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The 2 Best New Blu-Ray and DVD Releases of April 2014

By Jodi Clager | DVD Releases | March 31, 2014 | Comments ()


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47 Ronin

“It is filled with gorgeous visuals, creative ones that draw a world of deep mysteries that its characters do not understand, populated by creatures that slink out of myth without any attempt to categorize them into neat little boxes of explanation. The movie portrays a deep world, the sort that you imagine any number of stories could emerge from.

It’s a nice little story, one that focuses in on a more personal story, on the story of men who take up arms in order to set things right, without hampering the story with the fantasy movie insistence on making every story about preventing the end of the world. And the alien nature of feudal Japan is a refreshing setting. This is not Japan on the decline, the last gasp of the samurai, and it’s not the typical movie version of feudal society that gets updated to reflect our modern sensibilities.”
Steven Lloyd Wilson

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty shouldn’t really hang together. Directed by and starring Ben Stiller, written by Steve Conrad, and based loosely on the 1939 short story by James Thurber (and following in the footsteps of the 1947 film version starring Danny Kaye), the film is an often wild assemblage of tones and ideas. Some of the fantasy sequences that play out in Walter’s daydreams are choked with CGI and tiresome in their plasticity, yet others are simple and perfectly executed glimpses into the character’s psyche. Some of the plot twists feel absurd even for a comic road movie, yet the acting within individual scenes is enough to keep the ground under your feet one step at a time. The film has a habit of falling back on existential revelation through scenery changes, yet what else should we want or expect from a story about a man who learns to embrace life’s possibilities while traveling around the world? And it’s occasionally sentimental to the point of being a little corny, but crucially, you never get the sense that Stiller’s trying to pull one over on you. The characters aren’t mocked for wanting to be loved, or to do good work, or to connect with one another, and there’s no sense of irony or distance between Stiller’s presentation of the film and its effect on the viewer. The film skates between meditation and slapstick, aiming for — and mostly achieving — a kind of fragile wistfulness that works in the moment, even if it’s a little fleeting after.”

Daniel Carlson



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Jiffylush

    "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty shouldn’t really hang together."

    Is my brain broken or does that not work?

  • John W

    Can this be expanded and become a regular post? Or is that mission creep?

  • Bob Genghis Khan

    Ron Burgundy, Philomena, and Smaug would all like a word.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Smaug sucked. There are parts of a good movie in it, but the parts of a bad movie surrounding them are to prevalent.

  • BWeaves

    I am SOOOO disappointed in The Hobbit (I & II) so far. I'll see the last one, and then I'm never watching it again. Comparing it to the LOTRs which I watch almost yearly in its 12 hour long extended version, makes me sad. While I wish LOTRs was actually longer and included the scouring of the Shire, I wish The Hobbit was shorter and stuck to the damn story as written.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    The LotRs are too long as well. The cinematic versions had a good length, but Jackson botched the editing badly.
    Instead of showing endless sweeping landscape shots, 1-minute-blur-effect wankery over a horse and eagle sequences that made me groan (not to mention the 30 minute epilogue), he could have focused on character development and action (and yes, included the Scouring of the Shire).

    It's not that Jackson's incompetent. Bilbo's battle of words with Smaug was brilliant, as was showing Thorin's profile with that of Durin's statue in the background. He's just too enarmoured with himself to notice that he's producing huge amounts of chaff around all the good bits.

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