Blu-ray Highlights for 4/26/11 – This Is Bat Country

For the first time in quite a long time, there are essentially no notable day-and-date titles on the Blu-ray release slate this week. Instead, this week is all about cult movies. Of those, there are a few worth looking at.

Here’s the list of what’s being released today:

Likely the biggest release of the week is one that I’m not particularly a fan of. Terry Gilliam’s overstuffed adaptation Hunter S. Thompson’s “gonzo” (read: drug-addled) literary phenomenon ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘ is an ugly, unpleasant freakshow about two assholes who spend the entire movie getting high and behaving like dangerous idiots. The lesson in all this: Drugs are totally awesome, the more of them you consume at once the better. It’s not subject matter I care for, and Gilliam’s movie is gaudy, incoherent, and just plain wearying to watch. Nonetheless, it has a huge cult audience of druggies who read Thompson’s book and thought that it was the most profound thing ever written. The movie was released previously on Blu-ray by Universal as a fairly bare bones affair. This week, the Criterion Collection finally ports over its DVD special edition (one of the studio’s top-selling titles ever) to Blu-ray. Gilliam’s commentaries are usually worth listening to, even when his movies stink, so perhaps there may be some merit in giving this a look for that aspect.

You want gonzo? Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky is the real deal. His bizarre cult oddities ‘El Topo‘ and ‘The Holy Mountain‘ are batshit crazy. These movies are indescribable, but fascinating. They were also long unavailable on video. The fact that they’re showing up in high definition (from Starz/Anchor Bay) is really surprising.

Let’s jump back to Criterion for a moment. Brian De Palma’s ‘Blow Out‘ is one of those movies from the period where the director was really shameless about straight-up copying his favorite films in the name of “homage.” (He still does that to some extent, of course, but he used to be much more blatant about it.) In this case, he’s riffing on Michaelangelo Antonioni’s ‘Blow Up’. Even so, this is an interesting effort, and one of the few tolerable movies that John Travolta has ever starred in.

Also of note this week are ‘Dementia 13‘ (a schlock horror movie from the Roger Corman factory that just so happens to have been an early directorial effort from one Francis Ford Coppola), Jean-Jacques Beineix’s ‘Betty Blue‘ (which I’m sure that I’ve seen at some point, but always get confused in my head with the director’s earlier ‘Diva’), and the Vietnamese Oscar nominee ‘The Scent of Green Papaya‘.


  1. Nothing today, but there are some releases that I am VERY intrested in, and will probably pick up when a good sale goes on. These are The Universe, Human Planet, Mahler Symponies 1-7 (yes, it gets released today), Nova: Making Stuff (also released today), The Girl Who Lept Through Time (wonderful anime, may pick it up before the end of the week, also gets released today), and Inferno, which sounds like it was some French movie that was started in the 60s but never finished, and they are now showing the unfinished films, as well as doing a whole documentary on it.

    • Ended up picking up Human Planet, Ganges, Wild China, and Wonders of the Universe. Spent more than I should have this week – still recovering from all the movies that were released these past couple of months. I’m going to have to hide them from my roommate when they come in, or I will get lectured!

      • Although she did buy stuff on e-bay yesterday even though she just borrowed money from me to pay a bill. Okay, I just won’t tell my parents then. My mom always complains that its hard to shop for me for Christmas because I buy everything that I want.