Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today's New DVDs- 1/12/10

In the decade or so that I've been an active purchaser of DVDs, I honestly can't recall a single day that saw the release of more quality movies than this one. If you're a real movie lover, steer clear of Amazon and stay away from Best Buy-- you're likely to lose your shirt on all the quality new shit.

Moon: It's a tough call to make, but I'd pick Duncan Jones' smart sci-fi thriller as the best of today's considerably quality bunch; it's a brilliant, involving, compelling picture, and DVD Savant and Blu-ray.com give the disc high marks.

In The Loop: Goddamn it, this is a funny movie. It's also whip-smart and paced within an inch of its life, with crackerjack performances by James Gandolfini and Anna Chumlsky and a bunch of British people you've never heard of, but will certainly remember. They didn't send a Blu-ray review copy to DVD Talk (booooo), but Jamie S. Rich has a very good review of the standard-def version.

The Brothers Bloom: Rian Johnson's playful comic caper was one of the most purely enjoyable releases of last year--nimble, funny, and stylish. Again, no Blu-ray for us, just the regular DVD (which Jeremy Mathews reviewed back when it was out, seemingly only for rental, in the fall)

The Hurt Locker: There is so much that's so right about Kathryn Bigelow's agonizingly tense war picture, it's easy to understand why it's been praised from all quarters. But I contend that there is an even better movie inside it, if they'd trusted viewers enough to strip away the unnecessary exposition and explanations of the second hour. Still, awfully goddamned good. (No Blu for review again. Here's Casey Burchby's take on the DVD.)

Passing Strange: I'm still worried I'm not giving Spike Lee's performance film of the thrilling Broadway rock musical the sell job it deserves. So let's say it like this: Best musical of the decade. There. Go get it.

Big Fan: Patton Oswalt, arguably our finest working stand-up, makes an impressive dramatic debut in this tightly wound character study from writer/director Robert Siegel (who penned The Wrestler).

Departures: It may not have quite deserved it's Best Foreign Film Oscar (Waltz with Bashir, hellloooooo), but there's still much to admire in this elegant Japanese comedy/drama.

By The People- The Election of Barack Obama: Some of the structural and editorial choices are dubious, but there's still some staggering, remarkable footage in this HBO documentary on the historic run of the 44th president.

The Simpsons- Season 20: The review Blu is on its way to me, but Fox is doing some weird stuff with The Simpsons on DVD--their last set, back in the fall, was for season 12. Now, strangely, they've skipped most of the '00s by jumping ahead to the most recent year. Was it so they could start putting out Blu-rays? Will they work their way back to 13 from here? I'll ask all of these questions when I review it, you know, in a week or so.

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