In case you hadn’t noticed (though I’ve certainly complained about it enough), it’s been a pretty dry Blu-ray season over the past several weeks. Fortunately, things at least marginally pick up today with the release of a few rental-worthy new titles, one cult classic, and even some noteworthy budget discs.
Here’s a look at the week’s release slate:
- ‘Aerial America: Pacific Rim Collection‘ (Inception Media Group)
- ‘Albert Nobbs‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘Before and After‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘Being John Malkovich‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Born Yesterday‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘Bringing Down the House‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid / The Comancheros / Fistful Of Dollars / Horse Soldiers‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Cat Planet Cuties: Complete Collection‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘Chronicle‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘D.O.A. (1988)‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘Demoniacs‘ (Kino)
- ‘The Devil Inside‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Duets‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘Fantastic Four / Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Father of the Bride / Father of the Bride Part II‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘Gone Fishin’‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘The Grey‘ (Universal)
- ‘History of the World in Two Hours – 3D‘ (A&E)
- ‘Holy Man‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘Mr. Wrong‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘National Parks Exploration Series: The Grand Canyon – A Wonder of the Natural World‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘National Parks Exploration Series: Yosemite – The High Sierras‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘New York Stories‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘The Odessa File‘ (Image)
- ‘One for the Money‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘The Order (2001)‘ (Image)
- ‘Patton / The Longest Day / The Sand Pebbles / Tora! Tora! Tora!‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Predator / Predator 2‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Princess Diaries 2 Movie Collection‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘Rampart‘ (Millennium Media)
- ‘Rampart (Combo Pack)‘ (Millennium Media)
- ‘The Rape of the Vampire‘ (Kino)
- ‘Requiem for a Vampire‘ (Kino)
- ‘Road Trip‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Romancing the Stone / Jewel of the Nile‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Seven Wonders of the Buddhist Wörld‘ (PBS)
- ‘Spaghetti Western Double Feature: The Grand Duel / Keoma‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘Terminal Velocity‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘Titanic – 3D (2012)‘ (A&E)
- ‘The Transporter / Transporter 2‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘The Universe: The Complete Season Six‘ (A&E)
- ‘The Walking Tall Trilogy‘ (Shout Factory)
- ‘The War‘ (PBS)
- ‘White Squall‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake‘ (FUNimation)
I still find myself surprised by the fact that Glenn Close doesn’t have an Oscar yet. I guess I’d just assumed that she was an actress of a certain stature who surely must have picked one up at some point. Perhaps for ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, right? Didn’t she win for that? No, sadly, she’s been denied Oscar gold, despite a few nominations, including one this year for the cross-dressing period drama ‘Albert Nobbs‘. (She lost to Meryl Streep this time, who picked up her third.) Close’s acclaimed performance notwithstanding, the movie itself received mostly mixed reviews. (As I recall, Luke didn’t care for it.) As such, I might be wary of buying it blindly, but this seems like good rental fodder.
Liam Neeson vs. wolves – that’s the pitch behind the nature survival thriller ‘The Grey‘, which opened to pretty solid reviews this year. Animal activists may have complained that the film’s depiction of wolf behavior is grossly inaccurate, but, as with most of these things (see also: ‘The Edge’ with Anthony Hopkins), it’s really about the character versus himself. I hear that some of the CGI wolves are kind of cheesy, though. Again, this strikes me as rental material.
For better or worse, the so-called “found footage” genre (e.g. ‘Paranormal Activity’, ‘Cloverfield’, etc.) is still going strong, as witnessed by this year’s box office success of both ‘The Devil Inside‘ and ‘Chronicle‘. The former (the one about demonic possession) was almost universally regarded as being unwatchably terrible, and should probably be avoided at all costs. However, the teens-with-super-powers-run-amok ‘Chronicle’ is said to be much better than expected.
“Katherine Heigl ruins everything” is an axiom that the astute Mrs. Z lives by. She found this to once again be true with the release of ‘One for the Money‘, in which the former ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ actress foists her grating unlikeability onto the beloved Stephanie Plum book series by Janet Evanovich. This was intended to be the first entry in a would-be franchise, but lousy reviews and box-office failure have undoubtedly nipped those plans in the bud.
Of all the cast members from ‘Cheers’, isn’t it kind of amazing that Woody Harrelson is the one who became a genuine movie star? The actor has a way of subverting expectations and delivering strong performances in both goofy comedies and serious dramas. He received good notices for his work in the corrupt-cop drama ‘Rampart‘, even though the movie around him was criticized for wallowing in misery and failing to distinguish itself from superior efforts such as the TV series ‘The Shield’.
The Criterion Collection picks up a major cult item this week with addition of ‘Being John Malkovich‘, the first collaboration between music video stylist Spike Jonze and wild-card screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. I prefer the pair’s later ‘Adaptation.’ (and Kaufman’s screenplay for Michel Gondry’s ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’), but this is still a very quirky, weird, clever and funny movie. I haven’t watched it in a while, and look forward to doing so again. I expect Criterion’s Blu-ray to be an improvement over the mediocre-looking HD DVD released by Universal back when that format still existed.
Finally, budget label Mill Creek capitalizes on its licensing arrangement with Disney by dropping a bunch of the latter’s old live action titles on the market. Of these, the ones that catch my eye are the omnibus compilation film ‘New York Stories‘ (which features segments by both Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese), the kind-of-crazy 1988 Dennis Quaid/Meg Ryan remake of ‘D.O.A.‘, and Ridley Scott’s sailing drama ‘White Squall‘. Oh, and the before-she-came-out Ellen Degeneres vehicle ‘Mr. Wrong‘ may not be a great, or even particularly good, comedy, but it has a laugh or two. I wouldn’t expect anything fancy from these discs, like remastered transfers or (heaven forbid!) bonus features, but some of them might be worth fishing out of the bargain bin, depending on your inclinations.
Will you buy any of this week’s releases? Tell us in the Comments.