Who needs money, right? This week brings us two huge, expensive box sets that will (hopefully) be among the best Blu-ray releases of the year.
The Wallet Busters
Ever since the format debuted, I’ve said that I’d be willing to pay any amount of money for the complete series of ‘Twin Peaks‘ in pristine 1080p Blu-ray quality. CBS Films and Paramount have finally decided to take me up on that. “The Entire Mystery” box set includes all 30 episodes of the TV show, the ‘Fire Walk With Me’ prequel movie (watch it last no matter what) and tons of exciting new bonus content, including the legendary never-before-released ‘Fire Walk With Me’ deleted scenes. This looks like every ‘Twin Peaks’ fan’s dream come true.
As if that weren’t enough reason to go into debt, Shout! Factory offers ‘Herzog: The Collection‘, which compiles 16 of Werner Herzog’s films, including his masterpieces ‘Aguirre: The Wrath of God’ and ‘Fitzcarraldo’, as well as my personal favorite, ‘Stroszek’. I have no doubt that these will all be broken out to separate releases eventually. (In fact, a standalone copy of ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ was released back in May.)
Note that BFI in the UK will sell its own, less expensive 18-film Werner Herzog Collection in August. Frustratingly, the line-up of films (and bonus content) is different yet the two box sets have a considerable amount of overlap. Here’s a chart that highlights the exclusives to each:
|Shout! Factory (Region A)||BFI (Region B)|
|Aguirre: The Wrath of God||Aguirre: The Wrath of God|
|Ballad of Little Soldier|
|Cobre Verde||Cobre Verde|
|The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser||The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser|
|Even Dwarfs Started Small|
|Fata Morgana||Fata Morgana|
|God’s Angry Man|
|The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner|
|Heart of Glass||Heart of Glass|
|How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck|
|Land Of Silence and Darkness||Land Of Silence and Darkness|
|Lessons of Darkness|
|Little Dieter Needs to Fly|
|My Best Fiend|
|Nosferatu the Vampyre||Nosferatu the Vampyre|
|Precautions Against Fanatics|
|The Unprecedented Defence of the Fortress Deutschkreuz|
|Where the Green Ants Dream|
Personally, I feel that Shout! has a stronger selection of films. (‘Little Dieter Needs to Fly’ and ‘My Best Fiend’ should be essentials.) I also assume that the BFI set will be locked to Region B. However, comparisons between the two studios’ respective copies of ‘Nosferatu’ suggest that BFI has a better video transfer on at least that one movie, possibly others. A dedicated Herzog fan with region-free Blu-ray capability may need to buy both boxes.
Darren Aronofsky, an averred atheist, made a big-budget Biblical epic about the story of ‘Noah‘, played out as some sort of Roland Emmerich-style CGI-fest disaster movie. The director even described it as “the least Biblical Biblical film ever made.” Did this really seem like it could work? Unsurprisingly, the religious crowd hated Aronofsky’s blasphemous treatment of a story that takes up all of a couple paragraphs in the Bible, especially its depiction of Noah as a conflicted man receiving orders from the Old Testament God, who was a downright vindictive and nasty sonofabitch. General audiences were turned off by the apparent cheesiness of the trailers. What did come as a surprise, however, was the support of a number of prominent film critics, who praised the director’s daring and his vision. Our reviewer E. was also a big fan of it. The Blu-ray is 2D only, even though the movie had a 3D post-conversion for some foreign markets and will be released on Blu-ray 3D overseas.
Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton headline ‘The Other Woman‘, a chick flick comedy about a trio of jilted women who team up for revenge on the man they share in common (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from ‘Game of Thrones’), who’d secretly been in relationships with all three of them. If this were a darker movie, I’d fear that Jaimie Lannister might lose more than his hand. In any case, shouldn’t the title of this be ‘The Other Women’ (plural)?
Do you remember that amazing four-minute long single-take fight scene in Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa’s ‘The Protector’ (a.k.a. ‘Tom Yung Goong’)? Yeah you do, ‘cuz it was freakin’ awesome.
Here’s the thing, though: Do you remember anything else about that movie? No, probably not. Because it’s otherwise terrible. Well, Jaa is back in ‘The Protector 2‘ to rescue his kidnapped elephant again. Dude really needs to keep a better eye on his pet pachyderm. This one’s in 3D and, because Jaa is a shell of his former self since returning to acting after a nervous breakdown, relies heavily on CGI and obvious wirework to sell the action scenes. Also, RZA costars in it, and that should be warning enough.
As a tie-in with ‘The Protector 2’, Magnolia tries to remind us of Tony Jaa’s better days with his ‘Ong Bak Trilogy‘.
I talked about the 1955 Oscar winner ‘Marty‘ in my Highlights post a couple weeks ago. Either we had the date wrong or Kino pushed it back. Either way, as far as I’m aware, the Blu-ray is still presented in the wrong aspect ratio.
The Criterion Collection inducts Lawrence Kasdan’s Baby Boomer gabfest ‘The Big Chill‘. Frankly, I’m with the characters in ‘High Fidelity’ in feeling that the soundtrack of vintage Motown hits is better than the movie. Maybe that’s just a generational thing.
Speaking of Boomer nostalgia, Warner triple-dips the classic rock documentary ‘Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music‘ in what is bizarrely titled the 40th Anniversary Revisited: The Director’s Cut. The studio previously released a 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition, which already included the Director’s Cut, in 2009 (the 40th anniversary of the concert), and reissued it in a streamlined package one year later (the 40th anniversary of the film). As far as I can tell, 2014 is not a 40th anniversary of anything to do with this movie. Weird.
‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Twin Peaks’ will be mine. That Herzog set is also incredibly appealing, but I’ll probably wait for selected titles to be released individually.
What are you buying this week?