In an interesting mix of new releases hitting the home market this week, action-thriller "Man on a Ledge" and Shakespearean adaptation "Coriolanus" are among the most prominent new titles, with applauded indie gems like "Goon" and "We Need to Talk About Kevin" also getting launched for niche audiences. For TV lovers, HBO is finally releasing the fourth season of hit series "True Blood" as the fifth season gets set to premiere in a couple weeks and Criterion is distributing collector's editions of two celebrated Ingmar Bergman films, "Summer with Monika" and "Summer Interlude."
With Sam Worthington leading the way coming off the success of "Avatar" and "Clash of the Titans," it looked like action-thriller "Man on a Ledge" would have a chance to make an impact with target action audiences. But due to critical lashings and a general lack of buzz, "Man on a Ledge" had a hard time competing for moviegoers with "The Grey" and "One for the Money" back in January. Even with a production budget of $42 million, one of the biggest in the quiet months of January and February, "Man on a Ledge" hauled in a disappointing $18 million in the U.S., landing in the top ten just twice in the process.
Worthington plays a man wrongly accused of stealing a precious diamond worth millions, with Ed Harris stepping in for a turn as the megalomaniac villain. While there were plenty of mainstream action-thrillers around when "Man on a Ledge" was in theaters, it should do slightly better in the home market with only indie films to compete with.
Playing to a much different crowd will be Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut "Coriolanus," an adaptation of one of William Shakespeare's dark masterpieces. Fiennes also stars as a tortured rogue Roman general heading to the brink of an abyss, with Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave rounding out the impressive cast of character actors. Though it could barely secure a release in theaters, "Coriolanus" was met with almost universal critical acclaim, giving it a much better chance on DVD and Blu-ray over the next couple of weeks.
Also competing for niche audiences will be R-rated comedy "Goon," starring Sean William Scott and Jay Baruchel. Though Scott headlining a comedy about ice hockey was a very tough sell to mainstream audiences, reviews were surprisingly positive, and "Goon" was given kudos for being much more complex and mature than the previews led audiences to believe. Eugene Levy also co-stars, bringing the popular "American Pie" tandem back together for the second time this year.
As "Goon" hopes to grab adult audiences looking for a few laughs, those looking for something a little darker might turn to "We Need to Talk About Kevin," an acclaimed horror-thriller about a couple trying to steer their son away from his violent nature. Tilda Swinton gives yet another heralded, powerhouse performance as a concerned mother and John C. Reilly takes a break from broad comedy to play her naïve and troubled husband. "We Need to Talk About Kevin" played well on the film festival circuit but struggled to find a distributor and barely got a release at the beginning of the year.
With HBO remaining as popular as ever, they're set to launch the fifth season of hit series "True Blood" just as their enormously successful "Game of Thrones" is set to wrap up its second season. For those looking to catch up before "True Blood" gets going again, you can now check out the fourth season with DVD and Blu-ray editions loaded with behind-the-scenes extras. Though not as acclaimed as HBO series like "Thrones" and "Boardwalk Empire," "True Blood" still has a strong fan base that should take it well beyond season five.
While vampire fiction fans check out "True Blood" this week, film buffs can pick up early Ingmar Bergman films "Summer with Monika" and "Summer Interlude" as they get launched in special edition Criterion collections. Before Bergman gained international acclaim with famous masterpieces like "The Seventh Seal" and "Persona," his "Summer with Monika" and "Summer Interlude" showed a prominent director on the rise in the early 1950s. "Summer Interlude" was one of Bergman's first nostalgic art house hits, something he would eventually become noted for, and "Summer with Monika" was his first major brush with controversy due to the frank expression of sexuality, which was just about unheard of in 1953.
Next week, "John Carter" will hope to find a few more action fans than it did in a weak box office run, while R-rated hit "Safe House" is another prominent title getting launched on DVD and Blu-ray, with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds starring. Family-friendly "Journey 2" will also hit stores and fans of A&E's popular series "Breaking Bad" can also get their hands on the critically acclaimed fourth season.
by RTT Staff Writer
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