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This Week on Blu-ray: February 19-26

Posted February 16, 2013 07:16 PM by Josh Katz

Show all Blu-ray releases this week

For the week of February 19th, HBO Home Entertainment is bringing Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season to Blu-ray. With its attention-grabbing sex and violence and complex fantasy enviroment, the first season proved itself one of HBO's breakout hits, and this sophomore year maintains the series' popularity, despite some major issues. Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have deviated from George R.R. Martin novel A Clash of Kings in ways that don't necessarily improve on the text, the plotting often sacrifices character development for narrative momentum, and no character - not even Peter Dinklage's wonderful Tyrion Lannister - anchors the show in quite the same way as Sean Bean's heroic, flawed Ned Stark. Still, though it isn't as accessible as Year One, when Season Two works, there's nothing quite like it on television.

Kenneth Brown gave the Blu-ray set high marks in his Blu-ray review, writing that, "it's high fantasy done right, from its spellbinding source...to its casting, production design, scripting, storytelling, ever-shifting game board of power players and opportunists, gripping politics, blistering drama, vile villains, flawed everymen and shocking developments. Hardly an episode passes without something of consequence altering the rules of the game, and life and death are far from certain. Martin and...David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are willing to sacrifice any character if the story demands it, and have done so despite the occasional outcry of devastated fans. Season Two is no stranger to such sacrifice, and advances with authority, meticulous strategy and a merciless end to every means. It isn't a perfect run...but as sophomore seasons go, Game of Thrones charges ahead with confidence and conviction, and it's the series' growing fanbase that reaps the reward."

Also hitting the HD format is Warner Home Entertainment's Argo. The third feature film directed by Ben Affleck, this intense docudrama has already doubled-down on the accolades given to his Gone Baby Gone and The Town; in addition to the various awards it has already won, Argo is currently nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor. It did not, however, receive a Best Director Nomination, and that's a shame, considering how accomplished Affleck has grown behind the camera. Both Gone Baby Gone and The Town were immensely enjoyable pictures, but Argo shows Affleck sporting a newfound ease and storytelling maturity. If he keeps this streak going, he could become one of the great actor/directors - I can see him eventually combining Clint Eastwood's gravitas with Sydney Pollack's populist leanings.

Kenneth Brown's Blu-ray review notes that "not only has Affleck proved himself a legitimate filmmaking force to be reckoned with - yet again - Argo is a tense, expertly crafted, masterfully acted adaptation of a harrowing true story. Some have dismissed it as too slow. Others have called it overrated. I call it deserving; deserving of every nomination, award and ounce of praise it receives. I wouldn't go so far as to call it the undisputed best picture of the year, but it certainly ranks among the best."

On Tuesday, the Criterion Collection is also hosting the high-definition debut of another Academy Award-winner, the iconic crime drama On the Waterfront. Time has, unfortunately, soured the popular reception towards the film; many cineastes view it now as director Elia Kazan's attempt to justify his testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952, and you certainly don't need to stretch to see the connection - Kazan's hero, former boxer Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) rises above the influence of a powerful crime syndicate in order to expose the rampant corruption fueling his local union. Accurate as it may be, such a politically loaded viewing also robs On the Waterfront of its undeniable dramatic power. This is one of the all-time masterpieces, flawlessly directed, written (by Budd Schulberg), and acted, with Brando giving a career performance as the tragic, gentle Malloy.

Svet Atanasov writes that "stylistically On the Waterfront has a lot in common with the works of the great Italian neorealists. It is raw and gritty, at times looking a lot like a documentary feature about life around Hoboken's dangerous docks. But there are small episodes that also look like they were extracted from a stylish noir film about gangsters and hoodlums. The film's beautiful soundtrack was composed by the great Leonard Bernstein. It blends moody solos (the French horn solo in the beginning of the film is legendary), spunky jazz themes, and lush orchestral arrangements. This was the one and only soundtrack Bernstein composed that was not used in a musical. "

Finally, we end the week with The Thief of Bagdad. If you're only familiar with the Technicolor version directed by Michael Powell and Alexander Korda, then this 1924 silent version is ripe for rediscovery. Director Raoul Walsh (The Big Trail) brings to life this fantastical, energetic tale about a thief who gets in over his head when he falls in love with the Caliph of Bagdad's daughter; as the title character, Douglas Fairbanks helps galvanize the picture with his wry charm and fleet stuntwork, the latter of which still holds up eighty-nine years after The Thief of Bagdad's theatrical release.

