The best new release on Blu ray this week has to be the 1965 Beatles classic HELP! The Richard Lester-directed musical comedy starring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Victor Spinetti (Spinetti, who passed away a year ago at age 82, also appeared in the Beatles’ first film 1964's A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, and their 1967 TV special Magical Mystery Tour), is available today in a single disc Blu ray edition (a new 2 disc DVD set also drops), which contains close to an hour’s worth of bonus material.
The digitally restored original film is joined by: “The Beatles in HELP!” (a 30-minute “Making of” documentary), “A Missing Scene” (a film outtake, featuring Wendy Richard), “The Restoration of HELP!,” “Memories of HELP!,” 1965 Theatrical Trailers (two original U.S. trailers and one original Spanish trailer), and 1965 U.S. Radio Spots. For more on HELP! read my review of a previous re-mastered edition of the film from November 7, 2007.
That’s the best, now for the rest headed by a couple of movies nobody, including me, went to see earlier this year: the Halle Berry thriller THE CALL, and the Steve Carrell/Jim Carrey comedy THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE, both out today in 2-disc Blu ray combo packs with UltraViolet, digital copies, etc (also out on single disc DVD sets).
THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE also features Steve Buscemi, and sadly one of the last performances on film of the great James Gandofini, who passed away last week at age 51. That alone may make it worth watching. Special Features include deleted scenes, alternate takes, Line-O-Rama whatnot, 8-minute “Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield” featurette, gag reel and something called “Steve Gray Uncut,” which has an in-character Jim Carrey starring in “The Best of The Brain Rapist.” You read that right.
THE CALL also comes packaged with a bunch of Special Features such as a commentary with cast and crew (including Director Brad Anderson, Berry, and writer Richard D'Ovidio, an alternate ending, deleted and extended scenes, and 40 minutes of featurettes (“Emergency Procedures,” “Inside the Stunts,” “Michael Ecklund Audition Footage,” “Set Tour of the Call Center,” and “Set Tour of the Lair.”
A movie that didn’t come to my area (the Triangle area in N.C.) in its brief theatrical run, Juan Diego Solanas’ odd sci-fi flick UPSIDE DOWN, starring Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst, is out today in a 3D + 2D Blu-ray & DVD Combo, and a single disc DVD. It comes with a bevy of bonus stuff including a 25-min. “Making Of” featurette, storyboards, sketches, and deleted scenes.Also out today: Pablo Larraín’s NO, starring Gael García Bernal, Patrick Wang’s IN THE FAMILY, Samuel Fullers’ 1969 cult classic SHARK!, starring Burt Reynolds, the Criterion Collection edition of Claude Lanzmann's acclaimed 9 1/2 hour Holocaust documentary SHOAH, and a couple of well regarded works by Jean-Luc Godard (1978's COMMENT ÇA VA? and 1987's KEEP YOUR RIGHT UP) get spiffy new Blu ray releases from Olive Films.
TV Series sets hitting the shelves: Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis Season Six, CSI: NY - The Final Season, MADtv Season Three, and Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids: The Complete Series (that’s all 8 seasons on 15 discs!).