Lincoln

An Oscar winner, some television and some great catalog titles are the treats of the week. And those who love Star Trek are getting one of the better (though maligned) shows on Blu-ray. All in all a good week for fans.

New:

  • Killing Them Softly: Look, we thought this was one of the best films of the year. Brad Pitt stars as a gangster called in to deal with a situation when two petty criminals rob a Mob-run card game. With great performances from James Gandolfini and Richard Jenkins, this comes from director Andrew Dominik, who’s one of the most exciting working directors of our day.  
  • Lincoln: Daniel Day-Lewis won the academy award for his work here, and if this wasn’t a sort of weird year at the Oscars, it might have won more. Steven Spielberg is in on his A-game here in this story of how hard it was to make slavery illegal in America. It’s got a great cast of character actors, but is held together by Day-Lewis’ riveting performance as the commander in chief.
  • Parental Guidance: So this happened…
  • Star Trek: Enterprise – The Complete First Season, Veep: The Complete First Season: Enterprise is actually a solid show that started on rocky foundations but found its footing as it went. It’s good TV, for what it is. Veep is one of HBO’s best shows with Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the center of a exceedingly well written political comedy. The latter is much better than the former.   

Classics:

  • Beautiful Girls, Down to You, Marvin’s Room, Music of the Heart, Playing By Heart, Senseless, The Shipping News: Miramax’s titles are getting dumped on to Blu-ray, and that’s good for fans of some modestly entertaining, but mostly forgettable films. The gem of this collection is Beautiful Girls, which features a great performance from a much younger Natalie Portman.
  • China Gate, Hell’s Half Acre, Ironweed, McLintock!, Westward Ho: Olive Films have been putting some of the most random, and sometimes awesome titles on Blu-ray, and this is a great week for their releases. Sam Fuller’s China Gate is a great movie, and well worth checking out.
  • From Beyond, Futureworld, Phantasm II: The latest from Shout Factory offers two of the best cult movies from the 1980’s, and a weird sequel to Westworld. Phantasm II is one of the best sort of nonsense sequels in the business, while From Beyond is just a delight, if one enjoys watching weird sex and prosthetic effects.
  • A Man Escaped, Monsieur Verdoux : The latest from Criterion offers Robert Bresson’s classic war drama on Blu-ray and one of Charlie Chaplin’s best sound films. Which is the more essential? Both. Duh.
  • The Sandlot: 20th Anniversary Edition: The Sandlot has become a children’s classic, I guess, but it’s fine and plays well with nostalgia, and is charming throughout. It’s weird to think of this having a place in people’s hearts, but childhood favorites often have that pull.

What are you picking up this week?