Eleven years later, and this date still feels uncomfortable to write, especially when it falls on a Tuesday. How many years’ distance will it take before we’ve fully moved on, and Hollywood can go about its business of producing an overblown epic disaster movie about a pair of star-crossed lovers (one in each of the building towers, naturally) trying to escape the World Trade Center and find each other in the chaos? You know that’s coming eventually. I predict that it will be called ‘Twin Towers’. In the meantime, it’s a Tuesday, and hopefully an uneventful one. Our Blu-ray release slate for the week offers up a promising new release, a long-awaited catalog title and perhaps a few others things of interest.
I still find it perplexing that we’re meant to buy into the premise that Kristen Stewart is “the fairest of them all” in a land where Charlize Theron also exists. I don’t care if she’s evil; given the choice, I’d still take Charlize. (Not that I’ll ever be in a position to make that choice, mind you.) ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘ director Rupert Sanders obviously disagrees – a point that he went too far to prove this summer, much to the disgruntlement of his wife. Ridiculous scandal aside, this edgy, action-packed updating of the fairy tale received surprisingly favorable word of mouth and was a sleeper hit. I’m still debating whether this is worth a blind-buy, or if I should start with a rental. Best Buy’s very handsome exclusive SteelBook release may sway me in favor of a purchase.
It’s safe to say that the latest schlocky “found footage” horror flick, ‘The Devil Inside‘, will merit no consideration from me for either of those options. I realize that these movies cost next-to-nothing to make, and thus are quickly profitable for studios, but haven’t we all had enough of this genre by now?
Almost as horrific is ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting‘, which takes a couple of anecdotes from the popular pregnancy self-help manual and desperately tries to spin them into one of those generic all-star rom-coms in the vein of ‘Valentine’s Day’ or ‘New Year’s Eve’. Fortunately, the audience saw through this one, and the movie flopped. Expect it to turn up in regular rotation on the Lifetime Movies network shortly.
The rest of the week’s new releases are a bunch of independent, foreign and film festival titles. The feel-good Lebanese musical ‘Where Do We Go Now?‘ was a surprise winner at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, but never made any traction in general release. Luke reviewed the quirky coming-of-age tale ‘Goats‘ at Sundance this year and was left unimpressed. That seems to be a common sentiment. Meanwhile, indie “It Girl” Greta Gerwig headlines the offbeat rom-com ‘Lola Versus‘.
The award for strangest movie title of the week is shared by the Sean Bean spy thriller ‘Clearskin‘ (seriously, doesn’t that sound like it should be a Proactiv informercial?) and the low-budget sci-fi mystery ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow‘, in which the son of director George Cosmatos (‘Rambo: First Blood, Part II’) follows his father into the family business.
Iceberg, Right Ahead!
Realizing that it might be perceived as tacky to release a movie about a famous historical tragedy that claimed thousands of lives on today’s date, Fox wisely bumped the Blu-ray edition of James Cameron’s ‘Titanic‘ up to Monday.
The film presents an interesting conundrum. Obviously, it was wildly popular in its day, enough so that it smashed box office records and remained the highest-grossing picture of all time for 12 years, until finally being toppled by Cameron’s own ‘Avatar’. It also won a slew of Oscars, and did quite well when re-released in a new 3D conversion earlier this year. I expect that it will sell briskly on Blu-ray. Yet if you ask people what they think of it, especially home theater nerds, most will tell you that they hate the movie.
Well, I don’t hate ‘Titanic’. Sure, the characters are one-dimensional, the love story is clunky, some of the visual effects are surprisingly shoddy, and that wretched Celine Dion song is an abhorrent stain on the history of music. But if you can set some of that aside, it’s also a grand spectacle and a great example of populist filmmaking at its finest. With that said, after one viewing in theaters and one more on Laserdisc, I haven’t watched the movie in a dozen years and am not in a big hurry to do so again. I’m mildly curious about the 3D conversion, but I’m not fond of Cameron’s decision to alter the aspect ratio to 16:9 (only on the 3D version; the 2D version is fortunately preserved in it is original 2.40:1 ratio).
As a tie-in to this, Disney is rolling out a proper 3D edition of Cameron’s Titanic-themed IMAX documentary ‘Ghosts of the Abyss‘. I was never much impressed by this one, or any of the director’s attempts to play documentarian.
Other Catalog Titles
Disney continues to dump old Miramax titles into the hands of cheapo distributor Echo Bridge, which foists them onto double-feature discs with slipshod quality. This is a real shame, because some of the movies – such as the Sean Penn-directed drama ‘The Crossing Guard‘, Jim Jarmusch’s oddball Western ‘Dead Man‘ and David Twohy’s haunted submarine thriller ‘Below‘ – are genuinely interesting and deserve much better treatment than this.
Boutique label Twilight Time pairs up a couple of Southern melodramas with limited editions of the 1989 hit ‘Steel Magnolias‘ and the 1959 adaptation of William Faulkner’s ‘The Sound and the Fury‘.
MGM offers fans of schlocky horror the trifecta of ‘Jeepers Creepers‘, ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space‘ and ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2‘.
Also this week, a group of Paramount titles that were formerly Best Buy exclusives hit general release. These include ‘Airplane!‘, ‘The Naked Gun‘, ‘The Firm‘, ‘The Ring‘, ‘The Score‘ and ‘Road Trip‘.
On the TV front, we get new box sets for the second season of ‘Spartacus: Vengeance‘, the third season of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘ and the fifth season of ‘The Big Bang Theory‘.
As mentioned, I haven’t made up my mind about ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ yet. I also feel like ‘Titanic’ is the sort of thing I ought to have in my collection, even if I don’t plan to watch it anytime soon. Perhaps I’ll wait for a price drop on the 3D edition of that one (but not the oversized box set, which is too much for me). How about you? What interests you this week?