If you thought last week was rough for DVD and Blu-ray fans, this week is more of the same. There is little to be excited about, but some titles present an opportunity to at least please fans of certain genres.
Four classic movies make their way to Blu-ray. The films range from the the dramatic, yet charming Rain Man to one of Robert Downey, Jr.’s best performances as Chaplin.
This week’s two new releases hit both DVD and Blu-ray and offer a variety of genres. Get Low and Unstoppable give this week an interesting range of choices for home entertainment.
The following titles can be found on both DVD and Blu-ray:
Unstoppable – Tony Scott’s latest frenetic adventure in the action genre was based on an unbelievably true story. Chris Pine and Denzel Washington headline the film that cost $100 million to make, but barely doubled that budget with its worldwide box office gross of $167 million. Box office numbers aside, we truly enjoyed the movie. In his 4-star review of the film, Vic Holtreman mentions that “director Tony Scott does an admirable job of keeping the tension throughout the film.”
This film is not for everyone. Tony Scott’s style pushes some people away, but many find it engaging and exciting. Either way, you can’t deny the charisma and on-screen bravado of actors Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. The intensity of Scott’s style is actually perfect for this story and the home video release should engage every aspect of your sound system.
The bonus features are a tricky subject. While they look appealing, you won’t get much unless you grab the Blu-ray copy.What is offered seems like supplemental material worth watching to get the story of how Tony Scott took a true story and sensationalized it for cinematic effect.
- Director’s commentary
- Tracking the Story: Unstoppable Script Development
- Derailed: Anatomy of a Scene (BD-exclusive)
- Hanging Off the Train: Stunt Work (BD-exclusive)
- On the Rails with the Director and Cast (BD-exclusive)
- The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable (BD-exclusive)
Get Low – A film that truly flew under the radar included one of the best performances of the year. Robert Duvall stars as Felix Bush, a true character if we’ve ever seen one. The film played to rave reviews at film festivals and Oscar buzz was bound until the nominations came out last month and Duvall was nowhere to be seen. As it turned out, the year had a handful of fantastic performances and Duvall only walked away with a SAG nomination and no win.
A limited theatrical release prevented the masses from witnessing the quirky tale of a man who planned his own funeral so he could watch it while alive. There is enough humor and intrigue in Get Low to make it worth at least a rental. The bonus features don’t provide too much detail, but do open up the doors of a relatively unknown title.
- Commentary with actors Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek, director Aaron Schneider and producer Dean Zanuck
- The Deep South: Buried Secrets
- Getting Low: Getting into Character
- Cast & Crew Q&A
- A Screenwriter’s Point of View
- On the Red Carpet
Rain Man - Director Barry Levinson has given us a number of memorable films, but one of his best is Rain Man. The heart-warming tale deserved every award it won after its release in 1988. Dustin Hoffman’s Oscar-winning performance as Raymond Babbitt is one of those that make a career and Tom Cruise’s turn as his on-screen brother should not go unappreciated. On top of it all, Hans Zimmer’s score pushes the film beyond its great performances and wonderful script into iconic status.
MGM Home Entertainment continues a recent trend of pounding out classics on the Blu-ray platform with Rain Man. Unfortunately, the Blu-ray does not provide a plethora of new material. The visual transfer is great and the audio is pristine, presenting Hans Zimmer’s score in its best form yet. Still, the Blu-ray transfer is underwhelming for a film as great as this.
- Audio Commentaries: Director Barry Levinson, Writer Barry Morrow, Writer Ronald Bass
- The Journey of Rain Man” – A Retrospective Documentary
- Lifting the Fog: A Look at the Mysteries of Autism
- Deleted scenes
- Original theatrical trailer
Chaplin – Few entertainers truly deserve a film about their experiences in the spotlight, but Charlie Chaplin is one of those superstars. Robert Downey Jr. channels Chaplin in every way imaginable in one of his best performances to date. If the film has any problems, it is its attempt to lump Chaplin’s entire life into one film instead of focuses on a specific aspect of his troubled off-screen persona.
The Blu-ray release is underwhelming at best. It is one of those re-releases that makes Blu-ray doubters think you can’t enhance an older movie. While that thought process couldn’t be more wrong, Chaplin was practically thrown onto Blu-ray without much care to improve the video quality. Considering the wonderful attention to detail, it is a shame Lionsgate gave the 15th Anniversary Edition such a lazy transfer. The bonus features are worth a look if you rent or own this Blu-ray title, but don’t go too far out of your way if you already own the DVD.
- Strolling into the Sunset
- Chaplin the Hero
- The Most Famous Man in the World
- All at Sea
- Theatrical Trailer
Network – Sidney Lumet’s film holds up rather well as far as its overall message is concerned. The idea of money-grubbing network executives is still prevalent today – even more so in an age where advertising adds up to millions of dollars in revenue. Nominated for 10 Oscars in 1977, Network nearly swept the acting awards and lost to Rocky for Best Picture. The performances drove Network into the memory of film fans and it still holds up today.
The satirical tale comes to Blu-ray with a healthy number of bonus features. The supplemental material truly explores every necessary aspect of the Oscar-winning production.
- Commentary by director Sidney Lumet
- The Making of Network 6-part documentary:
- Tune in to How a Movie Landmark Caught Media Lightning, with Sidebars on Paddy Chayefsky, Getting Mad As Hell and Walter Cronkite’s Reflections Vintage Paddy Chayefsky Interview Excerpt from Dinah!, Hosted by Dinah Shore
- Private Screenings with Sidney Lumet: Turner Classic Movies Host Robert Osborne Interviews the Director
- Theatrical trailer
All the President’s Men – A classic film that challenged Network at the Oscars, All the President’s Men is arguably one of the best narrative interpretations of real events we’ve seen. The film earned eight Oscar nominations and won four.
The Blu-ray re-release will feature a 40-page DigiBook, which means if you don’t like the bulky DigiBook, you can likely find a book-free version in a few weeks. The bonus features are extensive and give a great inside look at a film that exposed the most legendary inside job in political history.
- Commentary by Robert Redford
- Telling the Truth About Lies: The Making of All the President’s Men
- Woodward and Bernstein: Lighting the Fire
- Out of the Shadows: The Man Who Was Deep Throat
- Vintage Featurette Pressure and the Press: The Making of All the President’s Men
- Vintage Jason Robards Interview Excerpt from Dinah!, Hosted by Dinah Shore
- Alan J. Pakula Thrillers Trailer Gallery
Whether you are pleased with this week’s options or not, next week brings a more popular title from 2010 to home video. Due Date hits DVD and Blu-ray as Memento celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a new Blu-ray release.
Stay tuned for more details on upcoming releases every Tuesday with the DVD/Blu-ray Breakdown.