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Blu-ray Highlights for June 26th, 2012 – Hush Your Mouth!

This week’s top new Blu-ray release is so good that it (almost) leaves me speechless. I’ll see if I can muster a few words about it (and the rest of the new Blu-ray slate) anyway.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (6/26/12)?

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New Releases

It’s such a rarity that I ever find myself agreeing with the Academy Awards pick for Best
Picture as thoroughly as I did earlier this year. Of course, as with just about any Oscar winner, a backlash against ‘The Artist‘ has already fomented among viewers who didn’t find the film serious enough to merit all of its acclaim – as if comedies are inherently inferior to dramas and can never deserve to be called the “Best” anything. I call bullshit on that attitude. I found no other movie in 2011 so captivating, so charming and so rousingly entertaining as French director Michel Hazanavicius’ neo-silent film. And no other actor last year gave a performance as flawless or charismatic as Jean Dujardin. I loved every frame of this film, and I can’t wait to watch its luminous black & white photography on Blu-ray.

21 Jump Street‘ leaves me terribly conflicted. On the one hand, I’m damn tired of the trend in which old dramatic TV series are turned into comedy spoofs. On the other hand, this one comes from the makers of the delightful ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs‘, and word of mouth about it has been great. But it stars Channing Tatum, the worst actor who has ever lived or ever will live. Yet people say that he’s actually pretty funny and likeable in this. How is that even possible? I just don’t know. I suppose that I’ll have to give it a rent.

The first of this year’s competing Snow White pictures, Tarsem Singh’s goofy and kid-pandering ‘Mirror Mirror‘, has been widely decried as one of the worst movies of the year, and possibly of all time. I think that was pretty clear from the trailers. Yeesh. I felt my brain cells dying after exposure to just two minutes of clips from the thing. Watch this at your own peril.

Did anyone actually like 2010′s ‘Clash of the Titans‘ remake enough to want a sequel? That’s a rhetorical question. Of course not. It was terrible. Nonetheless, it somehow made enough money to justify ‘Wrath of the Titans‘, which grossed about half as much as its predecessor. I have a feeling that will put an end to plans for ‘Squabble of the Titans’. This one’s available in both 2D or post-converted 3D options.

Silent House‘ is that single-shot haunted house thriller with rising starlet Elizabeth Olsen. Nobody cared enough to see this in theaters. I expect it to disappear into home video obscurity pretty quickly.

Adventurous cinephiles who don’t fear subtitles may want to give the Turkish crime drama ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia‘ a spin. Be warned, however, that the movie is two-and-a-half hours long, and most accounts say that it takes a good hour to get warmed up. However, most of the viewers who stuck around through that point left impressed with the final product.

Catalog Titles

The Criterion Collection contributes to the 2012 celebration of all things Alfred Hitchcock with a new high-def release of ‘The 39 Steps‘ that’s hopefully better in quality than the disappointing Blu-ray from the UK. Criterion also offers ‘The Samurai Trilogy‘ starring the great Toshiro Mifune. That sounds pretty enticing, but what’s with the goofy cartoon cover art?

Warner Bros. reissues John Boorman’s killer-redneck classic ‘Deliverance‘ in a new 40th Anniversary Edition Digibook that upgrades the soundtrack to lossless DTS-HD Master Audio, but otherwise recycles the same muddy video transfer from the 2007 Blu-ray.

Finally, Olive Films dishes up another William Castle schlockfest, the haunted house chiller ‘The Spirit Is Willing‘. Headlined by comedian Sid Caesar, I’d expect this to have a few more laughs than, say, ‘Silent House’.

Vote in our poll and tell us in the Comments about which titles you plan to pick up this week.

33 comments

  1. EM

    I preordered The Artist some time ago and look forward to its arrival. That should make for an exciting yet silent evening, as the same package will also be bringing my delayed purchase of the Gold Rush Blu-ray.

    As for The Spirit Is Willing, I am willing to take a look at it sometime.

  2. HuskerGuy

    Just 21 Jump Street for me. We saw it in the theater based on word of mouth and my wife and I both thought it was absolutely hilarious. I’m a big Tatum hater as well, but he plays a big dumb idiot in this one, so it isn’t much of a stretch for him.

    Never saw The Artist and honestly have no inclination to, despite the acclaim and word of mouth. Can’t really explain it.

    • Ben

      Pretty much in the same situation as you. 21 Jump Street was hilarious and I HATED Channing Tatum. Now I find myself indifferent to him as a result of the film. Comedy may be his future. While I am interested in ‘The Artist’ I know it’s going to be on Netflix as per a deal made between the Weinstein Company and Netflix, so I know it’ll be there in 4-6 months time and I can wait.

