Some fantastic titles hit DVD and Blu-ray shelves this week. There are also a couple of forgettable movies getting home video releases as well.
Before next week’s barrage of 3D home video titles, you can find some quality movies in this collection of 2D entertainment. Finally, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is available at home. On the Blu-ray front, one of the more disturbing films in recent memory hits home with Antichrist. If you need a less cringe-worthy transfer, Tremors is ready for the Blu-ray upgrade.
The latest DC Showcase also comes out on DVD and Blu-ray this week. Check out our review of DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam.
Check out the following movies in DVD or Blu-ray:
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – Edgar Wright presented the world with one of the more entertaining movies of 2010, yet nobody saw it. On a $60 million budget, Scott Pilgrim only made $45 million worldwide. It’s a shame considering it is yet another brilliant movie from Edgar Wright.
In hindsight, this was the biggest U.S. opening for the English filmmaker. But hopefully, this epic of epic epicness will find a second life on DVD and Blu-ray shelves.
We loved Scott Pilgrim, but Vic’s 3 out of 5 review pointed out the box office limitations due to the film’s inability to connect with older (or non-alternative) audiences. Young audiences definitely fell for the kinetic, action-packed story and the seizure-inducing visual effects were both exciting and innovative. But the home video response from fans is still a shot in the dark for Universal.
There is only one guarantee with this Blu-ray release: even Wright admitted it would take weeks to sift through all the special features the BD has to offer. He wasn’t kidding – just look at all the behind-the-scenes supplements below, thankfully organized by Blu-ray.com.
- Four Commentaries are included: 1)Wright, co-writer Michael Bacall and original graphic novel author Bryan Lee O’Malley; 2) Technical Commentary with Wright and DP Bill Pope; 3) Cast commentary with Cera, Schwartzman, Winstead, Wong and Routh; 4) Cast commentary with Kendrick, Plaza, Culkin and Webber. I didn’t have time to listen completely to all four, but I spot checked all of them. The most serious from a filmmaking perspective is doubtless the Technical outing with Wright and Pope. The second cast commentary is less incisive than the first, perhaps due to the fact that several participants (by their own admission) are nursing significant hangovers from the film’s premiere.
- 21 Deleted Scenes (HD; 27:12), several of which are actually alternate/extended scenes, all with optional Wright commentary.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the Bloopers (SD; 9:42) a pretty funny collection of screwups and gags.
- Documentaries, including: The Making of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ (HD; 49:33), a hyperkinetic behind the scenes look at the film;
- Music Featurette (SD; 16:27), which shows the actors rehearsing and recording the film’s band music; You Too Can Be a Sex Bob-omb (SD; 2:42), a virtual guitar lesson.
- Alternate Footage, which includes Alternate Edits (SD; 12:21), and a fun pastiche of moments from the film, Bits and Pieces (SD; 6:51).
- Pre-Production (SD; 1:27:32 is a mammoth assemblage of short featurettes including Animatics, Rehearsal Videos, Props Rigs and Sets, Casting Tapes and Hair and Makeup Tests.
- Music Promos contains Music Videos (SD: 9:47) for four songs, and OSYMYSO Remixes (SD; 9:27) a really fun selection of well edited footage set to 7 songs.
- Visual Effects includes Visual Effects Before and After (SD; 14:37), a look at several sequences with commentary by FX Supervisor
- Frazer Churchill; Roxy Fight Ribbon Version (SD: 1:11); and Phantom Montage Hi-Speed Footage (SD; 3:47).
- Soundworks Collection: Sound for Film Profile (SD; 5:43) is a really interesting, if way too brief, look at the brilliant sound effects editing the film employs.
- Adult Swim: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Animation (SD; 3:48) a funny animated short.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the Censors (SD; 4:11), re-looped dialogue eliminating the naughty bits.
- Blogs (SD; 45:46), Wright’s director’s diary.
- Galleries, an exhaustive collection of stills and PR materials, including shots made by cast members and Wright.
- Trivia Track, a pop up feature.
Grown Ups – It is sad when movies like Grown Ups make $270 million at the box office, while great films like Scott Pilgrim can’t even match their production budgets. Of course, some of the best comedians of last decade are together in a vacation comedy. The family atmosphere helped the audience response to the film, but critically it was ill-received.
It’s easy to look at the cast of this film and think it should be funny, but there aren’t many genuine laughs in the movie. Most of the comedy rises out of forced momentum like crotch shots and jokes for children. Maybe next time Sony will make better use of having Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Maria Bello and Salma Hayek in one place.
The bonus features are intriguing enough for a rental, especially “Busey and the Monkey” and “The Lost Tapes of Norm MacDonald.”
- Commentary with Director Dennis Dugan
- Behind the Back Basket
- Gag Reel
- Dennis Dugan: Hands on Director
- The Lost Tapes of Norm MacDonald
- The Cast of Grown Ups
- Busey and the Monkey
Doctor Who – It was a sad day for Doctor Who fans when David Tennant left the show. The response to Matt Smith’s version of the Doctor was mixed, but generally accepted. If your collection is in need of another addition, the entire Series 5 is now available.