Jeffrey Kauffman indicates in his Blu-ray review that "The Thief of Bagdad is often cited as the most outstanding fantasy film of all time...and whether or not you personally agree with that assessment, there is no denying the magic and whimsy, as well as the considerable technical achievement, that this formidable silent offers even to today's jaded, fantasy-proof audiences. One can only imagine what 1924 audiences must have thought when seeing a film like The Thief of Bagdad, a film rife with fantastic sets, outrageous overall production design, and some still rather appealing (if quaintly "old school") special effects."











Source: Blu-ray.com | Permalink | United States [Country settings]

News comments (45 comments)


Sopranogl
 - Feb 16, 2013

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"Argo," "The Terminator" and "The Insider" for me.

Great week.

Aragorn the Elfstone
 - Feb 16, 2013

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The only 'major issue' with Season 2 of Game of Thrones is how addictive it is. I'll be picking it up, along with Anna Karenina.

majorkonig41
 - Feb 16, 2013

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Big week for me

On the Waterfront, Anna Karenina, Argo, Terminator Remaster, The Insider, Top Gun 3D, and Monsters Inc. 3D

The Great Artiste
 - Feb 16, 2013

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I will wait for the Criterion sale at B & N, unless Amazon goes low for On the Waterfront. All the rest (Argo, The Insider, The Thief of Baghdad, Terminator, and Game of Thrones 2) will buy on price drops.

rollinwith26s
 - Feb 16, 2013

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MOTHERLOAD

GoT, Terminator, Monsters INC., and Argo.

Shatterer
 - Feb 16, 2013

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My biggest week since December.

Argo
Battlestar Galactica: B&C
Monsters Inc. 3D
Terminator
On the Waterfront (will wait for price to lower)
Thief of Bagdad
Top Gun 3D

Chaotic
 - Feb 16, 2013

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Probably only Sinister for me

Holmes
 - Feb 16, 2013

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I cannot wait to own Anna Karenina. Incredible, incredible film. So underrated.

true.harv
 - Feb 16, 2013

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Top Gun 3D and Monsters Inc 3D for me

Boothill Gunslinger
 - Feb 16, 2013

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Huge week:

Terminator
Monsters Inc. 3D
Argo
Sinister
Game of Thrones: Season 2
Atlas Shrugged: Part II
Prison
Best In Show
Terrorvision / The Video Dead
The Nest
The Package
Special Forces
Night of the Demons 2

JeremyBuh
 - Feb 16, 2013

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Big week.

Game Of Thrones Season 2 Aka best show on television.

Also Argo, Monsters, Inc 3D, Sinister & Anna Karenina!

Brad1963
 - Feb 16, 2013

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On the Waterfront, Les Miserables, Argo

Yankees0222
 - Feb 16, 2013

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one of the best weeks ever!

Game of Thrones : Complete Second Season (Lannister BBY exclusive)
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome
Sinister
Argo

ALL FOR ME!!!

was interested in picking up Anna Karenina but I don't think I could swing it with all those other purchases. maybe when the price drops a bit

zoodermin
 - Feb 16, 2013

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Game of Thrones, Argo and the 2D Combo of Monsters, Inc. for me!!

I'll definetely get On the Waterfront in the next B&N sale

Great week!

mjcavinder
 - Feb 17, 2013

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The Insider, On The Waterfront are my personal favorite releases this week.

PBateman87
 - Feb 17, 2013

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The Terminator remaster and The Insider are sure buys for me. I still have to catch some episodes of Game of Thrones season 2 on HBO On Demand...I'll wait and see if I want to buy the Blu as I did with season 1, which was a terrific set.

