As a consequence of my hectic travel schedule these past few weeks, I find myself writing yet another of these Blu-ray posts on a plane. Oddly, this one happens to coincide with a week where the biggest new release is all about airplanes – specifically, about a bunch of planes that crash or blow up or get shot out of the sky. This is a little unsettling, honestly. The film in question was also a big box office failure earlier this year, which leaves phrases like “bomb” or “crash and burn” rattling through my head. I’m glad that I don’t have any more trips planned for the immediate future. I’m a nervous enough flier as it is.
The following discs street today:
- ‘The American Battleship‘ (Asylum)
- ‘Beyond‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘A Bullet for the General‘ (Blue Underground)
- ‘Castle in the Sky‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘Certified Copy‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Denver & Rio Grande‘ (Olive Films)
- ‘The First Beautiful Thing‘ (Palisades Tartan)
- ‘Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, OVA Collection‘ (FUNimation)
- ‘Gamera: The Brave‘ (Media Blasters)
- ‘Hell on Wheels: The Complete First Season‘ (Koch)
- ‘Lethal Weapon Collection‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Mutant Girls Squad‘ (Well Go USA)
- ‘Perfect Sense‘ (MPI)
- ‘Racing Dreams – Coming of Age in a Fast World‘ (PBS)
- ‘Red Tails‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Run for Cover‘ (Olive Films)
- ‘Sade: Bring Me Home – Live 2011‘ (Epic Records)
- ‘The Secret World of Arrietty (Combo Pack)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘Sherlock: Season Two‘ (BBC)
- ‘Silver City‘ (Olive Films)
- ‘Simply Red: Live at Montreux‘ (Eagle Rock)
- ‘This Means War‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Too Late Blues‘ (Olive Films)
- ‘Whisper of the Heart‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘The Woman in Black‘ (Sony)
- ‘WWE: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions‘ (WWE)
Poor George Lucas. He’s been complaining for years about how the ‘Star Wars’ franchise has consumed his life, when all he really wants to do is make “small, personal” films. Yet despite having $876 quadrillion dollars in his personal petty cash fund to do with as he sees fit whenever he pleases, he hasn’t made a damn bit of progress towards producing those little arty movies that he claims to be so passionate about. (He could finance a dozen or so of them with the money he spends at Starbucks on a weekly basis.) Instead, his first non-‘Star Wars’ project in years was the big-budget WWII aerial combat action flick ‘Red Tails‘, which Lucas has sworn will be his last blockbuster movie. Heh… George Lucas honestly believed that ‘Red Tails’ would be a blockbuster. Heh… Well, it wasn’t a blockbuster, mainly because, according to every single person who bothered to see it, the movie is a total piece of crap, which was completely obvious from every trailer. And now it’s on Blu-ray for everyone to ignore again. For whatever it’s worth, I’m sure that it will make for very nice eye- and ear-candy while your brain lapses into catatonia. Is that worth a purchase to you?
Poor Daniel Radcliffe. The young actor made his first attempt to step beyond the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise and play an adult role in the period ghost story ‘The Woman in Black‘, and no one went to see it. I guess he’s doomed to be Harry Potter forever. (That’s called “Mark Hamill Syndrome.”) The movie received mixed reviews. Luke here thought it sucked, but other critics were more caught up in its old-school vibe. I might rent this.
Poor McG. After the inexplicable success of the first craptastic ‘Charlie’s Angels’ movie, everyone quickly realized that he’s a lousy hack. His latest attempt to pretend that he’s still an A-List director, the action-comedy ‘This Means War‘, was a big ol’ flop. That’s probably because no one could believe the premise that super-studly super-spies Tom Hardy and Chris Pine would actually find themselves fighting for the affections of Reese Witherspoon. Also, everybody already saw ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’. It’s been done, and this retread doesn’t have that combustible Brangelina chemistry working for it.
It’s a shame that the charming children’s films from the famed Japanese anime house Studio Ghibli can’t seem to make any traction in North America. Nevertheless, despite repeated audience disinterest, Disney remains committed to releasing the studio’s product on these shores. Chalk that up almost entirely to the passion of John Lasseter, who takes every opportunity to let it be known that he’s the world’s biggest Ghibli fan.
The studio’s latest production, ‘The Secret World of Arriety‘, is an adaptation of the classic children’s book ‘The Borrowers’, and was scripted (though not directed) by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. Most Ghibli films are worth watching, though I decided to wait for video on this one because Disney only released a dubbed version to theaters. I strongly believe in watching all foreign films, even animation, in their original language.
To coincide with ‘Arriety’, Disney also offers up two classic Ghibli titles on Blu-ray, ‘Castle in the Sky‘ and ‘Whisper of the Heart‘. The former is my favorite Miyazaki film.
The remaining catalog titles span the quality gamut from the latest zero-budget rip-off from the schlockmeisters at Asylum, ‘The American Battleship‘, to the latest pretentious art film from Criterion, ‘Certified Copy‘. I probably shouldn’t be so dismissive of ‘Certified Copy’. I’ve heard many good things about it. But has anyone else felt that the quality of Criterion’s cover art has taken a steep nosedive in recent months?
[Update: It appears that I missed mentioning the ‘Lethal Weapon Collection‘ when I first published this post. This box set (which was released in Europe a year before we got it here, for some reason) contains remastered transfers for the first two films, that previously had flawed Blu-ray releases. I’d be a lot more interested in this if I could buy those two entries separately. I have no interest in ever owning the third or fourth movies in the series.]
On the TV front, we have the complete first season of AMC’s brooding Western ‘Hell on Wheels‘ (which starts off a little shaky but picks up steam [pardon the railroad pun] as it goes), and the second season of the modern-day Sherlock Holmes update, simply called ‘Sherlock‘. (Could there possibly be a better name for someone playing Sherlock Holmes than Benedict Cumberbatch?)
Go ahead. Tell us what you’re buying this week.