instant, it's worth a shot. The rest of you should be watching "Sons of Anarchy" by now.

New to Blu Ray Pick of the Week
"Raising Arizona" (1987) - Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman
After he and his wife (Hunter) can't conceive, a petty criminal (Cage) steals a baby from a local businessman. The second film from the Coen Brothers, "Raising Arizona" is a hilarious indication of where this gifted writer-director team was headed. Dark and over-the-top but balanced and excellently paced, in my opinion this is the funniest Coen film. Not the best, mind you; "Fargo" and "No Country for Old Men" can duke it out for the title. But for sheer laughs and for a reminder of the fact that Nicholas Cage wasn't always an incredible hack, "Raising Arizona" is your movie.

Also New to Blu
"Blood Simple" (1984) - John Getz, Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand
A man (Hedaya) hires a hitman (Getz) to kill his cheating wife (McDormand). The first film from the Coens is super dark even for their tastes and not all that well refined but it's still solid and holds up fairly well considering it was made on a shoestring budget 27 years ago.

"Fargo" (1995) - William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buschemi
Do I even need to sum this one up? In my mind, "No Country for Old Men" is the crowning achievement of the Coens. It's a masterpiece. But if you were to argue that "Fargo" is the best...well...I'm not sure I could argue too heavily against it. In a thousand years when the aliens that take over our planet look back on our history, they'll look up the term "dark comedy" and "Fargo" will be the example given.

"Miller's Crossing" (1990) - Gabriel Bryne, Albert Finney, John Turturro
A Prohibition-era drama that gets dark and bloody really fast. I think the storyline in "Crossing" is fairly weak for the Coens but the performances therein are top notch. Bryne is one of the more underrated actors the world has to offer.

(All of the Coen films this week are also available in a box set which is probably pretty awesome.)

Also New
Vampire Diaries: Season 2 (2010) - Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder
Desperate Housewives: Season 7 (2010) - Evan Longoria, Felicity Huffman
Cougar Town: Season 2 (2010) - Courtney Cox, Busy Phillips
Nikita: Season 1 (2010) - Maggie Q, Shane West
90210: Season 3 (2010) - Shenae Grimes, Tristan Wilds
Running Wilde: The Complete Series (2010) - Will Arnett, Kerri Russell
Perfect Host (2011) - David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford
Prom (2011) - Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell
Skateland (2011) - Shiloh Fernandez, Ashley Greene
Madea's Big Happy Family (2011) - Tyler Perry


  1. haha, you're right! NOTHING new came out! I was disappointed when composing Movie News Monday!

  2. I guess it's just the calm before the storm. The next few weeks should bring a TON of big movies and TV shows.

  3. i KNOW! I saw that! crazy. Monday's post will be loaded!


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