Continuing on from the start of our new weekly feature last week, rounding up the new releases coming to DVD and Blu-ray each Monday, we have a brilliant line-up of films making their way to the shelves of your local stores today, and of course the virtual shelves online.
We’re treated to a fantastic set of new films this week – some of the finest of last year – a few excellent TV shows, and a handful of classics that are being given the HD treatment, released on Blu-ray for the first time.
We’re big fans of the Blu-ray format here at HeyUGuys, and can’t recommend it enough to you. If your television has the means to play Blu-rays and you don’t yet have a player, I thoroughly encourage you to treat yourself to one at the nearest possible opportunity. I made the upgrade about two years ago, and haven’t looked back since. Now, to start things off…
My personal picks of the week:
This week, we have a tie in the form of,
Steve McQueen’s Shame & Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
(And if you’re reading this on/before 16th May, you can enter our competition to win Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on Blu-ray Triple Play here.)
DVD and Blu-ray
If there’s just one film you buy this week, let Shame be it.
Steve McQueen’s second film sees him re-team with Michael Fassbender after 2008’s Hunger for what is, hands down, one of the best films we’ve seen in years. Taking a handful of awards at festivals and awards ceremonies across the world, the film was unjustly left not nominated at the Academy Awards earlier this year.
“Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a 30-something man living comfortably in New York balancing a busy job and active social life.
When the wayward Sissy (Carey Mulligan), turns up at his apartment unannounced, Brandon’s carefully managed lifestyle spirals out of control.
From award winning director Steve McQueen (Hunger), Shame is a compelling and timely examination of the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us.”
The music which you can hear in the trailer above is part of the score from Harry Escott, and it’s absolutely phenomenal. The piece is called ‘Unravelling’, and you can listen to it in its entirety here.
Everybody else excited about McQueen re-teaming with Fassbender once more on their next film, Twelve Years A Slave, with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Brad Pitt? (If you’re not, you definitely should be.)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
DVD and Blu-ray Triple Play
(also available – The Sherlock Holmes Collection: 1 & 2 (DVD & Blu-ray))
You can read Jon’s review of the Blu-ray here (about two hours after this post goes live).
Guy Ritchie returned to the 19th Century last year with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law reprising their roles as, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Picking up where 2009’s Sherlock Holmes left off, A Game of Shadows introduces two main new characters in the form of Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry), the detective’s even smarter brother, and the notorious Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). Noomi Rapace also joins the cast as Madame Simza, a character created for the film.
I was a really big fan of Ritchie’s first Holmes film, and in my mind, the sequel took things even further; everything brilliant about the first film is present and enhanced, with a healthy dose of originality mixed in that is just a delight to watch, and proves Ritchie to be one of the biggest and best British directors working in the industry.
“Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and Jude Law returns as his friend and colleague, Dr. Watson, in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room…until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large-Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris)-and not only is he Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may give him an advantage over the renowned detective.”
Roll on Sherlock Holmes 3.
(And again, you can enter our competition to win the Triple Play version of the film here.)
Underworld: Awakening 3D
DVD & Blu-ray 3D
(also available – Underworld 1 – 4 Box Set (DVD & Blu-ray))
After taking a break and not starring in the third film, Kate Beckinsale returns for Underworld: Awakening, joined by a handful of new cast members and new co-directors in Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
“The Underworld franchise continues with this fourth film, bringing the action horror hybrid franchise into 3D for the first time. Kate Beckinsale returns to the Underworld film series for the fourth installment after taking the third outing off. which finds fierce vampire Selene (Beckinsale) escaping captivity and taking up arms against humans after mankind discovers the existence of vampires and lycans, and launches a massive war aimed at wiping out the creatures of the night. Filmmaking duo Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein (2010′s Shelter) direct from a script by John Hlavin and J. Michael Straczynski.”
DVD and Blu-ray
You can read our review of the DVD here.
The Oscar-nominated Jonah Hill (Moneyball) switched gears from his serious (and brilliant) performance in Moneyball back to the comedy we know and love him for, starring in David Gordon Green’s The Sitter, supported by a great cast including Sam Rockwell (Moon), Ari Graynor (Fringe), and J. B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm).
“When the world’s most irresponsible babysitter takes three of the world’s worst kids on an unforgettable overnight adventure through the streets of New York City, it’s anyone’s guess who’s going to make it home in one piece.
Starring Jonah Hill (Knocked Up, Get Him To The Greek) and Sam Rockwell (Moon & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), The Sitter is a new level of twisted and debauched hilarity from the director of Pineapple Express, David Gordon Green.”
Xavier Gens’ The Divide made its way very briefly to UK cinemas last month with a limited release, and unfortunately it wasn’t playing in any cinemas near me for me to be able to see it. I really liked the look of the trailer when it surfaced last year though, and with a cast headed up by Lauren German (Hostel: Part II), Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Michael Biehn (The Terminator), and Rosanna Arquette (The Whole Nine Yards), it certainly has promise.
The film is Gens’ first feature since 2007’s Hitman, which I loved, so I’m really looking forward to seeing his follow-up.
