This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Boardwalk Empire, Epic, Amour ...
This week: A bad-ass season of Boardwalk Empire, the Oscar-winning bummer Amour, and The Good Wife gives network drama a pulse.
► The third and so far best season of BOARDWALK EMPIRE didn’t waste time reconciling with fans worried after Jimmy’s stunning exit in the Season 2 finale. Politics take a backseat to mobster infighting as Nucky goes up against the formidable and flat-out insane Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) for control of Atlantic City. The tension builds all season until Nucky truly doesn’t know who’s by his side. From start to finish, this season was structured so much like the Jersey vs. New York season of ‘The Sopranos,’ I’m shocked Phil Leotardo didn’t drop by.
► One of the summer's first big animated flicks, EPIC makes the jump to blu-ray after a less-than-epic run in theatres. Loosely based on the William Joyce kiddie book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (maybe it would have done better with that title?), a girl who just lost her mother moves in with her eccentric dad, who is obsessed with proving the existence of tiny solders named Leafmen who protect the forest they live in from creatures called Boggans. Voices supplied by Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz and Colin Farrell. From the director of the original ‘Ice Age.’
► Few things are more anticlimactic at the Oscars than a movie that's up for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. It may not win the big one, but it's virtually a lock to win the other one. Austria's AMOUR also earned Emanuelle Riva a Best Actress nod for her performance as an elderly stroke victim who begs her husband (Jean-Louise Trintignant) not to place her in a nursing home. A festival favorite all over the world, including Cannes where it won the Palme d'Or.
► If you’re still hanging in there with the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise, well, you lasted longer than star Anna Faris. She wisely bowed out of SCARY MOVIE V, finally tired of the stench. The series is now no better than the cinematic torture it inspired (‘Date Movie,’ ‘Disaster Movie’), and is so hip and cutting edge it owes its existence to cameos by Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. It thankfully bombed, but the fact it made even $1 at the box office baffles me. Who in their right mind is still paying to see this shit?
► It's becoming more and more obvious CBS's THE GOOD WIFE is the only network drama even remotely comparable to what cable is doing these days. Sharp writing that goes beyond 'case-of-the-week' crap, a fantastic leading lady in Julianna Margulies, intriguing plots which don't pander to soap opera silliness even though all the warning signs are there. Fans bemoaned the direction Kalinda took this year (the abusive ex-husband storyline is hit and miss), but as always the political maneuvering at the law firm is high drama, and the uneasy truce between lawyer Alicia Florrick and her district attorney ex Peter while in the midst of scandal is a showcase for both Margulies and co-star Chris Noth. Naturally, the show is on the rope ratings-wise. When CBS pulls the plug, the network wasteland will be truly barren.
► Mark Steven Johnson, the guy Marvel fans love to hate after 'Daredevil' and 'Ghost Rider,' takes the intriguing match-up of John Travolta and Robert De Niro in KILLING SEASON ... and reminds you it's not 1994 any more. Tired political thriller finds a former Serbian soldier (Travolta) tracking down a former NATO operative (De Niro) living in the Appalachian Mountains. They're all buddy-buddy until the truth comes out and things get somewhat gory. Under a different title ('Shrapnel'), this was originally supposed to be a 'Face Off' reunion with Travolta and Nicolas Cage.
► "Dad," I said at some point in 1980, "we have to see ROADIE this weekend. Blondie's in it." Cripes, the shit I dragged my old man to. We got about five minutes of Debbie Harry and way too much of Meat Loaf as a Texas doofus who takes a job as a roadie to try and score with a teenaged groupie (Kaki Hunter), who's actually obsessed with Alice Cooper. Hank Williams Jr. and Roy Orbison also show up in this bizarre rock and roll oddity from Alan Rudolph.
► Criterion's gem of the week is influential Indian director Satyajit Ray's perceptive THE BIG CITY from 1963. Set in Calcutta during the 1950s, it sees the impending struggle of the middle class and need for a two-income family while American TV was still peddling 'Leave It To Beaver.' To relieve her husband's financial pressure, a wife takes a job as a door-to-door salesgirl. But when she proves too successful, her husband demands she stop, only to lose his job at the bank. He's then forced to live with the shame of his wife being the sole breadwinner. Blu-ray also includes Ray's 1965 film 'The Coward.'
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!