This week's DVD/Blu-ray releases are all worth a look. Two award-winning movies and an award-winning actress starring in a romantic comedy are now available. There is also a classic comedy making its way to Blu-ray.
Our very own Paul Young got a nice pull quote on last week's DVD release of Criminals. If you want to see the long arm of Screen Rant's reach, go check that out on shelves nearby.
If you didn't want to splurge on the Alien Quadrilogy, the first two films hit Blu-ray as individual releases this week. If you are picky about your Alien movies, now you can get the two good ones ;-).
Blue Valentine - One of the most genuine films in recent memory was arguably snubbed by the Academy in the Best Picture category. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams took all the risks and bared their souls to those audiences who gave Blue Valentine a chance; director Derek Cianfrance presents a terrifyingly real story for which our 5-star review was well-deserved.
The DVD and Blu-ray provide a worthy audio and video mix, but this film really doesn't call for the Blu-ray treatment. It's not a visually stunning movie, although the cinematography is quietly beautiful. The quiet nature of the film itself really focuses all the attention on the performances.
The bonus features are surprisingly fantastic. For some reason, I expected a bare bones home video. Instead, this release provides one of the best audio commentaries I've ever heard and a few quality deleted scenes. Few commentaries really make a movie better, but director Derek Cianfrance and editor Jim Helton share stories about production that enhance the already terrific performances and storytelling.
- Audio Commentary: Director Derek Cianfrance and Editor Jim Helton
- Deleted Scenes
- The Making of Blue Valentine
- Frankie and the Unicorn (Home Movie)
The Illusionist - One of the best animated films of 2010 finally comes home. Toy Story 3 got all the buzz and the Oscar, but The Illusionist was just as deserving. Sylvain Chomet revealed a gorgeous animated world and a compelling story of Tatischeff, a struggling magician.
The video transfer is really gorgeous and the atmospheric presence of audio is nice on surround sound. Ultimately, the animation is what drives the movie and that visual component looks great on Blu-ray.
There are not many special features, but the ones that are there are decent. Still, this release doesn't provide a lot of behind-the-scenes information.
- The Making of The Illusionist
- The Illusionist Theatrical Trailer
- Animation Line Tests
- Before and After Animation Sequences
No Strings Attached - Natalie Portman followed up Black Swan with this lightweight romantic comedy alongside Ashton Kutcher - and it wasn't half bad. She really does seem to be having a blast making this movie and it's a good thing, apparently, because she recently said No Strings Attached and Thor kept her from going crazy after Black Swan. Either way, No Strings Attached was funny enough to watch again.
Ivan Reitman hasn't quite returned to his original form of genius comedy, but a less-experienced director may have had more trouble with this movie. Reitman clearly had a good atmosphere on set because everybody seems to have had a great time - at least on screen.
- Audio Commentary: Director Ivan Reitman
- Sex Friends: Getting Together
- Inside the Sassy Halls of Secret High
- Modern Love: The Dos and Don'ts
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Storyline Scenes
Some Like It Hot - Genre-mashing has never been better since the gangster movie that became a comedy. I don't mean Some Like It Hot is a funny gangster movie - instead, it starts off as a solid mob crime film and quickly transitions into a cross-dressing comedy with ease. Marilyn Monroe looks gorgeous as always and the comedy pair of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis is right on the money every step of the way.
It is pretty astounding to witness the difference between two raunchy comedies (new and old) which both hit shelves today - No Strings Attached and Some Like It Hot. Maybe the times have changed and audiences need more mainstream comedic action than character-driven hilarity. The more comedies we see today, the more Some Like It Hot improves - not something you can say about all classic films.
If you own the Collector's Edition DVD, you've seen all the special features before. There isn't a single new supplement, but Blu-ray enthusiasts should be thrilled to add a comedy of this caliber to their collection.
- Audio Commentary
- The Making of Some Like It Hot
- The Legacy of Some Like It Hot
- "Nostalgic Look Back" Documentary
- Memories from the Sweet Sues Featurette
- Virtual Hall of Memories
Next week provides a wide range of options for home entertainment fans. Justin Bieber's Never Say Never finally hits DVD and Blu-ray, but the inevitable sing-a-long edition has yet to be announced (*sarcasm). Natalie Portman returns to shelves again with The Other Woman, while The Mechanic and The Rite fill out a healthy new release schedule.
Come back next week for more on those releases and more. Share your thoughts on today's releases in the comments section below.