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DISCussion: New on DVD and Blu-ray (8.13.13)

The Criterion Collection have re-released many great movies and art house flicks and their re-release of the week is the sci-fi thriller Seconds. Like many Criterion Collection releases this DVD and Blu-ray re-release features commentaries, documentaries and an essay from critic David Sterritt.

First Release                             
- Olympus Has Fallen (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Emperor (DVD and Blu-ray)
- What Maisie Knew (DVD and Blu-ray)
- A Band Called Death (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Company You Keep (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Big Wedding (DVD and Blu-ray) 

- Seconds (1966) (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Muppet Movie (1979) (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Shane (1953) (Blu-ray)
- Flashdance (1983) (Blu-ray)

Seconds (1966) (DVD and Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

Directed by John Frankenheimer
Written by Lewis John Carlino (screenplay), David Ely (novel)
Starring: Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph

Seconds is a psychological sci-fi thriller from director John Frankenheimer (Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate). Based on a novel by David Ely, Seconds focuses on Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), a middle-aged banker who finds out about an organization who can fake his death and give him a new life. After his death is faked Arthur goes through reconstructive surgery and months of training before he comes back as artist Tony Wilson (Rock Hudson). But it turns out his new life is not all it appears to be.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
88% (excellent)


DVD Special Features: New 4K digital film restoration; Audio commentary featuring director John Frankenheimer; Actor Alec Baldwin on Frankenheimer and Seconds; New program on the making of Seconds; Interview with Frankenheimer from 1971; New visual essay by film scholars R. Barton Palmer and Murray Pomerance; PLUS: An essay by critic David Sterritt

Amazon Price: $19.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 4 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.

Many movies are being released and re-released this week, including the Gerald Butler led action flick Olympus Has Fallen, the drama What Maisie Knew and the documentary A Band Called Death. The Muppet Movie and Shane are both being re-released.

Olympus Has Fallen (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Rick Yune

Olympus Has Fallen is the first of two movies 2013 about the White House being taken over by terrorists. Olympus Has Fallen stood out for its R-rated action and was called by some “Die Hard in the White House”.

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is a Secret Service agent who is forced into a desk job after the President’s wife was killed in an accident when he was leading the President’s (Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight) detail. But when the White House is taken over by North Korean terrorists lead by Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune, Die Another Day) Mike ends up being the only one on the inside who can stop the terrorists and save the President and senior members of his cabinet.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 48% (average)
Metacritic Rating: 41/100 (poor)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 5.0/10 (read our review)


DVD Special Features: None

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Bloopers; Under surveillance: the making of Olympus Has Fallen; Creating the action: special effects & design; The epic ensemble; Deconstructing the black hawk sequence; Ground combat: fighting the terrorists 

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 3 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 2.5 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

(DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Peter Webber
Written by Vera Blasi, David Klass (screenplay), Shrio Okamoto (book ‘His Majesty’s Salvation’)
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew Fox

Emperor is a historical drama set at the end of World War II after the surrender of Japan, focusing on Brigadier General Bonner Fellars (Matthew Fox) who has to decide on whether Emperor Hirohito should be tried as a war criminal.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 30% (bad)
Metacritic Rating: 48/100 (average)


Amazon Price: $13.69 (DVD), $17.99 (Blu-ray)

What Maisie Knew (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Written by Nancy Doyne, Carroll Cartwright (screenplay), Henry James (novel)
Starring: Onata Aprile, Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Jonna Vanderham, Alexander Skarsgård

Based on a novel by Henry James What Maisie Knew is drama about Maisie (Onata Aprilie), a six-year-old who thrown into the middle of her parents’ bitter divorce and fighting who has custody over the child.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 88% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 74/100 (good)


Amazon Price: $10.96 (DVD), $16.93 (Blu-ray)

A Band Called Death (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett
Starring: Bobby Hackney Sr.

A Band Called Death is a documentary about the early 70s punk Death whose music was ahead of its time and now have found fame.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 96% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 77/100 (very good)


DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary with Directors Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett; Audio Commentary with the Hackney Family; Q&A Live at The Vermont International Film Festival; Deleted Scenes; "Let the World Turn" Music Video; Trailers; 20-Page Booklet; High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the Film

Amazon Price: $19.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

The Company You Keep (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Robert Redford 
Written by Lem Dobbs (screenplay), Neil Gordon (novel)
Starring: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon

Robert Redford returning to starring and directing with his latest movie The Company You Keep. Redford stars as Nick Sloan, a former member of The Weather Underground accused of murdering a security guard during a bank robbery. His real identity is discovered by a journalist, Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf), forcing Nick on the run and try and clear his name.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 56% (average)
Metacritic Rating: 57/100 (average)


DVD Special Features: Behind the Scenes: The Movement, The Script, Preparation and The Cast; On The Red Carpet; The Company You Keep Press Conference  

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

The Big Wedding (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Justin Zackham
Written by Justin Zackham (screenplay), Jean-Stéphane Bron, Karine Sudan (original movie ‘Mon frère se marie
Starring: Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Ben Barnes, Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams

The Big Wedding is an ensemble comedy about Alejandro (Ben Barnes, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) and Missy (Amanda Seyfried), a young couple who are about to get married. Missy’s parents are strict Catholics and Alejandro’s parents are divorced: so for the wedding weekend, Alejandro’s parents, Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) have to pretend they are still together.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 7% (awful)
Metacritic Rating: 28/100 (bad)


Amazon Price: $11.99 (DVD), $16.99 (Blu-ray)

The Muppet Movie (1979) (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by James Frawley
Written by Jack Burns, Jerry Juhl
Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Charles Durning, Austin Pendleton

The Muppets are a stable of family entertainment, appearing in TV shows, seven feature films and with an eighth on the way. The Muppet Movie is the first movie to feature these beloved characters, focusing on Kermit the Frog going to Hollywood to find fame, meeting colorful characters on the way. But Kermit also has to run away from a frog legs merchant who wants to sell his legs to a restaurant.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 90% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 67/100 (good)


DVD Special Features: Pepe Profiles Present Kermit -- A Frog's Life: Pepe The King Prawn Turns The Spotlight On One Of The World's Most Famous Frogs

Amazon Price: $12.99 (DVD), $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Shane (1953) (Blu-ray)

Directed by George Stevens
Written by A.B. Guthrie Jr. (screenplay), Jack Schaefer (story)
Starring: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon deWilde, Jack Palance

Shane is a highly regarded Western, earning six Oscar nominations, winning one for Best Color Cinematography. Alan Ladd stars as Shane, a drifter and ex-gunslider who wants a quiet life. But after befriending a married couple Shane is called back into action when a wealthy cattleman, Ryker (Emile Meyer) wants to force settlers of their own land.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 97% (excellent)


DVD Special Features: Commentary with George Stevens Jr. (Production Assistant and Son of the Late Director/ Producer, George Stevens) and Ivan Moffat (Associate Producer)

Amazon Price: $14.49 (Blu-ray)

Flashdance (1983) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Adrian Lyne
Written by Tom Hedley, Joe Eszterhas (screenplay), Tom Hedley (story)
Starring: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri

Flashdance is seen as a product of its time, a very 80s dance movie about 18-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Owen (Jennifer Beals), a welder and exotic dancer who dreams of going to ballet school.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 30% (very bad)
Metacritic Rating: 35/100 (poor)


DVD Special Features: Exclusive 6-Track Music CD: Includes "Flashdance - What A Feeling"; The History of Flashdance; The Look of Flashdance; Flashdance Music and Songs; Flashdance Choreography; Releasing the Flashdance Phenomenon; Teaser Trailer; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)


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