This Week On DVD/BD: Enter The Mind Of The Coen Brothers

Plus Sons of Anarchy, Tyler Perry, Jean Vigo and a Norwegian Ninja

By , Columnist


The Coen Brothers Collection (MGM/20th Century Fox) - Four films from the minds of Joel and Ethan Coen make their way to high-definition this week and every one of them is a keeper.

The set includes their first film, the neo-noir Blood Simple in its directors’ cut form, and the Oscar-winning Fargo, which has been available on Blu-ray for awhile now. But it’s the other two discs that provide the real reason to get excited about this set.

Raising Arizona is one of the funniest movies of the 1980s. Its previous DVD incarnations have been pretty lousy. This disc still doesn’t have any real extras to speak of, but at least the movie looks and sounds better than ever. As for Miller’s Crossing, it’s a movie that seems to get better with age and Blu-ray will perfectly suit its gorgeous cinematography. All four films are available individually or collected together in a single box set.

The Complete Jean Vigo (Criterion) - French filmmaker Jean Vigo was just 29 when he died in 1934, leaving behind four of the most influential movies of all time. Criterion collects them all in this set, including the subversive boarding-school classic Zero de Conduite and L’Atalante, a stunningly beautiful romance. For serious film lovers, this set is a must.


Forks Over Knives (Virgil Films) - Are those of us who eat meat slowly killing ourselves? This documentary argues that we are, proposing that a plant-based diet can not only prevent diseases, in some cases it can even reverse them.

In A Better World (Sony) - This year’s Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, this Danish drama focuses on a friendship between two boys that turns into a dangerous quest for revenge.

Madea’s Big Happy Family (Lionsgate) - Tyler Perry’s Madea is back, which I’m sure is great news to all the members of Tyler Perry’s Tyler Perry Fan Club.

The Perfect Host (Magnolia) - David Hyde Pierce leaves Niles Crane far behind as the host of a dinner party who turns the tables on a bank robber on the run who cons his way in, looking for a place to hide.

Prom (Disney) - I’d write a synopsis for this but the title is just too vague and mysterious, so I have no idea what this could possibly be about.


Good Will Hunting (Miramax/Lionsgate) - Revisit the film that put BFFs Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the map, now in high-def.

The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D (Disney) - Tim Burton’s holiday mash-up goes stereoscopic for the hardy few who have embraced the technology.

Top Gun (Paramount) - Tom Cruise flies back into the danger zone for a repackaged 25th anniversary edition.

If… (Criterion) - Lindsay Anderson directs Malcolm McDowell in the 1968 classic inspired by Vigo’s Zero de Conduite.

Orpheus (Criterion) - Criterion reissues Jean Cocteau’s gorgeous fantasy, newly remastered with additional bonus features.

The Twilight Zone: Season 5 (Image) - The final season of Rod Serling’s landmark anthology series, the best TV series of all time if you ask me.

Strike (Kino) - A newly remastered edition of Sergei Eisenstein’s silent classic.


Sons Of Anarchy: Season 3 (20th Century Fox) - Just in time for the premiere of season four, the latest entry in FX’s acclaimed biker drama.

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season (Warner Home Video) - It’s that other show about vampires, the one without all the nudity.

House, M.D.: Season Seven (Universal) - Hugh Laurie returns with a fair-to-middling season of the medical drama.

Desperate Housewives: The Complete Seventh Season (ABC/Buena Vista) - The penultimate season for the recently canceled ladies of Wisteria Lane.

Parenthood: Season 2 (Universal) - This series seems to have surprised most everyone by being much better than expected. Catch up with year two here.

Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season (ABC/Buena Vista) - Courteney Cox is back with the season where the ensemble comedy finally found its sea legs.

90210: The Third Season (Paramount) - This show made it past its first season? Huh. I owe somebody five bucks.

Nikita: The Complete First Season (Warner Home Video) - Maggie Q takes over for the latest incarnation of the unstoppable Nikita franchise.

Detroit 1-8-7: The Complete First Season (ABC) - Despite critical acclaim, Michael Imperioli’s cop show couldn’t find an audience. Time to give it another chance.

Wonders Of The Universe (BBC/Warner) - Physicist Brian Cox hosts this four-part science documentary.


Norwegian Ninja (IFC) - Unless you were just randomly picking out words from the “N” section of the dictionary, you’ve probably never associated ninjas with Norway before. Very loosely based on a true story, this action-comedy tells us how a ninja squad saved the land of lutefisk during the Cold War. Truly a story that needed to be told.

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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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