This Week in Blu-ray we celebrate the post-Black Friday hangover with a very light week. If you didn’t buy The Matrix trilogy for $28 dollars today, you should do that. Then move on to more pertinent matters, including the support of great horror comedies that sat on the proverbial shelf far too long, R-rated comedies about bombs and Werner Herzog’s journey into the depths of human emossshun, courtesy of really old cave drawings. It’s going to be a pretty diverse week, so you might want to keep reading.
The Pitch: “What are you going to say? I don’t know what happened officer, these college kids just showed up and started killing themselves all over my property.”
Why Buy? A few years back, when this unfortunately shelved genre comedy broke onto the scene in the snowy streets of Park City, Utah, I was one of those critics who was brave enough to name it one of my Must See Movies of Sundance 2010. We would later go on to include it in our list of Must See Movies of SXSW 2010. And it might as well have made our list of Must See Movies of SXSW 2011, as it played there, too. This movie spent more than its share of time in festival circuit hell. And now that it’s on Blu-ray, it’s time for folks like me to remind you that it’s one of the funniest, most clever flicks I’ve seen in a long while. And if you don’t pick it up, you’re truly missing out. Also, it affords you the opportunity to support one of those rare independent gems folks may just be talking about years from now. Remember that one with Alan Tudyk and the hot girl from 30 Rock? Yeah, I saw that way back when.
The Pitch: If you strap a bomb to the guy who invented Facebook and make him rob a bank, hilarity will ensue.
Why Buy? It’s a comedy worth seeing. The sophomore effort from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer features some memorable moments from some currently popular comedic talents — the likes of Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson and Michael Pena. Our own Cole Abaius loved this one, calling it as tight and funny as any R-rated comedy we’d see all year. Most importantly, the Blu-ray is full of HD-exclusive features, including picture-in-picture video commentary, deleted scenes, an exclusive featurette and even a Playstation 3 theme that you can use to make your gaming system more explosive. Very funny, somewhat raunchy and completely immature film. Solid Blu-ray extras. That seems more than worth whatever money you have left after Black Friday.
The Pitch: “I don’t know if you’re a detective or a pervert.”One thing we do know: David Lynch is a genius.
Why Buy? Because renting and watching one of the most controversial and psychologically brutal films of the 1980s probably isn’t enough. This special edition Blu-ray release of David Lynch’s deeply disturbed noir demands that you buy it. It grabs a hold of you, throws you to the ground and brutalizes you until you admit that you need it on your collection. It’s also got a few exclusively HD deleted scenes and outtakes to make the transition to the high definition medium a bit more cost efficient. It’s also your best chance to understand what the hell was going on in the mind of David Lynch, as it’s his most straight-forward film. Which is saying quite a bit, as it’s brilliantly off the wall and completely unique in every way.
The Pitch: The Ultimate Midnight Movie! Only you get to watch it whenever you want.
Why Rent? Wadzilla, I Was A Teenage Werebear, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, and Zom-B-Movie. Those are but a few of the titles included in this ultimate midnight movie anthology. Directors Joe Lynch, Adam Green, Adam Rifkin and Tim Sullivan bring you four rare, schlocktastic movies worthy of a late night marathon, a bit of heavy drinking and some very weird cinematic happenings. The Blu-ray affords you the opportunity to watch them as often as you like — you could even hold your own late-night marathons on a weekly basis. If that sounds like something you’d attend, consider this one a buy. If not, it’s worth being adventurous at least once and giving this one a try. In addition to being a fun anthology, there are also several worthwhile bonus features, including a look into what it takes to make The Diary of Anne Frankenstein.
The Pitch: It’s a movie about Smurfs that includes Neil Patrick Harris and jokes about why there’s only one girl Smurf. That’s pretty Smurfin’ Smurf’d up.
Why Rent? For the kids, my friends. For the kids. Also, there’s something indelibly charming about this latest incarnation of Papa Smurf’s gang. Something a little subversive about some of the laughs it earns. And Hank Azaria as Gargamel is far more fun than it has any business being. Toss in more live-action charm from NPH, Glee gal Jayma Mays and the ever-buxom Sophia Vergara and you’ve got yourself a movie that you, as parent or guardian, will more than survive watching with your kids. The kids will enjoy it as well, as it’s got silly little blue Smurfs doing silly little blue Smurf things. For families, the Blu-ray may actually be a buy. It’s got a host of special features — Blue-pers (get it?), multiple commentary tracks, featurettes and even a few interactive games. It’s enough to kill an entire afternoon. I’m not saying that I did so myself. But I know a guy who did. And he said that it was a lot more fun than he’d admit it was in public. This friend of mine. Who I know… (Note: There’s also a version that comes with The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol, which is a cute little mini-movie with some very blue holiday spirit.)
The Pitch: Anne Hathaway is frumpy! And she’s British, all of the sudden…
Why Rent? Unlike so many cookie-cutter romantic comedies, One Day has enough ambition to step away from some of the genre’s big cliches and play for us a straight-forward, oft-charming romantic story about two otherwise cookie-cutter characters. He’s the charming, bravado-filled success story who can’t find love and she’s the frumpy, dumpy, completely hot underneath dame with horrid glasses and a pony-tail who also just can’t seem to find love outside of that one perfect date she had with Mr. Wonderful. It’s about two lives intersecting, kisses and somewhat wonky British accents. That last part is all Ms. Hathaway. But despite its flaws, One Day manages to be charming and sometimes sweet and finds an ending you probably won’t expect, for better or worse. The Blu-ray offers you extras, but only a few. And like the film itself, it’s something you’ll enjoy, but forget about soon enough. The essence of a rental.
The Pitch: Werner Herzog takes you deep into ze soul of a thousand year-old cave.
Why Rent? On a visual level, Herzog’s latest is absolutely stunning. If you’ve got a decent 3D television and you missed out on the chance to see this on the big screen, it’s highly recommended. From a storytelling standpoint, no narrator makes his subjects seem more profound and engrossing as Mr. Herzog. He’s a master documentarian who expertly captures the emotion of exploring a place buried within the Earth, left untouched by human hands for thousands of years. If you allow yourself to be transformed, this film will easily overtake you. That’s the way Werner Herzog intends it. That’s the way it shall be.
Nothing to avoid this week, although there is plenty in the ‘I didn’t get a chance to review it’ section below, so beware the unknown.
- 5 Days of War (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Sony)
- Another Earth (20th Century Fox)
- The Art of Getting By (20th Century Fox)
- Chaos Head: The Complete Series (FUNimation)
- Horror Express (MPI)
- Now & Later (Cinema Libre)
- Our Idiot Brother (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- Yu Yu Hakusho: Season 4 (FUNimation)