On to another month of This Week in Blu-ray, we charge into a magical December filled with Terminators, Basterds, gangsters and teenage wizards. And that’s just what I have to deal with before I ever sit down to watch any Blu-rays. It seems odd that this week, the first in the month of Christmas, is such a light week. Sure, there are two summer blockbusters hitting Blu-ray, but they’re the lame ducks of the group. That said, I did find one or two little gems in this week’s lineup. None of them involve Terminators or Ben Stiller battles though, sadly. You can thank me for saving you the money later.
Read on below and be enlightened. And remember to support FSR by buying via our Amazon links below. We need to keep the lights (and Dr. Cole Abaius’ creepy “laboratory”) up and running here at the HQ…
The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter (Criterion)
In the interest of complete transparency, I must admit that I didn’t actually receive a copy of this title for review. However, I’ve heard from several sources that this legendary Rolling Stones doc has never looked better than it does on Blu-ray. That, and we all know that Criterion brings the heat with BD special features. There’s a 44-page booklet, several unseen performances and 300,000 Stones fans who come to blows with a bunch of Hells Angels. In high definition.
Blu-ray exclusive features include the Criterion Timeline feature.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
History and Ben Stiller collide in the center of democracy, Washington DC, at the famed Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall. And with history, come a few blasts from the past (Owen Wilson, Robin Williams and others from the first film) as well as a new bad guy (Hank Azaria) and a lovely, chipper sidekick (Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart). It’s a fun-enough film that works for the family audience. As well, the Blu-ray release includes a digital copy, a copy of the film on DVD and about 4-hours of special features on the Blu-ray. If you’ve got kids, you won’t be wrong in picking this up. For everyone else, I’d suggest a rent — it’s a good looking movie, a fun ride and a well-arranged Blu-ray release.
Blu-ray exclusive features include Digital Copy, deleted scenes, a Museum Scavanger Hunt game and a few featurettes.
A charming documentary led by Charlyne Yi, the real-life special lady friend of comedic actor Michael Cera. Yi, a non-believer of the concept of love, takes her quest for explanation on the road. Her search for love enlightenment leads her to couples across the country, with some very cool, touching moments. Beyond that, there is the forced narrative of her blooming relationship with Michael Cera. It’s an unbalanced affair, but one worth checking out. That, and Yi is plenty quirky and funny.
There are no Blu-ray exclusive features listed for this title.
Bottom line, Terminator Salvation is a mess of a film. A shadow of a franchise that was once the height of modern sci-fi filmmaking. We’ve come so far, and fallen so low since James Cameron picked Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the heavy-duty killing machine. We now have McG, a director whose ability to create action that sizzles pales in comparison to even that of Michael Bay, trying to bring Arnold back via the wonders of CGI. Even a CGI-happy Cameron would frown at such a farce. The movie also fails to deliver a story that is in any way engaging. The Blu-ray delivers the director’s cut via Maximum Movie Mode, in which McG hosts a “riveting probe” of the world of Salvation. I think we can stop right there…
Blu-ray exclusive special features include Maximum Movie Mode and BD-Live.
Brittany Murphy stars as an artist recovering from a mental breakdown. Yet, while she retreats to a spooky house in order to finish her screenplay (ugh, really?) she begins hearing strange noises. She then finds some video tapes that lead her to a mystery, and yada yada yada. You know the story. Sadly, you’ve seen it all before. You’ve also seen Brittany Murphy in much better than this direct-to-DVD mess. The Blu-ray special features selection is about as interesting as the film itself, listing “1080p High Definition Blu-ray Disc” as one of the features. You get the idea. Steer clear, friends, and ye shall be saved.
There are no Blu-ray exclusive features available for this title.
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
I would love nothing more than to tell you all the reasons why you should be adding a great Guy Ritchie directed movie such as Lock, Stock to your Blu-ray selection, as this movie is a damn riot. However, the Blu-ray presentation is severely lacking. The only real addition to the previous DVD release is the addition of BD-Live, a feature that continues to add very little value overall. Lately, the folks at Universal has delivered some great new features (see my upcoming reviews of Public Enemies and Inglourious Basterds), but they need to give a bit more attention to the features on their back-catalog updates.
Blu-ray exclusive special features include BD-Live.
Also on Blu-ray this week (not reviewed due to lack of review material availability):
For more Blu-ray goodness every week, check out the This Week in Blu-ray archive.