When the biggest and most enticing Blu-ray release of the week is a collection of short films – some of them even rather old… well, gawrsh! That says somethin’, don’t it?
‘Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film Collection‘ – Considering the success Disney had selling the two dedicated collections of Pixar shorts, I’m surprised it took this long to put together a similar volume of its own work. With a focus on so-called “Modern-era” Disney, the pieces compiled here range from very recent (the requisite ‘Frozen’ spinoff) back to around the early 2000s. As with the Pixar collections, many of these shorts previously appeared in the supplement sections of other Blu-rays, but this makes a much more convenient way to gather them together in one place for easy access. Others are appearing on home video for the first time here. I suspect that a lot of our readers will find the highlight of the set to be Goofy’s delightful ‘How to Hook Up Your Home Theater’ skit.
‘Little Boy‘ – A young child prays really hard for his daddy to come home from World War II in the latest cynical attempt to exploit the “faith-based” entertainment market from Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey.
‘Strangerland‘ – Nicole Kidman’s children vanish into the Australian desert. Did a dingo eat her babies? If movies are to be believed, that happens a lot there. Most reviews of this were bad, and word-of-mouth even worse.
Francois Truffaut’s ‘Day for Night‘ (a.k.a. ‘La nuite américaine’) is one of the definitive movies-about-making-movies, and the kind of film that the Criterion Collection was invented to cherish and revere. In fact, I’m a little shocked that Criterion had never previously released it on DVD or Laserdisc.
If perhaps not as highbrow or sophisticated, I’m actually really excited to see the Warner Archive unearth Tony Scott’s ultra-stylish and cool vampire flick ‘The Hunger‘. I last streamed it in HD from VUDU a few years back and wasn’t too impressed with the video or audio quality, so I hope the Blu-ray has a fresh transfer.
The week also brings some cult horror flicks from Europe. These include the 1962 British film ‘Burn, Witch, Burn‘ (not to be confused with the 1970 German film ‘Mark of the Devil’, which sometimes goes by that same title), and the Italian ‘Nightmare Castle‘.
While not necessarily horror-themed, the French gross-out satirical farce ‘La grande bouffe‘ will probably also appeal to viewers with some predilection for the sick and twisted.
Someone will have to explain to me why the dopey cyberpunk thriller ‘Hackers‘ merits a 20th Anniversary Edition. I mean, yeah, sure, it features a very young Angelina Jolie, but beyond that, this thing is a relic of the mid-1990s that deserves to be forgotten.
I remember Michael Ritchie’s con artist/boxing comedy ‘Diggstown‘ getting some good reviews and word-of-mouth back in 1992, but the film was unfortunately sucked down in the wake of a drowning MGM Studios, which was incapable of marketing any movie worth a damn at the time. As such, the picture has perpetually been a scrappy underdog fighting for attention. Perhaps it will finally get some on Blu-ray?
Notable TV box sets this week include the second season of ‘The Blacklist‘, the fourth season of ‘Once Upon a Time‘, and Part 2 of Season 2 of BBC’s ‘Atlantis‘.
‘The Hunger’ and ‘Day for Night’ are must-buys for me. The Disney short films collection will go on my wish list, and I really ought to catch up with ‘Diggstown’ at some point.
What are your plans?