Hey friends, Shep here with the rundown of DVD and Blu-Ray releases for Tuesday, April 21st. My pick for this week is Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. Let’s begin, shall we?
First up, we’ve got the overrated Best Picture nominee Frost/Nixon. Ron Howard directed this film about the interviews in which British talk show host David Frost (Michael Sheen) tried to get a tell-all confession and apology out of disgraced President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella). It’s a dialogue-driven political film and, as such, I feel like I should have liked it. But it’s just not very good and that can be a big drawback for a lot of movies these days. It’s really obvious stuff, right down to the last Rocky montage, and it’s way too self-important for its own good. Ultimately, this rag-tag band of journalists and researchers fails in their quest to get that famous apology from Nixon, but Howard likes to act like things were a great success and it was a huge historical moment. But, friends, it wasn’t. There’s a reason you hadn’t heard of these interviews until this movie came around. For more information, check out Quaid’s review. This is the second week in a row that’s given us a less-than-thrilling Best Picture nominee (although Hans would disagree). And wouldn’t ya know it? Benjamin Button is on the horizon in two weeks.
Next, there’s Notorious. No, not the terrific Hitchcock picture, but the biopic about good ol’ Notorious B.I.G/Biggie Smalls/whatever the hell I’m supposed to call him. I know nothing about rap or this movie and I rarely care for biopics, so I really doubt I’m the audience for this film, although I’m sure there’s a big one. One thing I will say, however, if only to fill up space, is that the film was co-produced by Sean “Man of 1,000 Names” Combs (who is protrayed in the film by Derek Luke). I have absolutely no respect for this man and his 10,000-mile-long ego and I doubt that I will ever support anything that he is involved with. You don’t have to fight my fuck-you-Puffy battle with me, I just thought you should know.
We’re also getting a direct-to-video sci-fi picture called Caprica, which is all about letting you know that it’s from the executive producers of the ever-popular Battlestar Galactica. I have little of my own to say about this film, so here’s the plot synopsis from Amazon.com: An astonishing breakthrough is taking shape on the planet Caprica. The rapidly evolving spheres of human and mechanical engineering have collided, along with the fates of two families. Joined by tragedy in an explosive instant of terror, two rival clans led by powerful patriarchs, Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) and Daniel Greystone (Eric Stoltz) duel in an era of questionable ethics, corporate machinations and unbridled personal ambition as the final war for humanity looms. The latest phenomenon from the executive producers of Battlestar Galactica (Ronald D. Moore and David Eick), set in a time over 50 years earlier, Caprica is entirely its own world – provocative, thrilling and startling relevant to our own.
Blu-Ray releases this week are mighty sexy. Look for Frost/Nixon and Notorious obviously, but we’ll also be seeing the X-Men Trilogy, which includes X-Men, X2: X-Men United, and Brett Ratner’s lackluster part three, X-Men: The Last Stand. Sin City will get the Blu-Ray treatment as well, in a package that will include both the theatrical and extended/recut version of the film. Hellraiser is being released as well, and so is The Arrival. Finally, of major note, is the Criterion Collection’s Blu-Ray release of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s brilliant 1953 film The Wages of Fear. For anyone who hasn’t seen this film, please get on top of it. It is one of the most stirring, powerful, and genuinely suspenseful films I’ve ever seen in my life.
But, if there’s only one DVD that you pick up this week, make it The Wrestler, last winter’s outstanding character drama that resurrected the career of Mickey Rourke. It’s a heart-breakingly sad film about a former pro-wrestler, living out the life of a has-been, being worshipped by a small minority of people who don’t know him and resented by those that do. It’s pretty straight-forward stuff for director Darren Aronofsky (not to mention the first of his films that he didn’t supply the script for), but he handles it with terrific care and sensitivity. It’s one of the most involving films of last year.
Rourke and Marisa Tomei were both nominated for Oscars for their work in this film (and Rourke really, really should have won; he’s brilliant here) and Bruce Springsteen’s titular song won a Golden Globe (but somehow missed out on an Oscar nomation!). The movie was revered by critics everywhere and for good reason. It’s terrific filmmaking and it can be yours this Tuesday on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Buy The Wrestler on DVD HERE.