The week of 1/18/2011

group edited by: Troy Anderson

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BURIED

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Lionsgate

Buy it at Amazon!

Special Features:

• “Unearthing Buried: The Making of Buried
• Original Theatrical Trailer

Ryan Reynolds is just so fucking charming. Who cares that Scarjo left his ass this year? He’ll get over it, he’s going to be the Green Lantern. When I first saw Buried, I realized that Reynolds is going to get an Oscar one day. Virtually pulling more emotion out of less material than James Franco got in 127 Hours, Reynolds takes us on an emotional rollercoaster inside of a tiny coffin in Iraq. Director Roderigo Cortes makes an impressive feature length English language debut with this restrained picture. I’d like to see more from Cortes, but that’s not to say that there weren’t problems. I could’ve done with a tighter focus given the short runtime. There’s also a seemingly invisible checklist of cliche that the creative team stumbles through in the last fifteen minutes of the film. However, it does come together in the end.

JUSTIFIED: SEASON 1

Creators: Graham Yost and Elmore Leonard

Sony

Buy it at Amazon!

Special Features:

  • Season Two: A Look Ahead
  • Commentary on Fire in the Hole with Executive Producer Graham Yost, Actor Nick Searcy, Gregg Sutter and Director Michael Dinner
  • What Would Elmore Do?
  • Commentary on Blowback with Executive Producer Graham Yost and Writer Ben Cavell
  • Commentary on Hatless with Actors Tim Olyphant, Natalie Zea and Writer Dave Andron
  • The Story of Justified
  • Justified: Meet the Characters
  • Commentary on Bulletville with Executive Producer Graham Yost and Writer/Producer Fred Golan
  • Shooting for Kentucky
  • The Marshals
  • “Long Hard Times to Come” Music Video
Justified: Season 1 arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray right before the start of the second season. For those of you living under a rock, it’s one of the best television shows currently being aired. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is a role that the Olyphant was born to play. Hang-down swagger matched by gritty determination allows for basic cable to finally get a badass back on the block. Originating out of Elmore Leonard material, Graham Yost and his team have managed to bring Bluegrass realism to a Hollywood production. Every inch of the world-building series is authentic and the first season ends way too soon. FX is getting ready to launch the second season, so I recommend hopping on the fan train. You do need something new to discuss around the water cooler.

STONE
Director: John Curran

Anchor Bay

Buy it at Amazon!
Special Features:

  • The Making of STONE
  • Theatrical Trailer

Stone almost harkens back to Ed Norton’s earlier work on American History X and Primal Fear. Robert DeNiro also turns in an admirable job as the parole officer who is manipulated by Norton’s arsonist character. This is easily DeNiro’s strongest performance since A Bronx Tale, as he portrays a man whose loyalty to station defies all logic. There’s something amazing about finality and tone going down in this film. I know that in light of recent events, everyone wants to try and lighten up discourse. But, John Curran has offered up such a dark look at the criminality that dwells within our souls.

SHOCK CORRIDOR

Director: Samuel Fuller

Criterion

Buy it at Amazon!

Special Features:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • New video interview with star Constance Towers
  • Excerpts from The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera-a 1996 documentary
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: Illustrations by cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World)
  • Shock Corridor finally arrives on Blu-Ray from the good people at Criterion. Johnny Barrett got himself locked in the nuthouse, so that he could win his Pulitzer. Hoping to expose a recent murder, Barrett soon finds himself voiceless amongst the maddening crowd. Hardcore Fuller fans still regard this film as a lesser work due to the over simplification of issues such as race, sex and nuclear power. But, each of the three witnesses to the crime gets a chance to provide a voice for the downtrodden. Released early in the DVD generation, Criterion has revisited this title with an amazing HD transfer and cleaned up supplemental material that far surpasses the DVD release.

    Music

    Section By Jeb D.

    THE KING IS DEAD

    The Decemberists

    BUY IT FROM AMAZON!

    Much as I like this band, I had begun to worry about their progression from melodrama to bombast, and feared that, with their new release, we were in for some kind of multi-media box set with synchronized webcast or similar over-the-topness. For better or worse, though, Colin Meloy and company have gone in the opposite direction, stripping the sound to something resembling vintage R.E.M., and borrowing both Peter Buck and the tune from “The One I Love” in the process. Swapping Gillian Welch for Shara Worden in the guest vocalist role gets things even rootsier, and the result is catchy, if a bit on-the-nose: one of the strengths of early R.E.M. was the deliberate murkiness of Stipe’s vocals, like tiny fish occasionally flashing to the surface of dark water. When Meloy is left to belt out his quizzical bits of carefully-crafted arcana without the Olde Worlde trappings to hide behind, the result can feel a little bland. Pleasant, if not quite essential.

