Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and Digital Debuts for the Week of May 29

New Releases:

Man on a Ledge” (Summit), a heist movie pitting talented amateurs against a sleazy millionaire, stars Sam Worthington, Ed Harris, and a very improbable plot. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand, also available at Redbox kiosks. Videodrone’s review is here.

In “Coriolanus” (Anchor Bay), Ralph Fiennes returns to a role and an interpretation of the Shakespeare play he debuted on stage more than ten years before and adapts it to the big screen for his feature film directorial debut. Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack, DVD, and On Demand, also available at Redbox kiosks. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

We Need To Talk About Kevin” (Oscilloscope), vividly directed by Lynn Ramsay and featuring Tilda Swinton in a distraught performance, is a horror film of a parent’s worst nightmare: a sociopathic child. DVD and Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack, available at Redbox kiosks.

Seann William Scott is “The Goon” (Magnet), a bar bouncer turned enforcer on a minor league hockey team in this comic take on a true story. Blu-ray and DVD, available at Redbox. While “The Goon” had a trouble release but good reviews, “Gone” (Summit), a serial killer thriller with Amanda Seyfried, was released wide to savage reviews. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand, available at Redbox kiosks.

Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To looks at the reverberations of the Greek financial critis from the street in “Life Without Principle” (Vivendi) a fast-paced, sometimes comically-inflected action drama. DVD only.
Also new this week: “Memorial Day” (Image), about two generations of American soldier facing two very different wars (Blu-ray and DVD); the indie comedy “Hello Lonesome” (Film Movement) (DVD only); and the documentary “Sing Your Song” (Docurama) about singer / actor / activist Harry Belafonte (DVD only).

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

True Blood: The Complete Fourth Season” (HBO) added a whole new world to the crazy supernatural convergence on the little bayou town of Bon Temps, Louisiana: a coven led by a medium possessed by the spirit of someone with a grudge against the vampires. And that doesn’t even cover the werepanther cult, the shapeshifter family conflict, or the nasty creatures over in the fairy world. 13 episodes on Blu-ray and DVD with a small coven of supplements. Videodrone’s review is here.

Maverick: The Complete First Season” (Warner), one of best American westerns shows of its time, stars James Garner as Brett Maverick: gambler, con-man, and all-around dapper wit on the frontier. Jack Kelly joined the show a few episodes in as his brother Bart and shared lead duties in alternate episodes, but the best episodes paired them up as a tag team. 27 episodes on seven discs. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Henning Mankell’s Wallander” (Music Box) features the first season of the original Swedish TV detective series. 13 feature-length episodes on seven discs, DVD only.

Monroe: Series 1” (Acorn) is yet another of James Nesbitt’s British shows. In this one, he plays a witty, egotistical neurosurgical genius. Six episodes on two discs, DVD only.

Also new this week: new seasons of the Canadian cop series “Rookie Blue: The Complete Second Season” (eOne) and the Lifetime original series “Drop Dead Diva: The Complete Third Season” (Sony).

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool, Classic and Cult:

Summer Interlude” (Criterion) and “Summer With Monika” (Criterion), the tenth and twelfth films (respectively) directed by Ingmar Bergman, debut on Blu-ray and DVD in beautiful restored editions. They make a fine match set showing off the two Bergmans: the elegant, philosophical artist steeped in metaphor, and the psychologically complex filmmaker interested in the complications of human relationships. Videodrone’s review is here.

Run For Cover” (Olive), directed by Nicholas Ray, is a rare western starring James Cagney, by way of a juvenile delinquent drama with John Derek as the angry young man. Blu-ray and DVD.

Also new this week:  the westerns “Silver City” (Olive) and “Denver and Rio Grande” (Olive), both directed by Byron Haskin, and the musical theater production of “Love Never Dies” (Universal). All on Blu-ray and DVD.

And don’t forget our Videodrone B-Sides round-up of direct-to-disc and made-for-cable pictures, including “Beyond” (Anchor Bay) with Jon Voigt, “The Fields” (Breaking Glass) with Cloris Leachman and Tara  Reid, and the SyFy original “Metal Tornado” (Arc) with Lou Diamond Philips, among others.

All of the Cool, Classic and Cult here

Blu-ray Debuts:

Kino resumes its series of restored editions of cult director Jean Rollin’s erotic horrors with three new releases: “The Rape of the Vampire” (Kino Lorber/Redemption), the film cited as the first French vampire film; “Requiem For a Vampire” (Kino Lorber/Redemption), a mad mix of dark fairy tale and surreal poetry and one of Rollin’s masterpieces; and “The Demoniacs” (Kino Lorber/Redemption) a surreal pirate film with a dreamlike tale of revenge. Rollin’s collision of eerie beauty and kinky decadence is unique and his narrative sensibility has the loony logic of a waking dream. Also available on DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

The Grand DuelKeoma: Spaghetti Western Double Feature” (Mill Creek) presents two classics of Italian western cinema, one with Lee Van Cleef in the lead, the other with Franco Nero.

Another double feature arrives via “TravellerTelling Lies in America: Double Feature” (Mill Creek), a pair of independent dramas for 1997, and I suppose you could call “New York Stories” (Mill Creek) a trilogy of sorts: it’s an anthology film with short pieces directed by Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Woody Allen.

Peruse all the new Blu-rays here

New on Netflix Instant:

Henry’s Crime” (2010), an indie caper comedy with Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga and James Caan, never quite comes to life according to MSN film critic James Rocchi, who complains that it “dawdles when you want it to jump, skips when you want it to sizzle.”

From France comes “The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch” (2008), a corporate thriller with Tomer Sisley and Kristin Scott Thomas, and from Norway comes “The King of Devil’s Island (2010), about a rebellion at a reform school.

Full Contact” (1992), a sleek, stylish, hard-hitting revenge picture with Chow Yun-Fat and Anthony Wong, is one the great Hong Kong action films of the nineties. Not quite as classic is “Initial D” (2005), the first of the “drift” racing films of the era, also with Anthony Wong.

Reaching back a little farther, we find the comedies “The Addams Family” (1991) and “Addams Family Values” (1993), and on the TV front is the British detective series warhorse “A Touch of Frost: Seasons 1-13” (1992-2008) with David Jason.

Browse more Instant offerings here

Available from Redbox this week:

Arriving the same day as Amazon, video stores, and other outlets is the heist thriller “Man on a Ledge” (Summit), Ralph Fiennes’ Shakespeare adaptation “Coriolanus” (Anchor Bay), Tilda Swinton in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (Oscilloscope), “Gone” (Summit), “Goon” (Magnet), and “Memorial Day” (Image). Enjoy!

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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