New on the Shelf: Pickin’s are slim, folks

Posted on 13 April 2009 by ShepRamsey

Well, friends, it is an empty, empty week on the DVD shelves, so this edition of New on the Shelf is gonna be a brief one.

First up, we’ve got The Reader, the Best Picture nominee (and Best Actress winner) about a young boy who has an affair with an older reader_box_art_2d_event_mainwoman who he later learns was a guard at a concentration camp. It was an interesting movie with interesting characters and interesting ideas directed in the most bland and Oscar-pandering sort of way. As a result, the movie has plot points that, in their entirely unexplored way, come off more like logic flaws. I won’t give away specifically what I’m talking about, since not many people saw this movie in the first place, but ultimately I thought the film was a disappointing waste of far better material. You might want to check it out anyway for the performances, which are very good. At first I didn’t much care for Kate Winslet’s performance (for which she won her first Oscar after five nominations), but upon reconsideration I’ve realized that most of my problems stem from the way that director Stephen Daldry handles her character. She really is quite good, as is Ralph Fiennes and particularly the young actor David Kross who carries the film quite capably. While ultimately I just didn’t think this film was all that good, it certainly has qualities that are worth checking out. You might want to give it a shot.spirit-dvd-art_1

Next is the only other theatrical feature getting a DVD release this week and that is Frank Miller’s The Spirit, based on the comics series by Will Eisner. I didn’t see this one, but I did however see that it got a whole lot of pretty abysmal reviews. The trailers looked kinda fun, if a total less-impressive rehash of the style that Miller and Robert Rodriguez used in their Sin City. It’s got sort of a neo-noir vibe to it and the hero in it reminds me of The Shadow kinda. Anyway the film stars Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Gabriel Macht in the title role. If you have a mind to check it out, I won’t judge you. Hell, I might sometime. It’s the kinda movie where pure brainless entertainment is all you can really ask from it and if it delivers then I’m totally okay with that.

Well, those two are about it. The Spirit will also be released on Blu-Ray, but The Reader won’t get the hi-def treatment until April 28. Other Blu-Ray releases this week include The Thirteenth Floor, Mean Girls, and the A&E miniseries version of Pride & Prejudice.

All titles hit stores Tuesday, April 14. Until next time, friends!                           

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