This week’s top new Blu-ray release is so good that it (almost) leaves me speechless. I’ll see if I can muster a few words about it (and the rest of the new Blu-ray slate) anyway.
It’s such a rarity that I ever find myself agreeing with the Academy Awards pick for Best Picture as thoroughly as I did earlier this year. Of course, as with just about any Oscar winner, a backlash against ‘The Artist‘ has already fomented among viewers who didn’t find the film serious enough to merit all of its acclaim – as if comedies are inherently inferior to dramas and can never deserve to be called the “Best” anything. I call bullshit on that attitude. I found no other movie in 2011 so captivating, so charming and so rousingly entertaining as French director Michel Hazanavicius’ neo-silent film. And no other actor last year gave a performance as flawless or charismatic as Jean Dujardin. I loved every frame of this film, and I can’t wait to watch its luminous black & white photography on Blu-ray.
‘21 Jump Street‘ leaves me terribly conflicted. On the one hand, I’m damn tired of the trend in which old dramatic TV series are turned into comedy spoofs. On the other hand, this one comes from the makers of the delightful ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs‘, and word of mouth about it has been great. But it stars Channing Tatum, the worst actor who has ever lived or ever will live. Yet people say that he’s actually pretty funny and likeable in this. How is that even possible? I just don’t know. I suppose that I’ll have to give it a rent.
The first of this year’s competing Snow White pictures, Tarsem Singh’s goofy and kid-pandering ‘Mirror Mirror‘, has been widely decried as one of the worst movies of the year, and possibly of all time. I think that was pretty clear from the trailers. Yeesh. I felt my brain cells dying after exposure to just two minutes of clips from the thing. Watch this at your own peril.
Did anyone actually like 2010’s ‘Clash of the Titans‘ remake enough to want a sequel? That’s a rhetorical question. Of course not. It was terrible. Nonetheless, it somehow made enough money to justify ‘Wrath of the Titans‘, which grossed about half as much as its predecessor. I have a feeling that will put an end to plans for ‘Squabble of the Titans’. This one’s available in both 2D or post-converted 3D options.
‘Silent House‘ is that single-shot haunted house thriller with rising starlet Elizabeth Olsen. Nobody cared enough to see this in theaters. I expect it to disappear into home video obscurity pretty quickly.
Adventurous cinephiles who don’t fear subtitles may want to give the Turkish crime drama ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia‘ a spin. Be warned, however, that the movie is two-and-a-half hours long, and most accounts say that it takes a good hour to get warmed up. However, most of the viewers who stuck around through that point left impressed with the final product.
The Criterion Collection contributes to the 2012 celebration of all things Alfred Hitchcock with a new high-def release of ‘The 39 Steps‘ that’s hopefully better in quality than the disappointing Blu-ray from the UK. Criterion also offers ‘The Samurai Trilogy‘ starring the great Toshiro Mifune. That sounds pretty enticing, but what’s with the goofy cartoon cover art?
Warner Bros. reissues John Boorman’s killer-redneck classic ‘Deliverance‘ in a new 40th Anniversary Edition Digibook that upgrades the soundtrack to lossless DTS-HD Master Audio, but otherwise recycles the same muddy video transfer from the 2007 Blu-ray.
Finally, Olive Films dishes up another William Castle schlockfest, the haunted house chiller ‘The Spirit Is Willing‘. Headlined by comedian Sid Caesar, I’d expect this to have a few more laughs than, say, ‘Silent House’.
Vote in our poll and tell us in the Comments about which titles you plan to pick up this week.