Monday 25 June 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

After last week's poor selection comes a busy week of new releases and re-issues. Although there's no one stand out title, if there's not something here for you to watch perhaps you're better off sticking with the tennis.
Re-issued just in time for The Dark Knight Rises, these newly designed boxes for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are a perfect investment for those who don't already own the films. It's nice to see re-issues being given the 'Triple Play' treatment too, although at their current price, it might be worthwhile waiting a week for the double-pack steelbook version. That Heath Ledger cover is quite nice though...

How do I not already own this film? Painfully 90's, it's as if it's just been dug up in a time capsule in the Blue Peter garden along with a Global Hypercolour t-shirt and goatee beards. Despite sharing a star and a partial title with Dazed and Confused, something tells me this has more in common with the 90's "why me?" slacker-fest that is Reality Bites, except nowhere near as good. If only for the chance to see these actors before their prime (it's got 3rd Rock From the Sun's French Stewart in a film that isn't Inspector Gadget 2!), I'll be hunting this one down and then gently mocking its Generation X cliches.

Even though the cover looks like a geriatric version of Glory Daze, this is really the story of a bunch of pensioners who up sticks to a supposedly luxurious hotel in India, only to discover on arrival that it's a run down dump. First world meets third world and hilarity ensues, depending on your definition of hilarity. For the young folk it also stars Dev Patel, who by following Slumdog Millionaire with this seems to have unwittingly taken on the mantle of 'Star of the Feel Good Film of the Year'. I suppose he was in The Last Airbender in between, but the less said about that one the better.

A big slushy love-fest with Channing Tatum being all hunky and dreamy rather than funny, if putting The Vow in an eye-searingly pink box is good for one thing, it's so that when you move in with your girlfriend and put your blu-rays together on one shelf you can tell where yours end and hers begin.

The 1990 Abel Ferrara classic hits Blu-ray with a rather nice Tom Hodge designed cover. An iconic role for Christopher Walken and his gravity defying hair, this Arrow release comes packed with special features (loads exclusive to Blu-ray) and is housed in a rather lovely steelbook, which is so pretty they've deemed it worthy of its own trailer. I've never seen anyone do this before.

Also released this week is The Innkeepers, sadly missing the poster artwork of its too brief theatrical run (this one also had a Tom Hodge poster that went unused). I'm yet to see The Innkeepers, but the the trailer looks promising and if it's anything like Ti West's previous effort The House of the Devil, it's going to be some freaky stuff.

After the inexcusable shittiness of the first Ghost Rider movie, there wasn't many people who wanted a sequel, except for maybe Nicolas Cage and his agent. However, when Crank's Neveldine/Taylor came onboard as directors I'll admit I got a bit excited about what tortured superhero madness they could come up with. Add to that the presence of the reliable Idris Elba in the cast, and this had the potential to be a winner. It's unfortunate then that they tried to aim it for too wide an audience, as it's clearly a neutered film hampered by its family friendly certificate.

When I first read the box quote "Dazed and Confused meets Gavin and Stacey", not only did I want to be a little bit sick, but I wondered how on earth Empire gave this film five stars. It takes something special to get full marks from them (okay, Attack of the Clones did but that was a long time ago), so after a bit of research it turns out they didn't give it that score at all, opting to give the cinema release the much more believable two stars. I'm going to be keeping a close eye on Empire's DVD review when the new issue comes out, as something's not so hunky dory about where they got that new score and quote from.

It now appears to be the law of the straight-to-DVD market that at least one film a week has to have Nazis, zombies or both, and so we unfortunately have this as a thing. Those pesky Nazis; first they were in the snow, then they were on the moon, and now they're in my flippin' cup of tea. It's a ballsy move to say your film is "Hot Fuzz meets Shaun of the Dead", as that's a hell of a strong pedigree to live up too. Note that that's not a quote but just a statement someone's decided to put on the cover, as there's not a single person on the planet who would actually compare this film the either of those comedy classics. On evidence of the trailer, I'd say the makers have brewed this one a bit weak.

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