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This Week on Blu-ray: February 21-28

Posted February 20, 2012 09:52 AM by Josh Katz

Show all Blu-ray releases this week

Last year, Brett Ratner's heist comedy Tower Heist had the misfortune of garnering notoriety for seemingly everything but the finished film. Star Eddie Murphy wanted to create an all-African-American riff on the Ocean's Eleven franchise. After Murphy (initially) abandoned the project, Ratner completely reworked the project, and Universal touted the revised version as the newest and most high-profile video-on-demand feature. However, a projected sixty-dollar rental price and severe backlash from theater chains killed the VOD plans; further complicating the picture's reception were a series of disparaging comments Ratner made shortly before its theatrical premiere. Maybe no film could weather these pre-release concerns, but Tower Heist surprised by leaving little in the way of positive or negative impact. It opened in theaters; it found modest box-office success; it quickly vanished.

The Blu-ray release on Tuesday may improve its overall legacy. Divorced from controversy, Tower Heist plays as an unspectacular-but-genial caper; it's no Ocean's Eleven, but audiences could do a lot worse. As Kenneth Brown put it in his Blu-ray review, "For the better part of a half an hour, it's a bit of a meandering mess...but once Tower Heist hits its stride - 45-minutes in, admittedly - it turns into something else entirely: a decent comedy and a fun little genre pic."

Far more successful a 2011 entry is Martha Marcy May Marlene. The feature film debut of director Sean Durkin, this drama details the psychic damages affecting a woman (Elizabeth Olsen, Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding) who has just escaped from a cult. Martha Marcy May Marlene doesn't play by conventional thriller rules, and some critics have charged that its deliberately obtuse chronology and elliptical storytelling mask a lack of real thematic depth. But Durkin proves himself a master of generating maximum tension from a minimum of incident - his use of the 2.39:1 widescreen frame recalls peak John Carpenter - and Olsen is brilliant as a young woman under emotional duress even before she joins the cult.

For many cinephiles, though, this week's most exciting Blu-rays have a decidedly more vintage appeal. Director Lionel Rogosin's 1957 classic On the Bowery hits the high-definition format in a beautiful 2K restoration. A favorite of filmmaker Martin Scorsese, the vérité-styled On the Bowery comes alongside two other Rogosin features - Good Times, Wonderful Times and Out - and a wide assortment of bonus supplements.

The Criterion Collection adds Rainer Werner Fassbinder to its HD library with the 1973 miniseries World on a Wire. This idiosyncratic tale sees Fassbinder marrying his creative obsessions with Philip. K. Dick-esque science-fiction conceits; one can look at World on a Wire and see the seeds of Blade Runner or The Matrix.

Blu-ray.com's Svet Atanasov used his review to note the film's unique appeal, how "what makes the film so fascinating to behold is the fact that its narrative constantly evolves...The film is guaranteed to surprise many viewers with its incredibly accurate expectations about the future. Clearly, it was well ahead of its time."

Just as exciting is Warner Home Entertainment's catalog edition of Fort Apache. The first in director John Ford's cavalry trilogy, Fort Apache takes inspiration from General Custer and his bloody engagement at the Battle of Little Bighorn in order to examine extreme historical revisionism. This western also features two wonderful lead performances: an uncharacteristically sensitive turn from John Wayne, and an uncharacteristically unsympathetic one from Henry Fonda as the Custer proxy.

Jeffrey Kauffman's recent Blu-ray review praised Fort Apache, highlighting that "those [viewers] who take the time to really peer beneath the surface will find a completely different film, one which exposes and even undermines the mythology of the hero and which questions the whole notion that history is written by the victors. While this Blu-ray isn't quite up to the spectacular standards of a lot of Warner catalog releases, it still is a joy to see."













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

News comments (26 comments)


Simonbergeron
 - Feb 20, 2012

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I'll invest (which is what it really became) in Warner's titles when they stop being anorexic with special features and really put the effort instead of almost putting a sticker on the cover that yells "let's make money first, then in ten years, we'll put out a special edition". I miss the days back when a movie didn't need to make $ 800 million to get some special edition treatement.

cmay13
 - Feb 20, 2012

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I didnt like J-Edgar in theaters but I'm going to give it a second try with a rent. Martha Marcy was a great movie but I'm waiting for a review on it until I make a decision on buying it. Heard mixed reviews on tower heist so I'll give that a rent.

