Considering one of the most revered films of the 21st century makes the jump to Blu-ray today, the weak set of new releases don’t seem as disappointing anymore. That’s right, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan heads to Blu-ray along with a few other beloved classics and recent hits. On the new release side, consider this a week off.
There is a little something for everybody, from the action junkies to the ladies in need of a good cuddle. Rachel McAdams even makes a brief appearance in the same breath as Snake Plissken. But with ten releases worth noting, there’s enough to go around.
All of the following releases can be found on DVD and Blu-ray.
Nine – Last year’s musical number was quite the flop. With an $80 million budget, the Weinstein Company’s 8 1/2-style film only grossed $52 million worldwide. Not everybody hated it, but the star power attracted nobody. Now, director Rob Marshall has been granted an opportunity to follow a major dud with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, a near-guaranteed blockbuster.
As expected, the sound is brilliant on the Nine Blu-ray. And it should be, considering some of the fantastic musical pieces in the film. In the supplements, Marshall and producer John Deluca add an audio commentary amidst a handful of short segments on the making of the film.
Tooth Fairy – Yes, this comes to DVD and Blu-ray today. At least it comes with a digital copy for your 7-year-old’s iPhone.
Thankfully, Dwayne Johnson seems to be done with this ridiculous career stretch. But now that he’s been so watered down, what is left of the former wrestler’s tough guy image? We’ll find out soon enough with Protection.
Leap Year – It doesn’t get much better than one of the many forgettable romantic comedies of early 2010. Matthew Goode (Watchmen) and Amy Adams (three episodes of The Office) star. Reviewers of the Blu-ray praise the audio and video transfer as crisp and stunning, which is interesting considering this isn’t exactly a film you would expect that from.
Saving Private Ryan – One of cinema’s most respected films gave us the action and horror of battle with the heart of men in the fight. Director Steven Spielberg had a tremendous vision to tell a compelling story of the people affected by the war who are still in the thick of it. You should know enough about the film and what makes it great, so what about the Blu-ray transfer?
The audio and video transfer are praised for their beauty and scope. Paramount continues to impress with their dedication to providing the most efficient video integration on Blu-ray and Saving Private Ryan deserves at least that much.
In the supplements is a 90-minute documentary, narrated by Tom Hanks, that explores World War II as seen through cameras and film from the field of battle. A 22-minute “making-of” documenting the creation of Saving Private Ryan sits alongside a handful of other worthy featurettes.
The beach charge, one of the most memorable scenes in movie history, is shown from a new perspective with the near-20-minute behind-the-scenes short of the filming process. This is a must-buy for anybody with even a faint love for movies.
Doctor Zhivago – Truly cherished by film lovers, the sprawling romantic epic is wonderfully restored on the Blu-ray platform. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is worth even a blind buy. More importantly, the set comes with a plethora of special features.
Not only is there an entire CD just for the score by Maurice Jarre, but also an hour-long making-of documentary and a 40-minute celebration of the film. There are a handful of short featurettes focusing on specific aspects of the film in a home video set that honors one of the biggest movies of the 20th century.
The Notebook - One of the better romantic films ever made has been become so popular it is now cool to hate it. The Rachel McAdams/Ryan Gosling love story comes to Blu-ray with Dolby Digital sound and a 1080p resolution.
Escape From L.A. – Snake Plissken is back, and now he is on Blu-ray. This is just one of those films with a heck of a core following. While it bleeds B-movie everywhere, Plissken is one of John Carpenter’s coolest characters. Some may say this movie is hilariously bad, and it kind of is, but that’s part of the beauty of it all.
Unfortunately the Blu-ray doesn’t make it any better, with hardly any supplements and weak reviews. But if you enjoy the film it is a worthy addition to the Blu-ray shelf.
K-19 Widowmaker – Along with Escape from L.A., this was scheduled for a September 2009 release but didn’t make the deadline. Now it finally comes to Blu-ray and the Harrison Ford/Liam Neeson action tale is loved by many, but forgotten by most. See it and remember why those two acting powerhouses make the film far from dismissible.
Dirty Dancing – If only to promote this Iron Man mash-up, this was worth letting you know. Of course, considering that this movie has become a modern classic for teenage girls (and their moms) everywhere, I don’t really need to sell it all that much.
INTRIGUING RELEASE OF THE DAY:
Tetro – Not many got an opportunity to see Francis Ford Coppola’s deeply personal film during its limited release. It only made $2.6 million worldwide, but considering how long it has taken Coppola to get his most inner ideas out to the world, this feels more like lost art than a mass appeal film. The trailer is gorgeous and shows a film that may be visually stunning and emotionally engaging.
That’s it for this week in home video releases. Next week is relatively weak, but there is plenty to peruse this time around.
Do any of these look good to you? Will you be buying a few DVD/Blu-rays this week?