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Aside from taking Dr. Cole Abaius’ advice to change the name of this column to ‘This Fortnight in Blu-ray,’ I can’t say that I’ve done much in the way of the HD format lately. Sure, I’ve published two big special reports in the last week, but those don’t count. You don’t just want the big rundowns of movies like Up and Star Trek, you want the complete anthology each week — the big breakdown of all that is good and true in the world of Blu-ray home entertainment. So I’m back this week, with This Week in Blu-ray — our site’s most embarrassingly inconsistent, but also most handsome weekly column. This week we’ve got an embarrassment of another kind, one of riches. Everything from Trek to three movies from that chubby director who once gave us the early word that Chris Pine’s performance in Trek was going to be special. Also, we’re not talking about a certain Club and we’re coming back to a little indie that time seems to have forgotten.

It’s a busy week, so lets get started. Check out my picks below, and remember to support your local movie blog (us) by clicking the links and buying from Amazon.

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bd-startrekStar Trek

This weekend, I dedicated 1,600 words in a completely separate article to this 3-disc behemoth, and I don’t see any reason to retract such statements now. Star Trek is the Blu-ray release that you’ve been waiting for. Especially if like me, you were disappointed with the special features on G.I. Joe and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (both fellow Paramount titles). It seems as if Paramount had all of their best people working on their best summer movie — one that delighted audiences everywhere, Trekker or otherwise. The Blu-ray features a ridiculous amount of special features, a glorious transfer and a gag reel that is second to none. If you don’t pick this one up this week, we are no longer friends.

Blu-ray exclusive features include 30 featurettes, 9 deleted scenes, an awesome gag reel and BD-Live.

bd-fightclubFight Club

Normally I wouldn’t even be talking about Fight Club because, well, we follow the damn rules. But in the case of this 10-year anniversary Blu-ray release, I think it is worth breaking that first rule in order to tell you all about some of the sweet extras that ended up in this release. On top of a great transfer of the film, we also get some brand new special features that weren’t part of the 2-disc special edition DVD set that was released a while back. There is a featurette about Ren Klyce and the Sound Design of Fight Club, an ‘Insomniac Mode’ in which we get an interactive search index, a commentary log and a topic search. The latter of which is a fascinating new feature that works well for a movie like this, but I can’t really see it working with many other releases. When combined with all of the previously released special features (several hours worth), it makes this Blu-ray an above average release, and a film worth adding to your collection. Also, it is likely that you, like me, have been waiting desperately to add Fight Club to your Blu-ray collection, regardless of the special feature collection.

Blu-ray exclusive features include a featurette about sound design, a ‘Flogging Fight Club’ featurette and Insomniac Mode, with interactive searching, commentary log, etc.

bd-scrubs8Scrubs: The Complete 8th Season

Like any major Scrubs fan — which oddly enough, I’m not — you are going to want to say goodbye to J.D. (Zach Braff) in the best way possible. And what better way to do it than to see it all unfold, the show’s epic eighth season, in glorious 1080p. Also, you might want to consider that the Blu-ray version of season 8 is hitting store shelves a whole week before the DVD. That’s an interesting plan on the part of ABC/Disney, but not much of a gamble. This is the first time the show has made it to Blu-ray, and it looks great. As well, the set has an additional BD-exclusive featurette called “It’s All in The Name,” an in-depth look at some of the show’s long-running, clever nicknames. Overall, it is worth picking up on Blu-ray, even if you don’t just want it a week earlier than your friends.

Blu-ray exclusive features include SeasonPlay, Seamless Menus and a BD-Exclusive featurette.

bd-brunoBruno

The year’s most ridiculous, outrageous and mostly disturbing comedy. I guess the pundits were right when they said that Sacha Baron Cohen was out of his mind. Since seeing Bruno in theaters, I have been waiting for the Blu-ray release, safe in the knowledge that Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles surely must have left some good stuff on the cutting room floor. As it turns out, not only did they save some exclusive deleted scenes for the Blu-ray, they also recorded one of the most entertaining visual commentary tracks in the history of the format. We get front row seats as Baron Cohen and Charles remember all of the true stories behind the making of this spectacle of absurdity. That alone, is worth the price of admission. Also included is the new, experimental iPhone/iPod Touch feature called Pocket-Blu, which allows you to add additional content to your mobile device and use it as a virtual remote and keyboard. It’s pretty cool, and should become useful as Universal rolls it out to more titles in the future.

Blu-ray exclusive features include visual commentary, Pocket-Blu and BD-Live.

bd-sunnychristmasIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas

To quote so many hipsters in this world, “this is happening.” The gang from Paddy’s Pub is celebrating Christmas… sort of. In order to rediscover the meaning of Christmas — something that escaped them long ago — we join the gang as they embark on a holiday adventure filled with stolen toys, childhood videos, naked elves and a bloody run in with Santa Claus. It is everything you’d expect from a direct-to-DVD holiday special, except more devious. Special features are pretty standard, including deleted scenes of “Young Mac and Young Charlie” as well as a ‘Making Of’ featurette and a Sunny Sing-a-long. Sadly though, all of those features are on the DVD as well. Either way, this is worth picking up.

