This Week in Blu-ray: Take the Tardis to Zombieland

This week on the Blu-ray market, I come back from the Sundance Film Festival to an enormous stack of Blu-ray movies ready to be reviewed. And it’s not just one kind we’re talking about — it’s a wide range of titles, from intense Muai Thai action to hilarious zombies to classic Broadway converts to a few scary ass flicks, with one quote-whoring performance from yours truly thrown in for good measure. It’s just one of those weeks — and quite fitting, seeing as I had such a wonderful time at Sundance. So lets get started as we dig into This Week in Blu-ray.

Also notable this week is Brian Gibson, who chimes in with a buy recommendation of Planet Hulk. Read on to find out why…


Doctor Who: The Complete Specials

My recent foray into the Doctor Who has taught me many things. One is that I will now spend years trying to catch up on the massive amount of Doctor Who seasons, specials and lore. Another thing I’ve learned is that David Tennant is the man. As in the man. His Doctor is beyond entertaining, and the specials that closed down his career are heralded as some of the best. So it goes without saying that when the BBC put these specials on Blu-ray and mixed in a bunch of cool special features, I was in. This set includes the five specials leading up to “The End of Time, Parts One and Two,” which close down the Tennant era. There are a bunch of deleted scenes, several featurettes, a set of video diaries, a Comic-Con featurette and audio commentary on each special. All-in-all, it’s a wonderful set for any Doctor Who fan. And not a bad little set for those of us who are just getting started.

Blu-ray exclusive extras include featurettes in HD.

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning

Unlike the good Dr. Cole Abaius, who slept through most of this movie when it played Fantastic Fest last year, I quite like a little ass-kicking. And there few men on the good, green Earth who kick ass more ferociously than Tony Jaa. In the second film in the Ong Bak series, Jaa takes us back in time — to a time when you had to tame elephants before you could beat ass and get the girl. And while the elephant taming is poetic and beautifully shot, that isn’t a reason to buy this movie. The film’s final act is the reason. Why? Because the entire final act is one long, ridiculous fight scene. On Blu-ray, this fight scene looks awesome. The entire movie looks great.

Blu-ray special features include HD making of featurette.


Forget about calling Reuben Fleischer’s movie one of the best zombie movies of 2009, or even one of the best comedies of the year. This was simply one of the best films of the year. Fun and light, Zombieland took the zombie genre to task with lovable performances from Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Superbad cutie Emma Stone. On Blu-ray, Zombieland is a good mix of standard special features — commentary, featurettes and deleted scenes, all shared with the DVD — and Blu-ray exclusives. The most fun is the picture-in-picture ‘Beyond the Graveyard’ track that contains shots of the visual progression of certain scenes. It’s a very nice touch, as is the somewhat unadvertised PS3 theme that comes with the disc. Overall, it’s one of those releases that will make you happy to be a fan — of both good comedy and good Blu-ray.

Blu-ray exclusives include PIP featurette, MovieIQ, BD-Live, Digital Copy and PS3 Wallpaper.

Planet Hulk

If there has been one Blu-ray that I have been waiting for since it was announced, that would be Planet Hulk. I really enjoyed the comic run, so I knew that the movie itself would probably produce the same results for me. What really surprised me though was the amount of special features for Marvel Comics fans. Not only should Hulk fans be excited for this release, but fans of the Marvel Universe should really start to lick their chops when they see all of the supplementary features packed on this release. You get a couple motion comics that are really cool, which you have to imagine are there to spark some interest in the actual comics that they represent. You also get an episode of the awesome TV series Wolverine and The X-Men, which sadly did not originally air in the US (but is now on Nicktoons). Even you Thor fans get some action on this release. So believe me when I say, if you like Marvel and Mr. Hulk, this Blu-ray is worth the bucks. – Brian Gibson


Universal Soldier: Regeneration

As you may notice if you’ve been peeking at this film’s DVD cover art, I am quoted. On both the front and back covers of the Blu-ray box. It’s shameless, but I feel alright with it. To be honest, those quotes are dead on. I got a chance to see Universal Soldier: Regeneration a few weeks back via a screener and I had a blast. It is the best of the Universal Soldier series and Van Damme and Lundgren do, in fact, kick serious ass. I will forever stand by those statements, no matter how whorey the sound. The reason I’m still recommending a rent on this title is two-fold. One, this movie certainly isn’t for everyone. You know who you are. Two, the special features on the eventual Blu-ray release didn’t blow me away. There’s a mildly entertaining Van Damme/Lundgren commentary track and a lone featurette, along with movieIQ and BD-Live for the Blu-ray only set. Nothing special. However, the movie is worth seeing — as I’ve said.