TheShape31
 - Feb 17, 2013

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Hats off to Dr Seuss & Monsters, Inc.! Woo hoo!

xxBachelor1981xx
 - Feb 17, 2013

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My most expensive week. Terminator, Argo, Sinister, Monster Inc, Prison, The nest and Terror Vision / Video Dead

Maharajah
 - Feb 17, 2013

Show comment

ThatSephKid
 - Feb 17, 2013

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Argo and Sinister

coolkev1701
 - Feb 17, 2013

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Oh boy, this week is going to hurt. Picking up Game of Thrones Season Two, Blood & Chrome, the remastered Terminator and Running Man if I can find them.

HD Canuck
 - Feb 17, 2013

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Didn't realize this week was big on releases. For me:
Monsters Inc 3D - to complete my Pixar collection
On the Waterfront - to fill another gap in my Best Picture Oscar collection
Battlestar Galactica B&C - to complete my BSG collection
Terminator remastered
And very interested in eventually either seeing or obtaining these:
Argo
Anna Karenina
Easter Parade
March is gonna be a go for broke month with all the Disney titles coming out.

mahgin86
 - Feb 17, 2013

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Terminator and Top Gun 3d

iamlucutusofborg
 - Feb 17, 2013

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Been waiting forever for Nisemonogatari on Blu-Ray uncensored & now the wait is over. Might get Terror Vision also.

ChiefSequatchie
 - Feb 18, 2013

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ARGO
Monsters, INC
and perhaps a blind buy of Fun Size

CoolRanch
 - Feb 18, 2013

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Argo and On the Waterfront for me! I'll rent Sinister.

I*heart*Criterion
 - Feb 18, 2013

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So is this "Game of Thrones" any good?

zwoodz
 - Feb 18, 2013

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GAME OF THRONES!!!!

ConnerKent
 - Feb 18, 2013

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"The Terminator" and "The Running Man" for me!

nathanp
 - Feb 18, 2013

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This week is all about Game of Thrones, getting this year's Best Picture winner Argo, On the Waterfront and The Insider as well. Very good week.

repete66211
 - Feb 18, 2013

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On the Waterfront is a contender for my next Blu-ray purchase.

scarface16
 - Feb 18, 2013

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Game of Thrones Season 2 (because how could you pass it up at $30?) & The Insider.

vabney84
 - Feb 18, 2013

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Game of Thrones, Argo Monster INC 3D, Terminator

RBBrittain
 - Feb 19, 2013

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Strange line from the On the Waterfront trailer: "...as warm and moving as 'Going My Way' (but with brass knuckles!)" The only connections I'd make between Going My Way & On the Waterfront is (a) they both won Best Picture (10 years apart) and (b) they both have priests. When's the next B&N Criterion sale?

DarthJaeger
 - Feb 19, 2013

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"You know nothing Jon Snow." It's Game of Thrones Season 2 this week!

scorpion83
 - Feb 19, 2013

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This is probably the max I spent on blus in a week ! No regrets though

Game of Thrones - Season 2
Monsters Inc 3D
Undefeated
Sinister
Argo

ScottRocks
 - Feb 19, 2013

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Game Of Thrones Season 2 Lannister Edition
Sinister (loved it in the theater)
Argo (really looking forward to it)

Terminator, Best In Show and Monsters Inc 3D when price drops.

nazdar
 - Feb 19, 2013

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the thief of bagdad alone ... im saving due to 4 twilight time purchases this month (our man flint in like flint christine and the fury) owch!

Bowers0813
 - Feb 19, 2013

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Game of thrones already here. Will most likely pick up Sinister this weekend. Perhaps terminator and argos as well

vaderman
 - Feb 19, 2013

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Picked up Argo and Monsters Inc

rossmer
 - Feb 20, 2013

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Picked up:

Game of Thrones
Argo
Monsters Inc 3D
Top Gun 3D
Best in Show
The Insider

jayembee
 - Feb 21, 2013

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Too many good ones this week to pick up. I had to limit it to:

Game of Thrones S2
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome
Argo

TimeChild
 - Feb 21, 2013

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On The Waterfront, Sinister, Game of Thrones Season 2 of course.

lobo81865
 - Feb 21, 2013

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Picked up Game of Thrones, Monsters Inc., and Grizzly Adams season 2. Nothing much for me next week, but March is going to be expensive with all of the Disney releases.

thelittleprince
 - Feb 23, 2013

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Ordered Game of Thrones and will pick up Argo eventually.


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