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This week’s Recommendation of the Week comes courtesy of The Criterion Collection, the silent comedy Safety Last. Like other Criterion Collection re-releases this movie features a digitally re-mastered version of the movie, many commentaries and documentaries and three comedy shorts.
– Jack the Giant Slayer (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Stoker (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Quartet (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Movie 43 (DVD and Blu-ray)
– 21 & Over (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Last Exorcism (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Safely Last (1923) (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Things to Come (1936) (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Marketa Lazrova (1967) (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Howling (1981) (Blu-ray)
– The Stand (1994) (DVD)
Safety Last (1923) (DVD and Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*
Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Written by Hal Roach, Sam Taylor, Tim Whelan
Starring: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother, Noah Young, Westcott Clarke
Safety Last is a classic comedy from the silent era and has an iconic cinematic image of a man hanging on to a clock hand for dear life, as you can see on the DVD and Blu-ray cover.
A young man (Harold Lloyd) leaves his country home to make it in big city and finds work in a department store. He ends up scaling a clock tower for a publicity stunt to promote the store.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 96% (excellent)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 8.5/10
DVD Special Features: New 2K digital film restoration; Musical score by composer Carl Davis from 1989, synchronized and restored under his supervision; Alternate score by organist Gaylord Carter from the late 1960s; Audio commentary featuring film critic Leonard Maltin and director and Harold Lloyd archivist Richard Correll; Introduction by Suzanne Lloyd, Lloyd’s granddaughter and president of Harold Lloyd Entertainment; Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius, a 104-minute documentary from 1989; Three newly restored Lloyd shorts: Take a Chance (1918), Young Mr. Jazz (1919), and His Royal Slyness (1920), with commentary by Correll and film writer John Bengtson; Locations and Effects, a new documentary featuring Bengtson and special effects expert Craig Barron; New interview with Davis; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Ed Park
There are a number of movies out on DVD and Blu-ray this week, including the fantasy movie Jack the Giant Slayer and Park Chan-wook’s Stoker and two more re-releases from the Criterion Collection.
Jack the Giant Slayer (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Studney (screenplay), Darren Lemke, David Dobkin (story)
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Bill Nighy, Ian McShane
Jack the Giant Slayer is 2013’s John Carter; it was a movie met with a troubled production, had an inflated budget and was a box-office bomb. But it was a fun light-hearted fantasy movie which featured the some cream of British acting.
A long time ago in a medieval kingdom men won a war against giants from the land of the sky. Centuries later a farm boy Jack (Nicholas Hoult, X-Men: First Class, Warm Bodies) is sent to the big city to sell his horse where he meets Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging) and ends up getting some magic beans from a monk. But when Jack’s home goes up in a giant beanstalk with the princess inside Jack volunteers to recuse her with the King’s loyal chief guard (Ewan McGregor) and the traitorous Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci) from the giants let by Fallon (Bill Nighy).
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 52% (average)
Metacritic Rating: 51/100 (average)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 7.3/10 (read our review)
DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel
Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Become a Giant Slayer: with Nicholas Hoult as your guide along with essential videos you’ll embark on an adventure up the monstrous beanstalk on the way to becoming a heroic giant slayer.
Stoker (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Written by Wentworth Miller
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman
Park Chan-wook is known for directing some great movies like Oldboy, J.S.A Joint Security Area and Thirst. He made his English language debut with Stoker, an eerie art-house psychology thriller about India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska), an awkward teenager whose father dies on her 18th Birthday. At her father’s funeral she meets a man she didn’t know existed, her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode, Watchmen) and soon falls into a dark world of violence and sexual awakening.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 67% (good)
Metacritic Rating: 58/100 (average)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 8.0/10 (read our review)
DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; ; Deleted Scenes; Theatrical Behind-the-Scenes: Mysterious Characters, Designing the Look, Creating the Music
Directed by Dustin Hoffman
Written by Ronald Harwood
Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon
Last year The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel showcased the power of older audiences. Quartet is the latest movie to tell a story focused on older characters and features a top British cast and serves as Dustin Hoffman’s directional debut.
