Forget anything else being released this week, the one and only, original 1979 ‘The Muppet Movie’ is finally available on Blu-ray, and there’s only one thing to say about that.
OK, fine. Other stuff comes out this week too, and I suppose we should talk about it.
By most accounts, ‘Olympus Has Fallen‘ was the better of this year’s two “Die Hard in the White House” thrillers, but is still, unavoidably, a poor man’s ‘Die Hard’ knock-off. Then again, considering how bad the most recent official ‘Die Hard’ sequel was, perhaps a decent knock-off of the original isn’t such a bad thing. I don’t think I’d buy this, but it screams rental material for me.
The nuptial comedy ‘The Big Wedding‘ has a lot of recognizable stars in it: Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams, among others. So why don’t I have any recollection at all of this movie ever being released? According to my Googling, it came and went in a blink this past spring. I don’t believe I ever saw a single trailer or TV commercial for it. That’s probably not a good sign.
No longer the acclaimed director he used to be, Robert Redford attempts to tell the story of the radical Weather Underground political movement of the 1970s in ‘The Company You Keep‘. According to Shannon’s Blu-ray review, the movie waters down the controversial subject matter and is too tepid for its own good, much like Redford’s last couple of movies. It may be time to consider retirement.
Tommy Lee Jones plays Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the WWII drama ‘Emperor‘, which pushes his story about determining the fate of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito after the end of the war to the background in favor of a formulaic love story about his aide (Matthew Fox) and a Japanese exchange student. Sounds tedious. No wonder this never broke out of limited release.
Did you like ‘Hatchet’ and ‘Hatchet II’? I hope so, because here’s ‘Hatchet III‘, with even more hatcheting action than ever before. Having never seen any of these movies, I have no comment on their quality. Does the quality of something like this even matter anyway? Either you want bloody hatchet murders or you don’t.
It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. ‘The Muppet Movie‘ comes to Blu-ray in what I’m told is a nice new restoration from Disney. I watched the original Sony DVD last year, and it was nightmarishly swamped in grain and edge enhancement. I already have the Blu-ray on order.
Brian De Palma’s 1984 thriller ‘Body Double‘ is one of the director’s lesser efforts, but has enough fun set-pieces to play nicely with his other movies from the era. The limited edition Blu-ray is one of the few Twilight Time releases to have already sold out its 3,000 copy run. I find this a little perplexing, as I didn’t realize the movie was so popular, and the Twilight Time edition of De Palma’s ‘The Fury’ (released five months ago) is still available. I blame speculators buying this up to unload on eBay. I guess I’m glad that I ordered a copy early.
Twilight Time also offers the Ben Kingsley thriller ‘Sexy Beast‘. Demand for this title may be tempered by the fact that it was previously released on Blu-ray in the UK. I love Kingsley’s off-the-rails performance in this, but the movie itself is kind of disappointing.
Despite still being one of the most powerful film producers in the world, Luc Besson’s own directorial career has faltered in recent years. His 2010 fantasy adventure ‘The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec‘ never even got a release in this country. In his Blu-ray review, E. found it “fun, light-hearted and delightful.”
Heeding uproar about the choice of widescreen aspect ratio, Warner Bros. delayed its release of the classic Western ‘Shane‘ to remaster it in the original 1.37:1 Academy Ratio that director George Stevens composed for. The decision has been met with approval by fans, even though, technically, the movie was originally projected at 1.66:1 during its 1953 theatrical release. Ideally, I think Warner should have offered a choice of multiple aspect ratios, like Criterion did for the recent release of ‘On the Waterfront’. But if we can only have one, I guess that 1.37:1 is preferable.
Speaking of Criterion, the latest addition to that esteemed collection is John Frankenheimer’s surreal fractured-identity thriller ‘Seconds‘.
In other titles of some note, Jennifer Beals works hard for the money in the ’80s cheeseball hit ‘Flashdance‘, and Mark Harmon investigates his very first military murder in ‘The Presidio‘.
From the land of TV, both ‘Girls‘ and ‘Once Upon a Time‘ celebrate their second seasons. I barely made it through one episode of the latter.
Meanwhile, the BBC restores one of the few classic ‘Doctor Who’ adventures shot on film, the 1970 ‘Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space‘. This one stars the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, if that matters to you.
As I mentioned, I have ‘The Muppet Movie’ on order, and have already received my copy of ‘Body Double’. I’ve also added ‘Seconds’ to my wish list, and might rent ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ on VUDU. What are your plans for this week?