Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope that this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.
Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles and what follows are not necessarily reviews. It is my opinion based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists that I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations upon them are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.
The Wrestler (2008)(also Blu-ray). Brilliant movie. This is a film that will be remembered for a long time to come. It is a film which one cannot adequately define. The performances are first rate, the story will take hold of you and you will not be able to escape it. There is drama, romance, and comedy, and it is all brought together in a story that feels so real as to be nearly documentary-like.
Caprica. Even though Battlestar Galactica is over, there is a definite thirst for more. Yes, I will go back and rewatch the series and will likely get more out of it, but that does not change my desire for more. This pilot will eventually air on Sci-Fi (or is it Syfy?), but before it does, it will be available on DVD. It is the story before the story, going back before the fall of the colonies and see what happened. This will be becoming a series in 2010, so there is more to look forward to.
Frost/Nixon (also Blu-ray). The leads were excellent. Michael Sheen brings a certain superficiality to the role, which seemed to work disguising some actual depth. However, it is Frank Langella's Nixon who steals the show. He is not exactly the perfect look-alike, but he makes you believe, and you will believe. He is quite charismatic and just a little bit slimy. Just right. This movie is all about the show and the sparring – and it delivers. You will be glued to the screen as the titans go to work. It may not be a movie to revisit often, but it is one that should be experienced.
X-Men Trilogy (Blu-ray). Just in time for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we get the first three X features in one high definition boxed set. The first two are excellent, while the third suffers considerably, but is still a decent action film. The three flicks will also be available separately.
Sin City (Blu-ray). This release includes both the original, theatrical, cut as well as a version which features the stories each put together individually. From my review of my favorite 2005 film: "This movie just grabbed my attention and held it in rapture for the entire two hours it was running. There is something about the black and white photography, the extensive use of CG backgrounds, the characters and there [sic] dialogue, great. Rodriguez has created something new, melding use of modern effects, strong character definition, interesting tales. This is the direction that the future of film is heading in. The ability to craft a film using technology and characters."
Wolverine and the X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy. I have not yet seen this version of the animated comic heroes, but according to the reviews, this series is particularly good. That said, most seem to be railing against this release and I do not blame them. I thought we were past the few episodes a disk thing now that we are getting so many season sets. As much as I'd like to check this out, I feel the desire to wait for the next season.
Hellraiser (Blu-ray). Written and directed by horror-meister Clive Barker, this is one of those movies that every horror fan needs to have. A little puzzle box unleashes the furies of Hell, led by the calmly evil, suffer seeker, Pinhead (Doug Bradley). I have always been a bit partial to the sequel, but this is the first to arrive in high definition. I bet the blood looks gorgeous.
The Wages of Fear (Criterion Blu-ray). I have been meaning to see this movie for years. It is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that centers on men embarking on a suicide mission transporting volatile nitroglycerin over rocky mountain roads. Sounds simple enough, but I am sure there is more than meets the eye.
Notorious (2009)(also Blu-ray). This biopic of the late Notorious B.I.G. was received with good notice and had a decent run on the big screen. I never did make it, so now could be a good time to catch up.
The Arrival (Blu-ray). This David Twohy film was a big surprise when it arrived so many years ago. Charlie Sheen stars as a radio astronomer who discovers an impending alien invasion. It is not necessarily anything new, but it is handled intelligently and will definitely keep your attention. I wonder how it looks in HD?
My Own Worst Enemy: The Complete Series. This Christian Slater split personality spy series did not last all that long, but it was interesting while it lasted. It pitted Slater the spy against Slater the family man. It was always a series walking a tight rope.
Laid to Rest. Lena Headey of 300 and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles stars in this low budget slasher. It looks like it might be interesting, but then again low budget horror is always a questionable proposition.
The Burrowers. I was hoping this wild west horror film would make it to the big screen, but I guess that was not to be. The film has a rescue party coming under attack from creatures from beneath.