This week’s offerings include The Rabbi’s Cat, one of the best animated films ever made from a graphic novel, plus the taut Tom Cruise thriller Jack Reacher, a collection of the 2010 Doctor Who spin-off K-9, the better than expected old school chiller Mama, a very Hitchcockian Scandinavian noir thriller, the final season of the cult TV series Fringe, a 30-disc Superman TV Collection and a solid group of anime releases led by a new series from the creators of Cowboy Bebop.
This week’s most advertised release is Jack Reacher (Paramount, “PG-13,” 130 min., $29.99, BD $39.99), a modestly-produced Tom Cruise action film based on the character from the popular series of novels by Lee Child. Some fans carped about the physical differences between Child’s hulking fictional creation and the diminutive Cruise, but this movie, which was directed by Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote the new Wolverine film), delivers the action-movie goods and managed to get a 61% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Plus Cruise gets superb support from a cast that includes old pros Robert Duvall and Richard Jenkins, as well as a wonderful bit from movie director Werner Herzog, who has lots of fun as an over-the-top villain.
Even more interesting to many is The Rabbi’s Cat (New Video Group, “Not Rated,” 89 min., $29.95, BD $34.98), a superb adaptation of Joann Sfar’s graphic novel, which is set in Algeria in the 1930s and manages to be lush, entertaining, thought-provoking, and filled with wonderful Jewish and North African lore. Here’s an animated feature that is clearly aimed at adults, and the extra features including a 12-page excerpt from the graphic novel, and a wonderful featurette on artist/creator Joann Sfar.
Also of interest to genre movie fans is Mama (Universal, “PG-13,” 100 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), an old-school horror movie produced by Guillermo del Toro that benefits from a number of strong performances including a key effort from Jessica Chastain, who demonstrates considerable range in this better-than-average supernatural thriller.
Also better than might be expected is The Oranges (Fox, “R,” 91 min., $22.98), a suburban family comedy drama with an excellent cast headed by Hugh Laurie (House). Its narrative might have been too conventional for the critics (the film only received 32% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but The Oranges is better made than most films in its genre, and those who enjoy Hugh Laurie’s performances will definitely want to see it.
TV on DVD
There are lots of releases that should appeal to geek viewers including the final season of the cult series Fringe: The Complete 5th Season (Warner Bros., 572 min., $39.98, BD $49.98) which deals with a world controlled by the Observers and the Fringe Team has to take one desperate gamble in a final battle to protect our world.
Also of great interest to Doctor Who fans is K9: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 330 min., $29.97), which collects the science fiction comedy spinoff from the popular Doctor Who series that features the Doc’s canine companion and aired in 2010. Though the K9 series was produced for younger viewers, hardcore Whovians will still need to have this one.
Contemporary shows due this week include Rookie Blue: The Complete 3rd Season (eOne Entertainment, 546 min., $39.98), a police procedural that features five talented young actors playing rookie cops including the very fetching Missy Peregrym (Reaper), the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice: The Complete Sixth Season (Disney, $39.99), the freelance doctor in the Hamptons saga Royal Pains: Season 4 (Universal, 689 min., $39.98) and the Canadian-produced police procedural that appears on the Ion cable network, Flashpoint: The 5th Season (Paramount, $39.98).
Vintage releases include the first Blu-ray release of the second season of the classic sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete 2nd Season (Image Entertainment, 900 min., BD $59.98), the classic western Gunsmoke: The 8th Season Vol. 1 (Paramount, 962 min., $49.99) and Vol.2 (Paramount, 962 min., $49.99), the equally intriguing vintage oater Have Gun Will Travel: The Sixth and Final Season, Part 1 (Paramount, 406 min., $29.98) and Part 2 (Paramount, 406 min., $29.98), the J.J. Abrams-produced Felicity: Season 3 (Lionsgate, 760 min., $19.98) and Felicity: Season 4 (Lionsgate, 971 min., $19.98), which are now available at bargain basement prices.
With The Man of Steel movie set for release this summer, Warner Bros. is releasing The Superman TV Collection (Warner Bros., 4380 min., $96.92), a mammoth 30-disc set that includes the first seasons of the classic Adventures of Superman, Smallville, and Lois & Clark plus the Fleischer 1940 animated Superman cartoons, Superman: The Animated Series, the 1966 animated New Adventures of Superman, 13 Ruby-Spears Superman episodes and more.
Also of interest to many is Popeye the Sailor: The 1960s Classics, Vol. 1 (Warner Bros., 409 min., $29.95), a DVD-R release that includes the 1960 Popeye cartoons that sort of made up for their limited animation with a bigger narrative focus that allowed some additional Thimble Theater denizens like the Sea Hag and King Blozo to make their animated debuts.
It’s a busy week for new releases headed by Toriko: Part 4 (Funimation, “14+,” #39.98), the fourth collection of the popular adventure/comedy series based on the manga by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro that is set in a world where the taste and texture of food is everything. The eponymous hero of the series is a Gourmet Hunter, who travels to the ends of the earth in search of rare ingredients.
The protagonist of Natsuyuki Rendezvous (Sentai Filmworks, “14+,” 275 min., $49.98) is in love with the beautiful owner of a flower shop. After he gets a job at the shop he learns that the spirit of the woman’s dead husband is still living in her apartment, but only the lovelorn new employee can see the dead spouse, which makes his attempts to woo the grieving widow even more complicated.
Previously released series include the Sound of the Sky: Complete Collection (Right Stuf, “16+,” 355 min., $39.99), a 12-episode post-apocalyptic slice-of-life comedy drama set in a world where technology has regressed to early 20th Century levels. This excellent series, which was produced by A-1 Pictures in 2010, is available with its original Japanese soundtrack and English subtitles.
Also available on Tuesday is the Sekirei Complete Collection (Funimation, “17+,” 650 min. BD $69.98), which includes both seasons of the harem comedy based on the seinen manga by Sakurako Gokurakuin on both Blu-ray and DVD.
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Week of May 7th, 2013
Posted by ICv2 on May 5, 2013 @ 10:28 pm CT
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