This week has, as ever, a fantastic new selection of films and TV programmes available for purchase from today, including three of my all-time favourite TV programmes. On top of that, there’s an Oscar winner, an Oscar nominee, and one film that everyone was talking about in the run-up to the awards season but was noticeably absent when the Academy Award nominees were announced in January.
My personal picks of the week:
With so much choice, I was forced to divide into two categories of film and TV this week:
James Bobbins’ The Muppets & Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar
Entourage Season 8, Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 & One Tree Hill Season 9
DVD and Blu-ray
Co-written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, and directed by James Bobin, The Muppets was of course a huge success at the end of last year, with Segel and Amy Adams starring in the leads alongside Rashida Jones and Chris Cooper.
The Muppets is this week’s Oscar-winner, taking the Best Original Song for Man or Muppet, written by Bret McKenzie (of Flight and the Conchords).
“Jason Segel, Academy Award nominee (Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role, Junebug, 2005; Doubt, 2008; The Fighter, 2010) Amy Adams and Academy Award winner (Best Performance by An Actor In A Supporting Role, Adaptation, 2002) Chris Cooper join everyone’s favourite Muppets and an all-star celebrity cast in a comic adventure for the whole family. While on vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary, and friend Mary uncover the diabolical plot of a greedy oil millionaire to destroy the Muppet Theatre. Now, the Muppet-loving trio must reunite Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and their friends to stage the greatest Muppet telethon ever and save their beloved theatre. The gang is back together again in a must-own movie full of irresistible music and family fun. Bring home the biggest Muppet adventure ever on Disney Blu-ray!”
DVD and Blu-ray Triple Play (inc. DVD and Digital Copy)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the eponymous J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood’s biopic, penned by the Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk). Co-starring Armie Hammer, and Naomi Watts in the leading trio, the film had a substantial level of Oscar buzz surrounding it leading up to the nominations, but was unfortunately left off the list when the final films were announced earlier this year.
Fear not though, because I think we’re all rooting for a nomination for DiCaprio in January next year, either for The Great Gatsby, Django Unchained, or both.
“Acclaimed actor Leonardo DiCaprio stars in Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood’s richly detailed biopic exploring the life and career of controversial FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. For nearly 50 years, Hoover (DiCaprio) fought crime as one of the most powerful law enforcers in America. During Hoover’s extended stint as Director of the FBI, however, his penchant for bending the law in the name of seeking justice and using the secrets of high profile leaders to gain personal leverage won him just as many supporters as detractors. Little did many other than his loyal colleague Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) and faithful secretary Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts) know, however, that Hoover himself was a man with many secrets to hide. Josh Lucas, Judi Dench, and Stephen Root co-star in film written by Oscar-winning Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black.”
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
DVD and Blu-ray Triply Play (inc. DVD and Digital Copy)
Adapting Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel of the same name, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close went to the Oscars this year in two categories, for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Max von Sydow. Though it ultimately went on to lose (to The Artist and Beginners, respectively), Stephen Daldry’s film has an impressive cast headed up by Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullocks, von Sydow, John Goodman, and Viola Davis that suggests it’s worth seeking out now if (like me) you missed it in cinemas.
The use of U2 in the trailer also doesn’t hurt at all.
“Based on the novel by author Jonathan Safran Foer, director Stephen Daldry’s post-9/11 drama follows the journey of a nine-year-old boy as he attempts to solve a family mystery. Two years after his father (Tom Hanks) is killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks, the curious boy discovers a mysterious key hidden in a household vase and begins an exhaustive search for the matching lock which takes him all around New York and meets many interesting people along the way.”
Man on a Ledge
DVD and Blu-ray
The Sam Worthington-starrer Man on a Ledge may not have been brilliantly received by critics, but if you’re a fan of the heist crime-thriller, the trailer definitely makes it look potentially great viewing. With Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, and Ed Harris co-starring, you can’t go too wrong.
“An NYPD hostage negotiator (Elizabeth Banks) attempts to talk cop-turned-fugitive Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) down from a high ledge, but she learns that he may have a hidden motive for threatening to take his own life. A priceless diamond has been stolen, and the thieves responsible are using Nick as their scapegoat. An escaped convict with nowhere to run, Nick realizes that no one will believe he is innocent, and he decides to take extreme measures in order to expose the men who set him up. Stepping out on a ledge 25 stories above the bustling concrete streets of New York City, the notorious fugitive quickly becomes a media sensation as the entire world watches, awaiting his next move. Meanwhile, Nick’s loyal brother races to help clear his sibling’s name and ensure that the guilty pay for their crimes before the situation ends in tragedy. Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, and Ed Harris co-star.”
DVD and Blu-ray Triple Play (inc. DVD and Ultraviolet Digital Copy)
(Released on Friday, 15th June)
Co-starring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington in the leads, this is another action-thriller this week worth looking into. Reynolds and Washington both excel in this genre when we get to see them in it, and the trailer for Daniel Espinosa’s film is impressive. It was received as somewhat average viewing by critics, but turned its $85m. budget into more than $200m. at the international box office, which would suggest it’s a safe bet if you’re in the mood for an action film this week.
