There Will Be Blood, Cloverfield and Dirty Harry All in HD

The Blu-ray Patrol

Welcome to the first edition of The Blu-ray Patrol, my fancy new weekly column that is about to turn your home entertainment world upside down and color it blu. In this column I will take a look at some of the hottest releases on the Blu-ray high definition format as well as some of the best deals from around the web. The column will be broken down into 4 sections: New This Week, Coming Next Week, Hot Blu-ray News and Deal of the Week.

Without further ado, lets take a ride on the ole Blu-ray Patrol:

New This Week on Blu-ray

Cloverfield Blu-rayOne of the year’s most intense (and seizure inducing) experiences finally comes to a format worthy of its sickening camera work. And just as the two-disc DVD release delivered with a slue of awesome special features, the Blu-ray version brings the extras love as well. The best part is that all of the special features are actually in HD, a rarity among releases these days. As well, there are a few additional special features, including a “Special Investigation Mode” that allows for enhanced viewing with a GPS tracker. Want to know exactly where Hud is when he finally meets the monster? This little doohickey will tell you.

Overall, this is one of those films that is worth buying in HD, even if you picked up the standard disc a few weeks back. With HD special features and some more looks at the monster, combined with spectacular 5.1 True HD Surround and a mind-numbing visuals, Cloverfield is one of the best sensory overloads of the year. So why not have it on HD?

Recommendation: Buy

Semi-Pro: Let’s Get Sweaty Edition
Semi-Pro Blu-rayWill Ferrell wants to get sweaty all over you with the Semi-Pro: Let’s Get Sweaty Edition Blu-ray. Thankfully, this is a day-and-date release, so the HD version is hitting shelves the same day as the standard DVD — making the decision rather easy for owners of a Blu-ray player.

The only foreseeable downside here is that the special features on this disc are exactly the same as the standard def release. The benefit: they are all in 1080i HD. As well, there are a lot of them — 55 minutes worth to be exact. Everything from episodes of Tropics Weekly, the TV talk show of the fictional 70s basketball team to some improv scenes with good ole Will Ferrell.

If you are looking to build your Blu-ray collection, this is probably not a bad choice, but the film isn’t the best of Will Ferrell’s work and there isn’t a while lot that distinguishes the Blu-ray option from its standard definition brethren other than resolution. Therefore, this one is a rental at best.

Recommendation: Rent

There Will Be Blood
There Will Be Blood - Blu-ray If you are like me, then you may have been severely disappointed with the “Special Edition” standard DVD release of Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic oil-drama There Will Be Blood. When it came to special features, that disc was bone dry. My hope and expectation was that Paramount would do better for the HD release, giving fans a reason to pick this one up a second time.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that they have done so. While the film is just as epic and beautifully shot as it was in theaters on BRD, the special features are sorely lacking. It includes the exact same disappointing special features as the “Collector’s Edition”, with the only difference being that they are in HD this time. If you haven’t picked up TWBB yet on any format, the film is a must-have. Otherwise, I would pass on the Blu-ray edition.

Recommendation: Pass

Dirty Harry Ultimate Collector’s Edition
Dirty Harry Blu-rayHere is the one Blu-ray release that I was sad to not have been able to review this week. Thanks WB for not sending me a copy to preview for my loyal (and good looking) audience. But alas, while I did not have the opportunity to poke around this release in advance, I would still call this my pick of the week. It is literally 530 minutes of smoking hot gun barrel badassery.

On top of that, the HD release is sporting tons of special features, including a feature length documentary called “Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows”, a hardcover book, a wallet w/ metal badge and removable laminted ID card (yeah, I know — awesome!). As well, the set includes five 5×7 reproduction lobby poster cards plus a 19×27 Scorpio Portrait of a Killer poster-sized map of San Francisco.

If all of that isn’t worth a donation of $90 to your local retailer, I’m not sure what is. I’m sure that the standard DVD box set could be as cool, but with only a small difference in price, the upgrade to Blu-ray is an easy one. Go ahead, make his day — and do it in HD.

Recommendation: Buy

Also out this week on Blu-ray:

The Eye — Jessica Alba in HD is desirable, though this film is certainly not.

Signs — M. Night Shyamamamalan steps into HD, but you should avoid it unless you don’t already own it.

Weeds: Season 3 — Not a watcher of this particular show, but I’ve heard good things. And if you scroll down to my “Deal of the Week” section, you may just find a reason to pick this one up.

The Recruit — I had forgotten how decent this flick was, and seeing it again was cool, but special features in 480i… Come on!

Meet the Spartans: Pit of Death Edition — I would highly recommend buying this release, then burning it in protest of movies that are absolute garbage.

New Next Week on Blu-ray

Jumper — Hayden Christensen is chased by Sam Jackson with white hair through the fabric of space and time, all in HD.

Natural Born Killers — Another reasonable classic addition to your HD collection.

The Other Boleyn Girl — Can Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman in HD be worth it? We shall see.

The Signal — One of the year’s most talked about indie thrillers is already making it to the small, crystal clear HD screen? Interesting…

Hot Blu-ray News

Back to the Future on Blu-ray
Universal Planning a Back to the Future Blu-ray Release
The fine folks over at HighDefDigest have uncovered Universal’s plans to bring Doc Brown, Marty McFly and the flying, time-traveling Delorean to your HDTV. The film’s producer Bob Gale surprised fans last weekend with a special screening of the film near Orlando, showing off a newly remastered version that is being prepared for the eventual release on Blu-ray. Universal has neither confirmed nor denied these reports and no release date is known as of right now. Although, I have begun setting aside funds in order to buy the three movie set once it is released.

This Week's Blu-ray Deal of the Week

Weeds Season 1-3 on Blu-ray

Amazon.com: Weeds Seasons 1-3 on Blu-Ray for $65.99

As I mentioned above, I have never watched the hit Showtime show “Weeds”, which stars Mary-Louise Parker as a soccer mom who turns to selling the sticky-green in order to keep her family afloat. But even though I have not watched it in the past, I certainly plan to do so now. Amazon.com is having a wicked sale on the first three seasons, selling them all together for a piddly $65.99. That is three full seasons of a TV show for less than the price of a tank of gas in your Hummer H2. How could you possibly pass that up? I know I didn’t…

That’s all I’ve got for this week’s Blu-ray Patrol. Go forth and live life in High Definition… Just be sure to stop back next week for the next round of BRD-related shenanigans.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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