Just how many “Ultimate Collector’s Editions” of one movie do we need? We’ll find out this week, as Warner Bros. re-releases one of its most important classics in another fancy Blu-ray box set. Also on tap are some great titles from the Criterion Collection and a handful of recent Oscar hopefuls.
Here’s the week’s Blu-ray release slate:
- ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Assault on a Queen‘ (Olive Films)
- ‘The BBC High-Definition Natural History Collection: Special Edition‘ (BBC)
- ‘Bending the Rules‘ (WWE)
- ‘The Bodyguard (1992)‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Bravest‘ (Image)
- ‘Camel Spiders‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Casablanca: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think‘ (Astralwerks – March 26th)
- ‘Come Blow Your Horn‘ (Olive Films)
- ‘Confucius‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Crows Zero‘ (Media Blasters)
- ‘A Dangerous Method‘ (Sony)
- ‘David Lean Directs Noël Coward‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Don Quixote (1973)‘ (Kultur)
‘Dragon Ball Z: Level 2.1‘ (FUNimation) ‘Dragon Ball Z: Level 2.2‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘DragonHeart‘ (Universal)
- ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Combo Pack)‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey‘ (Sony)
- ‘Iron Maiden: En Vivo!‘ (EMI)
- ‘It’$ Only Money‘ (Olive Films)
- ‘The Lion of Judah – 3D‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘A Night to Remember‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Phil Collins: Live at Montreux 2004‘ (Eagle Rock)
- ‘The Quest‘ (Universal)
- ‘Some Days Are Better Than Others‘ (Koch)
- ‘South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Strip Nude for Your Killer‘ (Blue Underground)
- ‘A Trip to the Moon‘ (Flicker Alley)
- ‘UFC: Best of 2011‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Who’s Got the Action?‘ (Olive Films)
- ‘Who’s Minding the Store?‘ (Olive Films)
As you may recall, of this year’s nine Best Picture Academy Award nominees, ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close‘ is the one that drew the most “Whaaaaa…???” reactions. The film received mostly tepid reviews and had middling box office performance. No one is really sure how it got onto the Oscar short-list. It was certainly never expected to win, in any case. While I haven’t seen the movie, I have read the book it’s based on, which I found emotionally devastating. However, I couldn’t get too enthused for the film version after all the trailers that made it look like a typical piece of watered-down Oscar bait. Both Luke and Aaron here had nice things to say about it, though. Maybe I’ll give it a rental.
David Cronenberg has come a long way since his “body horror” films of the 1970s and ’80s. The director’s latest project is the period drama ‘A Dangerous Method‘, about the inappropriate love triangle between famous psychiatric pioneers Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and their shared patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). Film festival buzz called this a potential Oscar contender in at least the acting categories, but critics’ reviews were pretty mixed and the movie failed to land any Oscar nominations at all. It still sounds interesting, and I’ll give anything by Cronenberg the benefit of the doubt.
Another failed Oscar hopeful was ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey‘, the writing and directing debut of actress Angelina Jolie. The movie is a prison camp love story set during the Yugoslavian civil war of the early 1990s. If the title and that plot description don’t already scream pretension, know that Jolie directed the film entirely in the Bosnian and Serbian languages, for verisimilitude or something. In other words, this is one of her social-activist passion projects, like ‘Beyond Borders’ and ‘A Mighty Heart’, and was even less successful than those. The movie was generally scoffed off the few screens where it played, and will likely disappear on video as well.
Shifting gears a little, Roger Corman is one filmmaker who’s never made a piece of Oscar bait in his life. His unapologetically schlocky movies and career are celebrated in the documentary ‘Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel‘. This sounds like fun.
Finally… ugh. We have another dreadful ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks‘ sequel. Why do people keep paying for these things? Shouldn’t parents have higher standards for what they allow their children to watch?
Warner already released ‘Casablanca‘ in an Ultimate Collector’s Edition box set back in 2008 that was rated pretty highly for the day. Nonetheless, the studio returns to that particular well yet again with a brand new 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition. This one features a new 4k restoration that’s said to eke out a smidge of improvement, and an even larger box set filled with new knickknacks and trinkets. Personally, I hope that Best Buy or some other retailer will offer this in alternate Digibook packaging, as often happens with these UCE box sets. If anyone has information on that, please post in the Comments below.
Criterion has an impressive box set of its own this week. The ‘David Lean Directs Noel Noël Coward‘ collection includes new editions of ‘In Which We Serve’, ‘This Happy Breed’, ‘Blithe Spirit’ and ‘Brief Encounter’. This will surely go on my shopping list during Barnes & Noble’s next big Criterion sale.
In addition, Criterion also has a separate release of “that other Titanic movie,” ‘A Night to Remember‘, which is no doubt being timed to coincide with the 3D theatrical re-release of James Cameron’s blockbuster. In contrast to that, the 1958 film was made in a docudrama fashion without frivolous love stories or annoying pop songs, and is often regarded as a more historically accurate depiction of the event.
Still mourning Whitney Houston? The pop diva’s blockbuster hit movie ‘The Bodyguard‘ makes it way to Blu-ray this week. (For what it’s worth, the disc was scheduled prior to Houston’s unexpected death.) I don’t think you’ll find too many people who’d argue that this is a good movie, but it certainly struck a chord with the right audience back in 1992. I was in college at the time, and I still recall the girl who lived in the dorm room next to mine blaring Houston’s song “I Will Always Love You” at deafening volumes in a non-stop repeat loop for days on end until everyone else on the floor finally got together to stage an intervention.
Have you ever noticed how much director Rob Cohen loves the word “Dragon”? He’s made no less than three movies with that word in the title. What, you haven’t noticed? I guess nobody gives Rob Cohen as much thought as I do. Fair enough. Anyway, the fantasy adventure ‘DragonHeart‘ was considered a breakthrough for photorealistic CGI back in 1996. The visual effects have dated poorly in the meantime, and the rest of the movie around them was always a giant piece of crap, but I suppose this might be on someone’s guilty pleasure list.
Speaking of mid-’90s junk, Universal also dumps the Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner ‘The Quest‘ on Blu-ray today. This is not one of the star’s better-remembered flicks, but I suppose JCVD fans will take what they can get.
Olive Films continues to inflict more Jerry Lewis on us. This time, the distributor offers up the screwball comedy ‘Who’s Minding the Store?‘. Separately, it also has the Dean Martin vehicle ‘Who’s Got the Action?‘ (which was not a collaboration with Lewis) and Frank Sinatra in ‘Come Blow Your Horn‘. If you’re a fan of any of these performers, well, enjoy.
Has ‘South Park‘ really been on the air for sixteen seasons? I feel so old. I stopped watching with any consistency years ago. If you’re still an active viewer, Paramount has a box set of The Complete Fifteenth Season for you today.
Will you open your wallet for any of this week’s titles?