  3. William Henley

    I got to go with The Artist as well, and I must echo what Josh said. This movie is incredible, I have already seen it 4 times at the theater! I could watch this again and again!

    I think its also fitting that Singing In The Rain arrives on Blu-Ray in just a couple of weeks! Those two movies together would make for a great weekend.

    Mars in 3D sounds interesting to me, but am surprised they are using pictures from the Vicking mission. Seems if anything, they would use images from Spirit and Opprotunity.

  4. August Lehe

    The 39 Steps is the only one on the list for me. I hope it beats the UK release! Maybe The Artist, later.

  5. Drew

    Certainly, ‘The Artist’, although it is NOT as good as it was hyped as being, or even as good as Josh states here. It relies on intertitles far too often. And at times, it comes across as an impersonating clip show of many other great films. (Don’t get me wrong. I still love it, and believe that is was the third or fourth best film of 2011. See the review on the main HDD site for more, as my opinion echoes the one given there.)

    I’m definitely picking up ’21 Jump Street’. It’s the smartest, and most self aware “dumb comedy” that has came out in a very long time.

    I’m also getting ‘Wrath of the Titans 3D’ — It will be an awesome visual feast with my new projector and new screen, and a great audio exhibition for my new Marantz receiver and Bowers and Wilkins center and fronts. I can sell it if it sucks. I’m trusting E.’s review — ‘Mars in 3D: Images from the Viking Mission’, and ‘Sector 7 – 3D’.

    • Barsoom Bob

      If it is not too late save your money on Wrath and Sector 7. Bought both of these early and wished I hadn’t. Both exceedingly lame.

      The FX might be marginally better than the first but the story is three times dumber. It’s going to eBay.

      Sector 7 is no Host that’s for sure. Much closer to that dumb tital wave movie from a couple of years ago. South Korea makes some really great movie but this is not one of those. Also going to eBay ASAP.

  6. JM

    My friend hates ‘The Artist’ claiming it poorly steals from great films.

    As I’ve never seen a silent film, and have no interest in the pre-’79 era, for me the only question is, ‘Do you need to see more Jean Dujardin?’

    Being in love with ‘OSS 117,’ the answer is ‘Yes, please.’

    I am so anticipating him in Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’

  7. Drew

    Amen, to your comment about ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Can’t wait to see if Dujardin can do something out of his comfort zone. I’m leaning towards being skeptical.

  8. Josh, the problem with Tatum is somewhere along the line studio execs thought chiseled abs translated into romantic lead. I haven’t liked Tatum until this year. ‘Haywire,’ ’21 Jump Street,’ and word is ‘Magic Mike’ have turn the Tatum tables. He’s really great in ’21 Jump Street’ and the movie is fully aware, and calls itself out, for remaking an old, semi-obscure television series.

  9. the ss helton

    It’s not letting me vote. It says, “Maximum number of choices – 1″ when I attempt to. Please fix, and I’ll vote.

  10. Drew

    Jane,

    That definitely buys you some wiggle room. ‘Django Unchained’ could be QT’s magnum opus!

    • JM

      I wonder when Tarantino will reach his pinnacle of awesomeness?

      Are there any directors who never fell into decline?

  11. Drew

    Just a few: Scorsese, Nolan (albeit, he is still extremely young and green, and there’s certainly a chance he will), Fincher (arguable, due to ‘Button’ I’m aware), Kubrick (disputable, I know), and Malick.

    With that said, I want to add that one could argue that Tarantino fell into decline at certain points of his career as well. So, QT and the others I mentioned are the only directors in history that never feel into a diminished version of themselves.

      • Ian Whitcombe

        With Hitchcock, that mostly depends on if one is a fan of “Frenzy” and to a lesser extent “Family Plot.”

        There are also people who find every one of Kurosawa’s color films to be too stylistically and tonally different from his previous films. Even so, that’s a minority opinion compared to the high praise that Kagemusha, Ran and Matadayo frequently get.

  12. Drew

    I suppose we can include Hitchcock, although many would argue that he suffered a significant decline towards the end.

    Kurosawa was far too inconsistent, and became too much of an assembly line director — at times — to be on the list.

  13. Josh Zyber
    Author

    I rented 21 Jump Street last night, and it pretty much rocked my socks. That was hilarious and awesome, and awesomely hilarious. And I didn’t hate Tatum in it.

    This leaves me so confused. Down is up. Left is right. The world is spinning.