This week's DVD and Blu-ray releases feature a few major titles. You may need to spend more than usual on each if you want to enhance your collection with some of the most recognizable names in movies.
The biggest offering this week marks the second home video release for Avatar - now with a handful of features. Another epic film comes out on Blu-ray this week: Metropolis enhanced to its finest quality yet on Blu-ray.
Interestingly, this week also features a handful of 3D home video releases. I'm not sure yet why so many are hitting shelves today, but if you actually purchased a 3D television, you can put it to good use. The Last Airbender, Clash of the Titans, The Polar Express, Open Season, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, IMAX Deep Sea, IMAX Under the Sea and IMAX Space Station all release as 3D titles this week.
The following titles are also available this week on DVD and Blu-ray.
Avatar Extended Collector's Edition - You may remember the initial bare-bones home video release of Avatar in April. The second coming has arrived with the Extended Collector's Edition. The new release brings hours of additional footage and enough behind-the-scenes featurettes to make your friends turn green blue with envy.
If you honestly have not seen Avatar, you missed quite the show. The massive 3D production not only shattered the box office record for highest grossing movie, but revolutionized the way we make and watch 3D cinema. If the $2.7 billion worldwide box office wasn't enough for James Cameron, he'll likely pass the $3 billion mark with the latest home video.
While I usually get into the details of the new home video releases, this time I'll let our own Roth Cornet do the work. The endless features on Avatar Extended Collector's Edition may cost you a few extra bucks, but her extensive review of the release proves why it's worth the price.
Capture a piece of cinematic history and take the last step in the Avatar journey - until the release of the 3D edition, of course ;-). This is a must buy.
A Christmas Carol - Robert Zemeckis' $200 million animated feature brought Jim Carrey to the screen as Ebenezer Scrooge. While it wasn't a rousing success, the film did rake in $325 million worldwide. Our review put it somewhere near mediocre.
The 3D feature will also be available in the third dimension this week. But if you don't have the home entertainment system to grab that edition, the regular 2D should do just fine. Frankly, it is only as good as Jim Carrey's performance, which is pretty stunning.
Zemeckis' trademark motion-capture technology turned Carrey into an old curmudgeon, but kept his physical comedy intact. It's something to enjoy if you need a marathon of Jim Carrey holiday movies. Just throw in How The Grinch Stole Christmas and do a double feature. Special features include:
- Capturing Dickens: A Novel Retelling
- Countdown to Christmas Interactive Calendar
- On Set with Sammi Hanratty
- Deleted Scenes
The Last Airbender - Well, it had to release again at some point, right? The joke of the summer is ready to take your money again on DVD and Blu-ray. I almost feel bad for M. Night Shyamalan - we were so close to forgetting about this debacle film.
While the movie made a ton of money ($318 million worldwide!), it couldn't prevent a backlash of negativity towards the awful rendition of a beloved animated series. Our 1.5 out of 5 review may have been generous by some audience members' standards.
You can also find the Shyamalan title on 3D home video this week. So, if you want to watch a movie that underutilized the third dimension in every way possible, you can hope they've made some improvements for the home video version. The special features give an inside look at this year's potential Razzie winner:
- Avatar Annotations (Picture-in-picture on select scenes) – Insights with cast and crew
- Discovering The Last Airbender (nine-part documentary in HD)
- Siege of the North: Get transported to the frozen realm of the Northern Water Tribe and the largest indoor film set ever built on the U.S. east coast (in HD)
- Origins of the Avatar: Birth of the mythology from the original co-creators of the animated show, Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. Concept art from the popular series provides further perspective into how the story would eventually reincarnate into an epic feature film (in HD; also available on single-disc BD)
- Katara for a Day: Spend a day on the set with Nicola Peltz (in HD) Deleted scenes (in HD; also available on single-disc BD)
- Outtakes (in HD; also available on single-disc BD)
The Kids Are All Right - The subject of some early Oscar buzz, this indie drama had a solid run at the box office and collected a nice pile of positive reviews. Many critics called it the most accurate portrayal of American lifestyle in cinema today.
