New To Blu This Week: The Desolation of Smaug, Nurse 3D, and August: Osage County

Here's the breakdown of this week's biggest blu-ray releases.

"Legolas, we must
go back to the island!"
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Desolation of Smaug releases on Blu Ray today with some of the biggest and fantastically rendered action sequences of 2013. Unlike the last film in this epic series, audiences are thrown right in to the action with an almost non-stop three hour jaunt through the multiple landscapes of Middle Earth. This is exactly how a classic story should be brought to the screen with class and dedication to characters we've all grown to know and love.
The movie is leaps and bounds better than An Unexpected Journey as Jackson once again finds his directorial footing with a movie nearly as good as Return of the King..... minus the thirteen endings. Where The first Hobbit movie was mostly exposition and character development, The Desolation of Smaug is unrelenting in its use of non-stop sword and archery play while still sticking to the grandiose story at hand.
As Hobbit fans go, I'm pretty passive. I'm not a rabid fan boy of this series by any means. But I've definitely watched and enjoyed each franchise entry several times by myself and with my kids. Out of the five movies released so far, this could easily rank up there in the top two or three. Everything about the movie is simply better than the last. The story is tighter, the CGI looks better, and the action is much more fluid.
But the best parts of The Desolation of Smaug are the perfectly paced comedic elements, the return of Orlando Bloom as Legolas, series newcomer Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel and the long awaited appearance of the dastardly dragon, Smaug. He's a legendary villain that has been brought to the screen in perfect detail with a skillfully animated representation and voice over work befitting the classic monster he is.
If you're looking for a fun cinematic adventure to experience with your kids this Christmas blockbuster season, The Desolation of Smaug must be on the top of your list, especially if you're a die hard fan of these movies. Every second of the film is an absolute thrill ride that will have you anxiously awaiting the third and final installment of The Hobbit trilogy.

- Review by Chris George

Nurse 3D
"All my talent is
on display for
I'm a skank!"
It’s billed as a sexy thriller/horror flick but the horrendous acting, major plot holes and underwhelming gore keep it from being anything but a cheap thrill. I have nothing against gratuitous nudity or sexual content but when t & a is the only thing on the menu in a film I get bored. If I wanted to watch soft core porn, I can turn on Cinemax. This movie literally has nothing going for it except completely naked women (and some half naked guys).
Paz de la Huerta plays Abby Russell, a nurse who goes on murderous rampages to kill philandering husbands and boyfriends. This could have been an interesting premise if they would have taken it down a more disturbing route, but instead they handle it in the most cliché way possible and rely on plot holes and unbelievable situations to make it work.
Paz de la Huerta delivers some of the worst acting I have ever seen in a movie and this is no hyperbole. Every piece of dialogue she utters is so horribly stilted and awkward that it almost makes the movie unwatchable. Luckily, she is naked most of the time she is speaking so I’m sure that will overshadow how terrible it is to some people.I love cheesy movies and most of those have less than stellar acting, but they at least have some pizazz or hilarious moments. Nurse is just generic in every way and tries to cover up its shortcomings with lots of nudity. It looks like a mid-90’s basic cable made-for-TV movie and most of the blood and gore is done digitally. The soundtrack is nothing to speak of and it only has one interesting moment near the end of the film. It doesn’t make up for how bad the rest of it is, but it was cool for those fleeting five minutes.
I cannot reiterate enough how bad this movie is and I love B movies to death. Avoid this unless you want an excuse to look at boobs for an hour and twenty minutes. However, you can see those for free on the internet.
-Review by Michelle Kisner

"I don't know why
they made me look
like Leatherface in this movie!"
August: Osage County
A film that could have easily been a tour de force for a sublime cast is strangely one of the most claustrophobic, muddled, and unappealing films of 2013. We all know that stage plays do not always translate well to the screen. In the instance of August: Osage County, it's not only a disappointment but a disaster that turns Julia Roberts in to a raving foul mouthed lunatic and Meryl Streep in to an unlikable drug riddled family matriarch that tears her family apart at every turn. I guess their performances are a success if they can draw this type of scathing character from themselves, but all in all the movie is hard to watch as none of the people they portray have any redeeming qualities.August: Osage County lines up the depressing twists and unbearably sad plot devices like nothing else from 2013. We're given terrible men that cheat, others that have tendencies towards young girls, incestuous relationships, verbally abusive mothers, drug addicts, and weak men that won't stand up for themselves in any dire situation. What's not to like about that?

I know not all pictures are pretty, but this was a daunting task to get through and even harder one to like. There is not one thing other than Streep's performance as the drug induced overbearing and mentally unstable mother that gave me any reason to continue watching. It's almost painful to see these actors put themselves through the dramatic anguish of this movie. August: Osage County is like its own additional circle of hell in Dante's Inferno. Your soul cannot be saved from these horrendous people and their agonizing contempt for one another. Its hard to believe they're even a family.

If you like divine suffering, have a knack for sadomasochistic theater or unlikable characters that despise one another, take a shot on August: Osage County. It's a complete misfire for a cast of great actors that really don't have anyone to blame but themselves and the people that decided to put this stage play to film. What could have been a sentimental story about forgiveness and family is sadly one of the biggest failures in some time.

-Review by Chris George