Even without a major release hitting DVD and Blu-ray, movie and TV fans still have plenty of options this week, from new releases like "Hatfields & McCoys" and "Le Havre" to special edition sets of classics "Grand Illusion" and "The Seven Year Itch." Also getting launched this week will be a new set of Arnold Schwarzenegger's version of "Total Recall" and lesser known new titles like "LOL" and "Detention."
Instead of playing a major role in Quentin Tarantino's highly anticipated "Django Unchained," Kevin Costner instead passed for passion project "Hatfields & McCoys," a History Channel miniseries co-starring Bill Paxton and Tom Berenger. Taking place just after the end of the Civil War along the Kentucky/West Virginia border, "Hatfields & McCoys" takes audiences into a bitter conflict between two rival families struggling for power. "Hatfields & McCoys" was met with nearly universal critical praise that led to 22 Emmy nominations, including nods for Costner, Paxton and for Best Movie/Miniseries.
While those who missed the airing of "Hatfields & McCoys" can check it out on DVD and Blu-ray this week, art house film audiences might turn to "Le Havre," an animated French film that received nearly universal critical praise. "Le Havre" tells the uplifting story of an old man who takes in a young boy with no place to turn. Though it didn't receive much of a release in the U.S., "Le Havre" was a quiet hit abroad and carries a rare 99% Rotten Tomatoes rating, which should help it find its intended audience over the next couple of weeks.
Also hitting stores this week will be a special edition of director Jean Renoir's masterpiece "Grand Illusion," which is recognized as one of the greatest war films ever made some 75 years after it was filmed. "Grand Illusion" follows the lives of a close-knit group of French army officers who are imprisoned during WWI, a storyline that turned out to be a very controversial in the years leading up to WWII; not only was "Grand Illusion" denounced by infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, but it was eventually pulled from circulation in France as well. After his success with "Grand Illusion," Renoir would make "The Rules of the Game" just two years later, a film widely considered to be one of the best films ever made.
Those looking for a lighter classic might check out the new Blu-ray edition of "The Seven Year Itch," the famous 1955 film starring Marilyn Monroe. From legendary director Billy Wilder ("Sunset Boulevard," "Some Like It Hot") "The Seven Year Itch" is a light comedy about a married man struggling with temptations when a beautiful new girl (Monroe) moves in next door. Though not one of Wilder's most acclaimed films, "The Seven Year Itch" represents Monroe at her peak in Hollywood and was one of the most popular comedies of the 1950s.
Aiming at a much different audience this week is the special edition Blu-ray set of "Total Recall," an action-thriller starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Based on a short story by famous sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, "Total Recall' was nothing short of a smash hit both in the U.S. and around the globe in 1990, solidifying Schwarzenegger's status as a major international star. The new Blu-ray set also reaches stores just a few days before a "Total Recall" remake hits theaters, with Colin Farrell stepping in for Schwarzenegger.
Also getting launched this week will be seldom seen new releases "LOL" and "Detention," though neither is expected to have much of an impact on the home market. "LOL" stars Miley Cyrus in a PG-13 comedy about a teenager struggling to find her identity. Even with a clear angle for young teens and Cyrus' popularity, though, "LOL" was unable to secure a theatrical release and probably won't have much of an audience on DVD and Blu-ray either.
Similarly, horror-thriller "Detention" was slated to get a theatrical release back in April, though negative buzz made it a difficult sell and it never actually reached theaters. Starring Dane Cook and Josh Hutcherson, "Detention" tells the story of a band of teenagers who come together to survive the wrath of a psychotic murderer. "Detention" did gather some buzz on the film festival circuit, most notably at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, but the commercial potential of the R-rated release is still very limited as it reaches the home market.
Next week, the release schedule will pick back up with the release of massively successful animated film "The Lorax," the adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic that stands as one of the biggest family hits of 2012. Critically praised documentary "Marley" will also hit DVD and Blu-ray as will the 25th anniversary Blu-ray set of Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket."
by RTT Staff Writer
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