Cult films take center stage on Blu-ray this week. Mainly, that’s because the new releases are such a snoozefest.
The following discs see release this week:
- ‘42nd Street Forever‘ (Synapse Films)
- ‘The Barbarian and the Geisha‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Beautiful Wave‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘The Big Heat‘ (Twilight Time)
- ‘The Big Trail‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Chuck: Seasons 1-5‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Chuck: The Complete Fifth Season‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Dirty Dancing Collection‘ (Lionsgate)
- ‘The Front Line‘ (Well Go USA)
- ‘Ganja & Hess‘ (Kino)
- ‘Gremlins 2: The New Batch‘ (Warner)
- ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)‘ (Twilight Time)
- ‘La Haine‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Last Breath‘ (Shriek Show)
- ‘Mask Maker‘ (101 Films – May 7th)
- ‘Mother’s Day (2010)‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Playback‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Psychotica‘ (Shriek Show)
- ‘Rookie Blue: The Complete Second Season‘ (Koch)
- ‘The Shock Labyrinth – 3D‘ (Well Go USA)
- ‘Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (Combo Pack)‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Tora! Tora! Tora! (Non-Digibook)‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Underworld Collection (2012)‘ (Sony)
- ‘Underworld: Awakening‘ (Sony)
- ‘Underworld: Awakening – 3D‘ (Sony)
- ‘The Vow‘ (Sony)
- ‘Wrestlemania XXVIII‘ (WWE Films)
I don’t normally promote reviews from other publications around here, but DVDTalk is our sister site, and our friend and regular Roundtable contributor Adam opens his review of the week’s biggest release with a perfect line: “The movie’s called ‘Underworld: Awakening‘ and all that, so why does it keep putting me to sleep?” Seriously, did anyone really think that the cheesy vampires-vs-werewolves ‘Underworld’ franchise needed a fourth entry? Did it even need a second? Why is this a franchise at all? These are questions I can’t answer, but if you’re desperate to see Kate Beckinsale slink back into the leather catsuit and shoot at werewolves, here’s some more of the same, this time with a lower budget and worse production values than usual. Oh, but it’s in 3D! Enjoy that.
Speaking of soulless, undead monsters, Channing Tatum has a new movie too! This guy must have the greatest agent alive, and I fear that poor Rachel McAdams needs to fire hers. She really ought to be several leagues above working with an oaf like Tatum. Nonetheless, the two are paired up in the romantic drama ‘The Vow‘, which was surprisingly not based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, even though it sure looks to come straight from his playbook. I’m falling asleep just thinking about this one, so let’s move on.
I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to bring myself to watch ‘Gremlins 2: The New Batch‘ again. As a huge fan of the original ‘Gremlins’, I eagerly went to see the sequel in its very first screening on its first day of release, and was absolutely mortified by what a gigantic piece of garbage I sat through. It felt like director Joe Dante decided to piss all over everything good about the first movie and then set it on fire. I hated this movie. In the years since, ‘The New Batch’ has accumulated a cult following (including E., who reviewed the Blu-ray for us), and I probably ought to give it another look, but I’m not sure that I’ll be able to suffer that crushing disappointment again.
For many years, the 1973 urban vampire flick ‘Ganja & Hess‘ was considered a lost film. When the original distributor, which expected a trashy blaxploitation thriller, was dissatisfied with writer/director Bill Gunn’s experimental and arty take on the genre, the movie was pulled from his hands and recut into something more easily marketable. Gunn’s original version became something of a cult legend over the years (Video Watchdog magazine talked it up on a number of occasions), until finally finding resurrection on DVD a few years ago. While that disc has fallen out of print, Kino has picked up the film and issued a Blu-ray based on a new restoration performed by The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Foundation.
Fox offers John Wayne fans a choice between the Duke’s early Western ‘The Big Trail‘ and his oddball period piece ‘The Barbarian and the Geisha‘. Meanwhile, Criterion adds Mathieu Kassovitz’s gritty violent-youth drama ‘La Haine‘ to the Collection, while Twilight Time provides limited editions of Fritz Lang’s famed film noir ‘The Big Heat‘ and the original 1959 cheeseball adaptation of ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth‘.
On the TV front this week, we have the complete first season of the dopey cop show ‘Rookie Blue‘, and the final season of ‘Chuck‘.
I’ve had ‘The Big Heat’ on preorder and very much look forward to receiving that one. I’ll probably pick up ‘La Haine’ during Barnes & Noble’s next Criterion sale, and might give ‘Ganja & Hess’ a look some day. What catches your eye this week?