This week in DVD and Blu-ray releases is void of any big players, but does provide a few new options for those in search for home entertainment. If you missed it on Friday, you can now pick up the final chapter in the Harry Potter franchise. That should hold you down if this week’s choices do not.
A pair of films that straddle the line between indie and mainstream make their way home with Larry Crowne and Beginners. Bellflower, a seriously indie film that earned some cult followers, is also available.
The following titles can be found on DVD and Blu-ray.
Larry Crowne – With two of the biggest names in Hollywood, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, one can safely call this a flop considering it made only $52 million at the worldwide box office. It earned mostly negative reviews and seemed to disappoint many. The DVD/Blu-ray is no better. It comes home with a moderate transfer and a sound mix that has no standout qualities. And with only a couple of special features, this release doesn’t help a film that needed the extra punch to have legs on home video shelves.
- Deleted Scenes
- The Making of Larry Crowne
- Fun on Set
VERDICT: Skip It.
Beginners – Another small-market film with well-known actors is Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent. It is a coming-of-middle-age film of sorts, but adds a few twists and turns to keep it interesting and different. The digitally shot film has a slick look and brings a quality audio track that serves its purpose. Beginners offers very little in the supplement department.
- Audio Commentary: Writer/director Mike Mill
- A Short Film About Beginners
VERDICT: Rent It.
Bellflower – This is a truly unique and engaging independent film that deserves a chance to thrive on home video. It has been available on iTunes for a short while now, but it might serve better with a powerful surround sound system to deliver the detailed sound design of certain moments. The film is shot with pro-sumer equipment and won’t improve too much on Blu-ray, but the story takes precedence anyway. A behind-the-scenes featurette leads the way of the special features this disc offers.
- Behind the Scenes of Bellflower
- Medusa Rundown
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Oscilloscope Releases
VERDICT: Rent It.
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn: 25th Anniversary – The Evil Dead II Blu-ray originally released a few years ago, but this 25th Anniversary edition includes a brand new transfer that really improves upon previous versions, but still preserves the classic feel of the film. Obviously, this is a film in which the 5.1-surround mix is put to great use. There is nothing particularly stunning about the bonus materials here, but it’s a good collection if you don’t own the original Blu-ray release.
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Sam Raimi, Actor Bruce Campbell, Co-Writer Scott Spiegel and Special Make-Up Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
- Swallowed Souls: The Making of Evil Dead 2
- Cabin Fever – A “Fly on the Wall” Look Behind the Scenes of Evil Dead II
- Road to Wadesboro: Revisiting the Shooting Location with Filmmaker Tony Elwood
- Evil Dead II: Behind-the-Scream
- The Gore the Merrier
VERDICT: Buy it if you didn’t get the previous Blu-ray release.
West Side Story: 50th Anniversary – One of cinema’s most treasured musicals comes to Blu-ray in a stunning transfer that does justice to a film that earned 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture in 1961. The colors that make up the memorable look of West Side Story come across as vibrant as ever and the music explodes through speakers with the power of a live musical. The bonus materials are extensive and include a handful of high definition featurettes.
- Pow! The Dances of West Side Story
- Song Specific Commentary by Stephen Sondheim
- Music Machine
- A Place for Us: West Side Story’s Legacy
- West Side Memories
- Storyboard to Film Comparison Montage
- Tribute CD
- Hardcover Book
- Reproductions of International Posters on Postcards
VERDICT: Buy It.
My Fair Lady – A wonderful film of elegance that continues to define the way cinema used to be comes to Blu-ray in a colorful and crystal clear transfer. Big studio films of the mid-20th century really shine on Blu-ray and this is no exception. While much of the bonus materials are in Standard Definition, there is a quality audio commentary that explores the restoration process.
- Audio Commentary: Gene Allen, Marni Nixon, Robert A. Harris, and James C. Katz
- More Loverly than Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady Then & Now
- 1963 Production Kick-Off Dinner
- The Fairest Fair Lady
- Los Angeles Premiere 10/28/1964
- Rex Harrison Golden Globe Acceptance Speech
- Academy Awards Ceremony Highlights 4/5/1965
- Alternate Audrey Hepburn Vocals
- Comments on a Lady: Andrew Lloyd Weber and Martin Scorsese
VERDICT: Rent It.
Next week will bring a lot of recognizable titles to the table. Super 8 and Conan the Barbarian come to home video along with Doctor Who Season Six and Spy Kids 4D. In addition, Rushmore gets the Criterion Collection treatment in a long-awaited transfer for Wes Anderson fans.
Return to Screen Rant every Tuesday for the latest breakdowns of DVD and Blu-ray releases.