The last week of January proves to be most fruitful for home video fans. Nine quality movies hit DVD and Blu-ray today.
Seven of the nine releases are new and stretch most of the major genres. We are going to stick to the biggest releases of this week, but check out your nearest shelf for a copy of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, Enter The Void and Nowhere Boy. From action comedy to sports drama, every audience will have something to watch on their television this week.
Oprah Winfrey made headlines this week for her new family discovery, but her performance in The Color Purple put her on the map and it finally hits Blu-ray this week. The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Oscars, but it isn’t the only nominated film on the table today. Broadcast News shares three Oscar-nominated performances on Blu-ray. We’ve got the breakdown on all the major home video releases this week.
The following titles can now be found on DVD and Blu-ray:
Red - One of the biggest surprises of 2010 has to be Red. The geriatric action comedy never looked bad, but few at Screen Rant expected it to make our Top 10 Movie Moments of 2010 list, Favorite Movies of 2010 list and garner a perfect 5-star review from Vic Holtreman. In his review, Vic called Red “a great, fun summer movie.”
While Red didn’t match our high praise in the box office, it earned a modest $164 million worldwide. While that triples its production budget, it is tough to gauge whether Summit Entertainment considers Red a hit or not. Now that it hits home video, those involved can see if the movie truly has legs with movie fans. With a top-notch cast of Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich, there is no problem drawing attention.
Interestingly, the special features have little to do with the actual production of Red. Instead, the filmmakers dedicated the extra space to honoring the real agents represented in the action film. It is pretty unique to hear an audio commentary from an actual former-CIA agent.
- Audio commentary with retired CIA field officer Robert Baer
- Deleted and extended scenes
- Access: RED – Activate a variety of “scene-specific” features including interviews with cast members, real-life CIA expert commentary, animated documentary shorts on controversial CIA operations and more
Secretariat – Another surprise of 2010 is the sports drama Secretariat. Every year seems to bring us an uplifting sports drama and 2010 was no different, but Secretariat offered more than just lovable losers. In his 4-star review of the film, Paul Young called Secretariat “a wonderfully written film that is beautifully shot and a joy to watch.”
The true story of the Triple Crown-winning horse is one for the books. From the moment Secretariat crossed the finish line in the final Triple Crown race, everybody knew the story was made for the big screen. Luckily, Randall Wallace made it a theatrical motion picture instead of giving ESPN the glory of turning it into a cheesy made-for-TV movie. It may not have made big bucks at the box office ($59 million worldwide), but it served its purpose as the well-made sports drama of 2010.
Much like Red, the special features of Secretariat offer a real-world look at the story behind the movie. The supplements play out like a collection of unseen documentaries, which should accent the movie itself. One strange addition to the special features is an animated simulation of Secretariat’s race. Unfortunately, it isn’t as cool as it sounds.
- Audio commentary by Director Randall Wallace (BD-exclusive)
- Heart of a Champion
- Eight deleted scenes (four of them BD-exclusive) with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace
- Choreographing the Races (BD-exclusive)
- A Director’s Inspiration: A Conversation with the Real Penny Chenery
- Secretariat Multi-Angle Simulation
- Music Video: AJ Michalka, “It’s Who You Are”
Stone – Stone is yet another new release on home video that garnered high praise from us during its theatrical run. In his 4-star review, Kofi Outlaw describe Stone as “a satisfying and insightful arthouse film.” With big names like Robert De Niro, Ed Norton and Milla Jovovich, Stone has been on our radar for quite some time and it didn’t disappoint.
Unfortunately, the box office return was “arthouse” as well. Stone only mustered up a measly $8.4 million worldwide, almost $14 million shy of its production budget. It will take an impressive home video run to make up the production budget, but that may be the least of the filmmakers’ concerns.
If the movie does not attract people to the shelves, the bonus features sure won’t help. Anchor Bay Home Entertainment put no effort on the home video, so if anybody expects to see the insides of this psychological thriller, the only thing they will find is disappointment.
- Making-of featurette
- Theatrical trailer
Saw: The Final Chapter – The seventh Saw film did not do well in its attempt to capitalize on the 3D trend. In our 2.5-star review, Ben Kendrick writes that “Saw 3D will certainly appeal to fans who have stuck with the Saw franchise through the previous six films, however the 3D doesn’t really offer anything new.”
Saw 3D ranks sixth of the seven Saw movies after the tally of its entire box office return. Even though it made $130 million on a meager $20 million production budget, few consider this edition of the franchise a success.
While you can pick up the movie in 3D, it might run you close to $50. The special features are definitely not worth the extra price tag, but see for yourself what the home video has to offer.
- Director and producer commentary
- Deleted scenes
- Music videos
- 52 Ways to Die: recounting the traps from all the Saw films (BD-exclusive)
Broadcast News – The world of broadcast television has been home to plenty of intriguing storylines in movies. Just recently, we saw Rachel McAdams test her ability in the newsroom in Morning Glory. While we might not see that romantic comedy make the Criterion Collection anytime soon, Broadcast News is deserving of the special treatment from the most heralded Blu-ray transfer company.
James L. Brooks’ news satire is a romantic comedy that has some real value. It is culturally relevant and politically intelligent, while still delivering a few laughs to keep the audience roaring. William Hurt, Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter all earned Oscar nominations in the 1987 Best Picture-nominated movie.
Broadcast News earned its Criterion release with a laundry list of Oscar nominations and the special features are plentiful as usual. It wouldn’t be a Criterion Collection release if the supplements did not keep you busy for hours.
- New audio commentary featuring James L. Brooks and Richard Marks
- New documentary on Brooks’s career in television and film, featuring actors Marilu Henner (Taxi) and Julie Kavner (Rhoda, The Simpsons) and several other of Brooks’s collaborators
- Deleted scenes and an alternate ending, with commentary by Brooks
- New video interview with veteran CBS news producer Susan Zirinsky, one of the models for actress Holly Hunter’s character and an associate producer on the film
- Featurette containing on-set footage and interviews with Brooks, Hunter, and actor Albert Brooks
- Original theatrical trailer
- A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Carrie Rickey
The Color Purple – It’s been just over 25 years since The Color Purple introduced the world to Oprah Winfrey. Steven Spielberg’s dramatic film about the trials and tribulations of young African-American women was nominated for an astonishing 11 Oscars. The film gave us more than Oprah – it also jump-started Whoopi Goldberg’s career and gave us a serious Danny Glover before the awesome Lethal Weapon franchise kicked-off two years later.
The Color Purple may not sound like a movie in need of a Blu-ray re-release, but it is a beautifully shot drama that deserves the best treatment available. The DigiBook gives a nice collection of special features, but as usual Spielberg is nowhere to be found for an audio commentary.
- Conversations with Ancestors: The Color Purple From Book to Screen
- A Collaboration of Spirits: Casting and Acting The Color Purple
- Cultivating a Classic: The Making of The Color Purple
- The Color Purple: The Musical
January was a relatively good month for home video. Backdraft has proven to be the best Blu-ray re-release of the month with fantastic sound and a worthy video transfer. The Social Network continues to rake in the bucks as one of the top-selling home videos of the past few weeks.
February should prove to be even better with an opening week that includes the Blu-ray re-release of Almost Famous and new releases such as Never Let Me Go, Let Me In and Monsters.
Check back every Tuesday for the latest DVD ad Blu-ray release breakdowns.