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 – In contrast with the other subpar supernatural blockbusters released last August, Nick Murphy’s “The Awakening” lacks the cheesy thrills of “The Possession” and the hilarious ineptitude of “The Apparition.” Instead, it’s a humorless and ponderous bore buoyed only slightly by its vivid lead performance from Rebecca Hall, a supremely gifted character actress who has yet to receive the cinematic showcase she deserves.
CHICAGO – There a lot of sighs and longing looks in the new horror film “The Awakening” (and good luck trying to distinguish between the generically-titled “The Apparition,” “The Possession,” and this one — all in theaters). This disappointing attempt at an atmospheric ghost story tries to tell a tale that first feels like a haunting from within.
CHICAGO – I approached “John Carter” on Blu-ray expecting to fall strongly on either side of the debate surrounding one of the biggest bombs of 2012. The cyclical nature of entertainment journalism means everything that faces as much critical derision as “Carter” did when it hit theaters is likely to get a camp of loyal devotees before long and I had heard from several people that Andrew Stanton’s film wasn’t actually all that bad. It’s not. But it’s not good either. It’s just there. There are elements that work, for sure, but the thin storytelling and characters for whom it’s simply impossible to care about make it more lackluster than anything else.
CHICAGO – Coming on March 9th is one of the more anticipated action films of 2012. Walt Disney presents “John Carter,” featuring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Samantha Morton, Clarán Hinds and Bryan Cranston. The story is based on a 100 year old series of novels by “Tarzan” creator Edgar Rice Burroughs.
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 – Some movies were clearly a lot of “fun” for the cast and crew. A different f-word may come to mind when the cast of the period action/adventure “Centurion” thinks back on the film’s brutal production.
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
CHICAGO – It’s officially a strikeout for Marvel’s The Punisher, a character now featured in not one, not two, but three bad movies of his very own. Dolph Lundgren swung wildly and missed with his “The Punisher” and Thomas Jane nearly connected but went foul with his reboot of the franchise. Now, Ray Stevenson is the latest actor to fail to connect with this legendary character in “Punisher: War Zone,” now available on Blu-Ray.
CHICAGO – “Deadwood” and “The Wire”, two of the best television programs of the last decade, have been given lavish, must-own treatment by HBO with spectacular season sets available just in time for the holidays.
CHICAGO – This 18-image slideshow contains official press images for “Punisher: War Zone,” which stars Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchinson, and Julie Benz from director Lexi Alexander. The film opens on Dec. 5, 2008.