This week in home video closes out July with a whimper. It was a relatively good month for DVD and Blu-ray fans, with the releases of Amelie, Rango, Das Boot and Limitless. We finish July with Source Code, Blues Brothers and Animal House. While those titles may not sound like a weak finish to the month, there is only one movie on today's Breakdown that we think will be worth buying.
While there are more than just those three titles hitting DVD and Blu-ray this week, some aren't quite as worthy of a full breakdown. Surely there are fans of Dante's Peak and Red Planet and Ironclad, which all hit home video this week, but we'll focus on the more tantalizing releases.
The real highlight is the double dose of John Belushi on Blu-ray. Two of his biggest hits, Blues Brothers and Animal House, make their way to the new format. Of course, these aren't visual feasts that need the upgrade, but those with growing Blu-ray collections should welcome two of the best comedies of all time.
The following titles can now be found of DVD and Blu-ray:
Source Code - Director Duncan Jones' second film nearly quadrupled its $32 million budget, proving a success for the budding filmmaker. Our 3-star review states that "it still manages to deliver an entertaining, albeit flawed, time at the theater." While it may not be as thought-provoking as other mind-benders, it does provide some re-watch value that makes it a worthy addition to your home video collection.
One thing Duncan Jones did with Source Code is provide some visual treats. One explosive scene looks especially gorgeous on Blu-ray and the movie itself is a crisp transfer to home video. The sound design is hit or miss. Certain moments shine on home theater systems, like explosions and the impressive sound design of the film's gimmick - which I will not spoil for those who have not seen the movie yet.
Jones may be securing his secrets by only providing two extra features on this release. Though he does include an audio commentary, it is only a good listen for those interested in the making of the film, and not so much for those who want more on the concepts explored within.
- Audio Commentary w/ Duncan Jones, Jake Gyllenhaal and writer Ben Ripley.
- Access Source Code
Dylan Dog - In our 2-star review of the film, we state, "Unfortunately, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night falls short of being either an entertaining adaptation of the Dylan Dog character or a satisfying film in general." The overall feedback from fans and critics seems to be similar and it only made $4.6 million worldwide. When we get a look at this release, we will provide more details on the video, audio and special features.
Trust - While this indie drama isn't exactly our focus genre, this movie is worth noting. It is a heart-breaking and moving film that explores the tragedy one family endures when a young girl is lured into an unknowing relationship with somebody on the Internet. It's one of those movies few hear about, but given our excessive time on the computer these days, everybody should see. It should also be noted that Trust is Friends star David Schwimmer's second turn as a director, after Run Fatboy Run.
With only a couple of special features, this is another light release, but it does give brief, albeit irrelevant, insight into the production.
- Between the Lines
The Blues Brothers - One of the best genre mashups of all time blends comedy, music and action like few before and since. It may not seem like it at first, but Blues Brothers is perfect for Blu-ray. It's one of the only SNL spinoff movies that really hit it big (although some would argue Wayne's World is another). The music is out of this world and the car chases put it in Top 10 lists everywhere.
Director John Landis watched over the transfer of his film to Blu-ray, and the focus shows as this is one of the better-looking classics we've seen. One could argue it looks like it was shot today, but still has that feel of a classic without too many digital enhancements. And for a movie with such a reliance on audio, it sure sounds like the best fusion of action and music available on a small screen.
An hour-long look at the stories behind the film really give you a sense of its comedic value and the formation of a classic. The home video also provides a meaningful look at the comedic genius of John Belushi.
- Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers
- Transposing the Music
- Remembering John
Animal House - John Belushi's other release this week is constantly near the top of many "Best Comedy" lists and deservedly so. Is it a movie designed for a future on Blu-ray? No. Should you still own this title on Blu-ray? Maybe. Is it still one of the better comedies of all time? Yes. No technological changes could ever push it off that list.
But while the movie's status atop the comedic pyramid is a given, the Blu-ray's value is not. This one does little to enhance the visual experience and even less to add to the already moderate special features displayed on previous DVDs. The only real addition to prior supplements are a pair of picture-in-picture behind-the-scenes moments that don't really make this a new release worth running out for.
- Scene Companion
- The Music of Animal House
- The Yearbook: An Animal House Reunion
- Where Are They Now? A Delta Alumni Update
- SceneIt? Animal House
- Theatrical Trailer
VERDICT: Skip if you own the DVD.
Next week's releases do not provide a lot to get excited about. The animated hit Rio makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray, but so does Soul Surfer. On the bright side, Eastbound & Down, Better Off Dead and Conan The Barbarian (which is home to one of the greatest commentary tracks of all time) make their way to home video.
Stay tuned every week for breakdowns of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.