The Blu-ray Crypt – June 11

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Oz the Great and Powerful blu art

Oz the Great and Powerful 3D

I am a die-hard Sam Raimi fan so it is with some regret that I have to say that I found Oz the Great and Powerful to be mostly underwhelming.  A lot of that has to do with the overly saturated CG environments that looked too cartoony to give any sense of reality to the film.  I know the movie is a fantasy but the CG-laden visuals bothered me enough that I had a hard time buying into the film, which was made even harder by a relatively weak script.  The movie isn’t bad and there are things to enjoy in it but as a whole it doesn’t quite click.  Still, I’d be interested in watching the film again to see if my initial expectations for the film hindered my first viewing of the movie.  Disney is releasing Oz in a few editions with a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy version (pictured above) as well as a separate Blu-ray 3D edition.  There looks to be a decent amount of special features on the discs including a look at how they created the porcelain doll and a day-in-the-life video journal from James Franco.

Hansel & Gretel blu art

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D

I saw this movie in theaters during a three-movie viewing spree at my favorite theater.  I don’t know if I was having movie fatigue (I did see the mostly unfunny Movie 43 right before this one) or if Hansel & Gretel actually bored me but I couldn’t keep my eyes open for much of the second and third acts of the movie.  I’m going to have to see it again to properly pass judgement on it but I do remember finding it mildy entertaining while I was awake for it, though unremarkably so.  I didn’t really care for the witch makeup design but I did really like the fact that Edward the giant troll was a practical animatronic puppet/man in a suit.  It looked pretty glorious and I was appreciative that they didn’t just do a CG creature.  The Blu-ray features the theatrical cut of the movie as well as an extended unrated cut.  I doubt the extended cut adds much to the movie and is more than likely just a selling point here.  The movie comes in a standard Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy edition as well as a 3D version (here).

House of Cards Season 1 blu art

House of Cards: The Complete First Season

I just started watching this series on Netflix last night.  I’m two episodes in and already I can see that this first season of the show is shaping up rather nicely.  Great acting and great writing are at the forefront of this political drama.  Kevin Spacey plays a mastermind character that navigates and manipulates people into doing what he wants with ease.  Word of mouth surrounding House of Cards has been very enthusiastic and I’m quite eager to see how the rest of the season plays out.

Ninja III - The Domination blu art

Ninja III: The Domination

I had never heard of this movie until Shout! Factory announced that they were releasing it on Blu-ray.  Then I started seeing people talking about it online and the more and more I discovered about the story, the more I wanted to see it.  It sounds absolutely bonkers and is the exact type of B-movie junk (I say this lovingly) I like to consume.  Just read this brief synopsis of the the movie: The body of a sexy aerobics instructor is invaded by the evil spirit of a dying ninja. At first, changes in her behavior are limited to having strange interactions with an arcade game, doing sexy things with V8 juice, and being attracted to an unusually hairy police officer. But soon enough, she’s systematically killing, ninja-style, the officers responsible for the ninja’s death, and can only be stopped by another ninja!  Sounds perfect, I’m sold.  I CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH THIS.

Snitch blu art

Snitch

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in Snitch as a successful businessman who learns his son faces ten years in a federal prison for drug possession. Convinced it was a set-up, he volunteers to become an undercover informant and infiltrate a ruthless cartel. Now, with his back against the wall and his life totally on the line, he must expose the true criminals before they discover his identity.  I really enjoy The Rock as a movie star and seriously hope his recent success with G.I. Joe 2 and the Fast and the Furious franchise leads him to make some really great action movies in the future.  I haven’t seen Snitch yet so I don’t know if this falls into the “better” category of his filmmography but I’m guessing it sits more alongside Walking Tall and Faster based on some of the reviews I’ve read about the movie.  I’m willing to give it a shot though and see if there is any fun to be had here.

Wrong blu art

Wrong

From electronic musician-turned-director/writer/editor/cinematographer/composer Quentin Dupieux, Wrong is about a man, Dolph Springer, who wakes up one morning to realize he has lost the love of his life, his dog, Paul. During his quest to get Paul (and his life) back, Dolph radically changes the lives of others and through his journey he may lose something even more vital – his mind.  I’ve heard about Dupieux’s latest film for awhile now but have somehow managed to have never seen a trailer for it.  I figured since I haven’t seen any footage, I may as well keep on with that and just go ahead and see the movie completely unspoiled.  Sometimes it’s nice to just walk into a movie knowing very little about it and let it surprise you.  Having seen Dupieux’s last film, Rubber, I have an idea for how weird it might be.  It should be interesting.

Driven blu art

Driven

I’m an unapologetic fan of Sylvester Stallone.  From his great films right down to the awful ones, I enjoy seeing him on the big screen and I’ll sit through just about anything he stars in at least once.  In Driven, Stallone reteams with Cliffhanger director Renny Harlin for this racing action drama in which Harlin notoriously cut out Stallone as the leading man in the editing room, basically reshaping the movie in post-production (the original cut was over four hours long).  I haven’t seen this movie since it came out in theaters in 2001 and I honestly don’t remember much about it other than that I don’t think I particularly cared for it.  Car racing movies don’t really appeal to me much but it has Stallone in the cast and it’s been so long since I’ve seen it that I find myself curious to revisit it despite my brain telling me not to.

Enter the Dragon blu art

Enter the Dragon

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has re-mastered Robert Clouse’s martial arts classic for its 40th anniversary in this new Collector’s Edition Giftset.  They’ve provided all new special features that include commentary with producer Paul Heller, featurettes: No Way As Way, The Return to Han’s Island and Wing Chun: The Art that Introduced Kung Fu to Bruce Lee, as well as interviews with Lee’s wife, Linda Lee Caldwell.  The set also features some vintage special features including the featurettes Backyard Workout with Bruce Lee, Curse of the Dragon, Location: Hong Kong with Enter the Dragon, Blood and Steel: The Making of Enter the Dragon and Personal Profile Bruce Lee: In His Own Words.  I’ve actually never seen a Bruce Lee movie and I think I need to make a point to do so and this might be a good place to start.

Save the Date blu art

Save the Date

After an ill-timed and very public marriage proposal, fiercely independent Sarah breaks up with her overeager boyfriend Kevin. Sarah turns to her sister Beth for support, but Beth is too busy obsessing over the details of her own wedding to Kevin’s band mate. When Sarah suddenly finds herself caught up in an intense rebound romance with another man, she is forced to examine her own fears of commitment and vulnerability and decide if she’s better off staying safely single or risking everything on love.  Save the Date appeals to me greatly due in part to its cast.  I’m a big fan of Party Down so Lizzy Caplan and Martin Starr are big draws for me and I thoroughly enjoy Alison Brie on Community (and Mad Men).  The movie looks pretty good and I have a feeling I will be watching this one soon as it looks like it’ll make for a good date night movie with my girlfriend.

More titles released today:

The Newsroom: The Complete First Season

Wild Strawberries (Criterion)

Running Scared

Rendition

The Philadelphia Experiment

Hard Times

Ring of Fire

Killing Lincoln

How To Survive a Plague

The Manson Family

The Only Game in Town

Mysterious Girlfriend X: Complete Collection

by Ben McBride

Follow Ben on @monsterpopcorn

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One Comment on “The Blu-ray Crypt – June 11”

  1. NICK June 11, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    Oz would’ve been better with a sronger lead. Franco sucked. Other than that, there are cons, but it was pretty enjoyable for me. Also – I wish I could unwatch House of Cards so I could watch it again for the first time. Enjoy it!

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