This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Inside Llewyn Davis, The Book Thief ...
This week: The Coens' folkie phase, Christian Bale's ignored other flick of 2013, and Thandie Newton's randy Rogue.
► Inspired by folk music troubadour Dave Von Ronk, the Coen Brothers’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a fictional singer (Oscar Isaac) as he travels New York’s famed folk scene in1961. You know those movies about following your dreams? Ya, this is the dark side to that. Another killer T Bone Burnett soundtrack is the real treat here, much like it was for the Coen’s ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ Yes, Bob Dylan does show up, but you’ll have to wait for it.
► ‘Downton Abbey’ regular Brian Percival directs THE BOOK THIEF, about an illiterate girl (Sophie Nelisse) adopted by a German couple during World War II who starts reading during a time of book burning and helps the Jew (Ben Schnetzer) hiding out in the family’s house. Based on Markus Zusak’s 2005 book, and garnered composer John Williams what seems like his 400th Oscar nomination.
► While everyone was seeing ‘Frozen’ and ‘Catching Fire’ in December, OUT OF THE FURNACE came and went with barely a ripple. Grimy little thriller from ‘Crazy Heart’ director Scott Cooper about a steel mill worker (Christian Bale) whose brother (Casey Affleck) is lured into a crime ring after he returns home from Iraq. Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana and Forest Whittaker co-star.
► Gary Fieder’s HOMEFRONT is your bi-monthly Jason Statham movie, this one based on Chuck Logan’s novel about a narc forced to hide out after getting a crime boss’ kid killed. Small town life doesn’t work out, though, and he’s soon up against the local drug lord (James Franco). A more star-studded Statham flick than usual includes Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth. ‘Expendables’ pal Sylvester Stallone wrote the script.
► The Canada/UK series ROGUE finds Thandie Newton as an undercover detective who starts finding common ground with the mobster she’s supposed to bring down after her son is murdered. Not quite ‘Donnie Brasco’ awesome, but a decent under-the-radar series to kill time between the big shows. Season 2 starts in May.
► After ‘Jaws’, everything from bears to orcas to, yes, Fido got the nature-gone-bad movie treatment. The perfectly ridiculous DOGS from 1976 takes place in a California university town where our four-legged friends have suddenly gone insane and are killing their masters. Which might have something to do with the government experiment going on in the school’s lab. We live in glorious times when even crap like this gets released on blu-ray.
► If you're going to rip off 'Game of Thrones', it sure helps to have one of the show's stars to put on the box cover. Lena Headey stars in the medieval howler BLACK PLAGUE, which originally went by the name 'Anazapta' in 2002. Headey plays the wife of an English nobleman whose husband has gone missing while a plague spreads across the land. Love that subtle box cover.
► Director Victor Salva hasn’t had much luck since ‘Jeepers Creepers’ 13 years ago. He teams with Tobin Bell for the utterly insignificant DARK HOUSE, in which Luke Kleintank tries tracking down his presumed dead dad in an abandoned mansion to explain his son’s ‘dark gift.’
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!