The floodgates are really open now. This week sees another outpouring of new Blu-ray releases, including one that the Trekkies out there have been eagerly awaiting.
Here’s the full list:
- ‘2-Headed Shark Attack‘ (Asylum)
- ‘Adaptation.‘ (Image)
- ‘Best Picture Academy Award Winners: 5-Film Collection‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘The Big Year‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Cold Mountain‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Das Boot: Director’s Cut (Single Disc Edition)‘ (Sony)
- ‘The Double‘ (Image)
- ‘Dream House‘ (Universal)
- ‘Drive‘ (Sony)
- ‘The English Patient‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Frida‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Grand Canyon‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘In Time‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking‘ (Discovery Channel)
- ‘Joe Somebody‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Malcolm X‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Mill and the Cross‘ (Kino)
- ‘Monkeybone‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Night Train Murders‘ (Blue Underground)
- ‘Nothing in Common‘ (Image)
- ‘Outrage: Way of the Yakuza‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘The Piano‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Poirot: Series 1‘ (Acorn Media)
- ‘Poirot: Series 2‘ (Acorn Media)
- ‘The Richard Thompson Band: Live at Celtic Connection‘ (Eagle Rock)
- ‘The Scout‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Shakespeare in Love‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Snow Buddies‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘A Soldier’s Story‘ (Image)
- ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Next Level‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Styx: The Grand Illusion / Pieces of Eight – Live‘ (Eagle Rock)
- ‘The Summer of Massacre‘ (Breaking Glass)
- ‘The Terrorists‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Texas Killing Fields‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘The Thing (2011)‘ (Universal)
- ‘To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary Edition‘ (Universal)
- ‘To Kill a Mockingbird: Commemorative Limited Edition Collector’s Series‘ (Universal)
- ‘Transformers: 7-Disc Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Trilogy‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon – 3D‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Treasure Buddies‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘Treasure Buddies (DVD Packaging)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
After months of anticipation, the first sampler disc of episodes from the new high-def restoration of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation‘ finally sees release today. Due to the way that the show was originally edited and post-produced on ancient standard-definition video, the remastering process for this series required that the studio reconstruct every episode from the raw film footage. This was a massive undertaking, much more time- and labor-intensive even than the work done for the previous Blu-ray editions of ‘The Original Series’. The photos and video clips that have been issued so far demonstrate a revelatory improvement in picture quality over the old DVDs.
While some of the episodes in this sampler aren’t necessarily among the show’s best, and some fans may elect to wait for the complete first season box set that will be released later in the year, the current $14.99 asking price for the sampler is a very reasonable price to pay for an early taste of this series in high definition.
What Took So Long?
When last year’s blockbuster ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon‘ was released on Blu-ray back in September, that disc was a stripped-down affair with no bonus features and no 3D version of the movie. Dreamworks and Paramount finally rectify that problem now with a new 3D, supplement-filled edition. Hopefully, those of you who bought the previous disc kept the $10 coupon for this one that was included in the case.
If that’s not enough for you, die-hard fans may want the 7-disc Limited Collector’s Edition box set of the entire trilogy (so far). The unwieldy packaging for that one is a little too ridiculous even for me. (Plus, you know, the movies kind of stink.)
Of the recent theatrical titles premiering on Blu-ray this week, I have a feeling that ‘Drive‘ will probably grab the most attention. I’ve said my peace about my feelings on this one enough already, and won’t dwell on it anymore. A lot of people seem to love this movie. I’m not one of them.
Last year’s part-prequel, part-remake of ‘The Thing‘ was a box office bust that was greeted with a lot of disdain from fans of the John Carpenter classic. However, it also has some defenders. I’m curious enough to give this a rent.
Japanese actor/director Takeshi “Beat” Takano is a major cult icon that I have mostly remained blind to. The only of his movies I’ve seen was his reboot of ‘Zatoichi’, which I wasn’t too enthused about. I probably need to see some of his better films. His latest is ‘Outrage: Way of the Yakuza‘, but I have no idea where this one falls within his canon.
Writer-director Andrew Niccol has been treading on the cult status of his overrated sci-fi flick ‘Gattaca’ for the past decade and a half. Fans of that film seem to be willing to overlook the fact that he followed it up with the godawful ‘S1m0ne’ and the utterly disinteresting ‘Lord of War’. He came back again last year with ‘In Time‘, which may have the absolute dumbest premise for a movie in the history of cinema. (In a dystopian future, time is money – literally!) The trailers were atrocious and the movie bombed, and I will never, ever see it if I can help it.
The rest of the day-and-dates (‘The Big Year‘, ‘Dream House‘ and ‘Texas Killing Fields‘) are a dull bunch doomed to be forgotten quickly. I’m really surprised and disappointed that the dopey haunted house thriller ‘Dream House’ was directed by Jim Sheridan, who previously made quality movies like ‘My Left Foot’ and ‘In the Name of the Father’. How did he get stuck doing this one?
Studios like to capitalize on Oscar season by opening their vaults and letting loose past Academy Award winners and nominees. Today alone we get ‘Adaptation.‘ (Best Supporting Actor, 2003), ‘Cold Mountain‘ (Best Supporting Actress, 2004), ‘The English Patient‘ (Best Picture, Director and a bunch of others, 1997), ‘Frida‘ (Best Makeup and Music winner, Best Actress nominee, 2003), ‘Grand Canyon‘ (Best Original Screenplay nominee, 1992), ‘Malcolm X‘ (Best Actor nominee, 1993), ‘The Piano‘ (Best Actress, Supporting Actress and Original Screenplay, 1994), ‘Shakespeare in Love‘ (Best Picture, Actress and more, 1999), ‘A Soldier’s Story‘ (Best Picture and Actor nominee, 1985), and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird‘ (Best Actor, 1963).
Some of these remain beloved classics (‘To Kill a Mockingbird’) while others have suffered from viewer backlash in the ensuing years (‘Shakespeare in Love’). I happen to be a defender of both ‘The English Patient’ and ‘The Piano’, but from this bunch, I’m most excited to get ‘Adaptation.’ on Blu-ray.
Lionsgate has also thrown together a ‘Best Picture Academy Award Winners: 5-Film Collection‘ box set that compiles the new discs for ‘The English Patient’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ with the older Blu-rays of ‘Chicago’, ‘Crash’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’.
Which titles will you buy this week?