Well, look at that. Hey, Disney, you see how easy it is to include the words “of Mars” in a title? That’s not very difficult at all, just seven little characters (including the space) that might help your potential audience to have a vague idea of what your content is about. I bet that’s a lesson that you wish you could have learned a few months ago.
I want to try something a little different with the formatting of today’s Blu-ray post. I’ve listed out the week’s release titles in poll form, so that you can vote on which ones interest you. (Vote for as many as you’d like.) We’ll see how well this works out, to determine whether I’ll continue doing it this way in the future. It’s important to me to include links, but that might make the font hard to read on some browsers. Is this a big problem for anyone?
Disney’s wannabe-blockbuster ‘John Carter‘ is officially one of the biggest bombs of the year, if not all time. There are a great many reasons for that, not the least of which is the generic title that failed to capture viewer interest. Who is John Carter and why should we care about him? Wasn’t that Noah Wiley’s character on ‘ER’? Why’s he in a sci-fi movie now? And why do the trailers make it look like a poor carbon copy of ‘Attack of the Clones’? Word-of-mouth from those who bothered to see it mostly called the movie neither great nor terrible. It probably didn’t deserve to be such a flop, but nor is it as good as it could have been. If you (like most people) skipped it in theaters, but still have some interest, the film is now available in both 2D and (post-converted) 3D options on Blu-ray.
Also in 3D is ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island‘, the tenuously-linked sequel to 2008’s crappy ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth‘. This one trades Brendan Fraser for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which may be an upgrade, but the movie otherwise still looks like lame kiddie fodder.
‘Safe House‘ is the latest generic action movie in which Denzel Washington does his Denzel Washington wiseass schtick. It looks exactly like the last twenty or so movies that the actor has made. The only difference is that, instead of being directed by Tony Scott, this one’s directed by someone who has painstakingly imitated the Tony Scott style. This time, Denzel’s a CIA agent who goes rogue, or something. If you haven’t gotten tired of this sort of thing yet, here’s another one.
‘Act of Valor‘ became a surprise hit earlier this year based solely on the fact that it stars actual Navy SEALs playing Navy SEALs, and was promoted as being more realistic than most military movies. Unfortunately, Navy SEALs are not actors, nor can the Navy PR hacks who cobbled together the screenplay be considered writers. Set your expectations really, really low when you rent this one.
Having failed to establish himself as a leading man with the disappointing ‘Machete‘, grizzled Mexican character actor Danny Trejo tries again in the vigilante thriller ‘Bad Ass‘. The fact that you’ve probably never heard of this says a lot.
Gerard Butler stars in the true story of a former drug-dealing biker who turns into a gun-totin’ crusader for the Lord in ‘Machine Gun Preacher‘. As I recall, this was laughed off of screens at the Toronto Film Festival a couple years ago, and was widely ignored during its limited theatrical release this year.
Warner rolls out a couple of lesser-known Clint Eastwood titles this week, the better of which would be the underrated ‘A Perfect World‘. (For as much grief as Kevin Costner takes as an actor, he’s actually capable of delivering good performances in movies like this.) The other would be the forgettable thriller ‘Blood Work‘.
Meanwhile, Disney gives us two late ’80s flicks starring Tom Cruise, one that’s pretty respectable (‘The Color of Money‘) and one not so much (‘Cocktail‘).
Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks his way into high definition with the trio of ‘Missing in Action‘, ‘Missing in Action 2: The Beginning‘ and ‘The Delta Force‘. I believe that these are Walmart exclusives. Why ‘Braddock: Missing in Action III’ or ‘Delta Force 2’ didn’t make the cut for this wave, I can only speculate. (Probably because they’re awful, but that didn’t stop the other three from coming.)
John Wayne fans can look forward to a freshly-remastered edition of the Duke’s classic Western ‘Hondo‘ (sadly only in 2D, despite the fact that this was originally a 3D production) or the ‘John Wayne Collection‘, which packages together six of the star’s early and lesser movies. Coming from a no-name studio at a list price of only $15, I probably wouldn’t hold out hope for better than ratty public-domain quality prints from the latter set.
As part of its continuing 100th Anniversary celebration, Universal finally ports over a batch of former HD DVD exclusives: ‘The Sting‘, ‘Erin Brockovich‘, ‘Scent of a Woman‘, ‘Sea of Love‘,
‘Sixteen Candles‘ and ‘Smokey and the Bandit‘. I have about half of these on HD DVD, still unwatched.
I feel like the Oscar-nominated basketball drama ‘Hoosiers‘ ought to be a highlight today, but considering that we had trouble giving away a free copy here last week, I take it that our readers aren’t so interested.
Other titles of possible interest include the classics ‘The Grapes of Wrath‘ and ‘Zorba the Greek‘, the Beatles’ oddball animated ‘Yellow Submarine‘, and a 15th Anniversary Edition of the middling Mel Gibson revenge flick ‘Ransom‘. I’ve never particularly cottoned to John Ford’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ adaptation. The way that it cuts out almost the entire last half of the book seemed to me to miss the point of the novel entirely. But I haven’t seen it since college, so maybe my opinion of it will change with another viewing.
If you’ve been holding off from buying the individual season sets of ‘The Twilight Zone‘, Image has finally bundled a super box set with all 156 episodes. Sounds daunting!
Was the first season of ‘Falling Skies‘ actually popular? I gave up on it literally halfway through the pilot episode. It got renewed for a second season, so somebody must have watched.
Finally, Sony gives us the fourth season of ‘Breaking Bad‘. I think I’ve mentioned before that this is a show that I somehow never got into, despite its numerous accolades. It seems like something I’d like. I just have never had the time to watch it properly from the beginning.
This is a pretty busy week for Blu-ray. Be sure to vote in the poll and tell us in the Comments about the titles you’ve got your eye on.