The Blus, they never stop. This week’s pretty insane, release-wise. My little home video column here doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s out there this week. But I’m bringing you a fair sampling of the good stuff as well as a little of the not-so-good. Click the pics to go to the Amazon page where you can do your buying thing. Or don’t. Think I give a shit?
I do, actually. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let’s kiss, make up, and talk about this week’s all-out home video assault. Seriously, baby, don’t be like this:
Lincoln Two Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack ($22.99)
An unpopular opinion no doubt, I just simply didn’t click with Spielberg’s Lincoln like most everyone else did. This is less biopic than flat-out adoration of one of American history’s most celebrated figureheads. The Beard zeroes in on a very specific and important moment in Lincoln’s presidency, but does so through the rosiest of rose-colored glasses. Spielberg could’ve snuck in a scene where Lincoln walks on water and it would feel completely at home in this, a film that’s going to play in every American studies course from now until forever. A very safe, sweet, well-intentioned biopic, but it’s duller than shit; and it doesn’t feel the least bit authentic.
This set gets you the Blu and DVD in two discs or less (two, you’re definitely getting two discs). The 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer means you’re seeing one of the very best cinematographers in Janusz Kaminski deliver another knock-out of a visual experience. He and Spielberg do great work, this one’s no different, just muddier. I may have issues with the overall film (and, admittedly, I’m in the minority) but the look and presentation make it a pretty worthy showpiece in your growing collection.
Jurassic Park 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet ($34.99) / Jurassic Park Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet ($16.99)
I’d like to think Historical Spielberg and Science-Fiction Spielberg battle each other in the Bearded One’s mind as he sleeps next to Kate Capshaw every night. In honor of its twentieth anniversary, Jurassic Park rolls out in theatres nationwide on April 5th boasting a new 3D conversion. Having been lucky enough to see this new conversion on a faux-MAX a couple weeks ago, I can tell you it’s pretty glorious; absolutely one of the best transfers I’ve seen. Jurassic Park is perfect in 3D. Perfect. It makes Spielberg’s monster movie feel all the more monster-y, and Universal took the necessary care with a film as beloved as this. Of course I’m going to recommend seeing it on the biggest screen available to you, but since the 3D Blu-ray comes out today, you can see what I saw in the comfort of your own home as well.
You’ll notice a disparity in price between the 3D and the straight Blu. Honestly, $16.99 is a pretty glorious price for the Blu, a DVD and the Ultraviolet code. Then again, if you have a 3D setup at home, I’d say that the best post-conversion ever is a pretty worthy endeavor.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet ($16.99)
Lest you think Spielberg couldn’t top Jurassic Park, well, you were right actually. The Lost World was one of the first times I was old enough to be disappointed in a movie theatre. Spielberg just never got dialed-in with this one. Most of the fun in Jurassic Park is missing here until Spielberg turns the T-Rex loose on San Diego, but by that point the goodwill’s already been exhausted and that final rampage is more stunted epilogue than resonant conclusion. Even with Jeff Goldblum doing his Ian Malcom thing, the franchise’s move to Site B is met with bored indifference more, as no one’s reasons for being there are of any real importance. Speaking of boring old boringtown Site B…
Jurassic Park III Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet ($16.99)
Better than The Lost World, if only slightly. Spielberg gave his friend Joe Johnston the keys to the kingdom here and Johnston ends up with a serviceable, if completely pointless, third entry. Universal changed the logo back to that of the original T-Rex for the cover art, as the Spinosaurus never seriously caught on with audiences. When I first saw this years ago I couldn’t shake the notion that Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) and his assitant Billy (Alessandro Nivola) were actually lovers. They share a close bond that’s tested when Billy steals the raptor eggs, which I thought may have been a statement on gays and adoption. When Grant sees Billy alive at the end of the film there’s such a tender gaze shared that… seriously, just watch the film. It’s totally there.
Terminator Anthology (The Terminator / Terminator 2: Judgment Day / Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines / Terminator Salvation) Blu-ray ($49.99)
Two of the greatest action films of all time, one mildly entertaining distraction, and Terminator Salvation. Mostow and McG don’t hold a candle to Cameron’s work, and truthfully you probably own the original two in one format or another already. If you’re like me, the franchise ended with Judgement Day and everything that follows is bloat. If you don’t have any of them, you could do worse than owning them all. It’s worth noting that The Terminator is completely remastered here. Your call really, no judgement from me, though you would technically own a McG Blu-ray.
