Without many new titles to choose from, Willem Dafoe's art house thriller "The Hunter" is the top new release hitting DVD and Blu-ray this week, followed by seldom seen limited releases like "Jesus Henry Christ" and "God Bless America." In time for the holiday, Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July" hits stores in a new Blu-ray set this week, as do a few lesser known Disney films like "Treasure Planet" and "Home on the Range." Quentin Tarantino fans looking to see one of the influences for the director's upcoming "Django Unchained" can check out the Blu-ray of "Django Kill…If You Live, Shoot!" - a spaghetti western from the late 1960s.
Backed by light critical support, "The Hunter" hit theaters back in April as a release stuck in between audiences. Not revered enough to catch on with art house crowds and not with enough action to appeal to mainstream audiences, "The Hunter" ended up with a very limited release from Magnolia at just 17 total theaters at its widest point.
Starring Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill, "The Hunter" follows the story of a trained mercenary who is hired to track down the supposedly extinct Tasmanian Tiger. "The Hunter" received some kudos for its brilliant cinematography in rural Australia, though it was also panned for being plodding and unfocused. "The Hunter" could have a hard time finding an audience at home as well, though it should do considerably better than it did at the box office.
While "The Hunter" had a small theatrical release, "God Bless America" was even smaller. "God Bless America" tells the story of a disturbed man (Joel Murray) who decides to enact revenge on the lowest of the low in American culture. Somewhat similar to a revenge fantasy like "Falling Down," "God Bless America" could be a good fit for adults interested in dark comedy.
Also aimed at adults this week is "Jesus Henry Christ," a PG-13 comedy about a bright but rebellious boy struggling to fit in. "Jesus Henry Christ" barely received a theatrical release and has been mostly ripped by critics, which will make it a tough sell on DVD and Blu-ray this week as well.
Those not impressed by the new titles hitting stores this week can turn to a few older ones, including Blu-ray sets of inspirational drama "Phenomenon," political drama "Born on the Fourth of July" and Disney films like "Treasure Planet" and "Home on the Range."
Released in 1996 after John Travolta's career was revitalized by "Pulp Fiction" and "Get Shorty," "Phenomenon" was a big hit with mainstream audiences, racking up more than $100 million domestically and finishing as one of the biggest hits of the year. With a PG rating, "Phenomenon" might be a good fit for family audiences looking to try something a little bit different this week.
Families also will get a chance to check out classically animated Disney films "Treasure Planet" and "Home on the Range" as they hit special edition Blu-ray this week. Starring the voice of Joseph Gordon-Levitt well before his current popularity, "Treasure Planet" launched in 2002 to mild critical praise, though it also marked one of Disney's biggest miscalculations. With an enormous $140 million production budget, "Treasure Planet" made just $38 million in the U.S. as audiences started to favor computer animation over classical animation. Two years later, "Home on the Range" also struggled to find much of an audience, though it still should be a good fit for families with very young children.
Aiming at a much different demographic this week will be a special Blu-ray set of Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July," a gritty drama starring Tom Cruise as a disturbed Vietnam veteran turned war protestor. Based on a true story, "Fourth of July" marks one of Stone's most personal films and launched in 1989 to almost universal critical praise.
Also looking to find a few adults this week will be "Django Kill...If You Live, Shoot!" - a sequel to cult hit "Django." Released at the very beginning of the current movie rating system in 1967, spaghetti western "Django Kill" was extremely controversial, though it failed to have an impact on mainstream audiences. More than four decades later, famed director Quentin Tarantino has borrowed the "Django" films as a protesterstarting point for "Django Unchained," a slave's revenge tale starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz.
Next week, the DVD release schedule will pick back up a little bit with the release of "American Reunion" and a special edition Blu-ray set of Best Picture Oscar-winner "Chariots of Fire." Prominent releases for the rest of the month include a Blu-ray set of early Martin Scorsese masterpiece "Mean Streets," a new edition of "Singin' in the Rain" and a restored version of Jean Renoir's classic "Grand Illusion."
by RTT Staff Writer
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