Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.
CHICAGO – There’s a large part of me that wants to wholeheartedly recommend and embrace “Cloud Atlas” for two reasons. One, it’s based on arguably the best book of the millennium so far, David Mitchell’s stunning masterpiece. And if more people see the movie, more are likely to read a book that everyone should experience.
CHICAGO – “Skyfall” is a gorgeous, action-packed, superbly structured piece of modern filmmaking. It is not only one of the best James Bond movies in the five-decade history of the beloved character but it’s one of the best action movies of the last decade. Sam Mendes’ film is smart, sexy, dangerous, and, most stunningly of all, beautiful.
CHICAGO – Not all great works of literature make great works of film. David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” is a masterpiece but Tom Tykwer, Andy & Lana Wachowksi’s “Cloud Atlas” is definitely not. It is an ambitious work with many of Mitchell’s fascinating ideas about the ripple effect of emotion through time left intact but it is a work that frustrates as often as it thrills.
CHICAGO – James Bond fans finally have a first look at the new film ‘Skyfall,’ even if it isn’t much. A photo, released today by Sony Pictures, shows Daniel Craig (who is playing Bond for the third time) holding a gun as he appears to be looking out a window that reflects some type of neon lights.
CHICAGO – The next installment in the Bond films, the twenty-third installment to be accurate, has finally had its title revealed. Known as Bond 23 for months, the new film will officially be called “Skyfall.” The title was revealed this morning at a press conference by the producers of the film.
CHICAGO – “The Hour” recently finished its run on BBC America and was very quickly released on Blu-ray from BBC and Warner Bros. The quick turnaround is a brilliant move on the part of the company, striking while the iron is hot if you will. If they released “The Hour” in 6 to 9 months it wouldn’t have the same impact. Now, people talk about having watched the show to their friends and they can go out and see what the buzz is about for themselves. I’m surprised more studios don’t follow the same pattern.
CHICAGO – BBC America’s “The Hour,” debuting tomorrow night, August 17th, 2011, is a well-produced, well-acted, well-conceived piece that’s just…well. It’s a great piece of drama to use as an example as to how quality television is more than just the sum of its parts.
CHICAGO – One of the most beautiful films of 2009 is only available in standard definition DVD with barely a special feature and a mediocre technical transfer. There are few recent releases that aggravate me as much as that of the great “Bright Star,” a spectacular film given unbelievably shoddy treatment by its studio.
CHICAGO – The BBC mini-series adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” is so beloved that the new version with Matthew Goode, Hayley Atwell, Ben Whishaw, Emma Thompson, and Michael Gambon was doomed from the beginning. Miramax has done the filmmakers a disservice by releasing their work only on standard DVD, but fans of period pieces or classic literature should give Julian Jarrold’s film a chance.