Spins and Streams (9.4.2012)

Jason Segel and Emily Blunt endure a ‘Five-Year Engagement’ in this week’s Pick of the Week!

For films which played theaters this year, the slate of new home video releases is relatively scant, with two films which underwhelmed expectations at the box office at the forefront. As part of Universal Studios’ 100 year anniversary, they are emptying the vaults with a ton of reissued releases, some on Blu-Ray for the first time, and many just receiving a freshening up of sorts.  In all actuality, this is a big week for television series to arrive on home video, with the Fall TV season almost upon us.

Also, the floodgates have opened with literally hundreds of new titles available via Netflix and internet streaming.  We have included a very small sampling of these titles for you to check out…

My pick of the week is the entertaining, somewhat uneven, but easily digestible Judd Apatow-produced romantic dramedy The Five-Year Engagement.  Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, who delivered the awesome 2011 Oscar-winning Muppets remake, Five-Year Engagement is the most engaging and affable choice of the new releases.  Check it out and a whole lot more in this week’s edition of Spins and Streams!

More than just another column about new home video releases, we will link to reviews, summarize the film, drop in some factual tidbits, and (naturally) offer you a chance to purchase the film (and support the site in the process!).

Consider it your weekly trip through the video store, both virtual and physical, scouring the shelves and combing the racks to find something you can enjoy at home, no matter what your personal preferences…

BLU-RAY/DVD

The Five-Year Engagement (Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
The Five-Year Engagement
The Five-Year Engagement (Unrated)

As stated above, not without its flaws, but The Five-Year Engagement is an entertaining, slightly overlong, but rewarding romantic dramedy where Jason Segel and Emily Blunt get engaged and then find their careers and lives going in opposite directions.  If you are a fan of Judd Apatow-produced films, this is a nice addition to the Apatow canon.

From my ★★★ 1/2 theatrical review of April 29, 2012:

“While The Five-Year Engagement covers a lot of ground, at times that becomes not so much a surprise as more of an obligation. When all of the elements are dialed in, scenes work, click, and function pleasingly. However, there are stretches of time and scenes where you simply desire Tom and Violet to be the focus and Segel and Stoller are so preoccupied with other potential storylines that when you see where the entire story ultimately ends up, you cannot help but return to the film and wonder why so much wasted energy was used to pad this film out about 20-30 minutes longer than it needs to be.

I laughed though. I liked a lot of The Five-Year Engagement a great deal and certainly don’t feel it is a bad film at all. Emily Blunt and Jason Segel are worth the time invested, and they share a great number of winning moments. Because there is so much to like and laugh at, The Five-Year Engagement is hard to outright dislike. You wish it more focused and committed to its main story, but at the end of the day, The Five-Year Engagement is infinitely watchable and rewatchable. That fact, in and of itself, will be more than enough reason to spend the time.” Romantic Comedy/Drama, R and Unrated, 124 mins (R) and 132 mins (Unrated), Dir: Nicholas Stoller

See what else arrives in stores and via streaming services…after the cut!

Safe [Blu-ray + Digital Copy]
Safe [DVD + Digital Copy]

Very quietly, Jason Statham has become a consistent leading man, whose films may not be huge box office smashes, but always have an air of intrigue about them.  Statham is reportedly his typical steely-eyed self as a former cage fighter whose rescue of a 12-year old girl gets him involved with corrupt cops and the Russian Mafia!  Cage fighting…youthful kidnapping…NYC cops…and the Russian Mafia?!?!  How did I miss this?  Action, R, 94 mins, Dir: Boaz Yakin

Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day Blu-ray
Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day

In 2004, Pastor T.D. Jakes saw his best-selling self-help book and sermon, Woman Thou Art Loosed, earn a decent $6.9 million with its theatrical adaptation in 2004.  Predating the recent African-American faith-based film movement by a couple of years, a movement brought mainstream largely by the work of Tyler Perry (Perry incidentally directed a stage play of the Jakes project previously), Loosed saw its original film tell the story of a woman overcoming addictions, horrific childhood abuse, and prison, by a rekindled love of the Lord.  For the sequel, a married couple’s young daughter is kidnapped and over the course of 7 days, they not only attempt to find her, but work through unspoken marriage issues.  How this all ties together – the first film to the second, the kidnapped daughter to the marriage problems, I have no earthly idea.  Drama/Faith, PG-13, 101 mins, Dir: Neema Barnette

Piranha 3DD (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)
Piranha DD

Not having seen Piranha in 2010, I am perhaps ill equipped to speak about the awesomeness that is Piranha 3DD.  Available as a Redbox exclusive for weeks, the 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, and conventional old DVD all arrive today for consumption by you, the hungered masses desperate to see a film featuring David Hasselhoff, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, and apparently – one of the most ridiculous deaths ever put on screen.  Think SyFy Channel with big budget gore and uncensored swearing, sex, and nudity, and you have pegged this to a -T-. Horror/Comedy, R, 83 mins, Dir: John Gulager


High School [Blu-ray]
High School

Languishing unreleased after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010, the stoner comedy High School got a blink-and-you-missed it theatrical run this past June.  After trying pot for the first time, a high school valedictorian to be is subjected to the school’s first random drug test the following day and not only does he place his scholarships and reputation at risk, but he comes up with the oh-so genius plan of making the entire school high to nullify the drug test.  Wacky hijinks certainly ensue I am sure.  And yes, Oscar-winner Adrien Brody gets top billing in this.  Comedy, R, 99 mins, Dir: John Stalberg

Ballplayer: Pelotero

As a huge baseball fan I am extremely interested to check out Ballplayer: Pelotero, an investigative look at the phenomenon of baseball in the Dominican Republic and why so many great baseball players originate from the territory.  Narrated by John Leguizamo, Ballplayer: Pelotero also delves into the manipulations and problematic issues that tie into Dominican baseball stars and their hopes and dreams of making it into the major leagues.  Said to be gritty and honest, I will share more thoughts on this later in the week.  Documentary, Unrated, 77 mins, Dir: Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin, and Jonathan Paley

Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection (Blu-ray / DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
Harry Potter: The Complete 8 Film Collection [Blu-ray]
Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection

And this is why the Harry Potter films were taken out of distribution!  They entire Harry Potter series is back, boxed up and available in various different forms.  Your conventional Blu-Ray and DVD packaged boxes are available (listed at $98 and $68 respectively), while a commemorative 31-disc Wizards Box is quite impressive – featuring Blu-Ray, DVD, and Ultraviolet Digital Editions of all 8 films, new documentaries and featurettes, new bonus features on the extra discs, fan-made labels from mythical Potter-world products, and a special edition 48-page book featuring props and graphic design work from the crew, only available in the Box.  The Wizards Box retails for approximately $345, but in all honesty, this is seemingly the Holy Grail for Potter fans.  Fantasy/Family, PG and PG-13, Various Directors and Running Times.
ADDITIONAL CATALOG AND NOTEWORTHY BLU-RAY/DVD RELEASES

TELEVISION SERIES/SPECIALS

NOTABLE NEW STREAMING TITLES (COURTESY OF INSTANTWATCHER.COM)
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