This week in DVD/Blu-ray releases is one for the books.
Home video lovers are graced with a historic collection honoring one of cinema’s most cherished icons, Clint Eastwood. The new releases should appeal to a variety of crowds as well, with a dark and moody film alongside a colorful and quirky one.
It’s a good week to get that surround sound system you’ve been wanting, as there are several fantastic movies with big sound and big action hitting shelves.
All new releases can be found on DVD and Blu-ray.
Alice in Wonderland – Last weekend, this Tim Burton adaptation became only the sixth film in history to gross $1 billion worldwide. Like it or not, the world embraced Alice in Wonderland. We reviewed it and gave it an above average 3.5 out of 5 stars.
The complaints of the film, seen in our review, stemmed from the gimmicky 3D effects. On Blu-ray and DVD, the 3D won’t be an issue. So, take away that major problem and you’ve got an otherwise enjoyable and quirky adaptation of the classic tale.
The special features are relatively limited, but do include a 20-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. The film is a visual treat and should appeal to fans of Tim Burton’s constantly evolving style.
The Wolfman – This adaptation of the well-established tale featured Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving and Emily Blunt. The star-studded cast attacked the dark, werewolf period piece, to a general disdain and awful box office results. The $150 million film couldn’t even make its production budget in the box office.
Vic gave the film a stellar 4 out of 5 in his review, calling it an excellent example of how to remake a classic movie. And while I agree for the most part, it is now your opportunity to decide if the film will have a better life on shelves than in theaters.
The audio and visual ratings of the home video release are near-perfect. More interesting is the handful of positive reviews on the director’s cut, which sounds like a must-watch. Of course, in my opinion, any film with Emily Blunt is a must-watch.
Life/Planet Earth – Life recently aired on The Discovery Channel to mixed reviews thanks to an unimpressive narration by Oprah Winfrey. The follow-up series to the breathtaking Planet Earth comes to home video with David Attenborough’s much improved narration for the BBC edition. You can get Life by itself, but that will feature Oprah’s voiceover. I highly recommend getting the combo package with its predecessor.
Some of the imagery captured over the 4-year filming process is so unbelievable it seems straight out of a James Cameron movie. Alas, it is all real and all available in its best form if you have a Blu-ray player.
Life includes a 100-minute documentary that focuses on the creative process that took nearly four years to complete. I’m almost as intrigued by that as the entire series itself.
The Clint Eastwood Collection – Warner Home Video is celebrating Clint Eastwood’s 80th birthday with a special 10-movie box set of the legendary actor’s work. A Clint Eastwood Director’s Collection also releases this week, but the acting collection is as ambitious as it is impressive.
The collection includes Dirty Harry, Gran Torino, Kelly’s Heroes, Letters from Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, The Rookie, Unforgiven, Where Eagles Dare. While these are not the ten most beloved films on Eastwood’s resume, the collection is a fine piece to add to your wall.
Many other Eastwood films hit Blu-ray this week, including The Man with No Name Trilogy, Heartbreak Ridge, Absolute Power, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact, The Gauntlet, Pale Rider and Space Cowboys.
War of the Worlds – Steven Spielberg has a handful of classic films in need of the Blu-ray treatment, but one of his latest gems makes its way to the format this week. The first thing I did was check the ratings of the audio and video transfer. War of the Worlds gets a perfect score for both and I’d expect nothing less.
There are a handful of production diaries in the special features, but overall the supplements are disappointing. Yet, this is one of those films in which it just doesn’t matter. Pump the volume up and disregard the neighbors when you put this film in your Blu-ray player.
Bad Boys – Other than Transformers 2, Michael Bay’s track record is filled with impressive, exciting and well-made action films. Bad Boys is a staple in the action comedy genre, bringing two of the funniest men in film during the 1990s together. The buddy cop comedy also includes one of Joe Pantoliano’s most hilarious performances.
The movie is not only hilarious, but intense. There are a few twists to keep the story fresh and Will Smith truly shines with Martin Lawrence at his side – or is it the other way around? This Blu-ray isn’t impressive for its transfer or special features, but is simply a good movie on a great format.
INTRIGUING PICK OF THE WEEK
Crossing Over - I had never even heard of this film until it hit home video this week, but the cast is mighty impressive. Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd and Jim Sturgess star in a film about the daily fight for border control in an increasingly relevant subject.
The plot description gives a major Crash vibe, but given its limited success in the box office, it must not be quite as good. I’d guess that the $3 million box office probably didn’t live up to the the unannounced production budget – given the big names involved.
This week has a lot to offer and may break your wallet a bit. Next week keeps the pace going with a few must-owns, including Shutter Island and Caddyshack.
How do this week’s releases look to you? Will you be going right after work on Tuesday to buy The Clint Eastwood Collection or are you excited for one of the new releases?