This week in home video releases lacks the punch of a huge title - but a historic moment will occur on Tuesday. For the first time in history, a 3D feature will be available to the masses.
The releases that follow span four completely different genres - family animation, war thriller, romantic drama and biopic. None of them blew us away in the box office, but they each bring something worthy of a spot on your shelf. Though, they are mostly titles I'd rent, rather than outright buy.
The following titles can all be found on DVD and Blu-ray.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (3D) - Considering the $100 million budget for this animated feature, a $124 million domestic return was a huge disappointment. But the movie has a chance to redeem itself in the home video market. If it falters again, it will always have a place in movie trivia history - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is now the first title to be released in 3D to the home viewer market.
The sub-$30 price tag is impressive all things considered. Most home video releases cost about triple the theatrical ticket, yet this title only doubles the now $17-$20 price tag of a 3D feature.
Apart from the limited special features, the release is coming in with near-perfect scores all the way around the table. If you liked the film, of course this is going to look great in your collection. But if you are following the trend of 3D entertainment, this is your chance to begin a new collection that is sure to expand in the coming months.
Green Zone - In what is very likely Matt Damon's biggest bust, the underwhelming promotion of Green Zone prevented the film from making back it's $100 million production budget in the worldwide box office. Apparently, Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon does not equal a hit. Then again, maybe people were just a bit thrown aback by the heavy political tone of the film.
Either way, the DVD and Blu-ray release means a second chance to catch some heat. As is the case with most war films, the sound is top notch and the video is solid.
There is an audio commentary featuring both Greengrass and Damon, which proves its worth, alongside three short featurettes on the making of the film.
Remember Me - Lucky for Remember Me, it was shot on a minimal budget as an independent feature. It wasn't a hot commodity in theaters, but it did fire up a national debate. The addition of the tragedy of 9/11 within the plot of the film was shocking to many viewers who didn't read the spoilers prior to its release. Was it more disruptive than poetic? You can be the judge, now.
I never saw this in theaters, specifically waiting for the home release, to find out what all the fuss was about. My guess is many of you will do the same if the re-emergence of the title has reminded you at all of the controversial moments in the film. In addition to all of that, it is one of the few chances to see Lost star Emilie de Ravin in a feature film.
INTRIGUING PICK OF THE WEEK
Red Desert - I personally have never heard of Red Desert, but anything the Criterion Collection puts out on Blu-ray has a stamp of approval in my book. As usual, the Blu-ray re-release is nearly a perfect score.
For anyone unfamiliar with Red Desert:
"Red Desert (Il Deserto Rosso) once more combines the considerable talents of director Michelangelo Antonioni and star Monica Vitti. Cast as Giuliana, an unhappy wife, Vitti suffers from an unnamed form of depression and malaise. Her quicksilver emotional shifts disturb everyone around her, but they, like she, pretend that nothing is truly wrong. British engineer Corrado Zeller (Richard Harris) seems to understand what Giuliana is really after in life, and he acts upon it by entering into an affair with the troubled woman. Giuliana eventually comes to terms with her physical and mental pain, but this hardly means that she's "cured" in the conventional sense."
The booklet inside suggests an intricate transfer process. While 75% of it is technical jargon, this is an answer to anybody questioning the validity of a movie from 1964 enhanced for the Blu-ray format.
"This new high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit HD 2K Datacine from the original 35mm camera negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS system and Pixel Farm's PFClean system, while Digital Vision's DVNR system was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction."
There are 79 minutes of bonus materials and an audio commentary from film historian David Forgacs. Personally, I prefer the commentaries from critics and others not involved in the production of a film. If there is one blind buy this week, the latest Criterion Collection release should be it.
Next week brings titles that are more relevant to our audience. Predator finally makes its way on Blu-ray along with a few new releases that our own reviewers enjoyed. Check back next Tuesday for latest home video releases.
What do you think of this week's releases? Anything catch your eye?