Before I get to this week’s new Blu-ray releases, allow me to rectify one oversight. It seems that in last week’s Highlights reel, I neglected to mention that Dreamworks Animation’s ‘How to Train Your Dragon‘ would be released on Friday the 15th. Although it’s weird for video releases to street on a Friday, that’s a pretty major title to overlook. Sorry about that. Now then, let’s take a look at what this week offers.
Here’s the list:
- ‘Apocalypse Now: 2-Disc Special Edition‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Apocalypse Now: 3-Disc Full Disclosure Edition‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Assault Girls‘ (Well Go USA)
- ‘Black Christmas (2006)‘ (Vivendi)
- ‘The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos‘ (Disneynature)
- ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Ultimate Edition‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Ultimate Edition‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Howling Trilogy‘ (Timeless Media Group)
- ‘Mirrors 2‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Moulin Rouge!‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Night of the Demons (2009)‘ (Koch)
- ‘Oceans‘ (Disneynature)
- ‘Please Give‘ (Sony)
- ‘Predators‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition‘ (Universal)
- ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show (35th Anniversary Edition)‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Romeo + Juliet‘ (MGM/UA)
- ‘Seven Samurai‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘Video Games Live: Level 2‘ (Shout! Factory)
- ‘Wallander‘ (BBC)
Perhaps unusually, the biggest discs of the week are catalog titles, not new day-and-date releases. Among them are at least three bona fide masterpieces.
Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now‘ finally arrives on Blu-ray in your choice of either a 2-disc Special Edition or a 3-disc Full Disclosure Edition. No matter which you buy, you’ll get both the original 1979 theatrical cut and the 2001 Redux version. (I believe they’re seamlessly branched.) The best part of all this is that the movie has finally been restored to its full 2.35:1 aspect ratio for the first time on home video. Previous releases from Laserdisc to DVD have all been cropped to 2.0:1 due to interference by the nutjob cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who has a habit of desecrating his older movies.
As if that’s not enough in itself, the Criterion Collection gives us Akria Kurosawa’s legendary ‘Seven Samurai‘, while Universal brings us Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho‘. I can’t wait to watch both of these in high definition.
Of course, there are some new titles coming out this week too. Drew here at the blog loved ‘Predators‘ when he reviewed the theatrical release. Some of my other friends have been less enthusiastic about it, however. I might be willing to give it a chance. It’s got to be better than those wretched ‘Alien vs. Predator‘ movies, right? Perhaps a rental for me.
On a completely different end of the spectrum is ‘Please Give‘, the latest film from director Nicole Holofcener (‘Lovely and Amazing’, ‘Friends with Money’). I’ve heard a few mixed things about this one, but the general reaction has been favorable.
Back to catalog titles: The third and forth ‘Harry Potter‘ pictures have been expanded to new “Ultimate Edition” versions, in keeping with the first two in the series. Expect the rest to follow.
Personally, I’m no fan of Baz Luhrmann. His ‘Moulin Rouge!‘ (note the exclamation point) made me physically ill after about 30 seconds of spastic insanity. But the director has a devoted audience, and he certainly has a strong visual style that I’m sure someone will appreciate in high definition. Both ‘Rouge!’ and his earlier ‘Romeo + Juliet‘ (the latter two entries in his so-called “Red Curtain Trilogy”) hit Blu-ray simultaneously. No word on an American release of ‘Strictly Ballroom’ to my knowledge, but that one is already available on Blu-ray in the UK.
And, finally, if those Luhrmann pictures aren’t campy enough for you, ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show‘ should certainly take up the slack. Let’s do the Time Warp again!