It’s a holiday week here in the United States, but not a gift-giving holiday. The home video studios have cut back the Blu-ray release slate to a minimum. Even within that, however, are a handful of titles to keep your eyes on.
The week only has one notable new release, the appropriately titled (given the holiday) ‘God Bless America‘. Before you gather the family in the ol’ home theater room for an evening of patriotic revelry, keep in mind that this is a movie by wild-man comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, whose idea of national pride is to make a black comedy about a dying man (Joel Murray) who goes on a kill spree to purge the country of Reality TV starlets, bimbo celebutantes and anyone else he finds annoying. The concept is ingenious. General consensus has it that the movie may not quite live up to its promise, but has some good laughs. This seems like rental material to me.
Other than tomorrow, of course, could there be a better day to finally release a Blu-ray edition of Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War classic ‘Born on the Fourth of July‘? While perhaps not the type of rah-rah jingoism that some viewers might prefer on this holiday, the film is an emotional powerhouse that features one of Tom Cruise’s best performances. Assuming that the Blu-ray comes from the same transfer as the HD DVD edition from 2007, this should also be one of Universal’s better treatments of a catalog title.
Along thematically similar lines, Warner Bros. dishes out a third Blu-ray release for Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Full Metal Jacket‘. I’m fairly certain that the first disc in the new 25th Anniversary Edition will be exactly the same as the Deluxe Edition from 2007. Newly added are the Digibook packaging and a second disc with the documentary ‘Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes’. Even though I might like to see that documentary, I’m not sure that I need to buy the movie again to get it.
Roger Vadim’s 1968 camp extravaganza ‘Barbarella‘ may not be the only science fiction movie you’ll ever watch with a spaceship shaped like a sex toy (see also Roger Corman’s ‘Battle Beyond the Stars‘), but it probably will be the only one you’ll watch where that same spaceship also has wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling shag carpeting. The movie could never be described as good (it’s essentially nothing but a string of juvenile sexual innuendos stretched out to feature length), but Jane Fonda’s zero-gravity strip tease over the opening credits indoctrinated many a young boy into puberty. I’m sure that the actress is thrilled to see this infamous piece of Euro-trash cinema released in high definition just in time to coincide with her respectable career comeback in HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’.
In anticipation of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Western pastiche ‘Django Unchained’, Blue Underground gives us one of the original Spaghetti Westerns that inspired it, the awkwardly-titled ‘Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot!‘. Our reviewer E. enjoyed this a lot.
Apropos of nothing, Disney unloads a couple of its least successful animated properties onto Blu-ray today: the 2002 ‘Treasure Planet‘ and the 2004 ‘Home on the Range‘. The former has a following of fans who will no doubt be pleased to watch it in high-definition, but the latter was a huge bomb that few remember fondly.
At the same time, Disney is also pushing out some middling live-action fare, such as ‘The Horse Whisperer‘, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun‘ and the first ‘Step Up‘.
I’m in for ‘Barbarella’. (I already have ‘Born on the Fourth of July’ on HD DVD.) Will you buy anything this week? Vote in our poll and tell us in the Comments.