Notable DVD releases in January 2013

By Max Braden

January 30, 2013

I'm not the B in Apt. 23. My roommate is. I swear I'm the nice one.

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I’m a fan of underdogs, especially when it comes to movies. I don’t mean underdog characters, I mean underdog movies: the ones that don’t make hundreds of millions of dollars, the ones that don’t win awards, the ones that you don’t even realize were made until they’re released on DVD. And it shouldn’t come as any surprise that these underdogs actually comprise the majority of movies out there. For every one big title release each week, there are five more lesser-known movies released in the same week that I think are notable for some reason.

Why bother with the underdogs? Because every movie, even the dismal, has the potential for a silver lining. It might be a favorite actor, a favorite subgenre, a cleverly written line of dialogue, or an interesting bit of cinematography for all of 10 seconds. If I didn’t seek them out, I would have missed the sci-fi horror comedy Detention, which turned out to be my favorite movie of 2012. Each week I scour upcoming DVD releases for these underdogs, which is what this column is about. Since everyone is already aware of when the biggest movies of the year will be released on DVD, I intend to bring attention to the ones you’d otherwise overlook. I don’t promise great movies, but there’s bound to be something you might be interested in, even if it’s just to realize that they’ve made a sixth Universal Soldier movie.

Here are the under-the-radar DVD and/or streaming releases I find potentially interesting for the month of January. (Dates are based on Netflix; other services may release them earlier.)

Who: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Jay Baruchel, director David Cronenberg, composer Howard Shore
What: Pattinson plays a young Wall Street hotshot who’s under a lot of pressure, including his own pending assassination, based on the novel by Don DeLillo.
When: January 1st
Why: For obsessive Pattinson fans who want to see him play something other than a vampire, or fans of Cronenberg’s strange mind.


Little Birds
Who: Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Leslie Mann, Kate Bosworth, Neal McDonough
What: Temple and Panabaker star in a somber indie-drama road trip. Mann and McDonough play a mother and an uncle.
When: January 1st
Why: Mann usually does comedies so it might be interesting to see her in a serious role. I was a McDonough fan before his great performance in last season’s arc on Justified.

The Trouble With Bliss
Who: Michael C. Hall, Brie Larson, Chris Messina, Peter Fonda, Lucy Liu
What: Hall plays a down and out guy who needs to grow up, which he does with the help of teenager Larson.
When: January 1st
Why: Dexter (and pre-Dexter SFU) fans of Hall might be interested in him playing outside his main character. I’ve developed a growing interest in Messina thanks to The Mindy Project.

Who: Dreama Walker, Ann Dowd
What: Based on a true crime case, a prank caller convinces a fast food restaurant manager (Dowd) to investigate an alleged theft by confining and strip searching an innocent employee (Walker).
When: January 8th
Why: I became a fan of Walker due to Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23. She’s good (and naked), but it’s a discomfiting movie to watch. Even crazier than this being a true story is that it happened many times nationwide.

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