Julianne Moore and Annette Bening star alongside Mark Ruffalo in this dramedy. The synopsis will refresh you on the story in case you are interested in a solid film amidst all the big-budget releases this week.
"Two teenaged children conceived by artificial insemination get the notion to seek out their birth father and introduce him into the family life that their two mothers have built for them. Once the donor is found, the household will never be the same, as family ties are defined, re-defined, and then re-re-defined."
The special features are not plentiful, but give a nice inside look at the production. Dramedies tend to shy away from a hardcore collection of supplements, but shed more light on the plots that drive your emotions:
- Feature commentary with director/co-writer Lisa Cholodenko
- The Journey to Forming a Family: director/co-writer Lisa Cholodenko reveals how her five-year long journey to write and bring the film to the screen was motivated by her desire to put down roots and create a family of her own.
- The Making of The Kids Are All Right:
- The Writers' Process: Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg discuss their writing process
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore - Ten years after the first installment of this animal/action franchise, we have a 3D home video release of the sequel to Cats & Dogs. The live-action movie is overloaded with parody and satire of a number of blockbuster films. The catch is they put dogs and cats in the generic action roles.
I won't get into the details of this film too much, but if you have a family in the mood for some big action, this is your pick.The special features will give the family something extra to watch as well:
- Coyote Falls: new Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoon (in 3D on the 3D version)
- Sneak peek of the upcoming Yogi Bear theatrical film
- Dog Dishing: Tails from the Bark Side of Hollywood
- The Best of the Best Cat vs Dog Animated Showdowns
- Meow-Takes: Outtakes and Gag Reel
The Complete Metropolis - For years film historians have attempted to find the complete Metropolis movie that was shortened for American audiences in the late 1920s. A number of editions have claimed to be the most comprehensive, but apparently the entire film has finally been found and is now available on Blu-ray.
The silent epic is one of cinema's most revered works of all time. The new release is a collaborative collection from dedicated filmmakers across the world. While this won't be a perfect transfer, even the tremendously damaged reels that have been salvaged look as good as ever. Those of you who claim old movies cannot be any better on Blu-ray should check out this release. It's the best example of bringing decaying history to life.
You'll even find a 5.1 surround sound track in addition to the stereo track. One of the earliest behemoths of cinema is truly available for the most advanced home video systems in the world. It's a wonder to behold.
The special features are small, but worth an extra look. It took enough effort just to get the entire movie on Blu-ray, but there are a few nice supplements:
- Voyage to Metropolis, a 50-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film (in HD)
- Interview with Paula Felix-Didier, curator of the Museo del Cine, Buenos Aires, where the missing footage was discovered
- 2010 re-release trailer
The Night of the Hunter - The Criterion Collection has impeccably restored countless classic films on Blu-ray. Now we add another great film to that list with The Night of the Hunter. The 1955 black-and-white classic stars the legendary Robert Mitchum as vile preacher Harry Powell.
The Night of the Hunter is quite an influential film, particularly for its memorable scenes and gorgeous cinematography. If you get too caught up int he look, you might miss out on all the dark humor as well. The movie has a little bit of everything, even a unique, ethereal pace.
If you need further proof of its timeliness, The Simpsons even parodied The Night of the Hunter; Powell's infamous "Love" and "Hate" tattoos were also referenced in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.
Criterion brings incredible in-depth special features to the Blu-ray, which adds an audio commentary, a two-and-a-half hour behind-the-scenes documentary and even a clip from The Ed Sullivan Show where cast members perform a scene deleted from the film.
This week presents some epic cinema and might cost an extra buck. All things considered, it's a blockbuster week of home video in the weeks before Oscar dramas hit theaters.
Next week brings a few small productions with big buzz to the shelves. The ambiguous I'm Still Here and Flipped, a rare recipient of a 5 out of 5 review from Vic, come out on DVD and Blu-ray.
What home videos are you looking forward to this week? Will you buy, rent or pass on the titles above?