“When a cataclysmic explosion devastates New York, eight strangers take refuge in the basement of their apartment building, a converted fallout shelter. The shelter suddenly comes under attack by men in hazmat suits forcing the strangers to join forces in a desperate bid to take on the new enemy.
Amid the chaos there is no real understanding of what these hazmats are looking for and what drives them to be so merciless. Their sanctuary becomes a living hell where the survivors must use their wits to save themselves from becoming victims of the pack in a thrilling, action packed finale.”
DVD and Blu-ray
John Lyde’s Osombie isn’t a film I’m particularly familiar with, but the synopsis makes it sound crazy enough to gain a cult following of its own for fans of the genre:
“Dusty, a yoga instructor is on a rescue mission to save her brother Derek, a conspiracy theorist who is convinced Osama Bin Laden is still alive. In Afghanistan, Dusty falls in with a team of NATO Special Forces who are on a secret mission. Soon they realise that Derek was right as Osama has returned from his grave as a zombie and is making an army of zombie terrorists. Dusty and the troops must find a way to destroy the zombies before they take over the world.”
We’re currently also running a competition to win the film on DVD or Blu-ray, so if you’d like to enter that, you can do by clicking here before 23:59 on 21st May.
DVD and Blu-ray
Legendary Amazons is another film I’m not very familiar with, but it has the advantage of being produced by the great Jackie Chan, which is enough to catch my attention. It’s also being released by Cine Asia, who have a wealth of fantastic films in their catalogue, including Chocolate, Ip Man, The Grudge, and Shinjuku Incident.
“Produced by The King of Action Cinema, Jackie Chan, Legendary Amazons is an epic martial arts adventure set during the brutal wars between the Song and Xia Dynasties of Ancient China.
Paying homage to the 1972 Shaw Brothers classic “The 14 Amazons”, this action-packed blockbuster recounts the adventures of the legendary Yang Clan, a courageous and patriotic attack force of warrior women. Each a master of a unique style of martial arts, they are called to fight their greatest ever battle, when an overwhelming army of barbarian invaders threatens to overrun their homeland.
Packed with blockbuster thrills, Legendary Amazons delivers more action in one movie than you might possibly expect in five!”
Breaking Bad – Season 3
Breaking Bad is a programme I’m still yet to start watching, but I’ve heard nothing but good things from it. A friend of mine tells me it’s one of the best TV programmes ever made (something many critics agree with), and this is a person with good taste in everything, so I’m inclined to agree despite having never seen it before.
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul both took an Emmy back in 2010 for their performances this season (with Cranston winning his third consecutive Emmy after taking the award in the first two seasons too). Definitely must-see television.
“Winner of two 2010 Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Bryan Cranston and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad: Season 3 returns, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the best show on television.” Even though his cancer’s in remission, chemistry teacher-turned-meth maker Walter White (Cranston) still can’t catch a break. His wife (Anna Gunn) has filed for divorce, his DEA agent brother-in-law (Dean Norris) is out to bust him and a Mexican cartel just wants him dead. But with his family’s future still at stake Walt cooks up a deal that will make him a fortune, a scheme with a terrible price. Executive produced by Vince Gilligan and Mark Johnson.”
American Dad! – Volume 7
My personal favourite cartoon of all time, American Dad!’s seventh volume sees the nineteen brilliant episodes spread across three discs, with another dosage of Roger’s beloved comedy genius.
“From the creators of FAMILY GUY comes another outrageous and over-the-top take on the American nuclear family. With his doting wife, Francine, at his side, Stan Smith–CIA agent, anti-terror operative, and upstanding citizen–runs a household that includes his ultra-liberal daughter, Hayley; his dweeb son, Steve; a sarcastic alien named Roger; and a lascivious German goldfish, Klaus. Includes every episode from series 7.”
Bleach – Season 8 Part 2
Bleach is only anime I’ve ever really watched, and it is therefore by far the best. But I have a feeling that if I’d watched a hundred others, it would still top the list by a long shot. Simply put, it’s amazing.
The latest release features episodes 160-167 (which is a rather small number of episodes, I know), picking up where the first part of the season ended, for a barn-storming end to the season that will leave you wanting more.
Season 9 Part 1 is due out next month, so you don’t have long to wait.
(I couldn’t find a trailer for the release, so I included one of my favourite opening credits instead.)
Re-Released on Blu-ray this Week:
We have a handful of films given the HD touch-up treatment this week, released on Blu-ray for the first time.
First up is Spike Lee’s Malcolm X biopic, starring Denzel Washington, which is also getting a DVD re-release today. Also being released is James Mangold’s Kate & Leopold, starring Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, and Liev Schreiber; Julie Taymor’s Frida, the biopic of Frida Kahlo, with the brilliant Salma Hayek in the eponymous leading role; Philp Davis’ I.D., the ’90s British film made by the BBC about football hooliganism; and Richard Elfman’s 1982 musical comedy, Forbidden Zone, starring Hervé Villechaize (who played Nick Nack in The Man with the Golden Gun) and Susan Tyrrell (Fat City, Cry-Baby).