Based on Ronald Harwood’s own play, Quarlet is set in Beecham House, a retirement home for opera singers. Every year the residents perform a contest. However the equilibrium of the home is ruined when a new resident moves in, Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), a diva who was married to another resident Reggie (Tom Courtenay, Doctor Zhivago). But the show must go on.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 79% (very good)
Metacritic Rating: 64/100 (good)
Directed by Peter Farrelly, Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Brett Ratner, Will Graham, Jonathan van Tulleken
Written by Steve Baker, Will Carlough, Tobias Carlson, Jacob Fleisher, Patrik Forsberg, Will Graham, James Gunn, Claes Kjellstrom, Jack Kukoda, Bill O’Malley, Matthew Alec Portenoy, Greg Pritikin, Rocky Russo, Olle Sarri, Elizabeth Wright Shapiro, Jeremy Sosenko, Jonathan van Tulleken, Jonas Wittenmark
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Seth MacFarlane, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Liv Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Jeremy Allen White, Anna Farris, Chris Pratt, Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Johnny Knoxville, Gerald Butler, Scott William Scott, Stephen Merchant, Halle Berry, Terrence Howard, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel
The anthology movie Movie 43 is considered one of the worst movies of 2013 and can easily be seen as the worst movie of many actors’ careers. Based around on 14 comedy sketches Movie 43 is better known for its production history with actors like George Clooney and Colin Farrell dropping out of the project and Richard Gere ended up being in the movie against his will.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 4% (awful)
Metacritic Rating: 19/100 (awful)
DVD Special Features: Closed-Caption
Written and directed by Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Justin Chon, Miles Teller, Skylar Astin, Sarah Wright
Last year we got the party movie Project X, a movie for douchebags by douchebags. 21 & Over sets out to try and take that crown as two friends, Casey (Sklar Astin, Pitch Perfect) and Miles Teller (Miles Teller, Project X) brow beat their other friend Jeff (Justin Chon, The Twilight Saga) to go out partying on his 21st birthday, despite having an exam for medical school in the morning. Of course hijinks eschew.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 27% (very bad)
Metacritic Rating: 34/100 (poor)
The Last Exorcism Part II (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly
Written by Damien Chazelle, Ed Gass-Donnelly (screenplay), Damien Chazelle (story), Huck Butko, Andrew Gurland (character)
Starring: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark, Muse Watson, Louis Herthum
Is it really ‘The Last Exorcism’ when there is a part 2? The Last Exorcism Part II follows Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) from the first movie and is taken to a women’s refuge as she tries to rebuild her life. But the demons from her past still haunt her. The Last Exorcism Part II ditches the found footage style of the first movie for a more conventional approach.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 17% (awful)
Metacritic Rating: 35/100 (poor)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 2.0/10 (read our review)
DVD Special Features: Shooting in New Orleans Featurette; Hair Salon Scare – The Last Exorcism Part II Goes Viral
Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Nell’s story featurette; Commentary with Ed Gass-Donnelly and Eli Roth
Directed by William Cameron Menzis
Written by H.G. Wells
Starring: Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson, Cedric Hardwicke, Pearl Argyle, Margaretta Scott
H.G. Wells is known for being of the greatest sci-fi writers ever and he adapted his own novel The Shape of Things to Come. Things to Come is story spanning from 1940 to 2036 about society collapsing and rebuilding itself during and after a World War.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
DVD Special Features: New, restored high-definition digital film transfer; Audio commentary featuring film historian and writer David Kalat; New interview with writer and cultural historian Christopher Frayling on the film’s design; New visual essay by film historian Bruce Eder on Arthur Bliss’s musical score; Unused special effects footage by artist László Moholy-Nagy, along with a video installation piece by Jan Tichy incorporating that footage; Audio recording from 1936 of a reading from H.G. Well’s writing about the wandering sickness, the plague in Things To Come; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 3 stars, Audio 3 stars, Extras 4 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.
Marketa Lazrova (1967) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by František Vláčil
Written by František Pavlíček, František Vláčil (screenplay), Vladislav Vančura (novel)
Starring: Magda Vášáryová, Joesef Kemr, František Velecký, Naďa Hejná, Jaroslav Moučka
The final re-release from the Criterion Collection this week is the Marketa Lazrova. Set in the Medieval Age in the height of paganism being replaced by Christianity the daughter of a Feudal Lord is kidnapped by a group of knights and ends up becoming the mistress of one of them.
DVD Special Features: Disc One – Trailer; Disc Two – New Interview with actors Magda Vásáryová, Ivan Palúch, and Vlastimil Harapes and Costume Designer Theodor Pistek; ; New Interviews with Film Historian Peter Hames and Journalist and Film Critic Antonín Liehm; ; In the Web of Time, a short documentary from 1989 by Cinematographer Frantisek Uldrich, in which Director Frantisek Vlácil discusses his filmmaking process; ; Interview with Universal Production Partners technical director Ivo Marák about the film’s restoration; ; Gallery of Storyboards by Vlácil; ; Plus: A booklet featuring essays by film scholar Tom Gunning and translator Alex Zucker and a 1969 interview with Vlácil
The Howling (1981) (Blu-ray)
Directed by Joe Dante
Written by John Sayles, Terence H. Winkless (screenplay), Gary Brandner (novel)
Starring: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Belinda Balaski
1981 saw two werewolf movies being released. The most famous one is An American Werewolf in London, the other is The Howling helmed by Gremlins director Joe Dante.
Karen White (Dee Wallace) is a TV news anchor who survives an attack from a serial killer goes to remote mountain resort known as The Colony. But Karen ends up having to fight for her soul making a terrible discovery.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 64% (good)
Amazon Price: $18.96 (Blu-ray)
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 2.5 stars, Video 3 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 5 stars, Replay 3 stars (out of 5). Recommended.
The Stand (1994) (DVD)
Directed by Mick Garris
Written by Stephen King
Starring: Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, Rob Lowe, Laura San Giacomo, Miguel Ferrer, Ruby Dee, Bill Farerbakke, Corin Nemec, Adam Storke, Ray Walston, Matt Frewer, Ossie Davis
The Stand is considered one of Stephen King’s best novels (and it is certainly worth a read) and in 1994 it was adapted into a miniseries with King adapting it himself. This miniseries tells how a virus is accidentally released by the American government, killing over 99% of the world’s population and how survivors in America split into two factions.
DVD Special Features: Closed Caption
Amazon Price: $11.86 (DVD)