    LOW COUNTRY BLUES

    Gregg Allman

    BUY IT FROM AMAZON!

    When you were running down the white-blues checklist from 2010, you knew there was a name missing, and here he is: a long-gestating new album from the ex-Mr. Cher. Allman is that rare blues-rock musician whose calling card isn’t the guitar, so he wisely turns to peers like T-Bone Burnett and Dr. John for support (and let’s face it, Allman’s one of the few artists Burnett has worked with in years that’s older than he is!).  It’s mostly all classic blues covers, from Robert Johnson’s “Devil Got My Woman” to Muddy Waters’ “Rolling Stone,” Allman and Burnett put his own vocal stamp on all of them; if he never manages the transcendence of Johnson, his voice has grown into a warm, growling instrument that Mud would have approved. And since it wouldn’t be an Allman album without some terrifically tasty guitar, Doyle Bramhall slides in nicely to the place you’d expect to hear Dicky Betts or Derek Trucks.

    HARD TIMES AND NURSERY RHYMES

    Social Distortion

    BUY IT FROM AMAZON!

    Mike Ness has always been the sort of punk Mellencamp: his love and respect for the traditions of blues, country, and soul music is genuine, but his specific musical gifts don’t always synch with that: his specialty is the raucous, sweeping guitar hook and a vocal timbre that’s as adenoidal as it is plaintive, with subtlety not a major part of his arsenal. But if his occasional solo ventures into roots music haven’t always resulted in anything more than earnest tributes to his sources, the first Social Distortion album in six years seems to strike the ideal balance. Rather than continuing to mine his own hard-living background, Ness seems to raise his gaze this time to the sights and sounds country mired in its own version of a Great Depression. It’s a sign of his creative limitation that the album title, and cover picture, reflect his usual on-the-nose earnestness. But, as with The Decemberists’ new one, if you just sit back and enjoy stuff like the Stones-y raunch of “California (Hustle & Flow)”  and the familiar three-chord rush of “Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown,” it’s some good rock and roll, even if Ness has greater ambitions.

    WEST SIDE SOUL

    Magic Sam

    BUY IT FROM AMAZON!

    Reissue of what is arguably one of the half-dozen or so greatest blues albums ever recorded. In 1967, Sam Maghett had made some noise on the regional “race music” scene with a clutch of inspired 45’s, but his first complete LP recording was an explosion of raw blues power of the sort that maybe only Buddy Guy can continue to match today. The sound is gutbucket electric blues, with a stomping backing band, including Mighty Joe Young on second guitar and Stockholm Slim on piano. But through the assortment of blues standards and originals, it’s the keening ache in Sam’s voice and trebly guitar runs that stick with you, whether he “Needs Your Love So Bad” or “Feels So Good” that he wants to boogie. Plus, you get the definitive “Sweet Home Chicago.” That Sam had as hard-knocking a life as any bluesman, and died barely two years after he cut this record, at the age of 32, lays a patina of Importance on this album that can make it seem like an academic exercise; it’s anything but that. It’s electric blues for the mind, body, heart, and gut.

    Other Noteworthy 1/18 Music Releases

    Smith Westerns, Dye It Blonde. Where power pop is concerned, the balance between the two is always the tricky equation. While the power’s usually easier, the pop is what makes the music stick with you, so even if I’d rather hear them kick it up a notch, this album brims with stick-to-your-ribs songwriting.

    Norman Blake, Green Light On The Southern.
    Country guitar legend covers familiar territory, but as expertly as you could ask.

    Robert Pollard, Space City Kicks. With Guided By Voices back on the road, I can’t even imagine where the man finds the time for his second solo album in six months… but then, most of Pollard’s career has defied logic, so why change now?

    Joao Gilberto, O Amor O Sorriso E a Flor. His wife may have had the hit single of “Girl From Ipenama,” and his pal Jobim may have written it, but this was the album that actually launched Bossa Nova, reissued in its original form for the first time in over twenty years.

    Fela Kuti, Coffin For Head of State / Unknown Soldier and Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense. The CD reissue series of the work of Nigeria’s “Black President” nears completion with two of his greatest: 1980’s Coffin and Unknown were album-length explosions of rage in the wake of his mother’s murder at the hand of Nigerian government forces. 1986’s Teacher is the cold, hard testament of a man who no longer has faith in either governments or gods.

    Tennis, Cape Dory. Imagine Neko Case even more aimlessly adrift that usual, and you’ll have some idea of the sound here. Singer Aliana Moore begins by politely requesting “Take Me Somwhere,” and the band then obliges her by sailing from “Bimini Bay” to “South Carolina” to “Baltimore” to points in between, all on a gentle breeze of inde-drone guitar.