“A rookie CIA operative goes on the run with a rogue former intelligence officer after a South African safe house comes under attack by heavily armed mercenaries. Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA agent just waiting for the perfect opportunity to prove himself. But that’s no easy task when you’ve been cooped up in an empty Cape Town safe house for a whole year. Weston realizes that a prime opportunity is headed his way, however, when he learns that former agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) has been captured after nearly a decade on the run. Frost is about to become Weston’s one and only guest at the safe house, and the fledgling agent is determined to handle the situation like a true professional. But by selling U.S. secrets to countries like North Korea, Frost has made more than his fair share of enemies in high places, and shortly after he arrives at the safe house, all hell breaks loose. A small army of gunmen are determined to see Frost dead. Meanwhile, Weston will do everything in his power to protect Frost, regardless of his crimes. Now Weston’s only hope for getting out of this alive is to find out who’s gunning for them, and seek out someone he can trust before it’s too late.”
The Woman in the Fifth
DVD and Blu-ray
Co-starring Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas in the leads, The Woman in the Fifth was given a limited UK release earlier this year, and is coming to us on home media before its US release this weekend on 15th June.
I’m somewhat partial to Hawke as an actor, and always love his work, and seeing him in another thriller sounds good in my books.
“Ethan Hawke (Brooklyn’s Finest) plays Harry Ricks in this adaptation of novelist Douglas Kennedy’s erotic thriller by the director of ‘My Summer of Love’ & ‘Last Resort’.
Ricks’ life is out of control – separated from his wife, he heads to Paris in search of his daughter and the bohemian life of a would-be writer. But a series of encounters with the wrong kind of people start to push him towards free fall, until he meets mysterious émigré, Margit, played by Kristin Scott Thomas (Sarah’s Key), who seduces him and appears to offer him the hedonistic and uncomplicated life he craves…”
Entourage – Season 8: The Final Season
DVD and Blu-ray (also available: Complete Seasons 1 – 8 Box Set on DVD)
It’s been eight years since Entourage first started up on HBO, and eight seasons later, it has finally come to an end. The programme is one of the finest in recent years, and if you haven’t started watching it yet, I urge you to go back to the beginning and work your way through to the end; you won’t be disappointed.
Check back later this afternoon for our review of the eighth and final season on DVD.
“Vince, Eric, Drama and Turtle have been through a lot over the years, chasing dreams, women and good times as if the party would never end. Through the highs and the lows, their friendship has kept them together. But is it time for them to grow up? This season, find out if each of the guys can compete on his own in the fast lane of high stakes Hollywood. It’s time to fasten your seat belts for the eighth – and final – season of Entourage!”
One Tree Hill – Season 9: The Final Season
DVD (also available: Complete Seasons 1 – 9 Box Set on DVD)
Entourage isn’t the only long-running TV show that’s come to an end, with the ninth season of One Tree Hill bringing to a close one of The CW’s staple shows. The show has been one of my favourites since it began, and though the line-up has changed and the basketball has somewhat faded over the years, the brilliance of the show and the excellent of the writing has remained, and it’s always been highly addictive viewing. Just like Entourage, if you haven’t seen One Tree Hill, now is the time to start watching with the Complete Box Set available for purchase from today.
“The ninth season of One Tree Hill continues to grow and break new ground as it approaches its final conclusion. New parents Brooke and Julian adjust to twin babies and two careers. Haley embarks on a crash course in crisis management when Nathan’s work trip to Europe takes a dark and devastating turn. Quinn and Clay, Millie and Mouth, Alex and Chase strap themselves into love’s roller coaster. Patriarchs resurface, long unseen friends rally forces, and a foe is vanquished. Despair looms on the horizon, yet redemption and renewal are close at hand.”
Curb Your Enthusiasm – Season 8
DVD (also available: Seasons 1 – 8 on DVD)
There should be little doubt in anyone’s mind that Larry David is one of the greatest and funniest men alive. He is simply a comic genius, and absolutely brilliant to watch. HBO have been the home of some of the best television in the past decade, and Curb is definitely a strong part of that, alongside The Sopranos, Entourage, Flight of the Conchords, The Wire, and more recently, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming The Newsroom.
“Coast to coast, from Manhattan Island to Manhattan Beach, there’s nobody who compares to Larry David when it comes to speaking one’s mind, no matter the cost or consequences.”
As part of Universal’s 100th Anniversary, George Roy’s popular classic The Sting, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, is getting the HD treatment this week in a limited edition set, complete with a 40-page booklet.
Also released on Blu-ray this week is Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things, starring Audrey Tautou and Chiwetel Ejiofor; Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx; Billy Bob Thornton’s Oscar-winning directorial debut, Sling Blade; the sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s original 1997 sci-fi horror, Mimic 2; and an extended director’s cut of Sylvester Stallone’s ensemble action film, The Expendables.