One of this year’s most notable Blu-ray releases was Carrie: Collector’s Edition. Any new iteration of Carrie is highly anticipated in the home video market, but this Scream Factory version celebrates the film’s 40th anniversary. Plus, this version is a 4K scan of the original negative, giving more pop and depth to the feature.
The film, which was the first Stephen King book to ever be adapted to the screen, also increased the star power of lead actress Sissy Spacek (who previously received notice for her work in Badlands). Brian De Palma, who was just coming off directing Obsession, took on Carrie with aplomb, visualizing every frame of the story months before production even started. What started out as the tale of an introverted teenager (Spacek) with destructive powers morphed into a box office hit.
The two-disc collection, while containing some of the previous special features from past releases, also includes new interviews with screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch, director of photography Mario Tosi, casting director Harriet B. Helberg, and several actors (Piper Laurie, P.J. Soles, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Edie McClurg). Previously released Carrie interviews with Spacek, De Palma, art director Jack Fisk (Spacek’s husband), and Amy Irving are also featured in the disc.
The most notable anecdotes, along with De Palma’s insight on how he visualized Carrie, comes from Cohen. The writer details his initial attraction to Stephen King’s story and breaks down the long and winding process it took to get Carrie to production. He also explains how the films Throne of Blood and Deliverance were heavy influences in some of Carrie’s most memorable moments.
Currently in limited release and available via VOD, DEADFALL is a tight indie crime drama that succeeds (for the most part) in blending a little romance with some thrills and delivers on the promise of what, back in the day, would be considered a swell matinee movie. Directed by STEFAN RUZOWITZKY THE COUNTERFEITERS) from a script by first-timer ZACH DEAN, the cast includes such fan favorites as ERIC BANA, CHARLIE HUNNAM, OLIVIA WILDE, SISSY SPACEK and KRIS KRISTOFFERSON. Probably best know these days for his work on the popular FX series SONS OF ANARCHY, Brit actor CHARLIE HUNNAM once again uses a flawless American accent in DEADFALL. During the recent press conference to promote the film, HUNNAM credited working long hours on the series for being able to pass as a Yank on screen. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
Opening in limited release later this week, DEADFALL is a nifty little crime drama that manages to blend some romance with some thrills and delivers on the promise of a good adventure. Directed by STEFAN RUZOWITZKY THE COUNTERFEITERS) from a script by first-timer ZACH DEAN, the cast includes such fan favorites as ERIC BANA, CHARLIE HUNNAM, OLIVIA WILDE, SISSY SPACEK and KRIS KRISTOFFERSON. Shot on location in Montreal, the frozen North was as frozen in real life as it looks on screen. During last week’s press conference to promote the film, OLIVIA WILDE joked (well, sort of joked) about working in an environment that truly put her to the test. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
Due Date (Blu-ray/DVD combo, plus digital copy) follows the saga of high-strung dad-to-be Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) who hitches a ride from whacked-out wannabe actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), to be present for his child’s birth.
Special Features: Deleted scenes, action mash-up, too many questions mash-up, a gag reel, Two and a Half Men sequence featuring Ethan Tremblay.
Megamind (Blu-ray/DVD combo, plus digital copy) follows the adventures of super-villain Megamind (Will Ferrell), who finally conquers his nemesis and fulltime hero Metro Man (Brad Pitt), only to find himself unfulfilled once he realizes he needs a hero to fight.
Special FeaturesDisc One – Blu-ray feature, Megamind: Button of Doom: Megamind and Minion battle bigger foe in this new adventure, enhance the flick -viewing with the animator’s corner complete with picture-in-picture storyboards, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, uncover more Megamind facts plus a trivia track, put your own signature on scenes with the interactive comic creator, meet the cast, discover the lost scene, visit Megamind’s lair, experience AnimatorMan, lesson on drawing Megamind, the reign of Megamind video comic book, high-flying games plus more.
Disc Two – DVD feature plus more, filmmakers’ commentary, meet the cast, discover a lost scene.
Get Low (Blu-ray) stars Robert Duvall as Felix Bush, a hermit, during the 1930s, who has quite a bit of legend surrounding him. Felix throws his own funeral party, while he’s still alive, and invites the town to attend and share stories about him…most of which are loaded with embellishments about his vicious behavior. The truth finally emerges, but it’s not what the townsfolk expected.
Get Low is based on a true story and it’s brought to life with strong performances from Duvall and his co-stars Sissy Spacek, Gerald McRaney, Lucas Black and Bill Murray.
TV on DVD
Nurse Jackie: Season Two (Blu-ray) is the further adventures of Nurse Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco), a drug-addicted nurse who is trying to balance her life and the demands of her job at a busy New York City hospital. The series is sort of similar to House, but with a female in the lead.
Weeds: Season Six (Blu-ray) continues the story of suburban mom Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), who has turned into a marijuana dealer in her community.
Special Features: Commentary with WriterJenji Kohan with cast and crew, a featurette with co-stars Justin Kirk and Kevin Nealon, the cast and crew answer questions from fans, a Bye-Bye Botwins featurette, plus a gag reel.
Huge: The Complete Series follows the drama and joy of a group of teens at a fat camp. Some of the kids want to be there, like camp hottie Amber (Hayley Hasselhoff), who is enjoying her newfound popularity at the camp. Others, like Willamena Rader (Nikki Blonsky) are fighting against the camp daily, while also struggling with defining her own sexuality.
This was an interesting series that had plenty to say about self-image and the effects of a society that worships skinny as the ultimate example of beauty.
