As we return from the long weekend, a brand new batch of Blu-ray releases awaits our open wallets. This week brings us a recent Oscar nominee, at least one legitimate classic, one of the best TV series currently on the air, and 3D conversions for a couple of popular favorites, among other things. Where will your money go?
Bully for Ben Affleck. The former ‘Gigli’ and ‘Reindeer Games’ star has successfully reinvented himself as an A-List director with the three movies he’s helmed so far. His latest, ‘Argo‘, is up for seven possible Oscars this coming weekend, including Best Picture. Yet despite winning at the Golden Globes and BAFTA awards, Affleck still can’t seem to wrangle a Best Director nomination out of the Academy. Perhaps with the next one, Ben.
Keira Knightley reunites with her ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘Atonement’ director Joe Wright for a new adaptation of ‘Anna Karenina‘. This one didn’t make much traction at the box office, and received mixed notices from critics, who didn’t care for some of Wright’s directorial flourishes. Given his track record, I’m sure it’ll be quite lovely to look at, though.
Ethan Hawke plays a true-crime writer who finds a bunch of old snuff films in the latest zero-budget, Found Footage horror flick, ‘Sinister‘. I suspect that the poor guy’s career is the real victim here.
‘Chuck’ creator Josh Schwartz tried his hand at directing a feature film last year with the ‘Adventures in Babysitting’ knockoff ‘Fun Size‘. Judging by the movie’s meager box office and negative word of mouth, the results did not go well.
Starting in 2011, a bunch of foolhardy Ayn Rand fans pooled their money to make an epic-length yet embarrassingly amateurish, low budget adaptation of the author’s “Objectivist” manifesto ‘Atlas Shrugged‘. Even though the first part was critically reviled and a big flop financially, the group soldiered on and threw the rest of their resources into completing ‘Part II’, which turned out to be an even bigger failure. Hopefully, this should put the kibosh on the planned remake of ‘The Fountainhead’ that Brad Pitt has been circling for a while.
Despite mixed success, Hollywood remains hell-bent on converting old movies to 3D. The theatrical re-release of ‘Monsters, Inc.‘ underperformed expectations so badly that Disney has reportedly dropped its plans for a similar theatrical 3D release of ‘The Little Mermaid’. (Whether the recently-announced ‘Mermaid’ Blu-ray will have a 3D option remains to be confirmed.)
Initial word is that ‘Top Gun‘ 3D conversion is surprisingly fun and effective. However, in addition to remastering and converting the movie, Paramount has also slathered it in the sickly teal and orange color scheme so popular today.
Speaking of teal, the newly remastered edition of ‘The Terminator‘ finally makes its way to North America after nearly a year of availability overseas. Similar to the Blu-ray edition of James Cameron’s ‘Aliens’, the new transfer is dramatically sharper and more detailed, but positively choked in gaudy teal coloring from beginning to end.
If you’re looking for some bona fide classics, the Criterion Collection gives us Elia Kazan’s ‘On the Waterfront‘ in multiple aspect ratios (apparently, the original ratio is in some dispute) while an outfit called the Cohen Film Collection presents a restoration of the original 1924 silent version of ‘The Thief of Bagdad‘, starring Douglas Fairbanks.
Other notable catalog titles include Michael Mann’s superlative whistleblower drama ‘The Insider‘, Christopher Guest’s hilarious mockumentary ‘Best in Show‘, and the Irving Berlin musical ‘Easter Parade‘ with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.
Lionsgate previously released the ’80s nostalgic favorite ‘The Monster Squad‘ on Blu-ray back in 2009, but that disc fell out of print some time ago, much to the consternation of fans who missed the chance to own it. While new distributor Olive Films has a re-release on tap this week, reports are that the disc has unfortunately dropped the 5.1 track and all of the supplements.
In TV offerings, HBO finally rolls out the second season of its glorious ‘Game of Thrones‘, while Universal delivers the prequel movie ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome‘, which began life as a series of short internet webisodes.
We have a lot of good discs this week, if you ask me. ‘Argo’, ‘On the Waterfront’, ‘The Thief of Bagdad’, ‘The Insider’, the 3D-ified ‘Monsters, Inc.’ and ‘Top Gun’, and ‘Game of Thrones’ are all going on my wish list. (I already imported the remastered ‘Terminator’ last year.) What are your must-haves this week?