Last week’s Blu-ray release slate gave us a major new release (‘The Hunger Games’), a great classic (‘Jaws’) and several other notable titles such as ‘The Raid’ and ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’. This week isn’t quite that exciting, unfortunately. However, some Disney animation and a few other discs might grab your attention.
Obnoxious prankster Sacha Baron Cohen has finally given up his ambush interview schtick and made a straightforward comedy, ‘The Dictator‘. I’m not a big fan of Cohen, but the concept here sounds amusing. He plays a Middle Eastern despot who has to rough it with the New York City poor after his beard gets forcibly shaved off during a diplomatic visit and nobody recognizes him anymore. Reviews were mixed, but this might make decent rental fodder on a slow night. Or, more likely, I’ll wait for it to turn up on HBO in a few months.
Director Richard Linklater reunites with his ‘School of Rock’ star Jack Black for the based-on-true-events dark comedy ‘Bernie‘, in which a small town rallies around the nice-guy coroner (Black) after he murders the bitter old shrew (Shirley MacLaine) who made everyone’s lives miserable. This sounds like a great premise, and reviews were favorable, but the atrocious trailers make the movie look just about unwatchable. The poster image of Black with a stupid mustache and a worse smirk on his face doesn’t help either. Linklater is very hit-or-miss for me, mostly miss. Honestly, the only of his films I really like are ‘Before Sunrise’ and its sequel ‘Before Sunset’. I doubt that I could even bring myself to rent this one.
Not in the mood for a comedy? The Oscar-winning Iranian divorce drama ‘A Separation‘ makes its belated debut on Blu-ray in the U.S. almost nine months after it came out in Europe. Although it may look like a downer, this was one of the best-reviewed films of 2011.
Need a little cuteness in your life? DisneyNature continues its agenda to anthropomorphize wildlife with its latest kid-friendly nature documentary, ‘Chimpanzee‘.
Aaron recently wrote about his love for the direct-to-video schlock that Dolph Lundgren keeps churning out. The actor’s latest cinematic masterwork, ‘One in the Chamber‘, co-stars fellow has-been Cuba Gooding, Jr., so you know it’s extra good.
The House of Mouse
Disney continues to frustrate fans with the extremely slow roll-out of its classic animated films on Blu-ray. As a token to tide viewers over, the studio dumps a bunch of its second-tier titles on the format today: ‘The Aristocats‘, ‘The Tigger Movie‘, ‘Lady and the Tramp II‘ (the original ‘Lady and the Tramp‘ was released earlier this year), a double-bill of’Pocahontas‘ and its DTV sequel, and another double-bill of ‘The Rescuers‘ and its sequel ‘The Rescuers Down Under‘.
Barely one year after an already-pefectly-decent Blu-ray release, Lionsgate double-dips the Oscar-winning drama ‘Good Will Hunting‘ with a 15th Anniversary Edition that recycles the same audio/video transfer and adds a handful of new bonus features. I like the movie, but not enough to buy it twice. I’ll hold tight with my existing copy, thank you.
Criterion adds the 2011 gay romance ‘Weekend‘ to the Collection this week. In a weird bit of timing, the label also recently announced that it will release a Blu-ray edition of the unrelated 1967 Jean-Luc Godard film of the same name in November.
Fans of crappy horror movies may enjoy the Stephen King adaptation ‘Thinner‘ and/or the fourth and fifth ‘Halloween‘ flicks. Meanwhile, those of us still stuck in the ’80s might get a kick out of 1983’s state-of-the-art techno-thriller ‘WarGames‘. That’s the one where Matthew Broderick almost inadvertently starts a thermonuclear war by playing too much ‘Missile Command’.
Wrapping things up for the week, Universal gives us a box set of the final season of ‘House‘. This is one of those shows that I always kind-of liked, but never enough to watch regularly. Like most medical dramas, episodes seemed to fall into a formulaic rut pretty quickly: Patient has crazy symptoms, House diagnoses disease, nobody believes him, several attempts to cure patient fail, patient almost dies, House is proven correct at the last minute and saves patient. Wash, rinse, repeat. I didn’t need eight seasons of that, personally.
I don’t know that there are any must-own discs for me this week, but I might pick up ‘The Aristocats’ and the ‘Rescuers’ double feature. Do any titles strike your fancy?