Today's DVDs & Blu-rays are a varied lot: There are three very serious films by Javier Bardem, three early silent works by Fritz Lang and a guilty pleasure Bruce Willis release. Bardem's No Country For Old Men, Biutiful and Mondays in the Sun make up the first set. Biutiful (about a dying man trying to provide for his family) was helmed by Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel). It earned two Academy Awards nominations in 2011, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor for Bardem. It lost in both categories, but Bardem made history as the first actor to receive a nomination for an all-Spanish performance. Bardem went on to win Best Actor at Cannes that year. Mondays in the Sun, directed by Bardem's fellow Spaniard Fernando Leon de Aranoa, and No Country For Old Men, written and directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, complete the set.
Three early works by silent film master Fritz Lang, the man behind Metropolis and M, are released today as a box set. There's the 1919 Harakiri (a.k.a. Madame Butterfly), the 1920 The Wandering Shadow (a.k.a. The Moving Image or The Wandering Image) and the 1921 Four Around a Woman. These are Lang's earliest surviving films made in Germany, and have been pretty much unseen in the United States. The three films, each remastered from 35mm elements preserved by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung and other international archives, are presented with a music score by Aljoscha Zimmermann. Lang reached the heights of his talents with later films, but this glimpse at his early work shows his first efforts at the themes and stylistic images that marked his later films.
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And now for the T&A segment of our show...oh, wait, we're a blog, not a show. What can we say? Every once in a while (or maybe more often), we love a violent, trashy trash action flick. Fire with Fire fits the bill on multiple levels. Josh Duhamel (Mr. Fergie) is Jeremy, a nice-guy fireman who is forced into the witness protection program after he witnesses a hate crime. Vincent D'Onofrio is Hagan, the crazy white supremacist who did the killing, and Bruce Willis is Mike, the cop who investigates. Rosario Dawson is Talia, the marshal assigned to the protection detail. When things go wrong and Hagan comes after Jeremy and his new squeeze Talia, Jeremy busts out of witness protection and goes after Hagan. Talia is the marshal, but it's Jeremy that goes after the criminal. Hey, you gotta be willing to suspend belief with these types of flicks. It's not high art, but it is fun.