This week brings us quite an eclectic mix of new Blu-ray releases. Among them, we get a failed blockbuster, a sleeper hit comedy, the latest lazy mess from Adam Sandler’s production company, and an art film that will likely polarize audiences for decades to come.
Here’s the week’s release slate, from this past Sunday through this coming Friday:
- ‘Aspen Extreme‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘The Bad Seed‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Beautiful Boy‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Boccaccio ’70‘ (Kino)
- ‘Bonekickers‘ (Acorn Media)
- ‘Bones: The Complete Sixth Season‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Camp Nowhere‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘Casanova ’70‘ (Kino)
- ‘Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Cream: Royal Albert Hall London 2005‘ (Eagle Rock)
- ‘Dark Night of the Scarecrow: 30th Anniversary Edition‘ (VCI)
- ‘Deep Gold‘ (Bigfoot – Oct. 8th)
- ‘Disorganized Crime‘ (Mill Creek)
- ‘The Family Man‘ (Universal)
- ‘The Four Feathers (1939)‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Ghost Hunters: Season 6 – Part 2‘ (Big Vision)
- ‘Green Lantern (Combo Pack)‘ (Warner Brothers – Oct. 14th)
- ‘Green Lantern (Movie-Only Edition)‘ (Warner Brothers – Oct. 14th)
- ‘Green Lantern – 3D‘ (Warner Brothers – Oct. 14th)
- ‘Horrible Bosses (Movie-Only Edition)‘ (New Line Cinema)
- ‘Horrible Bosses: Totally Inappropriate Edition‘ (New Line Cinema)
- ‘Jet Li Collection‘ (Dragon Dynasty)
- ‘Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘King Midas‘ (1-2-3-4 Go)
- ‘Lucky‘ (Phase 4 Films)
- ‘Maniac Cop‘ (Synapse Films)
- ‘Mansfield Park‘ (PBS)
- ‘Master Harold … and the Boys‘ (Image)
- ‘Mr. Nice‘ (MPI)
- ‘North American Carnivores‘ (1-2-3-4 Go)
- ‘Northanger Abbey‘ (PBS)
- ‘The Pebble and the Penguin‘ (MGM/UA)
- ‘Scarface‘ (Universal)
- ‘Scrooge (1970)‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Taylor Swift’s Journey to Fearless‘ (Shout Factory)
- ‘Terri‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘The Tree of Life‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries‘ (Arc)
- ‘Wuthering Heights‘ (PBS)
- ‘WWE: Ladder Match 2 – Crash & Burn‘ (World Wrestling)
- ‘Zookeeper‘ (Sony)
- ‘Zookeeper (Combo Pack)‘ (Sony)
2011 was the summer of the superhero – or at least, it was supposed to be. Theater screens saw a glut of comic book adaptations. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the bunch was ‘Green Lantern‘, which bombed with critics and disappointed at the box office. When we ran a reader poll a few months ago asking you to rank the year’s superhero movies, this one didn’t get a single vote. Ouch. Nevertheless, these types of VFX extravaganzas tend to do well on video. Warner Bros. offers it on Blu-ray this Friday in your choice of standard 2D or post-converted 3D.
2011 was also the summer of the R-rated comedy. ‘Horrible Bosses‘ managed to piggyback off the success of films like ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘The Hangover Part II’ to bring in over $117 million domestically, which is probably twice as much as even the studio expected out of it. I saw this one in theaters. It’s not a great movie – the premise is really contrived and many of the gags feel forced – but it has a likeable cast and a lot of solid laughs. Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston are especially funny as two of the bosses in question.
Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company continues to churn out lazy, totally unfunny comedies starring the actor’s friends. This summer gave us Kevin James in ‘Zookeeper‘, which for all intents and purposes should have been called ‘Paul Blart: Zoo Cop’. If you actually buy this, shame on you.
On a completely different note, ‘The Tree of Life‘ is director Terrence Malick’s latest existential meditation on… well, in this case, on the history of the universe, and also his childhood memories. The film won the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and then proceeded to divide both critics and audiences between those who proclaimed it a masterpiece and those who walked out halfway through without bothering to finish it. This sounds like my kind of movie. I didn’t get a chance to see it in theaters, but am looking forward to it on Blu-ray.
I first saw ‘Beautiful Boy‘ at the Toronto Film Festival last year. It’s a depressing story (about parents played by Michael Sheen and Maria Bello whose teenage son went on a shooting rampage at his college), but also quite emotionally moving. I made the mistake, however, of seeing this back-to-back with the similarly-themed ‘Rabbit Hole‘. I don’t recommend it. That was too much tragedy for one day.
Also of interest is the indie comedy ‘Terri‘, starring John C. Reilly as either the best high school Assistant Principal in the world, or possibly the worst. In either case, he takes it as his personal mission to make a difference in the life of a disaffected misfit who wants nothing to do with him. The movie flittered in and out of theaters in a blink earlier this year, but received a lot of positive reviews and some good buzz from those who actually did see it. In his Blu-ray review (follow the link above), Aaron called it “a wonderful little indie film which will be hard for anyone to dislike.”
Notable catalog titles this week include the cult horror thriller ‘Maniac Cop‘, Criterion’s release of the 1939 Technicolor epic ‘The Four Feathers‘, and Albert Finney’s beloved turn in the 1970 musical adaptation of ‘Scrooge‘. Universal also repackages ‘Scarface‘ into a standard keepcase, for those who didn’t care for the Steelbook or overpriced box set released last month.
On the TV front, we get the latest seasons of ‘Bones‘ and ‘Chuck‘. PBS also offers up recent literary adaptations of ‘Mansfield Park‘, ‘Northanger Abbey‘ and ‘Wuthering Heights‘ as part of the Masterpiece Collection.
Which of this week’s releases are you buying?