Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Releases On Blu Ray & DVD: 9/10/13

J.J. Abrams’ summer smash sequel STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS heads the pack of new releases on Blu ray and DVD this week. Having enjoyed Abrams’ 2009 reboot, I was disappointed in the follow-up as you can obviously tell in my review entitled “STAR TREK Into Disappointment” (5/16/13). But even fans who loved the film may be disappointed in its home video release as the Blu ray+DVD+Digital Copy package (also available in a 3D Starfleet Phaser Limited Edition Gift Set) only boasts a bunch of featurettes as its bonus material, with no commentary, deleted scenes, or an extensive “making of” documentary. This is surely because there will surely be a more expansive Special Edition someday, so fans thinking about purchasing it should maybe take that into consideration.

To take advantage of the release stardate (sorry) of the newest film in the long-running franchise, Paramount is putting out a bevy of Star Trek titles on Blu ray including Star Trek: The Original Series – Origins, STAR TREK: Stardate Collection (a box-set of 10 movies with additional content), and new individual Blu ray or DVD editions of each of the previous ST films.

Also out this week: Suzanne Bier’s LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED (read my review from last May), Tina Gordon Chism’s TYLER PERRY PRESENTS PEEPLES, Alex Gibney’s documentary about Julian Assange’s infamous website WikiLeaks: WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS (DVD only), Richard Raaphorst’s sci-fi horror flick FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY, Nick Murphy's 2012 crime thriller BLOOD, Kieran Darcy-Smith's 2012 mystery drama WISH YOU WERE HERE, and David Mamet's HBO telefilm PHIL SPECTOR, which despite starring such classy types as Mamet, Al Pacino (in the title role) and Helen Mirren is a pretty trashy affair.

The Criterion Collection has a few notable titles out today that are new to Blu ray, both with choice bonus features. First up, there’s Edouard Molinaro’s 1978 French comedy classic LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, which is enhanced by a new 20 minute video interview with director Molinaro, 30 minutes of Archival Footage, a 22 minute interview with professor Laurence Senelick about the film’s history and influence, original theatrical trailers, and an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein.

Martin Ritt’s 1965 thriller classic THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD also gets the deluxe Criterion treatment with over 4 hours of Special Features including an interview with John Le Carre, an hour long BBC biodoc entitled “The Secret Centre: John le Carre,” audio excerpts from an 1985 interview with director Ritt conducted by film historian Patrick McGilligan, a featurette in which cinematographer Oswald Morris discusses select scenes, an audio commentary, a Set Designs featurette, an episode of the BBC program Acting in the 60's focusing on Richard Burton, and an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow.

Also on the older films new to Blu ray front is Kurt Neumann's 1958 Vincent Price classic THE FLY, Dario Argento’s 1970 Giallo genre landmark THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, John Schlesinger's MARATHON MAN (1976), Anthony Minghella's Patricia Highsmith adaptation made into a Matt Damon vehicle THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, and the largely forgotten 1998 Nicholas Cage caper that was Brian De Palma's SNAKE EYES.

The BBC/HBO mini-series Parade's End, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall, also hits home video this week in 2-disc Blu ray and DVD sets. The 5-part series is joined then sole bonus feature of playwright Tom Stoppard, who adapted Ford Mattox Ford's Parade's End series of novels from the 1920's for the production, getting interviewed on KCRW's The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell.

Other TV series sets hitting home video today include Homeland: The Complete Second Season, The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Sixth Season, Castle: The Complete Fifth Season, Supernatural: The Complete Eight Season, Blue Bloods: The Third Season, and Luther 3.

More later...

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