This week, I’m showing off my dedication to the cause. I’m taking time away from my very, very (very) busy Sundance schedule to drop another edition of This Week in Blu-ray. Why? Because if I didn’t, about five of you would send me an email asking where this week’s column is. I appreciated you five. You are very valuable to me. Also valuable is my insight on this week’s Blu-ray releases, which can be found below.

Remember to click the links and check out all of these titles on Amazon. If enough of you buy Blu-ray titles, maybe I will be able to afford the trip back to Austin once Sundance is over. Then again, maybe not.

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Michael Jackson: This Is It

The lone buy recommendation comes at the hands of the King of Pop, RIP. If there’s one thing I learned from seeing this movie in theaters, it is that Jacko still had the moves just before he died. And he was planning one hell of a show. Sadly, that didn’t happened. And all we have are these very intimate rehearsal tapes, assembled into a fascinating documentary by Kenny Ortega. Adding to the experience on Blu-ray is a slew of special features, many of which are BD exclusive. It is clear that great care was taken in putting together both this movie and this release. I say go buy it and keep the King of Pop’s memory alive.

Blu-ray exclusives include movieIQ, a ‘Smooth Criminal’ vignette, a ‘Thriller’ vignette and the making of ‘Smooth Criminal.’

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Give ‘Em Hell Malone

I’ve long been a fan of Thomas Jane, and his work as a man with a gun. Every time he’s in a movie shooting at people, I’m ready to buy a ticket. And as our own Robert Fure explained when he reviewed this film at last year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, its a shame that it didn’t get much of a theatrical release, because its actually quite good. Seeing as I didn’t receive a Blu-ray copy to review (at least not yet), I can’t speak to the Blu-ray’s special features or transfer. That won’t stop my from recommending that you at least give it a rent, as I’m certain it deserves a spot in your Netflix queue.

No Blu-ray exclusive features listed for this title.

Surrogates

Imagine for a moment, that you could replace your current self with a robot version of yourself, which you can control from the comfort of your own home. That’s the premise of Surrogates, which is based on a popular graphic novel and directed by Jonathan Mostow. It also stars Bruce Willis as… get this.. a cop trying to thwart a major corporate conspiracy and save the lives of millions. The movie would be pretty uninspired and forgettable, if it weren’t for a pretty solid ending. The Blu-ray adds to the experience, delivering a few deleted scenes and two extra featurettes on the Blu-ray in addition to the DVD special features. It’s worth seeing, if only once.

Blu-ray exclusives include two featurettes and deleted scenes.

Whip It

This week feels like yet another week of mediocrity. But in reality, it is a week that features releases that are worth seeing, but not exactly worth spending $25 dollars on. What can I say, the economy still isn’t so good. Save your money for amazing box sets and the great special edition releases for the year’s biggest movies. You should, however, give Whip It a look. Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is a fun film that has great energy. It’s Blu-ray release is slim on extras, but it does include a cool bonus featurette with screenwriter Shauna Cross.

Blu-ray exclusives include Digital Copy and a featurette with screenwriter Shauna Cross.

Fame (1980)

Forget that new Fame movie, this one is the O.G. version. And yes, my use of the phrase ‘O.G.’ does signify the fact that I am probably going insane this week. Sundance is tough, and writing about Blu-ray releases from Park City feels quite odd. That said, the original Fame is a really great, fun and moving film. There’s a reason someone felt compelled to remake it. The transfer on this one is also pretty good. Alan Parker’s movie has never been so vibrant. Where it fails is in the lack of BD-exclusive features, of which there are none. The basic DVD supplements are there, and they’re interesting, but that’s no reason to buy the Blu-ray. See the Blu-ray yes, but not buy.

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

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Saw VI

At this point you probably don’t need me to tell you that you should be avoiding the Saw franchise. Then again, our own Dr. Cole Abaius did give this film a very positive review. Which makes my avoid recommendation suspect, I suppose. Then again, I’m a special features guy — and this disc is light on them. The best they could muster for the Blu-ray is Lionsgate’s own proprietary BD-Live feature. I say take it in at your own risk. If you believe the good Dr. Abaius, then this might be worth a rent. If you’re disenfranchised with Saw like me and have no interest in a disc with crap special features, avoid. It’s a simple equation.

Blu-ray special features include Lionsgate Live.

Atonement and Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Another wasteful pair of releases from the archive. Once again, we have two really good movies that get a mediocre transfer (neither film really pops in HD) and are light on special features. In fact, both releases feature extras that are ported over from previous DVD releases. Of the two, Atonement looks the best and features the most interesting commentary from director Joe Wright. Then again, I’ve heard said commentary before. I would only recommend picking these up if you really want to complete your Joe Wright Blu-ray collection (if you have one). Or if you’ve never seen either of these films (shame on you), I would say that its better to rent on Blu-ray than DVD. Otherwise, there’s really no reason to spend the extra dough on these releases.

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

  • $5 A Day (Image)
  • Alone in the Dark II (Vivendi)
  • Giselle (Kultur)
  • Kong: Return to the Jungle (Image)
  • Paris, Texas (Criterion)
  • Rebellion (Tai Seng)
  • Soul Power (Sony)
  • Toolbox Murders (1978) (Blue Underground)
  • Wild Ocean (Image)

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