From Beyond Collector’s Edition Blu-ray / DVD Combo ($19.99)
Stuart Gordon, Brian Yunza and Jeffrey Combs all collaborating around an H.P. Lovecraft story. This film followed Re-Animator, but it’s almost a more out-there reimagining of that film. This is very much in the science-run-amok genre, as much as their aforementioned effort, but From Beyond has an interdimensional, shape-shifting component that makes it a wild ride. This bears the Collector’s Edition moniker and is put out by Shout! Factory, who gave us an excellent Timerider transfer on a bare bones disc last week. An audio commentary from Gordon, Yuzna, Comb and actress Barbara Crampton makes this an easy buy for me. Not to mention the new transfer provides a slicker view of some truly demented visuals.
The Sandlot: 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray ($14.96)
In the sixties, kids would play baseball on a sandlot together. In the 90s, kids would talk baseball and watch The Sandlot together. This just one of those absolutely seminal kids movies of the 90s and without a doubt one of the most fun baseball films ever made. It still bothers me that Bertram (Grant Gelt) got really into the sixties and no one ever heard from him again. The mind wanders with dark possibilities.
Killing Them Softly Blu-ray ($19.96)
I feel like an asshole for not having seen this yet, as it’s come highly recommended from a few trusted sources. This one got a surprisingly quite release and never caught that word-of-mouth buzz that films like this thrive on. I know next to nothing about the actual story found within Killing Them Softly. Probably a blind buy, and something I need to watch sooner rather than later.
Phantasm II Collector’s Edition Blu-ray ($19.99)
Another Shout! release, 1080p Scrimm is never not worth your dollar. I seriously love the cover art for this disc; what with the red, bulging eyes looking on in fright while Scrimm’s wonk eye stares straight into your soul. A fun fact about Phantasm II, this is the most expensive of all the films in the series and also one of the lowest-budgeted movies financed by Universal in the 80s. Good Coscarelli.
The Collection Blu-ray ($19.99)
You go to some other sites around the movie blogosphere and you see a lot of readers accusing each other of being plants for studios. If you’re at all interested at seeing real plants earning their money, click that picture of The Collection and read Amazon’s customer reviews. Movie’s shit, but entertaining reading awaits.
Westworld Blu-ray ($13.86) / Futureworld Blu-ray ($13.86)
Jurassic Park was hardly Michael Crichton’s first “theme-park-attractions-run-amok” rodeo. Westworld sees the Park author direct a film about cowboy murderbots at a futuristic Western-themed retreat. It’s sequel Futureworld gets points for trying to be different, though it just isn’t as fun. Westworld is bound to get a remake sooner or later however, so this cheapie Blu is a good way to familiarize yourself before Uwe Boll buys the rights. That was intended to be a joke but… Uwe, if you’re reading… call me.
McLintock! Blu-ray ($23.99) / The Lawless Nineties Blu-ray ($19.99)
Not, McLintock, but McLintock! I love the differentiation. This week sees a ton of old Wayne goodness hitting home video. McClintock! is gold and I don’t know if my longstanding Maureen O’Hara crush can handle 1080p. I’m also including The Lawless Nineties for the sole reason that I think it’d be a great title for a documentary about the apex of Lucy Lawless’ time as Xena the Warrior Princess.
Star Trek Enterprise Season One Blu-ray ($64.99)
My Star Trek life began with TNG, briefly flirted with DS9 and made it a full two seasons into Voyager before I completely abandoned. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered TOS (I know, I know), blew through the films and discovered an affinity for the material I’d never encountered with my earlier experiences. So that’s my roundabout way of saying I’ve never seen Enterprise. I’m open to it, especially if the show shares some of the more playful, colorful vibes of TOS. If there are any fans of the show that are reading, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Is this something worth a retro-Trek fan’s time?
Dead Sushi Blu-ray ($14.99)
Nope, I have no idea either. I just like the images it conjures in my mind’s eye. If that guy behind her is staring up at a monster, that would mean the girl would be looking dead-on at the monster’s junk in this packshot. Hmmpf.
Frampton: Live in Detroit Blu-ray ($15.85)
Frampton coming alive in the Motor City. See a guitar god who was once broken now rise from the ashes. And he was most certainly broken. But that’s to be expected when Homer Simpson wrecks your pig, Cypress Hill steals your orchestra, and Sonic Youth’s in your cooler! Get out of there, you kids!
Best of UFC Blu-ray ($19.99)
I enjoy MMA. It gives my father and I a sport to watch in-between football seasons. But they’re coming off a streak of some truly so-so cards. These anthology discs are a good way of satiating your bloodlust if you’re looking for entertaining finishes without the tedium of watching Lyoto Machida block and parry for five rounds before winning a split decision. And if you’re new to the sport there’s not a better way to bring yourself up to speed.
Next week’s calendar is looking pretty sparse, so expect it to be considerably shorter than the special time you and I just shared. In the meantime: