We may have been premature in assuming that September would be a more exciting month for Blu-rays than August was. As far as recent theatrical hits go, this week doesn’t have much of note. A few catalog titles could be more interesting, however.
‘The Age of Adaline‘ – Hollywood has apparently run out of ideas for titles again. Everything lately is “Age of” this or “Age of” that: ‘Age of Extinction’, ‘Age of Ultron’, etc. At least in this case the phrase has actual relevance. Former ‘Gossip Girl’ Blake Lively gets struck by lightning and becomes an immortal Highlander, forever remaining the same age while those around her get old and die. I guess we know what the writers of ABC’s ‘Forever’ have been up to since their show got canceled. The film is a costume romance that lets Lively play dress-up in a variety of period wardrobe changes and hairstyles. I’m not sure how Harrison Ford got roped into a supporting role. (He’s the elderly version of one of the character’s former lovers.) For that matter, I’m not sure how Lively landed the lead, though I suppose she’s a small step up from original choice Katherine Heigl. Reviews were mixed and the box office underwhelmed, but I have at least one friend who says he was pleasantly surprised by it.
‘American Heist‘ – Adrien Brody seriously needs a new agent. The guy has an Oscar yet he’s playing second fiddle to Hayden Christensen (gah!) in a generic low-budget crime flick that went direct-to-VOD. The most hilarious part is that they’re supposed to play brothers.
‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown‘ – Borrowing the title from a 1976 cult horror movie, this version is part remake and part meta sequel, in which characters actually watch the original film (which was loosely based on a real-life serial killer in the town of Texarkana) before the cycle of murders starts up again. The idea sounds more clever than your average slasher, and word-of-mouth was generally positive.
MGM released a fairly respectable Blu-ray of Brian De Palma’s seminal psycho killer thriller ‘Dressed to Kill‘ back in 2011. The Criterion Collection, which has worked with De Palma a few times before (including ‘Blow Out‘ on Blu-ray) sought to top that with a new director-approved transfer and additional bonus features. The disc was scheduled for release last month, but had to be postponed when early review copies revealed a disturbing problem with the transfer – the whole image was stretched vertically. How that got through quality control is anyone’s guess, but the label pushed back the release to fix it. The defective copies should have been recalled and, in theory, only the corrected version should be on retailer shelves this week. However, if some bad copies slip through, be sure to contact Criterion for a replacement.
The latest round of limited editions from Twilight Time include:
- ‘Angel’ – The directorial debut for Neil Jordan. Stephen Rea is an Irish saxophone player who witnesses a gangland murder and decides to do something about it. It’s a pretty good movie that I don’t believe was ever released on DVD.
- ’10 to Midnight’ – LAPD detective Charles Bronson hunts a serial killer who murders his victims while naked. Kinky.
- ‘At Close Range’ – Sean Penn is reunited with his estranged father Christopher Walken and joins him in a life of crime. Notable for the theme song “Live to Tell” by Penn’s then-wife Madonna.
- ‘Fat City’ – Aging boxer Stacy Keach spars with up-and-comer Jeff Bridges both professionally and personally in this sports drama directed by John Huston.
- ‘Emperor of the North’ – In the middle of the Great Depression, murderous train conductor Ernest Borgnine battles notorious train-hopping hobo Lee Marvin. Directed by Robert Aldrich (‘The Dirty Dozen’, ‘The Longest Yard’).
In an unfortunately timed coincidence (the disc was announced months ago), Scream Factory offers the recently-deceased Wes Craven’s 1989 ‘Shocker‘. Also available from the label is ‘The Editor‘, a Canadian send-up of Italian giallo thrillers from the 1970s.
As part of its distribution deal for Paramount catalog titles, Warner Bros. is reissuing the entire ‘Friday the 13th‘ franchise in a series of double-feature discs. Coinciding with this, Image has a standalone copy of the acclaimed ‘Crystal Lake Memories’ documentary, based on the book by former High-Def Digest writer Peter Bracke. (Trivia note: The producers of the 2009 ‘Friday the 13th’ reboot named a character after Peter, and he hated the movie.)
Troma milks its mascot cash cow dry with a Blu-ray edition of ‘Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV‘.
Given that both its sequel and reboot were previously released on Blu-ray, I’m surprised that it’s taken so long to get a copy of the 2004 anime feature ‘Appleseed‘ in high-def. The franchise is based on a manga by ‘Ghost in the Shell’ creator Masamune Shirow that was also adapted once earlier as an OVA (direct-to-video animation) in 1988. For all that, the tale of a hot girl and her battle robot best friend frankly isn’t anything special to merit such success. I suppose the 2004 movie has some slick animation and nice action sequences, though.
Universal delivers the Coen brothers’ underrated throwback noir thriller ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There‘.
A lot of big TV box sets find their way to Blu-ray this week, including the first season of ‘Gotham‘, the fourth season of ‘Homeland‘, the fifth season of ‘Haven‘, and the tenth season of ‘Supernatural‘.
Assuming that it’s not too much trouble to verify that I’d get a corrected copy, ‘Dressed to Kill’ is my top title of the week. I’d also like to add ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’ and ‘Angel’ to my collection.
Do you plan to pick up anything this week?