I don’t know about you, but this week’s Blu-ray selection looks pretty bleak from my perspective. There’s only one title that I want to add to my movie collection. Fortunately, it’s a really good one and an essential purchase. Beyond that, not much catches my eye.
The following discs see release this week:
- ‘Angels Crest‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Black Butler: Complete First Season‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘Black Butler: Complete Second Season‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘Chasing Madoff‘ (MPI)
- ‘Chinatown‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Discover Planet Ocean: The World Beneath‘ (Gaiam)
- ‘Disney WOW World of Wonder‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘Equilibrium / Renaissance‘ (Echo Bridge)
- ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun‘ (Image)
- ‘Great Expectations (2011)‘ (PBS)
- ‘London River‘ (Cinema Libre)
- ‘Madonna: Truth or Dare‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Miracle of Marcelino‘ (VCI)
- ‘Pokemon Collection‘ (Echo Bridge)
- ‘The Poseidon Adventure (1972)‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘The Prophecy Collection‘ (Echo Bridge)
- ‘Shergar‘ (Gaiam)
- ‘Titanic (1953)‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Titanoboa: Monster Snake‘ (Inception Media Group)
- ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day‘ (BBC – April 4th)
- ‘A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures‘ (Vivendi)
- ‘War Horse (2-Disc Combo Pack)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘War Horse (4-Disc Combo Pack)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘We Bought a Zoo‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition‘ (MGM/UA)
We’ll start with the week’s only must-own title, Roman Polanski’s period noir masterpiece ‘Chinatown‘. Looking past all the personal problems and scandal that would plague the director’s life afterwards, few would deny that this is very nearly a flawless film and the high point in the career of a talented artist. Our reviewer David also rates the Blu-ray edition with high marks. Follow the link above to his full review.
Robert Wise’s Oscar-winning adaptation of the musical ‘West Side Story‘ was already released on Blu-ray in a deluxe box set, a 2-disc edition and a (Target-exclusive) Digibook package. Today’s re-release is just a streamlined single-disc edition in a simple keepcase. This remains notable because this edition may be the simplest way to ensure that you obtain MGM’s re-authored version of the disc that allegedly fixes an error in the movie’s opening title sequence. However, as I wrote a few months ago, even the “corrected” version of the scene is still incorrect, just slightly less so than before.
Recent theatrical titles making their way to video today include Steven Spielberg’s Oscar bait historical epic ‘War Horse‘ and Cameron Crowe’s family-friendly dramedy ‘We Bought a Zoo‘. I can’t force myself to build up any enthusiasm for either of these. The stage version of ‘War Horse’ looks an order of magnitude more interesting than Spielberg’s film, and nothing about the trailers for Crowe’s movie appealed to me. On the other hand, I wound up liking Spielberg’s ‘Tintin’ movie a lot more than I expected, so maybe I should stop being so judgemental. On the other other hand, if I wasn’t so judgemental, I’d be out of a job.
The documentary ‘Chasing Madoff‘ details one man’s decade-long quest to expose the notorious Ponzi-schemer to a disinterested public and the federal regulators who repeatedly turned a blind eye. This sounds like a fascinating topic that would make a good companion piece to other financial-malfeasance docs like ‘Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room‘. Unfortunately, most reviews have called the movie repetitive and dull, and singled out the hero of the piece for coming across as unlikable and self-aggrandizing.
Fans of director Kurt Wimmer’s utterly braindead dystopian sci-fi action flick ‘Equilibrium‘ (as you can tell from my tone, I don’t count myself as a fan) have suffered a host of crappy video editions, most of them cropped to the wrong aspect ratio. Cheapskate distributor Echo Bridge at least gets the aspect ratio right in the new double-feature pack that bundles the film with the French animated dystopian noir ‘Renaissance‘. Unfortunately, both movies have been compressed together onto one single-layer disc, and feature only lossy Dolby Digital audio.
If you really want to own either of these movies (‘Renaissance’ isn’t half bad, really), you might do slightly better by picking up the Walmart-exclusive six-film High Powered Action Pack, which sells for only $15. Both of these features have the correct aspect ratio and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks in that set. Unfortunately, the package compresses three films per disc, and some of the other titles are in the wrong ratio.
For what it’s worth, the best edition of ‘Equilibrium’ to date remains the expensive Japanese import Blu-ray, and the best edition of ‘Renaissance’ is the long-discontinued German HD DVD.
What else do we have going on today? This weekend’s theatrical re-release of James Cameron’s famous doomed-ship movie has prompted Fox to issue a 1953 adaptation of the story, also simply titled ‘Titanic‘, as well as the similarly-themed Irwin Allen disaster spectacle ‘The Poseidon Adventure‘. The latter is a guilty pleasure that I might consider picking up when it hits bargain bins.
3D fans have frequently singled out import Blu-ray editions of the animated ‘Finding Nemo’ knockoff ‘A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures‘ as having some of the best and most aggressive “pop-out” effects of any 3D title to date. I don’t think the movie is notable for anything else. Naturally, Vivendi has chosen only to release the flat 2D version in America. If you want it in 3D, the Region A-compatible Hong Kong release seems to be the way to go.
Children of the ’80s may enjoy a trip down memory lane with Madonna’s once-scandalous concert documentary ‘Truth or Dare‘ or the goofy comedy ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun‘, which featured early roles for Sarah Jessica Parker, Shannen Doherty and future Oscar winner Helen Hunt.
Finally, on the TV front, we have the latest season (and the first transported to America) of ‘Torchwood‘, and the recent BBC miniseries adaptation of ‘Great Expectations‘.
Do yourself a favor and pick up ‘Chinatown’. Other than that, does anything else interest you enough to buy?