This week’s Blu-ray releases are headlined by two major sci-fi movies that both feature space aliens with heads shaped like male genitalia. That’s weird, right?
E.T.’s face looks like a scrotum. Don’t be mad at me for pointing this out; you’ve always known it to be true. I have no idea what Steven Spielberg or his creature designer Carlo Rambaldi were thinking, but… damn. Just look at that thing. Or don’t. It’s kind of terrifying. Was ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial‘ such a massive success despite this fact, or because of it? That’s a question for the ages. Back in 1982, the movie was a smash hit that quickly rose to become the highest-grossing movie of all time, and held that position until Spielberg toppled his own record 11 years later with ‘Jurassic Park’. In his Blu-ray review, E. says that the film is still a masterpiece. I don’t think I’ve ever been that warm to it, personally. This is Spielberg at his schmaltziest, and I’ve always found the allegedly-cuddly alien pretty creepy. But don’t listen to me; the movie is still beloved by many, and frankly I don’t think I’ve watched it since the ’80s anyway. The Blu-ray preserves the original theatrical cut, not that misguided revisionist crap with the guns replaced by walkie-talkies that Spielberg tried to foist on DVD a decade ago. (He later apologized for that.) It’s not my thing, but if you’re a fan, by all means treasure this.
The phallic imagery of the alien in ‘Alien’ has long been noted. In his insanely terrible prequel ‘Prometheus‘ (and yes, deniers, it absolutely is a prequel), Ridley Scott takes that a step further by having one of the characters reach out to stroke an angry albino penis monster. As I believe I made clear during its theatrical release, I thought that this movie was a gigantic pile of crap. Some of you disagreed with me. So be it. Feel free to waste your money on the Blu-ray, available in either 2D or 2.5D versions. (I wouldn’t be so generous as to call what I saw in the theater “3D,” but maybe that was an IMAX issue.)
In other stuff you probably don’t care about, ‘The Raven‘ would have us believe that Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) played detective to hunt down a serial killer imitating his works. This looks like a low-rent knockoff of ‘Sleepy Hollow’ or ‘From Hell’, and was a big flop in theaters. I don’t imagine it will have much life on disc either.
Tom Cruise squandered whatever good will he’d earned in ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ with the corny jukebox musical ‘Rock of Ages‘. Despite the enormous popularity of the stage version, the movie looked awful and nobody went to see it. Based on the trailers, I plan to avoid it as well.
Fans of the band LCD Soundsystem may enjoy the concert documentary ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits‘. I might have more interest in this if I’d ever heard of LCD Soundsystem or knew a single song they’ve played.
Universal may have pushed back the release of its Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection box set due to reported quality control issues, but Warner is moving ahead with individual editions of the director’s classics ‘Dial M for Murder‘ (in the original 3D!) and ‘Strangers on a Train‘. The latter is one of my favorite Hitchcock films.
In addition to those, Warner has quite an eclectic mix of other catalog titles available The studio gives us a double-dose of Bette Davis in the psycho thriller ‘Dead Ringer‘ and the camp classic ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?‘. From there, we move onto the Cold War thriller ‘Ice Station Zebra‘ with Rock Hudson, and finally to the deliriously goofy 1986 musical remake of ‘Little Shop of Horrors‘.
Indie label Twilight Time has new 3,000-copy limited editions of Wolfgang Petersen’s 1985 sci-fi opus ‘Enemy Mine‘ (that’s the one where Louis Gossett, Jr. plays a pregnant lizard man) and Tom Savini’s 1990 ‘Night of the Living Dead‘ remake. The zombie flick is already sold out. If you haven’t been following the controversy about its drastically recolored video transfer (in which daytime scenes have been graded to look like night), be sure to read Nate’s review (linked above). You may be glad you missed this one.
In preparation for the long-delayed remake (finally scheduled for theatrical release in November), MGM reminds us just how cheesy and lame the original ‘Red Dawn‘ was.
Disney may be slow to roll out its animated classics, but the studio has been very generous with its second-tier titles lately. This week brings us ‘The Great Mouse Detective‘ from 1986.
In ‘The Lina Wertmüller Collection‘, Kino gives us a trio of the famed Italian director’s films from the 1970s: ‘Love & Anarchy’, ‘The Seduction of Mimi’ and ‘All Screwed Up’.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Vivendi’s two-disc collection of ‘Max Fleischer’s Superman‘ cartoon!
On the TV front, Fox rolls out the seventh seasons of both ‘Bones‘ and the hilarious ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘, plus the third season of (equally hilarious) ‘The League‘. Meanwhile, Image has the complete first season of something called ‘Holliston‘ that I’d never even heard of before. Some Googling tells me that it airs on FEARnet. I can’t say that I’ve ever even turned on that channel.
Both of the Hitchcocks are must-haves. That’s it for me this week, though. How about you?