This Week On DVD and Blu-ray: May 17, 2011


Diabolique (Criterion Collection)
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I recommend this film, it as absolute stunner and I am frustrated I didn’t get a chance to watch this new Blu-ray edition before leaving for Cannes as I’m sure it’s just sitting back home in my mailbox waiting for me to devour. If you haven’t seen it I wholeheartedly suggest you give it a try and if you are a regular Criterion customer I can’t see how this wouldn’t be an acceptable blind buy.

Also, while you’re at it, you should also consider another great Henri-Georges Clouzot Blu-ray, Wages of Fear, which Criterion released last April. You can read my review of that right here and you can believe when I get home from Cannes I will be diving into Diabolique as well.

Oh, and while we’re talking Clouzot, check out Le Corbeau (The Raven), it’s on Netflix Instant and it is excellent as well.

Buy Diabolique (Criterion Collection)
The Hustler (50th Anniversary)
I am pretty sure I requested this Blu-ray for review, which means it is also probably sitting back at home waiting to be watched. It’s a solid film, but one I didn’t quite fall in love with the first time I saw it back in 2007. The primary reason I requested the Blu-ray was simply to give the film a second chance.
Buy The Hustler (50th Anniversary)
Pale Flower (Criterion Collection)
I haven’t seen this film, but Criterion’s description alone is enough to get me intrigued. “In this cool, seductive jewel of the Japanese New Wave, a yakuza, fresh out of prison, becomes entangled with a beautiful and enigmatic gambling addict; what at first seems a redemptive relationship ends up leading him further down the criminal path.”

If you’re not interested in a blind buy I will hopefully be getting to this one as well when I get back home, but for now you can check it out on Netflix Instant.

Buy Pale Flower (Criterion Collection)
The Other Woman
Natalie Portman is everywhere this year, but The Other Woman was a film that flew under the radar. I never saw it so I can’t say if it’s worth a watch one way or the other. Portman plays a shunned stepmother after winning Jack (Scott Cohen) away from his wife Carolyn (Lisa Kudrow). Apparently as she begins to try to pull her new hybrid family together, the loss of a child between her and Jack makes things all the more difficult.
Buy The Other Woman
The Mechanic
Not a great film, but may pass as a rental. You can read my theatrical review right here in which I say, “The stunts aren’t impressive, much of the blood splatter is painfully obvious CG and while [director] Simon West does his best to load this thing with hero shots I’d much rather be watching Con Air, the only fun film he’s ever made.”
Buy The Mechanic
Elephant White
This one you probably haven’t heard of and the Blu-ray arrived just as I was leaving for Cannes so I didn’t have a chance to watch it, but the combination of Djimon Hounsou and Kevin Bacon in Prachya Pinkaew’s (Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior) first English-language feature was too much to pass up. Here’s the synopsis:

Mercenary Curtie Church (Djimon Hounsou, ”Blood Diamond”) is hired to take out a notorious Thai sex-trafficking gang by a father’s whose daughter was kidnapped and murdered by the gang. With the help of a ruthless weapons dealer (Kevin Bacon, ”Mystic River”), Church finds the men he is hired to kill. But what starts as a paying job turns into an outright war between two rival gangs, and Church finds himself caught between the corrupt world that surrounds him and the truth behind the man who hired him.

Buy Elephant White
The Roommate
Just another Screen Gems rental at best. I haven’t seen it, but I have seen the parody trailer with Justin Bieber and Lonely Island… Sorry for those of you not in the U.S. (myself included at the moment), but the following embed is an America-only one.

Buy The Roommate
Vanishing on 7th Street
I haven’t heard very good things about this film from Brad Anderson, but I guess a rental couldn’t hurt as it tells the story of a group of people left behind all Rapture-style as some sort of global blackout yields countless populations to simply vanish.
Buy Vanishing on 7th Street
The Rite
Ugh, not good… stay away.
Buy The Rite