Welcome back, everybody. We trust you had a terrific holiday. Now that we’re back to work, it’s time to take a look at the weekly Blu-ray release schedule. This post-holiday week is dominated by a lot of shovelware catalog titles of limited interest, unfortunately. But if you dig, there are a few interesting discs coming out this week too.
So, here’s the release slate:
- ‘Bitten‘ (Vivendi)
- ‘Brooklyn’s Finest‘ (Anchor Bay)
- ‘Dr. Giggles/Otis‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Eyeborgs‘ (Image)
- ‘Funny Farm/Spies Like Us ‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Getaway (1972)/The Getaway (1994)‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘ (Music Box Films)
- ‘Highlander: The Series – Season Two‘ (Davis-Panzer)
- ‘How the Earth Changed History‘ (BBC)
- ‘Jason and the Argonauts‘ (Sony)
- ‘Jimmy Hollywood‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Ladybugs‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Larry the Cable Guy: Git-R-Done‘ (Image)
- ‘The Last Boy Scout/Last Man Standing‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Last Chance to See‘ (BFS)
- ‘Love and Other Disasters‘ (Image)
- ‘Practical Magic/The Witches of Eastwick‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘A Single Man‘ (Sony)
- ‘Steve Byrne: The Byrne Identity ‘ (Image)
There are three major day-and-date titles in there, two of which are fairly interesting, and one of which isn’t at all. The third and least of those is ‘Brooklyn’s Finest‘, which reunites ‘Training Day‘ director Antoine Fuqua and star Ethan Hawke in another tale of police corruption. It looks like it might as well have just been titled ‘Training Day 2’. I didn’t think much of ‘Training Day’ in the first place, aside from Denzel Washington’s entertaining showboat performance. Replacing him with Richard Gere doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. It didn’t seem like a good idea to critics or audiences during its brief theatrical run earlier this year either.
For my money, the title of the week is the Swedish thriller ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘. Despite being based on a hugely popular international bestselling novel of the same name, and despite being a blockbuster hit throughout Europe, the movie never really got any traction here in the U.S. It lingered in limited release for a little while and then just faded away. I guess American audiences really just can’t stand the prospect of reading subtitles at all anymore. That’s a shame, because it’s a terrific crackerjack thriller with one of the most fascinating female characters to hit theater screens in a long time. The movie’s not perfect; some of the villains are a bit too cartoonishly misogynistic. But it has an engrossing story and excellent performances. Even at 2 ½ hours long, it doesn’t feel bloated in the slightest. I hear that David Fincher is attached to do the inevitable American remake. That could have some potential, I suppose. He seems well suited to the material. Be sure to check out the original anyway, though.
Another arthouse title that apparently didn’t click with audiences is ‘A Single Man‘. It’s the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford, and stars Colin Firth as a gay college professor in the early 1960s trying to cope with the death of his partner in a social climate that doesn’t have much sympathy for him. The movie got pretty good notices on the film festival circuit, but never broke out of limited release. It’s kind of a downer, but a really beautiful downer. I’ve got the Blu-ray screener and should have a review soon.
On the catalog front, Warner is dumping a new batch of its double-feature discs on the market. I can’t say I’m a fan of squeezing two movies onto the same disc, which only serves to compromise the quality of both. However, I think ‘The Last Boyscout‘ is a great guilty pleasure. Since there isn’t an individual release for that title, I might be able to deal with its double-billing with the mediocre-but-watchable ‘Last Man Standing’.
‘Jason and the Argonauts‘ is the latest Ray Harryhausen classic to hit Blu-ray. Fans will definitely want to pick that up to go with Sony’s earlier ‘Ray Harryhausen Collection‘ and Warner’s ‘Clash of the Titans‘ (the original, of course).
Nate had the displeasure of reviewing both ‘Ladybugs’ and ‘Jimmy Hollwood’ recently. How do titles like this even get released? Who would buy them? I can’t imagine. I could maybe see a small handful of Rodney Dangerfield completist fans grudgingly picking up a copy of ‘Ladybugs’. But ‘Jimmy Hollywood’? If that sells even a single disc, I’ll be amazed.
Geezus, there’s a Larry the Cable Guy atrocity being released this week too? The less said about that, the better. I pity whoever gets stuck with the assignment of reviewing that one.