So you’ve got your new HD TV, a Blu-Ray disc player or a PlayStation 3 and you’re looking for the best new titles to enjoy? You’ve come to the right place, let’s run down the top Blu-Ray releases that are coming your way in June 2009.
Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell take on the Nazis by going back to nature in this period war piece. Whilst their portrayal of characters is based on real life events and has had some critics complaining that the characters lack historical accuracy and humanity, this is certainly an interesting film. At times it can be hard going for the viewer as the terrible suffering which the Jewish outcasts endured during the war is depicted without shying away from the gory details. There’s a lot to like if you can get past the slightly hammy accents that some cast members put on.
This is a brilliant adaptation by director Sam Mendes and features the powerful onscreen pairing of Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. This social drama set in the 1950s looks at relationships, marriage, infidelity and abortion and the period is flawlessly recreated. An immersive and impressive film.
This 2003 hit comedy gets a Blu-Ray release in early June, and Jim Carey is back in his face pulling element as a deified Morgan Freman endows him with the powers of God himself. It’s family fun in the same vein as Bewitched although people who’ve disliked Carey’s other exploits won’t find much to enjoy here.
A comedy classic from the 80s gets an HD makeover with full 1080p resolution supported. Hopefully you won’t notice the slightly dodgy special effects which by today’s standards are underwhelming, but silly enough to keep you watching. It’s also very well written with some good gags, and noticing how often every character lights up a cigarette in what is ostensibly a kids’ movie is a sign of how quickly times change.
This is an early 90s action classic with a political heart. Featuring Michael Douglas as a disgruntled defence worker who snaps in LA morning traffic and goes on a vengeful rampage through the sweltering heat of a dying society. Though the film tries to be poignant and has Robert Duval as a soon to be retired cop chasing Douglas, much of the impact feels dated by today’s standards, and the incredibly rude populace of LA that he encounters are both frightening and funny.
Punisher: War Zone
This is a brilliantly over the top action flick which shouldn’t be missed by fans of the comic or of cinematic ridiculousness in general. Featuring Dominic West as a facially mutilated villain, you can really see him enjoying the chance to let his hair down and clown about on camera, and The Punisher is also played by an Englishman, perpetuating the British invasion of the Hollywood mainstream.
This film was a critical and commercial success earlier in the year and puts Clint Eastwood back at the top of his game. Eastwood plays a Korean War veteran living in a growing ethnic neighbourhood who manages to put his prejudices aside and stand up for his foreign neighbours. This movie packs more laughs than the average comedy as well as commenting thoughtfully on the state of modern American society, and the Blu-Ray release is simply a must-buy.
Vicky Christina Barcelona
Like Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen has made an awesome directorial comeback with this sexy, Mediterranean infused film. The film takes an irreverent look at two travelling Americans who fall for the same troubled artist, who himself has an insane, suicidal ex-wife played by Oscar winner Penelope Cruz. As long as you are aware of Allen’s narratorial style and see his tongue in his cheek as he mocks the faux-intellectualism displayed by the characters then you’ll have a great time, and maybe even a few laughs.
Sean Penn got an Oscar for his portrayal of the first openly gay man to win public office in America, and the film is touching and powerful in equal measure, though the politics and methods of Milk himself are blurred slightly by his martyred status. Josh Brolin provides support in another great role for this late blooming star, and the San Francisco of the 1970s that director Gus Van Sant recreates is compellingly real.
This is the true success story of 2009, clearing up at the Oscars and putting India and British film back on the radar. Though the main character, Jamal, has an intricate and unique story to tell, this is an ensemble piece that relies on the slums of Deli as much as on the actors themselves to get the message across.