New DVD and Blu-Ray Releases (02/26/13)

This week’s new DVD and Blu-Ray releases for either rental or purchase is a genuine cross section of styles and tastes.

The film may have received no love from the Razzies this past weekend, but that won’t mean a thing to the fans.  If, after all this time, you’re new to the Twilight Saga, this is not the film for you.  After an impressive opening credit sequence which couples widescreen landscape shots of Washington State in both blood red then frozen, winter white, Part Two starts at exactly the moment Part One concluded.  The end credits give a picture salute to every actor who has appeared in the series from the beginning, which is a nice way of reminding us who has come and gone over the last few years while sharing screen time with Bella and the love of her life, and death.  I admit, I was not a fan, but this concluding chapter was the best of the bunch.  Available on both Blu-Ray format and DVD.

Considering the praise already heaped on this film by other, earlier reviewers, I fear I’m alone on this, but for me The Master was a major disappointment.  When director Paul Thomas Anderson first started writing the script it was reported that he had no idea where it was going or what shape it would take, but he kept working on it until it formed some kind of cohesive structure.  The end result looks as though he never fully found one.  Great performances worthy of Oscar attention, and outstanding, well framed photography can’t save the ambiguous nature of a film that ultimately leaves you cold and empty at the fade out.  The Master tests your patience.  Available on both Blu-Ray format and DVD.

For a story that is essentially a drama of a drawn-out suicide, Chicken with Plums is told with the playful energy and the quality of a fairy tale.  It’s a strange mix that doesn’t always blend but at least it never bores.  Writer/directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud based the film on their graphic novel of the same name, Poulet aux Prunes, and you can see the artistry from an illustrative background in almost every scene. The film has a lot of charm and enjoyably sly, politically incorrect humor.  An irritating child who can’t keep still is given a small amount of opium to calm him down.  He enjoys the feeling so much that when he’s dropped off at another babysitter, the first question he innocently asks is “Do you have any opium?”

In the publicity for Holy Motors, the surreal drama from ex-film critic turned director, Leos Carax, the film from France is described as the director’s love letter to cinema.  I beg to differ: if anything the film appears to have nothing but contempt for cinema, at least contempt for the cinema of today. The plot is almost unexplainable and will drive the literal minded crazy.  You either surrender to its off-beat rhythms or you run the risk of going insane.  Despite its intentionally ambiguous nature, the film admittedly never bores.  There’s a strange fascination to watching these characters, but it’s neither an entertaining nor a satisfying sense of fascination.  It’s more like an annoying hypnotic spell that holds on and refuses to release its grip.  For cineastes only.  Available on both Blu-Ray format and DVD.

Look for more new releases next week.

Posted in DVD

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