High-Profile New Releases
The Innkeepers (Dark Sky Films)
Release Date: Feb 03, 2012
Directed by: Ti West
Cast:Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Alison Bartlett, Kelly McGillis,Lena Dunham. Full cast + crew
Verdict: Buy Me
Available On: Blu-ray, DVD, VOD
Special Features: Behind the Scenes (7 minutes), and two commentary tracks, one with West and his producers Peter Phok and Larry Fessenden, the second with sound designer and second unit director Graham Reznick
Additional Thoughts: My love for the films of Ti West, and The Innkeepers in particular, is well documented on Movies.com. If, however, you've managed to escape my massive interview with West, let me just say that I think that his latest film may just be my favorite. It's as funny as it is scary-- and that's not to pigeon hole it as a horror comedy. The Innkeepers is a scary movie with a great and capable cast that knows how to make you laugh, but it's never cheap or pandering. It's just a damned good horror movie, and if you're a fan of the genre, this demands to be on your shelf.
Pariah (Focus Features)
Release Date: Dec 28, 2011
Directed by: Dee Rees
Cast: Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Aasha Davis, Charles Parnell, Sahra Mellesse. Full cast + crew
Verdict: Rent Me
Available On: Blu-ray, DVD, VOD
Special Features: About 7 minutes worth of fluffy extras about the film's style and shooting in Brooklyn. Nothing crucial, unfortunately.
Additional Thoughts: Pariah is one of the best films of 2011 that flew under most people's radars. On paper its story of a teen girl in Brooklyn dealing with discovering she's a lesbian sounds like it's typical pushy, overbearing arthouse fare. It's not. Oh, it's certainly a heavy-hitting movie, but it's very even-handed, very emotional and features an astonishing performance from Adepero Oduye. It's a must see, even if it doesn't sound like it's up your alley.
Release Date: Jan 13, 2012
Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Lukas Haas. Full cast + crew
Verdict: Forget Me
Available On: Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, VOD
Special Features: Periodic Picture-in-Picture interviews that span a little over half of the film, a commentary with the film's director and producer Evan Hayes, Deleted Scenes (6 minutes worth), Under the Radar: The Making of Contraband (17 minutes), and Reality Factor: The Stunts and Actions of Contraband (8 minutes)
Additional Thoughts: A Mark Wahlberg thriller is usually a reliable, safe bet for some mild action and a decent supporting cast. And while that still holds true of Contraband, this remake of the well-regarded Icelandic film Reykjavik-Rotterdam is a little too safe and generic for its own good. It's got a dull smuggling plot at its center, infrequent action that's all bark and no bite, and overacting by almost all of the supporting players. It's acceptable for a random stumble on cable one night, but it's hardly a priority on disc.
Other New Releases
High-Profile Catalog Releases
Camelot (Warner Bros)
Release Date: Oct 25, 1967
Directed by: Joshua Logan
Cast:Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, Franco Nero,David Hemmings, Lionel Jeffries. Full cast + crew
Verdict: Buy Me (If you're already a fan)
Available On: Blu-ray Digibook
Special Features: A new commentary by film critic/historian Stephen Farber, a new HD, 30-minute HD featurette that's a nicely put together package about the film and its era of production. The second disc is a CD "score sample" that features four songs from the film. There's also a pretty digibook that contains plenty of behind-the-scenes and archival photos, as well as mini-profiles on the film, and about 40-minutes of SD making-of material ported over from the last DVD release of the film.
Additional Thoughts: If you already like Camelot, this release certainly has plenty of extras to make it worth your while. The HD audio and visual presentation aren't the finest the format has ever known, they're about as good as these original elements will ever allow, but the new commentary and "Falling Kingdoms" feature will satisfy hardcore fans. Having said that, if you're not a fan, the chances this new release will make one out of you are pretty slim. A three-hour musical about King Arthur just isn't for everyone-- which is a nice way of saying, unless you probably grew up with it, Camelot is pretty boring.