Last week's home video releases were unimpressive (apart from Saving Private Ryan, one of the best Blu-rays I've ever seen). This week in the Breakdown we've got some goodies, both old and new. From parodies to a dark and gloomy Mel Gibson, there is a bit of everything.
But, as usual of late, the new releases are weak and we must rely again on Blu-ray transfers to satisfy our weekly trip to the store. In fact, the new releases totaled an 8.5 out of a possible 15 in Screen Rant reviews.
A handful of Blu-ray two-packs come out this week, including a Clive Owen thrill pack containing Inside Man and Children of Men. So if you want your discounted double feature packages, this should be a good one for you. But you won't find any of those sets in this breakdown, which has been reserved for new releases and Blu-ray transfers.
All the following releases can be found in Blu-ray and DVD.
Edge of Darkness - Mel Gibson's return to the big screen was not without risk. This dark tale was"more detective story than action-packed Taken knock-off" as our own review put it. Mel even sports a Boston accent, maybe to remind you he can be somebody else other than that infamous celebrity from the tabloids.
Unfortunately, the film couldn't surpass its own budget, taking a $78 million box office, including international ticket sales. If you enjoyed the movie, or simply need to see how Mel Gibson fairs in his comeback attempt, you can help give it second life in the home video market.
Daybreakers - Another movie that didn't do much wallet-busting at the box office featured Ethan Hawke in a futuristic take on the vampire genre. It was refreshing to hear the concept of this film, but it just didn't capture the wonder it could have. Our review claims a similar perception - "Despite a very interesting premise, Daybreakers fails to rise above its average script and mediocre action sequences."
The film takes a stab at the dystopian society idea by creating a world where vampires make up the majority of the world's population. That premise alone is worth renting the movie, but if you want to buy it, that's another story. Daybreakers is worth a shot on your DVD or Blu-ray player as it comes in with stunning reviews, especially on the audio and video front. But special features are pretty in depth as well, with an awesomely detailed two-hour behind-the-scenes documentary.
As irate as the film may have made some viewers, the profits nearly doubled the production budget. But then again, a $55 million total box office isn't anything to be proud of (regardless of your budget) when you open in nearly 2,500 theaters for just over eight weeks.
Reviews have given the actual video and audio quality of the Blu-ray near perfect scores, but they can't save it from the absurdities that accompany.
The Karate Kid I & II - Possibly one of the most underrated films of the 1980s, the first Karate Kid is one of the better "sports" movies of all time. It captures the heart, innocence and desire of a nobody trying to be great - a theme many of today's superhero films try to explore. One could argue Daniel Larusso is a kind of superhero, based in reality and without a comic book to back him up.
In addition to the fascinating Daniel-son, Mr. Miyagi is one of the most iconic characters in movie history, whether you want to admit it or not, and that is precisely why this Blu-ray transfer is worth it.
The first film's special features are intriguing. A commentary that sounds like a must-hear features director John Avildsen, writer Robert Mark Kamen and actors Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita all together to discuss their classic film. It's too bad Elisabeth Shue couldn't make it to fill out the cast as she is one of my favorite aspects of the movie.
History of the World: Part I - One of my own personal favorite comedies, I am excited to tell you it can now be found on Blu-ray. Director Mel Brooks offers a hilarious slapstick nod to famous moments in history with the humor of a Monty Python sketch and the accuracy of a Michael Mann film. But it's not just a bunch of funny historical spoofs. In many ways it is a buddy road-trip comedy as well.
There isn't much to report about the actual release. It appears to just be the movie in 1080p for the Blu-ray crowd.
The movie is also about the relevance of fear in human nature and how jealousy can twist our perceptions. It is about more than nature hunting man and becomes a truly solid film in many ways, specifically on the acting front.
As with History of the World, there are not many details on the features in this release, but it does come in the expected 1080p video quality.
With the Ridley Scott Robin Hood movie releasing this weekend, this is a well-timed Blu-ray release and will make for a nice counter to the obviously serious nature of the upcoming adaptation.
INTRIGUING PICK OF THE WEEK:
Tidal Wave and Megafault - Essentially just having a little fun here, two disaster movies in one week seems too good to be true. You've got fire and water here, so pretty much everything you want to see get destroyed will find itself torn to shreds. Tidal Wave focuses on a tsunami that strikes a heavily populated South Korean beach, even though the cover art suggests some kind of San Francisco Korea.
Megafault actually stars the late Brittany Murphy in yet another awfully terrible disaster flick. I will simply let the following two sentences of plot synopsis speak for the movie - "In West Virginia, Charley 'Boomer' Baxter is controlling the position of mountaintop-depletion blasts. He detonates the TNT, and an enormous earthquake liquefies the area."
That's it for this week's home video collection. Next week brings Invictus to the shelves, along with a handful of other new releases. One of Al Pacino's most cherished performances, Carlito's Way, also comes to Blu-ray. Finally if you really wanted that two-pack of Black Sheep and Tommy Boy, next week is your chance.
What are your plans for home video purchases this week? Are you interested in any of these titles?