Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August New on Disc

Triage (NEM Blu-ray) – Serbian director Danis Tanovic’s debut, No Man’s Land, was a lacerating, absurdist black comedy set during the Yugoslav Civil War; his second, L’Enfer, rather somberly dramatized three Parisian sisters coming to terms with a tragic family secret. His latest, Triage, follows the exploits of two photojournalists and the ever-real dangers surrounding them on the battlefield of Kurdistan. Tanovic drops us right into the middle of the action, our hearts pounding along with these men who are facing death at any time. Colin Farrell’s commanding performance as the man trying to put his life back in order after returning home is one of his finest; Paz Vega nicely underplays his girlfriend, a somewhat thankless role. Triage shows that Tanovic’s artistry still impresses—and the sharpness of the Blu-ray image provides the film with a “you are there” immediacy. Extras include a making-of featurette, B-roll footage and snippets of interviews with the actors and director.

Addicted to Her Love (E1), despite being marketed as a down-and-dirty expose of grotesque teen behavior a la Kids, is nothing more than a well-acted but overfamiliar glimpse at teens doing drugs and screwing around—no big deal (best extra: behind-the-scenes featurette); Bond girl Olga Kurylenko brings a freshness to The Assassin Next Door (First Look) that helps overcome its belabored plot and dully-rendered brutality—as a bonus, if you’re in the mood for a naked Kurylenko, you do get a glimpse; Brothers and Sisters—The Complete Fourth Season (ABC/Disney) features some plot twists—including the infamous car accident that ended the season and Rob Lowe’s run with the show—that disappointed some fans, who feel that the series is relying on shock value rather than the interaction among its highly-regarded cast, led by Sally Field, Calista Flockhart and Ron Rifkin (best extra: deleted scenes); writers-directors Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have made their memory piece Cemetery Junction (Sony) an homage to the mid-70s, from the Elton John and Led Zeppelin music on the soundtrack to the plot based on a Bruce Springsteen lyric: however, despite good acting by Felicity Jones and Emily Watson, the movie spends most of its time spinning its wheels (best extra: directors’ commentary); Courteney Cox was the original reason to watch Cougar Town—The Complete First Season (ABC/Disney), and while she’s still a stunner, the show itself is a decent ensemble comedy worth catching up with (best extra: Saber-Toothed Tiger Town parody with Cloris Leachman and Shirley Jones); Oliver Parker’s violent Dorian Gray (E1) pays dividends on Blu-ray, with excellent performances by Ben Barnes, Ben Chaplin, Rebecca Hall and Colin Firth being overshadowed by several stylishly bloody sequences that look superb in HD (best extra: cast and crew interviews); Flight of the Conchords—The Complete Collection (HBO) comprises not only both seasons of HBO’s offbeat comedy, but also a third volume containing the never-before-released special, One Night Stand (best extra: On Air documentary feature); if the tremendous-looking (and –sounding) Blu-ray release of Lost—The Complete Sixth (and Final) Season (ABC/Disney) is any indication, hi-def TV series are here to stay, although it helps when said series is as visually unique as Lost was (best extra: 39-minute production documentary); crass relationship comedies like Made for Each Other (IFC) usually try to lure one unfortunate vet into its snare, and in this case, George Segal is the one stuck in this inept, badly-acted celebration of adultery (best extra: behind-the-scenes featurette); The New Adventures of Old Christine—The Complete Third Season (Warners) doesn’t warrant a full-fledged DVD release, apparently, so Warners is selling this 2-disc, 10-episode set of the series that brought Julia-Louis Dreyfus back from has-been territory at wbshop.com; Abbas Kiarostami’s Shirin (Cinema Guild) is a flawed experiment that shows the emotions an unseen Persian romantic film cause on the faces of women watching it: theoretically, it sounds challenging, but in reality it’s repetitive and dull, although look out for a brief glimpse of Juliette Binoche (best extra: making-of documentary); Ugly Betty—The Complete Fifth (and Final) Season (ABC/Disney) is a show I found lacking in humor, mainly because America Ferrara tries too hard to be charming and funny, but its supporting cast, headed by perennially underrated actress-singer, Vanessa Williams, smooth over some of its many rough patches (best extra: blooper reel).

originally posted on timessquare.com

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