It’s a slow, slow, sloooooooow week for Blu-ray, folks. Remember how many interesting and potentially worthwhile titles were released last week? Yeah, that’s all over with now. We’re firmly in the dog days of August. There are only two major day-and-date releases, and they’re both thoroughly disinteresting. The catalog slate is also pretty sparse. Let’s see what we can dig up anyway, though.
Here’s the dreary list:
- ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective/Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Crumb‘ (Criterion Collection)
- ‘Date Night‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Death at a Funeral (2010)‘ (Sony)
- ‘The Diplomat‘ (Vivendi)
- ‘Forces of Nature‘ (Vivendi)
- ‘In the Shadow of the Moon‘ (Image)
- ‘The Joneses ‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Multiple Sarcasms‘ (Image)
- ‘National Lampoon’s European Vacation‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Scream Franchise Collection (Canadian Import)‘ (Alliance Canada)
- ‘Screwballs II: Loose Screws‘ (Severin)
- ‘Triage‘ (National Media)
- ‘What’s Up Doc?‘ (Warner Brothers)
So, the big names on the docket this week are Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Good will for the two TV stars managed to propel their ‘Date Night‘ to become a surprise sleeper hit in theaters earlier this year, despite its blatant mediocrity. Fine, they’re both likeable and appealing actors, but do you really feel the need to own this? Maybe a rental. Maybe…
‘Death at a Funeral‘ is the new American remake of the Frank Oz comedy of the same name that was just released three years ago. Even though the original was made in English, starred several American actors such as Alan Tudyk and Peter Dinklage, and received a wide release in the U.S., technically it was a British production and thus a foreign film. I guess that makes it ripe for a remake. One-time indie darling (for ‘In the Company of Men’, ‘Your Friends and Neighbors’, and ‘Nurse Betty’) turned Hollywood hack (‘Lakeview Terrace‘) Neil Labute directs. Given his previous experience with remakes, you’d think he’d know better. To separate it from the original, the new film has a predominantly black cast including Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, and Zoë Saldana. James Marsden takes over for Alan Tudyk, and Peter Dinklage reprises his role from the original, which is just weird. To be frank (as in blunt, not as in Oz), the original film was just sort of passable to begin with. Nate reviewed the remake (follow the link above to his review) and said much the same of it.
On the catalog front, the Criterion Collection issues its latest release with ‘Crumb‘, the fascinating documentary about weirdo cartoonist R. Crumb. This film was also the feature directorial debut ofbreakout feature from director Terry Zwigoff, who would go on to make the acclaimed indie drama ‘Ghost World’ and… well… ‘Bad Santa‘, of all things. Yes, really. Drew raves about it as well in his review. This is my personal highlight of the week, and probably the only film I’ll be picking up.
I suppose that’s not necessarily true. ‘In the Shadow of the Moon‘ looks like another interesting documentary, this one about the space program. The only reason I won’t be purchasing it is that I already imported the HD DVD edition from the UK a couple years ago and never got around to watching it.
Other than that, there’s the tag team of National Lampoon’s ‘Vacation‘ and ‘European Vacation‘. The first one is still a classic comedy. The second, not so much. In his review, E. says that the original looks fair on Blu-ray. I’m surprised Warner didn’t squeeze these two onto another one of its double-feature discs.
Speaking of double-features, Warner is dumping both of Jim Carrey’s ‘Ace Ventura‘ movies onto a single disc. I know that these comedies were insanely popular back in the day, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out why. I suspect that I was just never stoned enough to appreciate their alleged genius. Does anyone still think they’re funny?
Finally, Barbra Steisand invades Blu-ray courtesy of the 1972 screwball comedy ‘What’s Up, Doc?‘. Aaron loves the movie and says that it’s held up really well over the years. I’ll take his word for that.
Will next week bring us a better selection of titles? To be honest, it looks kind of hairy.