It’s a great day to be a home video fan. Seven movies worthy of your hard-earned cash hit the shelves as either new releases or Blu-ray re-releases. Of course, wherever greatness comes our way, slop like Marmaduke settles in as well.
But disregard the horrible titles and focus on the classics like The Evil Dead or Bad Lieutenant. Even The Blair Witch Project is making a triumphant return in the Blu-ray format. And for those in need of a giant shark not named MegaShark, you can now watch Samuel L. Jackson’s now-classic death in Deep Blue Sea in Blu-ray glory.
This week’s releases are further proof that great movies are becoming a rarity these days. Two of the three new releases are almost too embarrassing to acknowledge.
Without further ado, let’s get right into this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases. You can find all of the following titles on both formats.
Why Did I Get Married Too? – The title begs the question, “Why did you make this movie too?” Tyler Perry’s box office status is beginning to taper off and his name gets smaller on every subsequent movie poster. While this sequel did triple its production budget, narrowly beating out its predecessor (even without an overseas release), the reception was quite cold.
If you are in the mood to purchase or rent a movie that mustered 2.6 out of 10 on the IMDb scales, you’ve got a perfect opportunity this week. The special features aren’t much to scream and shout about, either:
◦ Girl Talk: The Women of Married
◦ Male Bonding: The Men of Married
• Music video: Janet Jackson, “Nothing”
• Couples character guide
Marmaduke – Interestingly enough, two films with 2.6 ratings on IMDb hit home video shelves this week. Marmaduke is the other. It is odd how fantastic the casts are for even the most pitiful CGI animated films.
Marmaduke boasts names like Owen Wilson, Emma Stone, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kiefer Sutherland, Marlon Wayans and Sam Elliott. Put those actors together in a live-action film and it’s likely a golden comedy, but in CGI form they are just voices in an awful movie.
It’s kind of a miracle the film even went to theaters and didn’t make the trip directly to shelves. But now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray (in the same package, no less), you’ll have a couple of special features to enjoy – and yes, the titles are just as ridiculous as the movie:
• Cowabarka! Surfing Dogs
• Canine Casting
• Marmaduke Mayhem! Gag Reel (BD-exclusive)
• Deleted Scenes
• Puppy Marmaduke and Kitty Carlos: Home Movies (BD-exclusive)
Harry Brown – It’s hard to imagine Sir Michael Caine found the time to star in his own movie with all the Christopher Nolan supporting roles he takes on. In all honesty, his role in Inception took all of three days to film, which likely happened just after he wrapped Harry Brown.
The dark and intense film follows an ex-Marine who takes it upon himself to clean up the streets after the murder of his only friend, Leonard. His vigilante acts raise the suspicions of police forces, but the confrontations only add to the multi-layered action film.
Caine seems to have learned a bit about the vigilante act by watching his co-stars in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The troubled hero hardly holds back and takes care of business in whatever way possible.
The Evil Dead – Sam Raimi’s horror classic strikes again with a brand new Blu-ray release. This is a much-needed addition to countless shelves across the world. Raimi even supervised the transfer process and added an audio commentary with himself, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell.
Evil Dead is more than just a genre film, though. It garnered praise from every corner and has become a staple in movie ranking lists for years. Just recently, the Evil Dead chainsaw was featured in our 25 Most Awesome Movie Weapons of All Time.
In addition, head over to our Giveaway Contest and register by September 6th to win a copy of The Evil Dead (and Hatchet) on Blu-ray.
In addition to this fantastic film, the Blu-ray also features a healthy portion of special features:
• One By One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of The Evil Dead
• The Evil Dead: Treasures from the Cutting Room Floor
• The Ladies Of The Evil Dead Meet Bruce Campbell
• Book of The Dead: The Other Pages
• Discovering The Evil Dead
• At The Drive-In
Bad Lieutenant – This isn’t your R-rated Nicolas Cage movie. This is the NC-17, hardcore Harvey Keitel version of Bad Lieutenant. And in this writer’s opinion, it is the only one. It is one of Keitel’s masterpiece performances and a film that is just as frightening as it is mesmerizing.
The shock factor of this film forced the MPAA to slap it with an NC-17 rating, though it seems a bit harsh. Looking back, there are films today that exceed Bad Lieutenant and find an R rating – but that’s irrelevant now as the 1992 film has its core audience who appreciated it in all its naked Harvey Keitel glory.
Hard Candy – Everything about Hard Candy is fantastic. From the gorgeous cinematography to the frighteningly focused Ellen Page, it is a film that captivates the eye and the mind. Director David Slade (30 Days of Night, Twilight: Eclipse) found something in his cast and crew to create a well-crafted, clever and beautiful thriller.
At one point the film is a basic revenge/retribution genre tale, but it quickly becomes something more complex and intriguing, forcing a second watch. What better way to experience that than in the Blu-ray format.
Ellen Page shows the true colors of an actress with a bright future in her portrayal of Hayley Stark. While some have grown to dislike her indie credentials and perky attitude, there are moments in her acting that exude pure brilliance. More importantly, she picks good roles and makes them better – aside from Inception, where she didn’t add much at all.
The Blair Witch Project – I’m guessing many of you forgot about this indie masterpiece. What was once the talk of Hollywood fell off the map for awhile, but a Blu-ray re-release may help remind people of the genius that was. Paranormal Activity is a recent film that reminds us of the availability of true horror on a microscopic budget.
That’s the beauty of Blair Witch. The filmmakers realized that fear is one emotion that can be exhibited at almost no cost. It takes solid actors to portray love and expensive visual effects to display jaw-dropping action. But fear is in everybody and when cameras roll, the right situation can make it palpable to an audience.
What is even more interesting is how the two stars who “played themselves” went on to mildly successful acting careers. It’s hard to say that about many low-budget cult films. Even more impressive, Lionsgate is probably still playing with the profits of this $60,000 film that boasted a $248 million worldwide box office.
Deep Blue Sea – Let’s just get it out of the way first – Samuel L. Jackson’s death by shark is one of the most awesome moments in movie history. It was fellow Screen Rant writer Robert Keyes’ Favorite Audience Moment as well.
Besides some fantastic B-movie moments, Deep Blue Sea isn’t exactly a great film. It’s a fun guilty pleasure and has a cult following – and generally, that’s all a film like Deep Blue Sea can really ask for. It’s funny when you look back and see the cast of a film that should have no stars in it – Thomas Jane, Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, Stellan Skarsgård, Saffron Burrows and Michael Rapaport.
The world gets about as many giant shark movies as it does alien invasion films, so it’s tough to argue against a method that works. From Jaws to Deep Blue Sea to MegaShark, it appears people want to get their giant shark fix. This week you can capture the wonderful devastation on Blu-ray.
Check back every Tuesday for our DVD and Blu-ray Breakdown. Next week gives us a handful of great TV shows and another healthy portion of great Blu-ray re-releases.