March 20, 2007

DVD Pick of the Week: Blood Diamond

Welcome to yet another edition of DVD Pick of the Week. Brought to you each Tuesday with the love of a fellow DVD lover. This week brings a decent selection of films to choose from. Whether you are looking for Oscar nominees, sequels, superheroes, old school comedy, televised drama, or splatter, there is plenty to go around. While the releases are many, the desireables are considerably slimmer. Of those few remaining, I was able to cut it down to a single title, sure there are a few that I want, but one stands above them.

This week's pick is the Oscar nominated film Blood Diamond. The film received five nominations including two acting nominations for Leonardo Dicaprio's portrayal of Danny Archer, a diamond smuggler in Africa, and Djimon Hounsou as Solomon, a man whose family is taken from him while he is forced to dig for diamonds. Edward Zwick directed as his followup to the excellent The Last Samurai.

Blood Diamond is a film that pulls no punches in its depiction of violence surrounding the black market diamond smuggling. The film is moving, exciting, and highly dramatic. If there is one problem with it, it is that the story is strung along a little too conveniently at times. Despite how easily the story moved from point to point, it is hard not to get caught up with Solomon's quest to be reunited with his family, and Archer's change of heart the further their adventure takes them. Let us not forget the considerable contribution from Jennifer Connolly as an American reporter looking to dig into the bloody diamond business.

The DVD is now available in one and two disk editions. The single disk includes a commentary track with director Edward Zwick. The two disk includes that track, but also includes: "Blood on the Stone" documentary: Follow the path of a diamond from the ground to the store, featurettes: Becoming Archer (a profile of Leonardo DiCaprio and how he trained for the war), Journalism on the Front Line (Jennifer Connelly on women journalists at war), Inside the Siege of Freetown (see how Ed Zwick tackled the pivotal scene), and a music video for "Shine On Em" by Nas.

Also out this week:
  • Rocky Balboa. This surprised me, it is a very good film, it is a touching finish to the Rocky saga, and the best film since the original. Set aside your thoughts of the sequels and give this one a spin. It is a near miss for Pick of the Week.
  • Justice League Unlimited: Season Two. Following the end of JL, this picked up with an expanded roster and turned out to be a very good series.
  • Eragon. This is a warning, skip this movie. It is just plain awful. If you do subject yourself to it, here is a drinking game, drink whenever you notice a Star Wars rip off.
  • The Nativity Story. Decent, but should have been much better. It is a good story and definitely worth a rental.
  • Batman Beyond: Season Three. Surprisingly good series giving us a Batman of the future, quite different than the Batman you know, but true enough to be familiar.
  • WC Fields Comedy Collection: Volume Two. Classic old school comedy.
  • Sleeper Cell: The CompleteSecond Season. Don't know much about this series, but I have heard that it is very good.
  • Naked City. An older film being released by Criterion. I don't know much about it, other than the crime story set on location in New York sounds great.
  • Everyone's Hero. A tale of Babe Ruth era baseball with talking implements. Not sure if this is any good, but may be worth a view.
  • Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner. I saw this when it aired, and it is hilarious. Now see it uncensored.
  • Re-Animator. I have the Elite Millenium Edition, so I am not sure this is worth a repurchase, but it is a classic splatter horror with a load of extras. This edition does include a new 70 minute documentary.
  • Joan of Arcadia: The Second Season. I really liked the first season, but the second was just too much, a little too heavy handed. Skip this and definitely see the first season.
  • Masters of Horror: Pro-Life. John Carpenter's latest entry in the horror series. Gotta love horror!
  • Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave. Decent little cheese fest. Go in with low to no expectations and you may enjoy it.

What are you planning an seeing?


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