The 6-disc Blu-ray set has a few great special features, exploring the implementation of an entirely new team in store for the show. There should be enough to keep you interested amidst the handful of episodes.
- Two newly-filmed sequences, titled “Meanwhile, in the TARDIS…”, available only in this collection
- Doctor Who: Confidentials
- Monster Diaries
- Video Diaries
- Deleted and extended scenes
Charlie St. Cloud - Zac Efron’s latest project just about made it’s $44 million production budget back at the worldwide box office. While it may not be the most brilliant adaptation of Ben Sherwood’s novel, Charlie St. Cloud did enough to get the point across – and keep Zac Efron working.
Zac Efron continues his search for a breakout role. While it’s difficult to look past Efron, this movie also features Ray Liotta and Kim Basinger. Even with some big names, the film failed to wow audiences. It came and went in a 7-week run at theaters. I doubt it is worth a second look, but it might make a nice rental on a snowy, winter afternoon.
The special features allow a limited inside look at the film’s production. It does offer a strange, but intriguing feature where users can enjoy a free viewing of either What Dreams May Come or Lorenzo’s Oil.
- Feature commentary with director Burr Steers
- Deleted scenes
- On Location with Zac Efron: come along for a ride in Vancouver, with Zac Efron as he takes on his first major dramatic leading role in Charlie St. Cloud. Audiences will get some quality one-on-one time with the real Zac as he prepares for a role like no other that he has done before.
- Zac Efron, Leading Man: in this intimate conversation with Burr Steers we will find out what Burr’s vision for the film was and how Zac helped mold that vision. We will be privy to the conversations that Burr and Zac had about how Zac should assume the mantle of leading man and how that differed from what he had done before.
- The In-between World: ever since man became self-aware, he’s wondered what happens when you die. In this piece, we will talk to those who claim to have a connection with the great beyond. Speaking with Psychics, Mediums and Parapsychologists, we will offer explanations of what might be happening to Charlie and show how it might not be that out of the ordinary.
- Stream a bonus Movie instantly on your TV through BD-Live™ or on your Smartphone, iPod, PC or Mac through pocket BLU™. Choose between What Dreams May Come and Lorenzo’s Oil
Antichrist – Lars von Trier has never catered to the squeamish stomachs of general audiences. Antichrist might be his greatest example of pure, untouched mayhem. Once you’ve seen Antichrist, you’ll never be able to unwatch it – trust me, I’ve tried. On the other hand, the first ten minutes of the movie are some of the most beautiful images ever shot on film.
Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg star in the sadistic, torture-porn tale of a couple struggling to cope with the death of their young child. The slow-motion scene that depicts that death is one of the most beautiful, challenging and unprecedented in movie history. It is true art in motion and deserves its place in the discussion of great movie moments.
After the beautiful opening scene is a collection of tough-to-watch moments that explore a couple whose grief manifests in ways that are beyond explanation. This is not a film to watch with food in your stomach. It will cause even the toughest men and women to squirm. As tough as Antichrist is to digest, there is a feeling of accomplishment, once the credits roll, that is unrivaled by most movies.
Criterion does not transfer just any film to Blu-ray. They put a passionate and delicate effort into the transfer and it will show. The video and audio look and sound brilliant. The special features are another treat to spend some time with – I am mostly interested in von Trier’s commentary.
- Audio commentary by von Trier and professor Murray Smith
- Video interviews with von Trier and actors Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg
- A collection of video pieces delving into the production of Antichrist, including interviews with von Trier and key members of his filmmaking team as well as behind-the-scenes footage
- Chaos Reigns at the Cannes Film Festival 2009, a documentary on the film’s world premiere, plus press interviews with Dafoe and Gainsbourg
- Three theatrical trailers
- A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie
Tremors – Another survivor of the HD-DVD format collapse is the 1990 gem, Tremors. Universal has finally transferred it over to Blu-ray for the diehards who just have to have their creature feature on the enhanced format.
It doesn’t seem like Universal put a lot of effort into the Blu-ray release, but it will satisfy those who want a slight upgrade from the DVD. It’s always nice to see these types of movies on the format, but it is ultimately unnecessary. The core Tremors fans are still out there, but this release just feels random.
A pitiful collection of special features really only includes a making of the movie. There are some actor spotlights, but they don’t appear to be chock full of secrets.
That’s it for this week’s home video releases. Next week you will be able to purchase the biggest movie ever made – Avatar: The Extended Collector’s Edition. The plethora of special features on this extended release should give you a great look at James Cameron’s epic film.
For whatever reason, next week also features seven 3D home video titles. I’ll try to figure out the special occasion before the next Breakdown, but it sure feels like a strange time to dump all these 3D movies on the world.
In the meantime, what movies will you buy, rent or pass on this week?