Don’t call it a come back on the account of the Blu-ray Report charging in with awesome recommendations, call it a comeback because Mickey Rourke is making his comeback in HD this week. One of these months we will get one of these per week, but I wouldn’t count on it if I were you. I do recognize the gravity of the situation though, as you may have felt lost in the wilderness of high definition over the past few weeks without some BD Report action. My hope is that you went out into the world and made good choices — and avoiding the awful pit of despair that was The Day the Earth Stood Still. Luckily I am back in action this week with a string of awesome new releases. So lets get to it.
Also, don’t forget to support your favorite local film website by clicking on those title links and picking up some of these damn things from Amazon.
Creme of the Crop:
The Wrestler may not be the greatest Blu-ray release by our normal standards — as in, it is lacking in those cool BD-only features that I am always raving about — but it certainly is the best film hitting shelves this week. Mickey Rourke’s performance in this film is one of the most memorable anythings from the world of movies last year and I see no reason why you shouldn’t have this movie in your home. Also, for those of you who are motivated by primary instincts, seeing Marisa Tomei nude through the entire film isn’t bad either. Alas, you should know by now why you need to have this movie in your collection — it is one of the most interesting and heart-wrenching stories committed to film in the past year.
The case for the Blu-ray release is a bit less solid, but isn’t completely dire. The special features are sparse but what they lack in quantity they certainly make up in quality. There are two great featurettes that not only feature interviews from Mickey Rourke and director Darren Aronofsky, they also feature commentary from real wrestlers about their world and how accurately Aronofsky’s film captures their struggle. Beyond that there is a music video for Bruce Springsteen’s theme song, “The Wrestler” and a second disc that includes a digital copy. Overall the Blu-ray is light, putting me on the fence with this release. Based on the quality of the film and the fact that the cinematography looks great in HD, I’m recommending it even against my own special feature-driven judgment.
From one movie that is great but has a lame-duck Blu-ray release to another great movie, only this time the story on the Blu-ray release is completely different. As well it should be, as we’ve been waiting for a quality High Definition release of Sin City for a while now. This brand new version is unrated, uncut, extended, rearranged and packed with special features that will finally give you your fill of Robert Rodriguez’s fantastic film. A film, might I remind you, that truly shows off the vision of Frank Miller in an exciting and engaging way. Why? Because it was directed by a man who knows how to make a film that looks great.
The coolest thing about the Blu-ray edition is that not only does it give you two versions of the film — the original theatrical cut and the recut extended version — it also gives you two completely different interactive commentary features. On disc one, along with the theatrical version, we get the Cine-Explore feature that… well, in order to really do it justice we are going to have to give it a full article, aren’t we. Let me be blunt and make a big statement here in the Blu-ray Report: Sin City is probably one of the best Blu-ray releases that I’ve ever seen. More details coming soon, so stay tuned to the site.
Here is one thing I can say about Frost/Nixon: the movie is very good. If you’re into hystorical dramas, this is among the better ones. Frank Langella’s performance is stellar and Ron Howard has put together a drama that reminds me a bit of Apollo 13 in its use of the right actors to tell a story that many people from a previous generation will remember quite vividly.
As for the Blu-ray release, Universal is once again showing off the simple, effective coolness of its U-Control feature with this release. Throughout your viewing of the film you will see some cast and crew interviews as well as info from the “Nixon Chronicles,” a series of real-time information about the real people involved in the story. For anyone who’s a political history buff, it is a very nice little feature. Beyond that it is a very standard release — a few behind the scenes featurettes in the classic “making of” style as well as the footage from the real interview between David Frost and Richard Nixon. Those can both be found on the DVD release as well. In the end, I would recommend picking this film up on Blu-ray if you’ve seen and enjoyed it already. It is worth the jump from DVD and worth seeing. If you haven’t seen it, I would go with a rental at the very least.
The Rest of the Pack:
And now, all of the rest of this week’s Blu-ray releases:
When it comes to the world of rap, there been no bigger men than Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace, a hip-hop superstar unlike anything else the world has seen. And from what I hear, Notorious presents a very solid look at the life and times of Biggie, including his rise to the top and eventual murder. Having not seen the movie — though I do plan on renting it — I can’t comment further, but I can say that it interests me. As well, the Blu-ray release does appear to have a few cool features, including a music focused BD-Live feature that allows you to mark songs within the film and find out more about them online. If you are like me and have a mild interest in Biggie, this might be worth a rental. Stay tuned to the Blu-ray report, as I may write a little more about it next week.
The X-Men Trilogy
Here comes a chance for those of you who are big Brett Ratner fans to get yourself some of The Last Stand in high definition. Just kidding. There is plenty to love about the X-Men trilogy and for those of you who really dig it, here’s your chance to score the collection in HD. From the looks of things, the box set is pretty well stocked with extras, but nothing much beyond what you may have seen in previous “special edition” releases.
I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get this one for a full review. Do you need a reason to buy another copy of Hellraiser? Once you’ve answered that, you’ll know whether or not you should be buying this release.
The Last Word
Winona Ryder headlining a romantic comedy in which she plays a girl who falls prey to a nice guy who gets caught in a lie about knowing her dead brother. I almost fell asleep writing that description. I believe that should tell you all you need to know.
I haven’t seen The Arrival since its first DVD run back in the late 90s and its subsequent run on Cinemax, but I can see no reason why you wouldn’t want to own a movie in which Charlie Sheen plays a scientist named Zane Zemanski. Alright, that’s a lie. You don’t need to spend money on this release. Pay an extra $30 on your credit card debt this week instead.
Until next week, stay classy Blu-ray buyers.