In this edition of This Week in Blu-ray, we get one of the year’s darkest, most absurd comedies right alongside a few great comedies from yesteryear — an assortment of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright in HD with Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. We also take a trip back to the Terminator franchise with season two of The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Cole Abaius checks in with the deets on Clive Barker’s Book of Blood. Not the most exciting week of Blu-ray releases we’ve seen this year, but hey, I guess there’s always next week…
Please use that fancy scroll bar on your browser to take a look at this week’s releases below…
Pitch: It’s the other mall cop movie… You know, the good one.
Why Buy? When I saw it this year at SXSW, I totally dug Observe and Report. It is dark, devious and downright offensive. Just the sort of movie that shouldn’t have been made inside the studio system, but somehow director Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way) made it happen. And now it’s happening on Blu-ray, and I’m once again digging it. Not just because of the movie, but because it has a solid assortment of BD-Exclusive special features. There is a Basically Training feature about Seth Rogen, picture-in-picture commentary with Rogen, co-star Anna Faris and director Jody Hill, and a hilarious Forest Ridge Mall: Security Recruitment Video. The only feature I didn’t like was a Seth Rogen and Anna Faris Unscripted feature, in which the stars just ad-lib through the dinner scene. It just isn’t funny at all. Luckily, the rest of the movie is.
Blu-ray Exclusives? Several featurettes, PIP commentary, BD-Live.
The Pitch: Sargent Nicholas Angel finally gets justice, in HD.
Why Buy? If you’re anything like me, you already own 4 copies of Hot Fuzz on DVD. And if you’re like me, you don’t care that you’ll have to buy it again on Blu-ray. Why? Because not only is the transfer great on this release, but it also comes with some cool BD-Exclusive special features. There is a Fuzz-o-Meter trivia track that allows you to follow along with movie trivia as you watch the film. There is also an awesome commentary track with Edgar Wright and special guest Quentin Tarantino. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, friends. Trust me, Hot Fuzz is one of the must-have Blu-rays of this year.
Blu-ray Exclusives: Trivia Track, Storyboards, BD-Live.
The Pitch: The zombie apocalypse is coming to a neighborhood near you, or something.
Why Buy? Ah, once again the answer to the “Why Buy?” question is painstakingly obvious. Because Shaun of the Dead is the funniest zombie movie of all-time. And Simon Pegg is hilarious as the reluctant and oblivious slacker who ultimately tries to save the woman he loves. It’s an epic romance and a pulse-pounding action movie. Or at least, that’s what it’s making fun of. On Blu-ray, Shaun sports a zombie trivia track and storyboards, similar to the Hot Fuzz release detailed above. I feel as if these two go hand-in-hand. Luckily both releases are choice.
Blu-ray Exclusives: Trivia track, storyboards and BD-Live.
Pitch: Noted hotties Lena Headey and Summer Glau continue the boring life of Sarah Connor.
Why Rent? I think that Kevin Carr would agree with me when I say that this show lost a lot of people somewhere along the way in season two. As Kevin chronicled in his weekly recaps of this show on this very site, season two really jumped the shark, nuked the fridge and left fans falling asleep. But it did have Shirley Manson. She’s on the Blu-ray, naturally. As are some interesting special effects, including a full deconstruction of the Hunter-Killer Attack sequence from the season finale. There are commentary tracks on four key episodes and an 8-part featurette gallery. I think fans will like this set, but anyone who isn’t interested in the show should steer clear of a purchase. Try season one first, then maybe rent this one.
Blu-ray Exclusives? Hunter-Killer featurette.
Pitch: Matthew McConaughey sees dead people, er, girlfriends.
Why Avoid? Generally I try and judge Blu-ray movies on two criteria: (a) is the movie itself worth owning and (b) is the Blu-ray worth the extra money. This romantic comedy, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, is a no on both counts. The movie is a complete wash, another in the long line of McConagheyheyhey-coms that are as predictable as the bowel movements of someone with a high fiber diet. And speaking of bowel movements, the only BD-exclusive special feature is BD-Live. This includes a featurette called A Sea of Women, which contains extra footage from a “Femme-Filled Infinity Room.” This is probably one of the few times in my life when I will say this, but even that doesn’t sound interesting. I urge you to avoid this release… times infinity.
Blu-ray Exclusives: BD-Live.
Pitch: Stories get slashed together but the storytelling should have been left to the dead.
Why Avoid? Two short stories from Clive Barker sounds like fertile ground, but ultimately the movie itself is about as lifeless as a body that’s already been completely drained of the blood. A fake psychic joins a paranormal investigation and is brutally beaten by spirits who write their stories into his flesh. The first story the movie is based off of is simply a framing device in a collection of stories, and the production hasn’t added much to it before placing it on the screen. The characters are strange and without much real motivation, and there aren’t many great scares which should be the point right? Some die-hard Barker fans may dig it, but it will most likely fall short for even the most blood-thirsty horror fans. – Cole Abaius
Blu-ray Exclusives: A behind-the-scenes featurette that’s not terrible and you can watch it with Spanish subtitles!
Also Out This Week (but not reviewed):
What are you buying on Blu-ray this week?