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:
- ‘Betty Blue‘ (Cinema Libre)
- ‘Blood Out‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Blow Out‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back‘ (Docudrama Films)
- ‘Chawz‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Daylight‘ (Universal)
- ‘Dementia 13‘ (Film Chest / Virgil Films)
- ‘Dinoshark ‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Eden of the East: The King of Eden‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘El Topo‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘The Enforcer (1995)‘ (Vivendi)
- ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘ (Criterion)
- ‘The Holy Mountain‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Human Planet‘ (BBC)
- ‘Jolene‘ (Koch)
- ‘Knockout‘ (Phase 4 Films)
- ‘Muay Thai Giant‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘The Other Side Of The Mirror – Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 ‘ (Sony)
- ‘Poor Pretty Eddie‘ (Film Chest / Virgil Films)
- ‘Romeo and Juliet (1954)‘ (VCI)
- ‘The Scent of Green Papaya‘ (Kino)
- ‘Sniper: Reloaded‘ (Sony)
- ‘South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Uncensored‘ (Paramount)
- ‘The Universe: The Complete Series Megaset‘ (A&E)
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‘.