There are no Blu-ray exclusive features on this title.

bd-gonewiththewindGone with the Wind: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition

This holiday season, what could be a more appropriate addition to your DVD collection than one of the greatest films of all-time, wrapped in a big, heavy-duty velvet box and packed with special features out the wazoo? I can only think of one thing, and it is the Star Trek Blu-ray that I mentioned above. Beyond that, this Gone with the Wind box set is one of the most spectacular collector’s sets I’ve seen all year. It includes a full-color 52-page book dedicated to the production and history of the film, a reproduction of the original 1939 Program, a CD soundtrack sampler, an archival letter from producer David O. Selznick. And that’s just the stuff that isn’t on the disc. The movie looks wonderful in HD, with a beautifully remastered TrueHD soundtrack. There is a BD-exclusive 6-hour documentary called MGM: When the Lion Roared. And 8-hours (yes, 8-hours) of special features that have previously been released on DVD. It is absolutely ridiculous. If you’re anything like me, you know someone in your family who would go nuts for this set.

Blu-ray exclusive features include a 6-hour documentary, collectible book, art and CD soundtrack.

bd-romeRome: The Complete Series

I must admit that I have never watched more than about 20-minutes of the show Rome, but what I’ve seen has led me to believe that this is (a) the kind of show that is worth buying in its most complete form, and (b) a show that looks fantastic in HD. All of these are true with this new Blu-ray release, the complete series. The only slightly sad part is that HBO has skimmed over the special feature selection, leaving a simple featurette and a few episodes of audio commentary. That won’t stop me from recommending that you get out there and pick this one up though, as the series is more than worth it.

There are no Blu-ray exclusive features on this title.

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bd-kevinsmithKevin Smith 3-Pack

And lo, we have the first major disappointment in a while from the folks at Disney. This time it comes by way of a Miramax box set of Kevin Smith movies, which includes Clerks, Chasing Amy and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. To answer your first question, Mallrats was made at Universal, and this is a Miramax box set. That is why it isn’t in there. As for these titles, it is great to see them finally coming to Blu-ray, as I’ve long wanted to add some Kevin Smith movies to my Blu-ray collection, but overall they are very generically packaged. Thankfully, the special features have changed since the last DVD releases, the transfers are good but not great (as Smith would tell you himself, his movies aren’t visual spectacles), and the box set itself is worth it for fans. Both Chasing Amy and Clerks come with brand new behind the scenes documentaries about the anniversaries of the film. As well, Chasing Amy comes with a new Smodcast recording as a commentary track, in which Smith and producer Scott Mosier reminisce in their own special way. In a way, this is a must have for Smith fans. Others just might not get it.

Blu-ray exclusive features include three new behind the scenes featurettes (on Clerks and Chasing Amy) and a new Chasing Amy commentary track.

bd-franklynFranklyn

This dark little indie movie, which stars Ryan Phillipe as a masked crusader in a monolithic metropolis, has been on our radar for a while — ever since we reported on the trailer back in January. And after seeing many of our friends import Blu-rays from other regions, this title is now available to those of us who have regular ole Blu-ray players. The film itself is worth a look, visually stunning, engaging and full of intrigue, but the Blu-ray release is far from great. It has a stock selection of special features, all of which are shared with the DVD release, and no BD-exclusives. Aside from looking very, very good, this release isn’t worth buying. I would suggest throwing it in your Netflix queue (on Blu) and calling it a day.

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

bd-galaxyquestGalaxy Quest

It appears as if someone reminded Dreamworks that Star Trek, one of the legendary sci-fi franchises from which this movie derives its humor, is also hitting Blu-ray this week. That led them to rush into a lackluster release — in regards to its lack of special features and mediocre transfer (not grainy, just not quite smooth) — of Galaxy Quest. Still, even with the production company’s failings in the preparation of this release, the movie is still a lot of fun. And if you have never seen it, I would suggest using this Blu-ray release as an excuse to go out and rent it.

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

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bd-sisterskeeperMy Sister’s Keeper

It would seem as if 2009 is the year in which Cameron Diaz really put herself out there, trying new and different roles with My Sister’s Keeper and Richard Kelly’s The Box. Sadly, both films were miserable failures on multiple levels. This ridiculously depressing story of a girl who is genetically engineered to donate body parts to her cancer-ridden sister, is just the trite, overly schmaltzy studio junk that make local movie theaters smell like embalming fluid. If you’ve seen this movie in theaters, you know exactly what I’m talking about — nothing but old people. Not even Cameron Diaz with no hair can make that experience okay.

Blu-ray exclusive features include an additional featurette and ‘From Picoult to Screen,’ an analysis of the page-to-screen adaptation.

bd-openroadThe Open Road

For all intents and purposes, the few reviews that I’ve read of the Justin Timberlake, Jeff Bridges led drama The Open Road were surprisingly positive. Timberlake — no slouch in the acting world — plays a minor league baseball player trying to reconnect with his legendary baseball playing father (Bridges). It’s a predictable, but somewhat charming film that is almost completely forgettable. If I were you, I would take heed in this release’s lack of special features and lack of critical support and stay off the road.

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

Also out on Blu-ray this week:

For more Blu-ray goodness every week, check out the This Week in Blu-ray archive.


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