This Week in Blu-ray: We Bought a Zoo, Chinatown and War Horse

This Week in Blu-ray

Left, right, left we march out of March and into April with another sizzling edition of This Week in Blu-ray.

Alright, so that’s not exactly true. Despite finding a number of titles to recommend in this week’s release offering, it’s not exactly a week that’s going to blow your socks off. Which begs the question: why wear socks in the first place if you’re constantly reading Film School Rejects? You know that eventually they’re just going to be blown off anyway. But not today, as you’re about to see. We take a stroll into the world of buying a zoo with Cameron Crowe, we get lost in a great release of Chinatown and we ride the War Horse to yawn-inducing victory. Come along and enjoy the ride.

Blu-ray Pick of the Week

We Bought a Zoo

There was a primo opportunity for me to make a ‘We Must Buy This Blu-ray’ joke here, but sadly I’m just not that kind of guy. Our own Jack Giroux love love loved this movie when he reviewed it in December, and it certainly does have its charms. Matt Damon plays a single dad who decides to buy a broken down zoo and nurse it back to health, finding love for family time and Scarlett Johansson along the way. It’s Cameron Crowe, so there’s undeniable sweetness. The one thing the Blu-ray has going in its favor is plenty of special features. From 37 minutes of deleted/extended scenes to a 7 min. gag reel to a 76 minute extensive, well-produced documentary style behind the scenes featurette that will give you everything you needed to know about the production and more. There’s also more. Two more featurettes, almost an hour in total. From a trip into Jonsi’s scoring workshop to a look at the man upon whom the entire thing is based. It’s a well-rounded package. Easily the pick of the week.

Blu-rays Worth Buying


An all-time favorite film of mine finally gets a proper Blu-ray release. The anticipation for such a release was palpable here at Reject HQ, and little did we know that the Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway led classic would come with a few brilliant extras. Like a commentary track featuring screenwriter Robert Towne and director David Fincher. It’s like taking a class on how to make one of cinema’s all-time greats, from a few of cinema’s all-time scholars. In addition, there are about 2 hours of other extras, all of which have been carried over from DVD releases in 2007 and 2009. However, this is the first time they’ve all been assembled together, making this Blu-ray release the most comprehensive Chinatown to date. It’s also the prettiest, with some slick cover art printed on a sturdy outer sleeve.

War Horse 4-Disc Combo Pack

Kudos to Dreamworks for flexing special feature muscle with this one, despite the fact that it’s a boring movie about a boy and his horse. Until, of course, it becomes the story of a horse who survives all the trials and tribulations of World War. That part is quite interesting, oft-epic and emotional investment-worthy. The rest looks like it was shot on a sound stage, and not in a good way. They should have saved some of that Tintin money and invested a bit more on War Horse, because the Blu-ray transfer is so good, I can almost see the matte backgrounds. What, those aren’t matte backgrounds? You could have fooled me. Anyway, if you enjoyed War Horse, there’s plenty here to make this worth a purchase. The 4-disc set includes a wide array of high definition extras and a sometimes stunning transfer. There’s even a brief featurette about Kathleen Kennedy, uber-producer and the real power behind some of Spielberg’s great efforts.

Blu-rays Worth Renting

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Remember when Sarah Jessica Parker was the timid, shy good girl and Helen Hunt was the cool rock chick? Remember when they starred in a movie together that ended with a big dance competition and also starred Shannen Doherty? It was an all-80s funapalooza, that’s for sure. Longtime fans of this film, now well into their 40s, will enjoy the fact that it has come to Blu-ray. But they’re not likely to find anything new or improved about it over previous DVD releases. Even the transfer leaves a bit to be desired, which has me questioning whether or not this really needed to be released on Blu-ray in the first place. Was anyone really clamming for a 1985 film starring SJP? Well, they are remaking it, so I guess there’s that.

Blu-rays to Avoid

Angel’s Crest

Interested in seeing what kinds of movies John Carter starlet Lynn Collins was doing before she landed a role in Disney’s biggest money-loser in years? I didn’t really think so. It’s the story of a man who makes a mistake on a snowy road, then must come face to face with Jeremy Piven and pay for his carelessness. It’s a film, led by Thommas Dekker, that features a slew of unlikable characters. It’s a Blu-ray that doesn’t even bother giving us much in the way of extras. Some cast interviews from junket day, 2 minutes of deleted scenes and what amounts to an HDNet commercial about the film aren’t likely to overcome the fact that this film is drab, flat and lacking in any and all energy.

Chasing Madoff

Are you desperately searching for another movie that will force you to remember that our economy is in the toilet only to provide you almost no entertainment value in return? Of course not. Rent at your own risk or watch Boiler Room and remember how scumbags were heroes in the 90s.

Also on Blu-ray this week

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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