Media | DVD Releases | Store| February 5, 2008: Welcome to this week's highlighted home video releases, focused entirely on the American market. Sorry, rest of the world.

Roundup by VsRobot | Posted February 4, 2008

Pick of the Week

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
A fixture on many critics' 2007 top ten lists, The Assassination, like 3:10 to Yuma, is a western that manages to borrow the iconic setting and rich characters of the American west without resorting to the tropes of the genre. Brad Pitt's Jesse James is an outlaw on the decline, a man whose notoriety has made him a target for glory-seekers looking to capitalize on his infamy -- and who knows it.

Spoiler alert: the title reveals a major plot point of the film.

Also out this week

2 Days In Paris
Written, directed and starring Julie Delpy. A study of a diminishing relationship, 2 Days In Paris is about two lovers hoping to save their relationship by taking a vacation to Italy and Paris. The film is smart, caustic and bitingly funny.

Across the Universe
Soppy anti-war melodrama layered over with a bunch of grating Beatles' covers and trippy drug collages. If you're nostalgic for the '60s, give this one a whirl. Personally, I'm with The Clash, who said "NO MORE BEATLES OR ROLLING STONES."

The Brave One
Death Wish 5: Starring Jodie Foster. Without having seen the film, it seems to stick pretty closely to the revenge drama formula: innocent victim has life destroyed, slowly realizes that justice isn't forthcoming, takes matters into own hands, gets public praise for vigilante murders, and is tracked by an honest cop who sympathizes with their pain but is driven by duty to stop their lawlessness.

Rapesploitation revenge fantasy. I can't sit through cinematic rapes, and have always avoided movies like Straw Dogs and Irreversible. Rape is such a horrific crime, and seeing it laid bare on the screen is usually too much for me. This film has as its central event a rape that leads to Rosario Dawson's Descent into an amoral malaise and eventually to her becoming a figure of vengeance.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Expect great costumes, great soap opera, and great acting. Just don't expect any kind of historical accuracy. A big-budget version of a PBS miniseries, sure to find its niche with that crowd. I'll be renting it to see the luminous Cate Blanchett revisit one of her greatest roles.

Feast of Love
A Lifetime Original Movie-style flick with pretensions of greatness. A coffee shop is the central location where we meet all of the varied and oh-so-wacky characters this film interlinks. Crash by way of Starbucks. Perfect for the chai-tea-and-clove-cigarette coffee shop crowd.

Fierce People
A troubled teen is moved suddenly to a wealthy neighborhood, and the laissez-faire morality, conspicuous consumption, and hedonistic excess of the wealthy is very damaging to his fragile state. Rich people are monsters. No one tell Brad Bird.

Jane Austen Book Club
I feel more effeminate just reading the title of this one. Who wants to come over for a mani-pedi/Jane Austen Book Club party?

Ten Commandments
A computer-animated retelling of the Bible story. The greatest story ever told, or whatever, now with cold, soulless animation to really drive home the callousness of the Old Testament God.

High Def Alert

Crimson Tide and Wall Street highlight the catalog titles to make the high-def leap, and most of the newest releases are on Blu-ray this week... except for the only one with the cinematic grandeur and use of color to truly take advantage of the format, Elizabeth. Would someone tell the HD-DVD consortium that the war is over? Their week-to-week sales are in steep decline, and few movies are making it to their format. Can we just move on and get this format transition over with before everyone moves to digital distribution and I'm stuck paying some jerk in a turtleneck for the privilege of watching a damn movie? Regardless, here are this week's HD releases, now with fancy clickable links. In the interest of full disclosure, if you buy your movies from these links or from my store, you'll only be encouraging me to keep doing these columns, and helping to fund my Blu-ray addiction.



Cover art courtesy of Amazon, where you can purchase any of these titles. Rent all of the movies covered in the column online at Netflix. The author of this column has no reservations with recommending Blu-ray to anyone interested in upgrading their home theater. When the storm breaks, each man acts in accordance with his own nature. Some are dumb with terror. Some flee. Some hide. And some spread their wings like eagles and soar on the wind." Visit the Talking Time Forum to discuss video games, movies, books, and more. Thanks for reading!