It’s an odd phenomenon, the way that certain movies somehow manage to rake in tremendous amounts of money even though nobody at all seems to like them. One of the year’s worst and most-reviled mega-blockbusters comes to Blu-ray this week, and no doubt will sell a gajillion copies to people who really ought to know better. If we’re lucky, perhaps there might also be something more worthy on the release slate to buy instead.
We’re really not all that lucky. Here’s a look at the titles coming to Blu-ray this week:
- ‘Alien Armageddon‘ (Phase 4 Films)
- ‘Arabia – 3D‘ (Image)
- ‘Colin Quinn: Long Story Short‘ (Music Distribution)
- ‘Cowboys and Aliens (Combo Pack)‘ (Universal)
- ‘The Debt‘ (Universal)
- ‘Design for Living‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Devil May Cry: The Compete Series (S.A.V.E. Edition)‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Editions‘ (Music Box Films)
- ‘The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection‘ (RaroVideo US)
- ‘The Hangover: Part II (Movie-Only Edition)‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Hangover: Part II‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Help (3-Disc Combo Pack)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘The Help (2-Disc Combo Pack)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘I Am Legend / The Omega Man‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Is It Just Me?‘ (TLA Releasing)
- ‘The Lady Vanishes‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Life, Above All‘ (Sony)
- ‘Medea‘ (entertainmentone)
- ‘Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Legacy‘ (Image)
- ‘Mission Impossible: Extreme Trilogy Blu-ray Collection‘ (Paramount)
- ‘The Moon in the Gutter‘ (Cinema Libre)
- ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Paul McCartney: The Love We Make‘ (Eagle Rock)
- ‘Point Blank‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Portlandia: Season One‘ (Service Corp.)
- ‘Rapt‘ (Kino)
- ‘The Scarlet Worm‘ (Unearthed Films)
- ‘Scary Movie Triple Feature‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘The Simpsons: The Complete Fourteenth Season‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘St. Louis Cardinals Official 2011 World Series Film‘ (A&E)
- ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Triple Tap‘ (Well Go USA)
‘The Hangover‘ wasn’t a great movie to begin with, but it was a reasonably funny comedy that was fortunate enough to strike a chord with audiences. After it became a huge hit, the studio naturally fast-tracked a sequel into production. By all accounts, ‘The Hangover: Part II‘ is exactly the same movie as ‘The Hangover’, beat-for-beat, just moved to a new setting and lacking any of the humor that people enjoyed the first time around. The movie was savaged by critics and received absolutely toxic word of mouth from everyone who saw it. Yet that didn’t stop the film from grossing over $560 million. How does this happen? I understand that people don’t like to listen to film critics anymore, but don’t they at least listen to their friends? Already greenlit for production: ‘The Hangover: Part III’. Because clearly people need to see the end of this epic trilogy.
Ah, anyway, we have a much more straightforward bomb this week with ‘Cowboys and Aliens‘. This is the sort of movie that’s made exclusively for Comic-Con audiences. Unfortunately, as studio heads keep forgetting for some reason, Comic-Con audiences don’t actually pay to see movies. The picture was a box office bust, and even the President of Universal Studios has admitted that it’s a piece of crap. But it has a big budget and lots of visual effects, so it’ll probably sell pretty well on Blu-ray regardless.
Speaking of bombs, ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins‘ also comes out today. Why does Hollywood seem so intent on making the world believe that Jim Carrey is still a movie star? I’m certainly not buying it.
Another thing I’m not buying: ‘The Help‘. The movie was a surprise hit and will probably win a dozen Oscars, but I have no patience for treacly, condescending middlebrow bullshit like this. Did you know that the Civil Rights movement in America was single-handedly saved by a spunky white girl who wrote a book that taught everyone how to get along with each other? Oh right, because it wasn’t. Screw this.
‘The Debt‘. Did anyone see this? Did anyone have even the slightest desire to see this revenge thriller with Sam Worthington and Helen Mirren? Me neither. Which is fortunate, because it’s supposedly pretty awful.
‘Point Blank‘ is not the Lee Marvin crime movie from the ’60s. Nor is it a remake. It’s actually a French thriller about a trainee male nurse forced to become a criminal to save his wife. Word of mouth is that it’s silly but entertaining. This could be worth a rental.
On the TV front, I’ve seen a few episodes of Fred Arminsen’s IFC sitcom ‘Portlandia‘, and I still can’t figure out whether the show is supposed to be making fun of obnoxious hipsters, or celebrating everything about them. The parts I’ve watched have had a few sporadically funny moments, but nowhere near enough to convince me to own a season of it on video.
Let’s move on to catalog titles. Just in time for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day tomorrow, Fox is issuing ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!‘ on Blu-ray today.
Those of you hoping that the ‘Mission: Impossible‘ Extreme Trilogy Blu-ray Collection might finally see the three movies remastered, or at least provided with lossless audio, don’t get your hopes up. All signs point to this being a simple repackaging of the existing discs, timed to promote the new sequel in theaters.
This is a pretty dry week, isn’t it? Fortunately, Criterion comes through with a couple of classics. This week, the studio gives us Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Lady Vanishes‘ and Ernst Lubitsch’s ‘Design for Living‘. These and ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ are the only titles of the week I’ve bothered to add to my wish list.