Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's New in Blu? (Week of April 27)

“Tombstone” (R)
Starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Michael Biehn, Powers Boothe, Dana Delany, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Charlton Heston
Directed by George P. Cosmatos

Arguing the factual accuracy of “Tombstone” would be a difficult task, as the western takes a number of liberties with the story of Wyatt Earp and his arrival in the now-historic Arizona town. But if you’re looking for a somewhat cornball, violent action flick, this tale should be right down your alley. Add in entertaining performances from Kurt Russell as Wyatt, and an especially good Val Kilmer as his longtime friend, Doc Holliday, and there’s still quite a bit to like here. Just don’t take the film as a history lesson, but rather as an old-fashioned revenge story that shoots first and pretty much forgets to ask questions.
Grade: B+

Other releases:
“Armageddon” (PG-13)
Starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, William Fichtner, Owen Wilson
Directed by Michael Bay

“Dune” (PG-13)
Starring Francesca Annis, Kyle MacLachlan, Sting, Jose Ferrer, Max von Sydow
Directed by David Lynch

“Elizabeth” (PG-13)
Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, John Gielgud and Richard Attenborough
Directed by Shekhar Kapur

“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (PG-13)
Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Rhys Ifans, Jordi Molla, Abbie Cornish and Samantha Morton
Directed by Shekhar Kapur

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassas” (PG-13)
Starring Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole and Tom Waits
Directed by Terry Gilliam

“It’s Complicated” (PG-13)
Starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski
Directed by Nancy Meyers

“Ride with the Devil” (R)
Starring Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jewel, Jeffrey Wright, Simon Baker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Directed by Ang Lee

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's New In Blu? (Week of April 20)

“Crazy Heart” (PG-13)
Starring Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell
Directed by Scott Cooper

Having crafted a long and outstanding career, Jeff Bridges finally got his due from the Academy Awards when he took home the Best Actor Oscar in March for his role as Bad Blake, a former country music star working on the fringes of the music business. The script by Scott Cooper (who also makes his directing debut here) doesn’t throw in too many surprises, but does allow its actors moments to shine and the time to let a scene unfold. Bridges and Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal as a small-town reporter smitten with the alcoholic, yet charismatic singer, are particularly good in their many scenes together. T-Bone Burnett’s music in the film is also notable, with a number of songs performed by Bridges and co-star Colin Farrell.
Grade: B+

Other releases:
“44 Inch Chest” (R)
Starring Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane, Joanne Whalley
Directed by Malcolm Venville

“Avatar” (PG-13)
Starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Lang
Directed by James Cameron

“The Lovely Bones” (PG-13)
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan
Directed by Peter Jackson

“Minority Report” (PG-13)
Starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton and Max Von Sydow
Directed by Steven Spielberg

“The Young Victoria” (PG)
Starring Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Thomas Kretschmann, Mark Strong
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's New In Blu? (Week of April 13)

“Apollo 13” (PG)
Starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan
Directed by Ron Howard

Making its debut on Blu-ray 15 years after its theatrical release, and 40 years after the true event that inspired it, “Apollo 13” remains one of the best films in the career of both star Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard. A lot of meticulous work into recreating the time period and particularly the space program of NASA is on display here – and it shows. The film is able to maintain suspense in a story for which many people already know the outcome. Smartly focusing the story on the astronauts stranded in space (Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon) and the Mission Control crew (led by Ed Harris) desperate to get them back home, it’s a compelling journey that takes what could have been a massive tragedy and turns into a triumph.
Grade: A-

Other releases:
“Pirate Radio” (R)
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost and Kenneth Branaugh
Directed by Richard Curtis

“The Slammin’ Salmon” (R)
Starring Michael Clarke Duncan, Kevin Hefferman, Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter
Directed by Kevin Hefferman

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

What's New In Blu? (Week of April 6)

“Dreamscape” (PG-13)
Starring Dennis Quaid, Max Von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert and Kate Capshaw
Directed by Joseph Ruben

While this somewhat flawed hybrid of a thriller with science-fiction at its core hasn’t necessarily aged gracefully, a game cast headed up by Dennis Quaid makes the proceedings a mostly fun affair. The story by David Loughery throws in quite a bit of dark humor, which helps make the fairly farfetched plot go down easier. Quaid is a kind of psychic savant who is brought into a scientific study on dream research, which allows him to enter the minds of subjects as they sleep. Naturally, any study that has good scientific purposes in the movies could also be twisted for evil purposes, and that desire lies in Bob Blair, a slimy government employee who happens to be friends with none other than the President of the United States. If you can’t see where this is going, you probably haven’t seen many thrillers. But the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is all the better for that decision.
Grade: B

Other releases:
“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” (R)
Starring Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Alvin “Xzibit” Joiner
Directed by Werner Herzog

“Cocoon: 25th Anniversary Edition” (PG-13)
Starring Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Steve Guttenburg, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy
Directed by Ron Howard

“The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy” (PG-13)
Starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis
Directed by Peter Jackson

“The Natural” (PG)
Starring Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Wilford Brimley, Barbara Hershey
Directed by Barry Levinson

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (R)
Starring John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp and Robert Englund
Directed by Wes Craven

“Poseidon” (PG-13)
Starring Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Mia Maestro, Mike Vogel, Kevin Dillon
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen

“The Thomas Crown Affair” (R)
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary
Directed by John McTiernan