The summer movie season may be heating up at the theatrical box office, but things are a lot slower on home video. Unfortunately, the beginning of July doesn’t offer much in the way of blockbuster smashes on Blu-ray. Perhaps you might find a smaller title to catch your fancy, however.
In ‘The Fog of War’, his Oscar-winning interrogation of Robert McNamara, documentarian Errol Morris found the former Secretary of Defense surprisingly candid and reflective about the mistakes of the Vietnam War. For his follow-up, ‘The Unknown Known‘, Morris turned his lens toward more recent Sec-Def Donald Rumseld, and (not surprisingly at all) received a very different reaction. Morris’ films are always fascinating, and even if he doesn’t get anything out of Rumsfeld, that in itself may reveal a lot about his subject.
Universal has its finger on the Guilty Pleasure button this week with high-def upgrades for the cheertastic ‘Bring It On‘, the Schwarzenegger comedy ‘Kindergarten Cop‘, and the campy period piece ‘Cry-Baby‘. Despite the seemingly inspired pairing of director John Waters with a young Johnny Depp, the latter is not one of the cult filmmaker’s more successful efforts. The Schwarzenegger picture has serious tonal problems as it swings between moments of intense violence and kiddie hijinks (not to mention a totally implausible premise), but of course features the immortal “IT’S NOT A TUMAH!!” scene. ‘Bring It On’, however… that’s just gold.
Although most people may think of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ as the movie that spawned the Found-Footage horror subgenre, the format goes back at least as far as Ruggero Deodato’s 1980 Italian exploitation flick ‘Cannibal Holocaust‘, which was banned in numerous countries in its day for its (supposedly) gruesomely realistic gore. Distributor Grindhouse Releasing describes the film as an “uncompromising masterpiece of cinematic nihilism.” Huh. Apparently, that’s a really fancy way of saying “unpleasant, gross-out schlockfest.”
The closest thing to a classic this week is the Blake Edwards naval comedy ‘Operation Petticoat‘, which puts Cary Grant and Tony Curtis in charge of a pink submarine. Before you scoff, this was one of the biggest hits in Cary Grant’s career and was even nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
I caught a few episodes of the Syfy network’s ‘Helix‘ during its first season. Although the show (about a zombie-like outbreak at a top-secret, high-tech research lab in the arctic circle) is well put-together and reasonably suspenseful, I found it just a little too derivative of ‘Resident Evil’, among other things, to hold my interest while I had other shows clogging up my DVR. I can see this being a good candidate for a marathon viewing of the season, though.
Notable in animation is the second volume of the ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ spin-off ‘The Legend of Korra‘. I’ve never seen either of these shows, but I’m told that I should give them a try.
‘The Unknown Known’ looks like a very worthy rental, but beyond that, I don’t think I’ll actually buy anything this week. For as much as I enjoy ‘Bring It On’, that’s the sort of movie that I’ll stop to watch if I come across it on TV. I don’t think I need to own it. (Also, as a Universal catalog title, I have concerns about likely video transfer issues.) ‘Operation Petticoat’ also interests me, but again, not enough to purchase right now.
How about you? Do you find something compelling enough to spend some money on?
The B & N Criterion sale starts today. Any chance you might write up a post that breaks down everything that has been released, since the last sale ended?
That would be great, I’ve never picked up any before, but there are some titles I would love to pick up this year if they are on sale
I guess that means the answer was “No”, huh?
That’s too bad. A similar post has went up, on the Bonus View, in the past. I was hoping that we could get one, this time.
Drew, I’ll try to put one together, but I have to find time to identify all the Criterion discs that have been released since the last sale.
Thank you! I would really appreciate it! My attempts to do so have proven futile. However, I know that there have been quite a few titles that I really want to pick up, that were released after the last sale.
As there were three movies I was hoping for, I just searched. They are all on sale – Godzilla, A Hard Day’s Night, and Au Revoir Les Enfants, for $19.99. I am ordering
All in-print Criterion titles are on sale at Barnes & Noble this month. What Drew is looking for is a specific list of new titles released since the last sale. I’m working on it, but it won’t be today.
Ah, okay. Well, in any case, the order has been placed. These will be my first non-laserdisc Criterion discs
William, get ready to kiss a ton of cash goodbye, once you start buying CC’s…you can’t stop.
🙂 It’s A Hard Day’s Night is my only blind buy – I am familar with the other two movies. Most of the titles I have seen from Criterion I have not heard of (at least the DVD / Blu-Ray Criterion – back in the Laserdisc days, you had big name movies get the Criterion Treatment), and only a handful of those have peaked my interest.
Now, if Criterion would put out a catalogue disc or a Youtube channel with trailers of the movies they offer, then I might be more willing to blind buy.
Oh, cool! Well, I may just have to start picking up some Criterion movies now! Thanks, Chris!
Kindergarten Cop (our mom says our dad is a real sex machine) and The Little Rascals (cameo from The Olsen Twins) for sure, and those shipped today. I had CryBaby preordered as well, but I haven’t seen it since it came out, so I think I really want to see it again (ie rental) before buying.
Guns and Roses is a maybe, as is Elton John.
The Last Airbender is an awesome show, and makes the M Night version (of which i was only able to sit through like 30 seconds of, seriously it’s that bad.) look like the crap it is. If they had seriously adapted the story and given it the right director it could have been something special.
Too bad Avatar The Last Airbender is not available on Blue.
You know, I got so excited when I heard that there was going to be a Last Airbender movie, and even more excited when I heard James Cameron was directing Avatar. Imagine my disappointment when I realized they were two different movies.