Traditionally August is light on exciting theatrical releases with plenty of independent and foreign films from early 2013 hitting DVD and Blu-Ray for the first time. This year the opposite seems to be the case with a diverse selection of movies in the cinema and not a whole lot of excitement on DVD. However, there are enough decent offerings to help those who prefer to stay home instead of go out.
Here are our most anticipated new releases this week:
Top 5 New DVD/Blu-Ray Releases
5) “Boardwalk Empire: Season 3” (2012)
I am not an HBO subscriber (only because I don’t have any cable), so I have not caught up with the third season of “Boardwalk Empire” yet. However, I can recommend it based on the above average first and second seasons. This star-studded drama series features some excellent performances and solid direction, and is a great antidote to the end of summer malaise.
4) Shadow Dancer (2012)
This Irish drama from director James Marsh (Man on Wire, Project Nim) received mostly positive reviews during its very limited theatrical release. My interest is mainly piqued by the people involved with this project. I am fan of Marsh and I also enjoy the films’ stars Andrea Riseborough, Clive Owen, and Aiden Gillen. This seems like a great film to reach for on a mellow Summer afternoon.
2 & 3) The Big City (1963) & Charulata (1964)
One of my many director blindspots is Satyajit Ray, who frequently appears on all-time greatest director lists. Hopefully that omission will soon be corrected thanks to the fine folks at the Criterion Collection who have released two of his films on DVD and Blu-Ray today. As usual the Criterion releases are packed with special features including documentaries about Ray, commentary from film scholars, and interviews with surviving cast and crew.
1) Amour (2012)
Amour was the 2012 Palme d’Or winner, the 2013 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner, and the fourth best film of the year according to the Film Misery staff’s cumulative list (even with not every staff member having seen it). Basically this film is a must-see and now shameful people like myself no longer have an excuse.
Other New Releases
This was a rather tepid year for animated films and the Blue Sky Studios film Epic appeared to be no exception with mostly mixed reviews and a short-lived Box Office life. It comes to DVD and Blu-Ray today along with the Robert De Niro and John Travolta starring film Killing Season, which is about two guys who hunt the deadliest game with their preferred weapon of choice (I made up that synopsis based only on the DVD cover).
With the new Fall TV season quickly approaching, there are also plenty of complete seasons on DVD this time of year. Today you can pick up “NCIS: Season 10,” “NCIS: Los Angeles: Season 4” (which is TOTALLY different), “Revenge: Season 2,” and “The Good Wife: Season 4.” I’ll pass, though, thanks.
Streaming Pick of the Week
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Netflix recently brought back a bunch of Bond films for streaming availability and I recommend you check them all out, but definitely see On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sole appearance of George Lazenby as Bond and my favorite film in the entire franchise. This film has a different formula than the Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or Daniel Craig Bonds, but it is definitely the most emotionally affecting experience I ever had in the Bond series. The performances are great and its ending is truly a heartbreaking surprise that really demonstrates the stakes of Bond’s constant entanglement with danger.