Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Releases On Blu Ray & DVD: 4/16/13

Quentin Tarantino’s blaxploitation Western revenge romp DJANGO UNCHAINED, starring Jamie Fox, Christoph Waltz, and Leonardo DiCaprio, heads the pack of new releases this week with a Two-Disc Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) edition, or a single disc DVD version, if you don’t have a Blu ray player. 

Special Features: A smattering of featurettes: “Reimagining the Spaghetti Western: The Horses & Stunts of DJANGO UNCHAINED,” “Remembering J. Michael Riva: The Production Design of DJANGO UNCHAINED,” “The Costume Designs of Sharen Davis,” “20 Years in the Making: The Tarantino XX Blu-ray™ Collection,” and “DJANGO UNCHAINED Soundtrack Spot.”

Tarantino’s specialty label Rolling Thunder Pictures takes advantage of the home video release date of DJANGO with a Triple Feature Presentation of Ho Meng-Hua’s THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN (a.k.a. GOLIATHAN, 1977), Arthur Mark’s DETROIT 9000 (1973), and Jack Hill’s SWITCHBLADE SISTERS (1975). Each film is presented with scratchy prints, and there is no bonus material, but if you’re a fan of grimy grind-house cinema, it’s a neat DVD-only single disc deal. 

Having seen all three films (SWITCHBLADE SISTERS screened in Raleigh as part of the ongoing Cinema Overdrive series at the Colony Theater in 2010), I can say that there is a fair amount of schlocky fun to be had, but I have more than a feeling that Tarantino is so much more amused by this sleazy stuff than I am. 

The cool retro release of the week has to be the Criterion Collection’s Blu ray Special Edition of Alec Cox’s REPO MAN. The 1984 cult favorite, which I wrote about seeing on the big screen in 2009 (Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of REPO MAN, 3/19/09), has been given a Cox-approved new high-definition digital restoration, commentary featuring Cox and other cast, interviews with Cox, Richardson, and Zamora and more cast, deleted scenes, the complete “cleaned-up” television version of the film (!) prepared by Cox, trailers, and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Sam McPheeters. Nice! Oddly, the DVD edition is a 2-disc set while the Blu ray is a single disc. Usually it's the other way around.

This being an ever lamer Blu ray and DVD release date than last week, there’s not much to report on. Two movies I haven’t seen, the French CGI-animated feature, Bibo Bergeron’s A MONSTER IN PARIS, that got good critical notices but little attention, hits both formats, and Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s 2011 martial arts thriller DRAGON gets a Blu ray release, but beyond that I’d be hard pressed to point out anything very interesting. Check out Amazon’s list of today’s releases and tell me I’m wrong.

More later…

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