    VIDEO GAMES

    edited by: Justin Clark

    LITTLEBIGPLANET 2
    Sony Computer Entertainment of America
    PS3
    1/18
    MSRP: $59.99

    CLICK TO BUY FROM AMAZON!!

    I could never really escape that feeling that LittleBigPlanet was really more of an interactive toy box than a game, and my desire to just experience the game as a single player meant the game’s shelf life was a bit more limited for me than it was for many. But still, it’s a game I appreciated the hell out of based on pure charm, ingenuity, the sheer depth of what was possible to create, and Stephen Fry. The sequel seems like the game has been raised a bit more, now that there’s actually an ongoing story involved, and there’s more to the aesthetic than just cardboard and burlap. This means it’s worth a play, but while it’s a far more muted reaction than I have to, say, Call of Duty, it still very much feels like a game where the single player was an afterthought.

    MASS EFFECT 2
    EA/Bioware
    PS3
    1/18
    MSRP: $59.99

    CLICK TO BUY FROM AMAZON!!

    I’m kind of disturbed at how strong the urge is to buy this, despite owning it on 360, and a hostile red headed bitch Shepard who I’m only quarter of the ways done with who should have my attention. It’s a testament to how amazing and replayable this experience that even if this was a straight port, I’d seriously be considering the rebuy. The fact that the game is running off the Mass Effect 3 engine, all the DLC is included, and there’s a playable graphic novel to make up for the lack of ME1 on the PS3 just sweetens the deal. For 360 veterans, this is a serious consideration. For PS3 owners, welcome to the party. Own this shit.

    MINDJACK
    Square Enix
    360, PS3
    1/18
    MSRP: $59.99

    CLICK TO BUY FROM AMAZON!!

    I’ve always given Square their due credit in that they do not rest on their RPG laurels. That credit is, of course, nullified by the fact that their every effort that isn’t an RPG or at the very least doesn’t have RPG elements has been dogshit on ice. They’re full of great ideas, though, and this one, a third person shooter with a heavy, persistent multiplayer component where you’re allowed to hijack minds, and move between consciousnesses like you’re Elias Koteas has promise. If only it was someone I trusted with shooters who had their logo on the box.

    OOOHHHH: ON THE DLC TIP

    NO MAJOR DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT THIS WEEK
    Beat Dead Space yet? You probably should.

    ROCK BAND TUESDAY

    Stone Sour Pack 01 ($5.49/440 MS pts)

    • Made of Scars
    • Say You’ll Haunt Me X
    • Through Glass

    $1.99/160 MS pts per track
    X-Pro Guitar and Pro Bass expansion available for 99 cents/80 MS pts

    Stone Sour have a reputation as the softer side of Slipknot, which isn’t an unwarranted statement, but Corey Taylor’s an underrated clean vocalist, and they actually write really solid, aggressively melodic stuff when they have enough fire under their asses.  Of the songs that belong in the game, though, Through Glass is the only one in the pack really worthy. Made of Scars is good, if immemorable. Say You’ll Haunt Me is one of a disappointingly large group of boring tracks on Audio Secrecy. Sadly, the lack of drums or bass aces out Bother or that surprisingly great Wicked Game cover from ever happening. But feel free to call me when Inhale or Reborn gets in.

    WHAT’S NEW ON DVD THIS WEEK:

    Andrew Dice Clay: One Night With Dice (Reissue)
    Animal Kingdom (2010)
    Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Collection 5, Pt. 2
    Army Of Crime
    Attack Of The Crab Monsters/War Of The Satellites/Not Of This Earth (Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Triple Feature)
    Black Panther (Motion Comic)
    Dark Skies: The Declassified Complete Series
    Death Race 2
    Denis Leary And Friends: Douchebags And Donuts
    The Dogfather
    Down Terrace
    Eichmann
    End Of The World: 2012 Apocalyptic Prophecies And Inexplicable Phenomena
    Fire On The Amazon (Unrated Edition)
    For Neda (HBO) (DVD-R)
    Freakonomics
    Hey Vern, It’s Ernest! The Complete Series
    Jack Goes Boating
    Justified: The Complete First Season
    Kampfer: Complete Collection
    King Of Paper Chasin’
    Last Of The Summer Wine: Vintage 1987
    Lebanon (2010 Movie)
    Merlin: The Complete Second Season (BBC)
    Mutants (Starring Michael Ironside And Steven Bauer) (Reissue)
    The Naked Kiss (Criterion Collection)
    NFL: Atlanta Falcons – Best Games Of 2010 Season
    NFL: Oakland Raiders – Best Games Of 2010 Season
    Nite Tales: The Series
    Paper Man (2009)
    Phantom: Requiem For The Phantom, Pt. 1 (Standard Edition)
    Phantom: Requiem For The Phantom, Pt. 1 (Limited Edition)
    Phantom: Requiem For The Phantom, Pt. 2
    Running Wild
    Sean Connery 007 Collection, Vol. 1
    Shock Corridor (Criteron Collection)
    Sins Of My Father
    Stone
    El Superstar: The Unlikely Rise Of Juan Frances
    Takers
    Triggerman
    21 Jump Street: The Complete Fourth Season
    UFC 122: Marquardt Vs. Okami
    Up From The Depths/Demon Of Paradise (Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Double Feature)
    The Virginity Hit
    Waking The Dead: The Complete Season Five

