Strap in, friends, as we’ve got another turbulent (and potentially expensive) week of selections in This Week in Blu-ray. It wasn’t enough that we were hit with season 5 of Lost last week along with World’s Greatest Dad and Harry Potter 6, but now we’ve got a few more major releases this week, including one gigantic not-to-be-missed set of comedy from master Mel Brooks. It’s so gigantic that I will be unleashing a separate article later in the week. It’s just that good. In other news, you should continue reading below to see what should be on that last minute “Christmas presents for self” list.
Read on below and be enlightened. And remember to support FSR by buying via our Amazon links below. We need to keep the lights (and Dr. Cole Abaius’ creepy “laboratory”) up and running here at the HQ…
The Mel Brooks Collection
We begin our journey this week with one of the most long-awaited Blu-ray sets of my lifetime. Yes, my lifetime. As a big fan of the work of Mel Brooks — from Spaceballs in my youth to seeing Blazing Saddles in my late teens and loving every minute of it — I can’t say enough about this 9-film set. It includes the big ones (Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Robin Hood: Men in Tights), all sporting crisp, beautiful transfers. And it has some of Brooks’ lesser known work, such as Twelve Chairs, High Anxiety (which is perfect as the second-half of a double feature with Hitchcock’s Vertigo) and Silent Movie. I will be reviewing in more detail when I post my “Mel Brooks Odyssey” article over the weekend, but for now, know this: the special features are solid, the movies look wonderful and if you are in any way a fan of Mel Brooks, this is more than worth the money.
Blu-ray exclusives include an exclusive 150-page book about the career of Mel Brooks.
Quentin Tarantino’s latest film — and his most commercially successful — is a vicious, deviously fun ride through a World War II that we never saw coming. With immensely pleasing performances from Brad Pitt and an Oscar-worthy villain in Christoph Waltz, this could be the dark horse pick for best film of the year. On Blu, the cinematography of Robert Richardson shines and the world created by Tarantino and team feels as real as it ever will. It also features tons of deleted scenes, a great roundtable discussion with Tarantino, Pitt and Elvis Mitchell, the original Inglorious Bastards film that inspired Tarantino, and the full version of Nation’s Pride, the movie within a movie. And that’s just scratching the surface. Without a doubt, this is one of the must-own movies of the year, and it looks too good on Blu-ray to pass up.
Blu-ray exclusive features include Pocket Blu for iPhone and BD-Live.
It’s a good week to be buying Blu-ray, as I’ve said a few times already. Not such a good week if you’re trying to save money though, as here we are on our third must-buy title. In my mind, The Hangover is the best comedy of the year, hands down. It features a cast that works, a director who has a brand of humor that never fails (except in that Starsky and Hutch movie), and a story that becomes progressively ridiculous and lovable at the same time. It also features a Blu-ray bonus features selection that is up to the task, including a hilarious picture-in-picture commentary track, featurettes delivered via BD-Live, a mash-up of cursing (awesome) and a full version of Mike Tyson singing “In the Air Tonight.” That last part is true, and worth the price of this Blu-ray alone. Oh right, there are also a bunch of special features that the BD release shares with the DVD. You get the picture.
Blu-ray exclusive features include PIP commentary, BD-Live, a cursing Mash-up and a Mike Tyson music video (still awesome).
Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 3
Ever since I reviewed a copy of The Original Series – Season 1 back in the day (so long now that this column has changed names and formats), I have been sold on what CBS/Paramount are doing with the original Trek show. They’ve beefed up the special effects, added tons of special features and delivered an overall experience worthy of such an influential sci-fi property. It is the perfect type of release for anyone who saw J.J. Abrams’ movie this year and yearned to discover the film’s roots. And while I haven’t had a chance to review this specific release in detail (have to run out and pick up my own copy), I’m secure in recommending it to Trek fans blindly. Go ahead, complete your collection.
Blu-ray exclusive features include BD-Live.
Ang Lee’s take on the Woodstock music festival is one that is less about music, and more about a central character (played by Demitri Martin) coming to terms with who he is and where he wants to be in his life. It’s a compelling story, but a bait-and-switch of sorts, as Lee’s movie never really shows us Woodstock. And while it has its fun moments and its heartfelt ones, Taking Woodstock isn’t exactly the kind of movie that anyone could just up and buy. However, it is worth a rent. The Blu-ray content is another jab to the release’s buy potential, as it features only one BD-exclusive featurette and BD-Live. It’s interesting, as the featurette is all about the Earthlight Players nude-performing troop featured in the film, but it just isn’t enough to move this from rent t0 buy.
Blu-ray exclusive features include an Earthlight Players featurette and BD-Live.
If I were my Fat Guys at the Movies co-host Kevin Carr, this is where I would be whoring for an aggressively mediocre movie, just because I like my friends at Disney. Lucky for you, I’m not that guy. And while G-Force isn’t the worst thing you could put in front of your kids (or the kids of the hot single mom you’re dating), it certainly isn’t the best. And while Disney has loaded this release with great Blu-ray exclusive features such as Cine-Explore and an in-depth look at the animated films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it doesn’t change the fact that the film is subpar. I would almost recommend a rent, based on the kid-friendly value of this movie and the almost Michael Bay-esque rodent spy action, but I can’t do it — not for everyone. Looking to entertain the little ones? Ok, rent it. Otherwise, stay away.
Blu-ray exclusive special features include Cine-explore and two additional featurettes, along with Digital Copy.
Also on Blu-ray this week: