This week’s Blu-ray releases bring us an eclectic mix of content, from foul-mouthed teddy bears to deadly spy assassins and adorable prehistoric rodents. Which will you spend your money on?
Despite having long since run his animated sitcom ‘Family Guy’ into the ground, Seth MacFarlane scored a pretty big hit this summer with his feature film debut. The raunchy comedy ‘Ted‘ stars Mark Wahlberg as a delayed-adolescent whose teddy bear came to life years earlier and still hangs around with him, smoking dope and hitting on chicks. While the premise sounds uncomfortably similar to the FX sitcom ‘Wilfred‘ (which I’ve given up on, sad to say), the trailers looked funny and word-of-mouth from audiences was strong. I’d give this a rental.
You might think that Matt Damon retiring from his role as Jason Bourne would bring an end to the ‘Bourne Identity’ series. Not so much. Jeremy Renner (eager to worm his way into every significant movie franchise, it would seem) takes over as a related but decidedly not-Bourne spy in ‘The Bourne Legacy‘. I kind of like the idea that this is a side-story that takes place during the events of ‘The Bourne Ultimatum‘, but otherwise this seems like a desperate cash-in from a studio terrified to let go of one of its biggest properties. Audience and critical reaction was mixed. Our reviewer Nate (review linked above) thought it was decent enough. I suppose that I’ll try a rental on this one as well.
Comin’ at ya in 3D is ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift‘. I have little tolerance for this franchise. The first one was cute enough, but the sequels went downhill pretty quickly after that point. Since I don’t have any kids, I won’t be forced to suffer through this.
In the catalog realm, I’ll start things off with the Criterion Collection, which brings us Christopher Nolan’s little-seen directorial debut ‘Following‘ (no relation to the upcoming Fox TV series ‘The Following’) and Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Qatsi Trilogy‘. The latter contains all three non-narrative, dialogue-free tone poem travelogues, from the stunning ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ to the decreasingly effective sequels ‘Powaqqatsi’ and ‘Naqoyqatsi’. If you’re not familiar with these but have perhaps seen the spin-off ‘Baraka‘ (directed by the cinematographer of the first film), you should have a sense of what’s in store.
Disney reaches back to the early ’90s to dig up Warren Beatty’s outlandish comic strip adaptation ‘Dick Tracy‘ and Wayne Wang’s sprawling epic weepie ‘The Joy Luck Club‘. These are both interesting movies in their own ways, each flawed but worthy of revisiting. Going back a few decades earlier, the studio also offers the candy-colored musical ‘Babes in Toyland‘. That one doesn’t do as much for me, personally.
Of three limited-edition titles available from Twilight Time this week, the one likely to grab the most attention is the notoriously corny castaway romance ‘The Blue Lagoon‘, in which a young Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins discover their sexual awakening while stranded on a deserted island. Never a film to be taken seriously, I nonetheless can’t even think of the movie without picturing its hilarious parody in ‘Top Secret!’.
Jane Campion’s period piece drama ‘The Portrait of a Lady‘ seems like an odd choice for Shout! Factory to license, doesn’t it? I wasn’t much impressed with the film during its original theatrical release, but enough time has passed that it may be worth another look. If nothing else, its lovely cinematography should (hopefully) translate well to high definition.
Last week, I made the mistake of claiming that the 1998 adaptation of ‘Les Misérables‘ had been released. Looks like I was off a week. It actually comes out today.
Silent movie fans, have you held off from buying any of Kino’s Buster Keaton Blu-rays in hopes that they would eventually be bundled together into one (very expensive) box set? You’re in luck! For about $250, you can buy the 14-disc ‘Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection‘. Not that genuine classics like these aren’t worth spending some money on, but… yikes, that’s a lot of dough.
Other notable titles this week include the fashion photography documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York‘ (Mrs. Z has been asking about this one), Michael Caine’s 1980 pirate adventure ‘The Island‘, and the all-star 1978 action flick ‘The Wild Geese‘. The latter could be considered a sort of precursor to ‘The Expendables’.
On the TV front, Fox has the latest volume of ‘Futurama‘ while HBO bares the first season of Lena Dunham’s Gen-Y slacker dramedy ‘Girls‘ in all its awkward, uncomfortable glory.
I have a review copy of the ‘Qatsi Trilogy’ sitting here on my desk. I’ll probably eventually pick up ‘Dick Tracy’ and rent some of the others.
What grabs your attention this week?