I*heart*Criterion
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Tower Heist was not as bad as I imagined it would be, but it is one of those movies where one viewing is enough and I can't see a reason to own it...

mjcavinder
 - Feb 20, 2012

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I'm wondering if London Boulevard is worth seeing?

bboisvert
 - Feb 20, 2012

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2 solid Criterions this week. Both of them are on their way from Amazon... Woo-hoo!

coolkev1701
 - Feb 20, 2012

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I'll probably get Santana and London Boulevard this week.

erlinmeyer
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Nurse Jackie and Anatomy of a Murder for sure...maybe one otr two more like Santana and The Bowery

PossumPete
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Ft. Apache for me. Wayne and Ford will always guarantee a buy from me.

rockstarnati
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Where's Puss in Boots?

Hakman
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Weeds, Nurse Jackie and Puss in Boots 3D

xxBachelor1981xx
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Unforgiven Digibook For Me...

PossumPete
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Puss comes Friday.

MikeScott
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Cannot wait for Martha Marcy May Marlene. Should be getting it in the mail tomorrow. Will also probably get Weeds and Nurse Jackie. Want to check out The Fades: Season 1.

rockinrick
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Fort Apache
Unforgiven digbook
Anatomy of a Murder

The Theory
 - Feb 20, 2012

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If Best Buy gets the Criterions I might pick up one or both of those. Otherwise I'll wait for the B&N sale. (But, one way or the other, THEY WILL BE HAD.)

Honey tempts me simply because Jessica Alba is always worth looking at.
But then again, I know the synopsis of this title is so far away from something I'd actually find interesting......sigh. Guess I'll stick with my Sin City blu-ray and pop that in when I hear the siren's call...

repete66211
 - Feb 20, 2012

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I wish it were Fort Apache The Bronx...

I*heart*Criterion
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Of course the ONLY items worth picking up this week (as with all weeks) are the Criterion releases

thephantomcat
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Honey is a decent movie. It's a little too PG with its naive portrayal poor urban kids trying to make a safe place to dance and have a positive role model, but Jessica Alba raises the level of the movie just enough to make it not cheesie. Only really looking forward to Puss n Boots 3D. Might pick up Honey for nostalgic reasons. A good friend was obsessed with Jessica Alba and we saw every one of her movies.

Ray O. Blu
 - Feb 20, 2012

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Looks like War of the Arrows is the only worthwhile title this week, but I'm getting the Korean Steelbook instead of this week's release.
Korean Blu-rays RULE!
(now hit the + button)

rockstarnati
 - Feb 21, 2012

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@PossumPete Yeah, Puss does come Friday (February 24). So, why isn't it listed in the "This Week on Blu-ray: February 21-28" article?

OhDamaso
 - Feb 21, 2012

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I won't support anything with Eddie Murphy for the time being. He turned his back to all his original comedy fans for far too long. I'll watch it for free but I'm not buying or renting until he does more.

erlinmeyer
 - Feb 21, 2012

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bought Nurse Jackie at Best Buy as Amazon was several dollars higher even after submitting online and in store prices.

BluPix
 - Feb 21, 2012

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My big preorders to arrive this today are Anatomy of a Murder and World on a Wire (both had for excellent prices due to their brief price drop at Amazon). The former I've been wanting for years, literally, so I'm really pleased it's finally arriving.

I'm definitely interested in adding to my collection in the near future: J. Edgar; Martha Marcy May Marlene; Fort Apache; and On the Bowery. As one who appreciates digibooks I may, down the line and with a price drop, also upgrade my copy of Unforgiven to the digibook version released today.

A good week, especially for catalogue titles.

ChiefSequatchie
 - Feb 22, 2012

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Fort Apache is number 1 on my list this week. I hope we don't have to wait long for She Wore A Yellow Ribbon to get its Blu-ray release!
I may go ahead and pick up the Unforgiven digibook as it probably want get a better release and I like digibooks.

J. Edgar as well as Kansas City Confidential / The Stranger might be interesting additions down the road as well.

Mastaplan23
 - Feb 24, 2012

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Maybe Tower Heist. I remember seeing the trailer for London Boulevard and being kinda interested.

timcat4843
 - Feb 25, 2012

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Where's "Earthquake" with D-Box?


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