OK, it’s time to get caught up on the pics you missed earlier in the year. We here at HollywoodOutbreak.com thought it was a good time to recap our top 10 for 2010 though some of the titles won’t get a bit of award recognition.
Do we care? Heck no. Many of these flicks are perfect popcorn movies and worth a once-over by any film fanatic.
Pictured left to right: Justin Timberlake, Joseph Mazzello, Jesse Eisenberg, Patrick Maple in "The Social Network."
1. The Social Network nearly made us cancel our Facebook page. The pic, which reportedly takes liberties recreating the beginnings of the premiere social network, Facebook, is our fav for the year. The intrigue, manipulation and ruthlessness of it all was brilliantly played out with strong performances from Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake as Napster founder, Sean Parker and Andrew Garfield as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
Pictured: Colin Firth in "The King's Speech."
2. The King’s Speech is an actor’s showcase for Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter. It follows the true story of King George VI of Britain (Firth), who has a severe stutter. With the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush) and the encouragement of his Queen Elizabeth (Bonham-Carter), King George overcomes his impediment to rule with confidence. Look for nominations all around for these skillful actors.
Pictured: Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom."
3. Animal Kingdom revolves around an utterly despicable family of criminals, but charmed us with its fiendishly dysfunctional relations. After 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville) finds his mother dead from an overdose, he moves in with his grandmother, Janine Cody (Jacki Weaver). Well, grandma’s sons (Ben Mendelsohn, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton) are a collection of crooks, druggies and dealers, who will kill anyone who gets in their way. There is positively nothing redeeming about this assortment of misfits, but its wildly entertaining watching them try to outmaneuver each other, while dodging the law.
Pictured: John Malkovich (foreground), Bruce Willis (rear left) and Helen Mirren (right), star in "Red."
4. Red is exciting, explosive, fun with a group of butt-kicking 50-plusers in the leading roles. It stars Bruce Willis as an ex-CIA operative, now retired, who is being hunted by an assassin for reasons unknown. He enlists the help of his fellow retirees (Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich) to find out who wants him dead and why. We love it because it’s like a live-action roadrunner cartoon, plus the very image of Mirren wielding colossal weapons is irresistible.
Pictured left to right: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham-Carter star in "Alice in Wonderland."
5. Alice in Wonderland is Tim Burton’s continuation of the tale, with Alice (Mia Wasikowska) revisiting Wonderland at the age of 19 year old, while on the verge of a marriage proposal. After she reunites with her old friends the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), Alice learns that her true destiny is to stop the Red Queen’s (Helena Bonham-Carter) reign of terror. This is probably Burton’s best flick in years, thanks in part to the solid screenplay by Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast). It’s a perfect fairytale with a nice balance of fanciful whimsy. Plus, it’s a dazzling adventure using special effects to the greatest advantage. Best of all, not one character outshines the other – they’re all equally important to the story.
Pictured left to right: Rebecca Hall, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Amanda Peete, Catherine Keener star in "Please Give."
6. Please Give is a dramady revolving around a New York couple (Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt), who are waiting for their elderly neighbor, Andra (Ann Morgan Guilbert) to die, so they can take over her digs and expand their own living quarters. However, they find themselves at odds with Andra’s granddaughters (Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peete) as they begin making plans to renovate before Andra is dead. The movie has plenty to say about greed, guilt, temptation and self-image all rolled up in a smart, realistic plot.
Pictured: Steven Strait (front left), Dominik Garcia Lorido (rear left), Andy Garcia (center front), Julianna Margulies (rear right), Ezra Miller (front right), star in "City Island."
8. City Island stars Andy Garcia as Vince Rizzo, a family man and corrections officer, who brings home inmate Tony Nardella (Steve Strait), after learning Tony is his son. But that’s just the tip of the secrets in this family. Top of that list – Vince secretly wants to be an actor. This movie was just pure fun with terrific performances from all the actors, but especially Garcia, who adds a deep, sympathetic quality to his portrayal of an honest working stiff with higher aspirations.
Pictured: Robert Duvall (left), Lucas Black (center), Bill Murray (right) star in "Get Low."
9. Get Low is a quiet, little movie about Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), a reclusive man living in a town where he is hated. So, he does the unexpected, throws himself a pre-death funeral party and asks the attendees to share stories of him in exchange for the deed to his farm for the person with the best anecdote. This was a sweet surprise of a pic primarily because of the finely-honed performances from all the actors. Sissy Spacek as his long, lost fiancée, Mattie Darrow, Bill Murray as the local mortician planning Felix’s premature burial and Lucas Black as the young funeral apprentice all complement Duvall’s consistently flawless portrayal – in this case – of a man punishing himself for past events.
Pictured: Natalie Portman in "Black Swan."
10. Black Swan is a downer of a flick, without question, but it is also a stirring example of mental illness and obsessive behavior. Natalie Portman stars as ballerina Nina Sayers, who wins her dream role as the lead in Swan Lake. She is a natural for the White Swan, but Nina is having trouble connecting with her darker side for the Black Swan – a requirement of the part. It is Nina’s descent into madness, while striving for perfection, that makes the movie so compelling – along with Portman’s performance, which is sure to earn her an Oscar nomination.
Soldier's during battle in the documentary, "Restrepo."
Top of the documentary heaps is Restrepo, a film that follows a troop of soldiers into the most violent area of Afghanistan. If you haven’t seen this doc, make time for it. It’s on home video and broadcasting on the National Geographic Channel (who financed the pic). It gives a clear understanding of war and its aftermath for the returning soldiers.