This week brings some great Criterion titles, a solid David Cronenberg film, and some of the worst films from the end of the 2011–both Oscar nominated flicks and kiddie movies. Hey, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was nominated for Best Picture, so it can’t be all that bad, can it? (Answer: Yes it can). Check out the highlights of this week’s releases….
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked: What may be the final chapter in the Alvin trilogy, this film proved more successful abroad than stateside so there’s probably still money to squeezed out of this franchise. Alas.
- Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel: If you ever wanted to see Jack Nicholson weep, this is the film to see. Corman’s a legend, and he launched some of the most important filmmakers of the last fifty years. Though the film eventually becomes a clip show and skips over a lot of his career, this is a must-see for anyone who loves movies.
- A Dangerous Method: David Cronenberg’s take on Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung’s tempestuous relationship, this film gets into perversity in a way that makes you wish Cronenberg could really cut loose. It’s a solid piece of work for what amount to a naughty Masterpiece Theater film, and features good performances from Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley, though, so it’s definitely worth a look.
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: And Shockingly Oscar-Nominated. If you want to see one of the worst films ever nominated for best picture, you can watch Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock troll for awards in story of a young child going on a quest to find the secret of his father’s death on 9/11.
- South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season: South Park has been around for so long that it often gets stuck with nothing new to say, but the Fifteenth season had at least a couple of their best episodes, including one that showed Stan dealing with cynicism and divorce. It also has a Human Centipede parody that is pointless, but that’s the luck of the draw.
- The Bodyguard: This reissue was in the works before Whitney Houston died, so you can’t say Warner’s did this due to greed. It was also a huge hit in its day, and for a couple of years it turned Houston in to a movie star. Based on a script that Lawrence Kasdan had sitting in a drawer for nearly twenty years Kevin Costner plays the titular character that protects Houston from a stalker. Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “I will Always Love You” came from the film and that may be its greatest legacy.
- Casablanca: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition: For those concerned about being double-dipped, the 4K restoration of the movie is a huge improvement over the previous release – it makes the older version look like DVD quality. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman make an indelible impression as star-crossed lovers, and the supporting cast includes Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet. Murderer’s row of talent in one of the most entertaining films Hollywood ever made.
- David Lean Directs Noël Coward: This four-film set shows the start of David Lean’s career, and the high points of Noel Coward’s cinematic collaborations. It also concludes with Brief Encounter – one of the best films ever made. You get to see Lean develop as an artist, and though the widescreen master of Lawrence of Arabia might not have fully emerged – you can see the great artist figure it out.
- DragonHeart, The Quest: Universal puts out weird catalog titles. I don’t know why these two are being issued on Blu-ray, my only guess is that it’s because they have HD masters.
- A Night to Remember: The best version of the sinking of the Titanic. Accept no substitutes.
What are you picking up on disc this week?