Welcome back from the long Labor Day weekend. With some major titles heading our way in the coming weeks, September looks like it will be a very expensive month for Blu-ray collectors. However, depending on your interests, we may get a chance to ease into things with this week’s slate, which seems to be higher in volume than in quality.
It would appear that I jumped the gun last week when I announced the release of ‘The Five-Year Engagement‘. I guess I had my dates mixed up, because that disc doesn’t actually hit the streets until today. In the meantime, Luke was able to confirm for me that one of the scenes featuring my wife’s actor friend (whose role as an innkeeper was completely cut out of the finished movie) can be found in the Blu-ray’s supplement section. Well, it’s something, anyway. I hope that he gets some sort of residuals for a bonus feature.
That movie would be the only truly major new release this week. Otherwise, we have Jason Statham in the generic actioner ‘Safe‘, which looks exactly like all of his other generic actioners. Oscar winner Adrien Brody pops up for a supporting turn in the stoner comedy ‘High School‘. Did that even get a theatrical release? Probably not a good sign. Blair Underwood goes all Liam Neeson when his daughter is kidnapped in the awkwardly-named ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day‘. (Seriously, what committee came up with that title?) And those evil fish are back to gnaw on more silicone-laden buxom beauties in the direct-to-video sequel ‘Piranha 3DD‘.
Classic comedy makes its way to Blu-ray this week with Universal’s sparkling remaster of ‘Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein‘, while Kino rolls out more of the great Buster Keaton in ‘The Navigator‘.
On the more dramatic end of the spectrum, the Criterion Collection gives us Vittorio De Sica’s Neorealist masterpiece ‘Umberto D.‘.
Less of a classic, except perhaps of the “guilty pleasure” variety, is the corny ‘Airport‘, which kicked off the all-star disaster film craze of the 1970s.
Disney would like us to believe that the middling thriller ‘The Hand That Rocks the Cradle‘ is an esteemed title worthy of a 20th Anniversary Edition, and that the even-less-remembered ‘Cold Creek Manor‘ merits a 10th Anniversary Edition. Even after looking up the details of the latter, I still have no recollection of it at all. Meanwhile, the atrocious Bette Midler comedy ‘Hocus Pocus‘ arrives without an anniversary label, even though next year would be its 20th. Have so many people clamored to own this title that the studio can’t wait one more year?
Director Fernando Meirelles has fallen into a rut since his acclaimed ‘City of God’ and ‘The Constant Gardner’. His vaguely-science-fictional 2008 thriller ‘Blindness‘ was such a critical and box office disappointment that Miramax didn’t even deem it worthy of a Blu-ray release when the film hit DVD a couple years ago. (A Blu-ray found its way to Canada, however.) Now, the movie’s been dumped into the hands of cheapskate distributor Echo Bridge, which has no doubt treated it with the same disdain for quality as all of its other titles. While I haven’t seen the film, this seems like a poor turn of events for the work of a once-promising talent.
Fans of schlocky horror may want to pick up the 1980 slasher ‘Mother’s Day‘, the cult hit splatter-fest ‘Re-Animator‘ or the Stephen King-scripted ‘Sleepwalkers‘. I’ve never understood the fanboy adoration for ‘Re-Animator’, personally. It always struck me as an exceedingly stupid movie. And ‘Sleepwalkers’ is proof enough that Stephen King has horrible taste in movies and should never have anything to do with the making of them.
This is another big week for TV releases. We have the first seasons of ‘2 Broke Girls‘ and ‘Person of Interest‘, the second season of ‘Haven‘ (I hope the Blu-ray looks better than Syfy’s broadcasts, which look to be upconverted from standard definition), the fourth season of ‘Fringe‘ and the eighth season of ‘The Office‘. HBO also doles out the final seasons of its recently-canceled ‘Bored to Death‘, ‘Hung‘ and ‘How to Make It in America‘.
I think that I’ll sit this week out. As I mentioned last week, I might rent ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ eventually. (Even Mrs. Z, who saw it in the theater, isn’t so enthused about owning the movie.) ‘Abbott and Costello’ and ‘Umberto D.’ will go on my wish list for later, but I don’t need them right away. While I’ve enjoyed some of those television shows in broadcast, especially ‘Bored to Death’ and ‘Hung’, I don’t collect TV content unless it’s really special. Basically, this is a good week to save up some money for the bigger titles that will come later in the month. Do you agree?