This week we’ve got a new take on the action film, some love stories, a movie about a choir, Madonna‘s directorial debut, and the Men in Black. It’s not a bad week for releases – all things – with some great catalog titles to replace old DVD editions (if that’s your thing).


  •  Haywire Steven Soderbergh wanted to turn Gina Carano into an action star. Though the filmwork is a great improvement over most of the directing seen in your standard Steven Seagal film, it’s an odd bird of a film as Soderbergh’s direction in some ways works against the propulsive nature of this sort of storytelling. It’s a classy B-movie, and it’s got a great supporting cast (Ewan McGreggor, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton), so it’s definitely worth checking out.
  • Joyful Noise: Queen Latifah is up against Dolly Parton in a choir movie. I get the feeling they were going for a cinematic Glee thing, and I hope to never see this movie
  • New Year’s Eve: Speaking of a film I hope to never see, Gary Marshall assembled an all-star team to try and recreate the success he had with Valentine’s Day. The picture didn’t do that great, and that means we’re spared his Arbor Day, or whatever holiday they would have done next.
  •  W./E.: Madonna’s directorial debut was meant to be an awards picture, and did get nominated for best costuming. Good cast, handsomely shot, but not much of a film.


  •  About a Boy, Definitely, Maybe, Meet Joe Black: Universal is releasing a trilogy of romantic comedies for the reason that seems to be because they have 1080p masters. Meet Joe Black is better than its reputation, and I remember About a Boy being a really good movie I’d never want to watch again. DM has a great cast, and a forgettable story about a man telling his daughter about his love life.
  •  Clueless: This modern Jane Austen film was a huge hit and has maintained its place in pop culture. The story of Alicia Silverstone trying to find love and play matchmaker, Clueless came out seventeen years ago, and Paul Rudd was just as awesome then as he is now.
  •  Jeremiah Johnson: Robert Redford stars in the 70’s western that – like most films at that time – tries to reinvent the genre for itself. Honestly, the best of these is Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller, but this is a fascinating entry in that sub-genre.
  • Men in Black, Men in Black II: To get everyone ready for the sequel, the first film has been reissued with a digital copy and the second film is now on Blu-ray for the first time. I’ve always thought both films offer modest pleasures, but the first was a runaway hit, and the second was a runaway production. It will be interesting to see if the third film can improve on the second, which has a couple of good laughs and is incredibly short.
  •  Pillow Talk: Rock Hudson and Doris Day on Blu-ray! Yay! (Sorry). For those who’ve always heard about these films, and thought they were safe and banal, the Hudson/Day films are way more risqué than you’d think, and actually really entertaining. This may be the best of the bunch (though I like Send Me No Flowers more), and it features the incomparable Thelma Ritter.

What are you picking up on Blu-ray or DVD?