This Week On DVD/BD: Criterion Gets Deadly and Matt Damon Gets A New Hat

By , Columnist

Some strong new movies are hitting DVD and Blu-ray today but I've got to go vintage for my Pick of the Week. Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly (BD/DVD) joins The Criterion Collection today. Not only is this one of the quintessential examples of film noir, it's one of the very best American films of the 1950s. Criterion's licensing arrangement with MGM has paid off handsomely for movie buffs. In addition to Kiss Me Deadly, we've been treated to stellar editions of The Night Of The Hunter, Sweet Smell Of Success, and Paths Of Glory. I can't wait to see what turns up next.

Leading the charge of new releases, we have Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Bureau (BD/DVD) from Universal. Based on a story by legendary science fiction author Philip K. Dick, this movie was quite a bit better than I thought it was going to be. It can't quite make it over the finish line but the movie's first half is good enough that it's easy to forgive its missteps.

Warner Home Video brings us Unknown (BD/DVD), the latest entry in Liam Neeson's seemingly unlikely bid to become an action star. The really strange thing is that he's actually been good at it. Neeson handles the physicality of these roles extremely well and his presence gives movies like this and Taken a gravitas they might not have otherwise. If you prefer your action in a period setting, Universal has Channing Tatum in The Eagle (BD/DVD).

Over in the comedy section, Ed Helms stars as a naïve small town insurance salesman sent to the bustling metropolis of Cedar Rapids (BD/DVD from 20th Century Fox). Anchor Bay debuts Josh Radnor's indie romantic comedy Happythankyoumoreplease (BD/DVD). Sony brings us Carla Gugino as a pregnant porn star in Elektra Luxx (DVD only). And for the kids, 20th Century Fox offers the sequel Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (BD/DVD).

Meanwhile in TV land, 20th Century Fox presents the critically acclaimed Louie: The Complete First Season (BD/DVD). I'm one of those Luddites who doesn't have cable, so I haven't seen this yet. But Louis C.K. is one of the funniest guys around and I'm looking forward to checking it out. On the crime front, Warner Home Video has The Closer: The Complete Sixth Season (DVD). Paramount wraps up the psychic adventures of Patricia Arquette with Medium: The Final Season (DVD). Acorn Media brings us the latest mysteries of Agatha Christie's Marple: Series Five (BD).

Also in the TV department, the Lifetime channel cranked up their Insta-Movie Generator (patent pending) to produce the royal dramatization William & Kate (DVD from A&E Home Video). And if you're interested in the royal wedding, you won't want to miss Adult Swim's Squidbillies: Volume 4 (DVD from Warner Home Video).

Finally this week, two very different box sets collect some wildly over-the-top tales of women in trouble. Criterion's Eclipse imprint presents Raffaello Matarazzo's Runaway Melodramas (DVD), four Italian movies made between 1949 and 1955 featuring families and couples torn apart by sin, temptation, and pure bad luck. If you prefer your melodrama a bit less refined, check out The Women In Cages Collection (DVD), the latest entry in Shout! Factory's ongoing Roger Corman collection. The set collects three of the best women-in-prison flicks, including The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage, all starring the great Pam Grier.

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Adam Jahnke has been writing about film since age 13, when he began foisting a self-published newsletter on friends and family (copies of which are now mercifully lost to the ages). In 2000, he joined the staff of the highly respected DVD website The Digital Bits, where he continues to serve as columnist…

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