It’s a slim selection in this fine edition of This Week in Blu-ray. This past weekend I sat down to review this week’s list of Blu-ray titles only to find a pair of running themes. One, I received review copies of less than half of this week’s total releases, making it very difficult to make recommendations (Dear Studios, please bite me). And two, that this week is a marathon of 2010’s great disappointments. Everything from the year’s first (of 27) “team of soldiers on a mission” movie to that Kevin Smith movie that dare not speak its name is on my list of underwhelms for the year. It was a mildly depressing weekend for me, but only because I was drinking heavily and reviewing, which is not recommended.
The good news is that a few of these releases pulled themselves from the gutter with quality extras and a surprising level of rewatchability. Which is why we’re starting this week’s column in the Rent section, rather than the Avoid section.
When I caught The Losers just before it released in theaters, I was not taken with it. Some of the action was fun and I’m convinced that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a highly underrated leading man. Jason Patric’s villain was absurd, though, and it rubbed me the wrong way. After watching it twice now on Blu-ray, I’m convinced that Patric is more fun that initial impressions may have indicated. In fact, he’s more fun each time I re-watch. It makes the flick an easy rental recommendation in a week of disappointment. The Blu-ray itself has a fair amount of special features that extend the experience nicely. It’s a fast-moving, over the top action flick that looks good in HD and is worth a watch. So get to it.
This may come as a surprise, as Cop Out is Kevin Smith’s worst movie by a gratuitous margin. I paid for my ticket, in case the director is wondering, and I was floored with how unrelentingly dull this movie was. I get it, you’re making an homage. And I’ve seen those movies you’re trying to pay homage to. I’m just not convinced that the film’s screenwriters have seen them. That said, I’m recommending you rent the Blu-ray. Why? Maximum Movie Mode — or in this case Maximum Comedy Mode — in which Kevin Smith leads you through a guided tour of the film, provides commentary and shows off some deleted scenes. It doesn’t make the film any more tolerable, but any time Kevin Smith gets into his shtick, its worth a look. And this is worth a look. But just a look. Then send it back to Netflix and forget that it ever happened, so that you won’t feel betrayed by a favorite director.
I missed this film in theaters, so I’m not exactly sure what the difference is between the theatrical version and the unrated version that resides on this Blu-ray release. But I do know this: watching the unrated version could be considered torture in most regions of the world. It’s that insufferable. The film runs on a cool concept — Jude Law and Forrest Whitaker play agents for a company called The Union who reposes synthetic organs from people who can’t pay their bills — but it executes on this premise so sloppily and rips erratically from other, better films (we get it, Mr. Director, you’ve seen Old Boy and you liked the hallway scene a lot) that it’s groan-worthy. The Blu-ray has commentary, some deleted scenes and two little featurettes. Enough to make this an easy kill. Don’t buy, rent or subject yourself to this flick. Else I will begin a campaign to start repossessing the brains of our readers.
Cats & Dogs
Things are gonna get hairy! It’s on the box, and no this movie is not a documentary about 70s porn. It is that movie with talking cats, talking dogs and insufferable dialog. It’s a movie made for kids that feels more like a movie made by kids. For those select few short-bus veterans who already own this flick on DVD, there isn’t much to the Blu-ray that will be of interest. It’s in HD, but I’m not sure how that would enhance your experience with talking domestic pets. And the special features perfectly match those on the original DVD release, both in amount and in lackluster appeal. Ah, but there is a twist — you get a coupon for $7.50 off admission to the sequel Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, in theaters July 30. Some of you are now excited, I’m sure. Me? I’m taking twice the recommended dosage of Ambien in hopes that I won’t wake up again until August 8, the day the sequel will be undoubtedly ripped from theaters. (One can dream…)
Also available on Blu-ray, but not available for review:
Yes, as a proud Chicago Blackhawks fan I will be buying the NHL Stanley Cup Champions Blu-ray set.
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