We’ve had some slow weeks for Blu-ray releases over the last few months, but this one… geez, this one is particularly bleak.
‘Survivor‘ – Milla Jovovich just can’t seem to find a starring vehicle outside the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise that suits her talents, and Pierce Brosnan has likewise struggled to redefine his career since the James Bond franchise tossed him aside. In this tepid spy thriller, they respectively play a counter-terrorism expert and the terrorist hunting her. Reviews were poor. Box office was minimal. Copies of this will linger unrented in your local Redbox kiosk for the next three to five years.
‘The Forger‘ – Sporting what may be his most ridiculous wig yet (which is saying a lot!), John Travolta plays an art forger who… Oh, why bother? You don’t want to watch this. Nobody wants to watch this. Let’s not waste our time pretending that anyone cares.
If there’s any bright spot to be found this week, the Criterion Collection has reclaimed licensing rights to Terry Gilliam’s surreal fantasy ‘The Fisher King‘. (The label last released the title on Laserdisc.) It’s not my favorite of the director’s movies, but Criterion always does a good job with Gilliam. The recent death of star Robin Williams perhaps makes this more bittersweet than it should be.
Also from Criterion is ‘The Bridge‘. No, not the FX drama series about crime at the Mexican border, this is a 1959 German war film that was nominated for a Foreign Language Film Oscar in its day.
The restoration team at the 3-D Film Archive have put a lot of work into compiling and cleaning up 22 obscure vintage short films dating back as far as 1922 for the ‘3-D Rarities‘ collection. This sounds pretty fascinating.
The 2009 Blu-ray release of director Neil Marshall’s werewolf thriller ‘Dog Soldiers‘ was widely criticized for its poor video quality. When Scream Factory tried to rectify that for a new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, the label (and the director) unfortunately discovered that the film’s original camera negative has been lost. As a result, they were forced to scan a theatrical print for the video transfer. That’s far from ideal, but you can find a statement from Marshall defending the effort on Scream Factory’s Facebook page. (See the comments to the June 17th, 2015 post about the disc.)
Arrow Video unleashes the 1980 Italian cult horror chiller ‘Contamination‘ and American B-movie specialist Jack Hill’s 1969 car crash extravaganza ‘Pit Stop‘.
I’ve always enjoyed the blackly comic movie adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘Needful Things‘, even if critics of the day and fans of the author tore it to shreds. (The book is one of King’s unwieldy 1,000-page behemoths, which the movie cut down significantly.) I still think it’s underrated. Note that Kino was only able to license the theatrical cut for the Blu-ray, not the extended miniseries version that played on TV in 1996.
Also from Kino is the 1977 adaptation of ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau‘, starring Burt Lancaster as the mad scientist.
Olive Films has a lot of junk this week, but perhaps someone will find a guilty pleasure from the likes of Brian “The Boz” Bosworth’s failed star vehicle ‘Stone Cold‘, the rad ’80s skateboarding flick ‘Thrashin’‘, Snoop Dogg’s misbegotten stoner comedy ‘Soul Plane‘, or the embarrassingly ridiculous horror comedy ‘The Thing with Two Heads‘.
If you’ve been enjoying Disney’s recent spate of Studio Ghibli titles, perhaps you might be interested in an older (pre-Ghibli) Hayao Miyazaki film, ‘Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro‘?
When Fox switched over to using the word “Anthology” for the Blu-ray collection of the ‘Alien’ franchise, I hoped that we’d never have to hear the stupid made-up word “quadrilogy” ever again. Sadly, Paramount has resurrected it for the ‘Mission: Impossible Quadrilogy‘, which repackages the franchise’s first four films in time to promote this summer’s fifth entry. As you may recall, Paramount has repeatedly screwed fans of this series over by constantly reissuing old Blu-rays of the first three movies with only lossy Dolby Digital audio even though the same titles were released in Asia with lossless DTS-HD Master Audio. I am not holding my breath that we’ll see that corrected here. (‘M:I-2’ also desperately needs a new video remaster.)
TV fare this week includes the third season of BBC’s ‘Ripper Street‘ and the fifth season of the comedy ‘Workaholics‘.
‘The Fisher King’ is the only disc this week I’m actually eager to buy. I will put ‘3-D Rarities’ and ‘Lupin III’ on my wish list for later, and may pick up ‘Needful Things’ at some point down the road if it falls in price sufficiently. Beyond that, this week is kind of a dud. Do you disagree?