    WHAT ELSE IS NEW ON BLU-RAY THIS WEEK:

    Animal Kingdom (2010)
    Army Of Crime
    Buried (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
    Checking Out
    Cold Dog Soup
    Death Race 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
    Down Terrace
    Fire On The Amazon
    Freakonomics
    Jack Goes Boating
    Justified: The Complete First Season
    Lebanon (2010 Movie)
    Mutants (Starring Michael Ironside And Steven Bauer)
    The Naked Kiss (Criterion Collection)
    Nomad: The Warrior
    Paper Man (2009)
    Shock Corridor (Criteron Collection)
    Stone
    El Superstar: The Unlikely Rise Of Juan Frances
    Takers

    THE SALES


    NEW RELEASES

    Takers                                                     $16.99 $19.99

    Freakonomics                                    $17.99

    Justified: Season 1                           $19.99

    DVD SALE

    $7

    Alvin and the Chipmunks
    Seabiscuit
    Paul Blart: Mall Cop
    The Losers

    BLU-RAY SALE:

    nothing

    TV on DVD SALE:

    nothing

    NEW RELEASES

    Takers                                $15.99 $19.99

    Justified: Season 1        $19.99 $24.99

    Stone                                   $16.99  $24.99

    Death Race 2                    $14.99 $24.99 $29.99

    DVD SALE

    $12.99

    Salt
    The Other Guys
    Resident Evil: Afterlife
    Easy A
    Grown Ups
    Eat Pray Love

    $14.99

    Grown Ups
    Expendables
    Predators
    Wall Street : Money Never Sleeps
    Knight And Day
    The A-Team
    Scott Pilgrim
    Vampires Suck
    Devil

    $19.99

    Despicable Me

    BLU-RAY SALE

    $16.99

    Salt
    The Other Guys
    Resident Evil: Afterlife
    Easy A
    Grown Ups
    Eat Pray Love

    $19.99

    Grown Ups
    Expendables
    Predators
    Wall Street : Money Never Sleeps
    Knight And Day
    The A-Team
    Scott Pilgrim
    Vampires Suck
    Devil

    $24.99

    Resident Evil: Afterlife 3-D

    TV on DVD SALE

    Nothing

    VIDEO GAME SALES

    Best Buy:

    - Buy any 2 Video Games, get the third FREE: Mix and match XBox 360, PS3, Wii, Nintendo DS, and PSP games priced at $29.99 or more.
    Mass Effect 2 (w/bonus missions): $59.99 (PS3)

    Star Wars the Force Unleashed II: $59.99 (PS3)

    Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: $59.99 (PS3)

    NBA 2K11: $59.99 (PS3)

    Red Dead Redemption: $39.99 (PS3)

    Call of Duty Black Ops: $59.99 (360)

    Halo Reach: $59.99 (360)

    Fallout New Vegas: $59.99 (360)

    EA Madden 11: $59.99 (360)

    Need for Speed Hot Pursuit: $59.99 (360)

    Just Dance 2: $39.99 (Wii)

    Michael Jackson Experience: $49.99 (Wii)

    Epic Mickey: $49.99 (Wii)

    Glee Karaoke Explosion: $59.99 (Wii)

    Other minor stuff

    Target:

    Gran Turismo 5: $44 (PS3)
    Need for Speed Hot Pursuit: $44 (360/PS3)

    Your Shape Fitness Evolved: $44 (360 Kinect)

    Motionsports Play for Real: $44 (360 Kinect)

    Dance Central: $44 (360 Kinect)

    Michael Jackson Experience: $44 (Wii)

    Just Dance Kids: $24 (Wii)

    Other minor stuff

    Toys R Us:

    - 50% off any video game priced $59.99 or less when you purchase Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
    Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: $59.99 (360)

    Little Big Planet 2: $59.99 (PS3) – comes with free $10 gift card

    K Mart:

    Mass Effect 2 (w/bonus missions): $59.99 (PS3)
    Little Big Planet 2: $59.99 (PS3)

    Kinect Sports: $49.99 (360 Kinect)

    Dance Central: $49.99 (360 Kinect)

    Kinect Joy Ride: $49.99 (360 Kinect)

    Kinectimals: $49.99 (360 Kinect)