Blu-ray exclusives include movieIQ and BD-Live.

The House of the Devil

Coming out of its debut at Fantastic Fest last fall, the buzz for The House of the Devil was pretty hot. Everyone I talked to dug it — to the extent that Magnet was even selling VHS tape versions of the film, based on the love for its gritty, 16mm straight-out-of-the-80s look. It was a modern thriller that felt like a classic thriller, and horror fans were eating it up. Our own Dr. Cole Abaius was cautious though, reviewing the film to the tune of a C-grade. That is perhaps the point here — House of the Devil is one of those movies that rubs different people different ways, depending on their devotion to kitsch and genre. I say see it on Blu-ray, as it’s a cool movie. However, the hit-or-miss nature of the film combined with a rather lackluster set of Blu-ray extras leads me to a ‘rent’ recommendation. Times are tough, and Netflix is cheap.

There are no Blu-ray exclusive features listed for this title.


More straight to DVD thriller schlock, which as you know is my favorite kind. This one stars Melissa George as a girl who sets sail with a group of friends, full well knowing that something just doesn’t feel right about the trip. As these things go, the boat ends up in the Bermuda Triangle and shit goes down. People are killed, girls in tight white t-shirts are chased and blood is spilled all over the decks of the boat. It’s all in good fun, even though this movie takes itself seriously. I did not take it seriously, which is probably why I didn’t dislike it. Worth a rent if you’re looking to kill some time by watching Melissa George avoid being killed on a boat, but not worth a buy — the special features selection is slim. One of its big claims is that the movie is in high definition. Yeah, I laughed, too.

There are no Blu-ray exclusive features listed for this title.

The Music Man

I’m a big proponent of widening your cinematic horizons. In fact, we try to provide such a service here at FSR through Movies We Love and Old Ass Movies. So when a movie such as The Music Man comes to Blu-ray with an above average transfer, it doesn’t matter that the special features are few and far between. Aside from the introduction by Shirley Jones and one featurette, there isn’t anything on this disc but a damn trailer. But don’t think about that, think about catching up on one of the great Hollywood/Broadway cross-overs. A vibrant, energetic movie that really pops on Blu-ray, despite being almost 50 years old. Seriously, think about it.

There are no Blu-ray exclusive features listed for this title.



20th Century Fox really tried with this release. They included a few solid special features that the Blu-ray shares with the DVD, they also included a cool BD-exclusive featurette about rebuilding the planes of the era. Throw in a Digital Copy and under usual circumstances, I might recommend you give this one a shot. But they forgot one thing: you must also include a movie that is watchable. And Amelia isn’t really that movie. It is plodding and at times downright uninteresting. Hilary Swank tries her hardest to save it, but her version of Amelia Earhart is oddly unlikable. The whole thing is a mess, and not one that I’d wish on you, dear readers.

Blu-ray exclusives include a bonus featurette and Digital Copy.

Mystic River

Clint Eastwood may have knocked it out of the park with this star-studded affair, but the man isn’t responsible for releasing the Blu-ray some 7 years later. With performances that will chill you from Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, Mystic River is one of those dramas for which they reserve the term “hard-hitting.” So you should see it. You should not, however, buy the Blu-ray unless you have an unending itch to own everything in sight. And if you do, and can afford to do so, email me. I could use a few extra dollars and you sound like someone who likes to throw money at things with little value. All of the Blu-ray extras on this disc are carry-over from previous DVD release. Skip.

Love Happens

Sure, love does happen. But not like this. Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston pick up a paycheck gig and star as a self-help author and an unsuspecting florist (respectively) who meet and fall… well, you get the idea. Things happen, love isn’t perfect, a moody pop song plays over a montage, it’s all been seen before. Only, chances are that it’s been better before. On Blu-ray, this release allows you to mark your favorite scenes with the MyScenes feature. Quick, you can bookmark your favorite wishy-washy Jen Aniston trying to look perplexed about love scenes! Or you can mark all of the scenes that made you want to hit yourself in the head with a hammer. Hmm… Maybe this release should’ve come with a hammer.

Blu-ray exclusive features include MyScenes, but no hammer.

Also out on Blu-ray this week, but not reviewed:

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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