This week brings us quite an eclectic grab-bag of new titles on Blu-ray, from a preachy environmental fable for children to a cult classic comedy about a neurotic hitman. Is there anything in this huge, messy assortment of discs that you might want to buy?
Green Eggs and Ham
The only major day-and-date new release of the week is the recent CG-animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax‘. Like most attempts to stretch the contents of a 72-page children’s picture book into a 90-minute feature film, this one was met with mixed reviews. Most of the complaints cited its heavy-handed environmental message, which adults found insultingly simplistic and children simply found boring. I’m sure it looks nice in 3D, though.
To capitalize on the publicity from that Universal release, Warner Bros. offers up a Blu-ray + DVD Combo for Seuss’ ‘The Cat in the Hat‘. This is the 1975 animated version, not that live action piece of crap with Mike Meyers. $20 seems like a lot of money for a half hour of content, if you ask me.
I Love the ’80s
If you grew up in the 1980s, you no doubt have fond memories of watching the goofball comedy ‘Adventures in Babysitting‘ in constant rotation on cable. Perhaps you’re also a fan of the silly all-star adaptation of the board game ‘Clue‘? The Blu-ray of the latter offers all three alternate endings that played in theaters.
MGM has also chosen to reissue ‘Spaceballs‘ in a new 25th Anniversary Edition, which I’m sure is just a repackaging of the previous Blu-ray from 2009 with a handful of new bonus features. Sadly, the movie is desperately in need of a remaster, which I doubt we’ll get here.
High School Confidential
Has Facebook made high school reunions irrelevant? These things used to be a big deal before the internet put us in constant contact with all of our old friends. Nowadays, they seem pretty pointless. In any case, comedies about reunions can still be fun, as evidenced by ‘Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion‘ and ‘Grosse Pointe Blank‘.
Admittedly, ‘High Fidelity‘ has little to do with this high school theme, but it stars John Cusack, and I have nowhere else to put it, so I’m just going to list it in the same category as ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’. I don’t pretend that this makes much logical sense, but it’s what’s happening anyway.
If you still haven’t quite come to terms with the loss of Whitney Houston, and you’ve already played your copy of ‘The Bodyguard’ too many times to count, you may be ready to revisit her performance in Penny Marshall’s rom-com ‘The Preacher’s Wife‘, a remake of the (far superior) 1947 film ‘The Bishop’s Wife’. I’d rather just wait for the original, but I will admit that Whitney (when she was sober) and Denzel Washington make a very attractive couple.
Nobody wanted to see ‘Blues Brothers 2000‘ or ‘Evan Almighty‘ in theaters. I can’t imagine that anybody wants to own them on Blu-ray. What’s the point of releasing discs like these?
Where the Buffalo Roam
After acquiring the Republic Pictures catalog, Paramount has apparently decided that it wants nothing to do with any of the movies in it, and has licensed many of them to Olive Films. This week, among other things, Olive gives us the classic Western ‘Rio Grande‘, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne.
Friends of Dorothy
I’m unable to describe Nicholas Ray’s bizarre ‘Johnny Guitar‘ better than Roger Ebert did when he called it, “one of the most blatant psychosexual melodramas ever to disguise itself in that most commodious of genres, the Western.” Joan Crawford plays a saloon owner who is allegedly in love with the title character (Sterling Hayden), but has a great deal more heat and sexual chemistry with her rival, Mercedes McCambridge. The film baffled audiences of 1954, but has since gone on to legendary cult status.
Before they entered the Matrix, the Wachowski siblings burst onto the cinema scene with the stylish lesbian crime thriller ‘Bound‘. The movie was frequently called a misogynistic male fantasy when it was released in 1996, but viewed today, looks more like Larry/Lana Wachowski must have been working through some personal gender issues.
Don Knotts turns into a cartoon fish in ‘The Incredible Mr. Limpit‘. I don’t think I’ve watched this movie since I was five-years-old, but I have a vague memory of my grandfather finding it hilarious.
I’m not sure which is the more unconventional adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest‘, Derek Jarman’s 1976 version or Peter Greenaway’s ‘Prospero’s Books’, but I think these two films would make an excellent double feature.
Those of you who still have space on your shelves to collect TV series may take interest in NBC’s ‘Grimm‘, Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back‘, or Seth McFarlane’s ‘Star Wars’ spoof ‘Family Guy: Blue Harvest‘. I’m not sure whether ‘Blue Harvest’ was really animated in high definition, or if this is another crummy upconversion.
Out of all that, you can put me down for ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’ and ‘High Fidelity’. How about you? Which titles interest you this week?