This week offers some of 2012′s bigger releases of the early months of the year – with a romance and vampires versus werewolves – and one of it’s possible cult movies. And for the older titles, there’s a a good Criterion release, some western and noir classics, and one of the great unheralded sequels. Not a bad bunch, and check it out the full list after the jump.
Underworld: Awakening /Underworld Collection: One of the more unlikely franchises that’s proved to be a seasonal success for Sony (along with the Resident Evil franchise), I can’t say I really get these films. I mean, I get the math: add The Matrix to Vampire/Werewolf lore, and have it star a kick butt chick in leather; that I get, but the latest was another hit, and that means we’ll probably see another in two years time. And then they’ll put out another box set that collects all the movies.
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie: Like their show, there wasn’t much middle ground with Tim and Eric’s movie, and though it hung out under the radar, it did make an impression on those who saw it (‘Shrim’), and does feature cameos from stars like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. It’s hard to say if this will become a cult movie, but it’s got all the credentials of one.
The Vow: The movie where Channing Tatum has to suffer Rachel McAdams completely forgetting their relationship! For whatever reason, there’s been a number of hit movies based on terrible situations, from one partner one the road to death (Love Story, etc.) to them already being dead and coming back (Ghost) to one being a hooker and the other being a super-rich guy (Steel Magnolias, or something like that). The film is charming in its by-the-numbers plot, and this is the year of Channing Tatum.
The Barbarian and the Geisha / The Big Trail / Tora! Tora! Tora!: Fox is putting out some classic westerns and war films, though it’s hard to say that any of these movies are great. Giesha is very widescreen, and Fox was one of the studios who really believed in cinemascope. It and The Big Trial are Walmart exclusives, though. Big Trail is cool because it’s from Raoul Walsh and is a 1930’s Western, which we haven’t seen much of in the Blu-ray revolution. Tora! was released earlier in fancy packaging, but they’ve scrapped it for this release.
The Big Heat / Journey to the Center of the Earth: Both of these come from Twilight Time, which often offer a very limited pressing. I’ve been impressed with their work so far, and I grabbed their version of Fright Night, which is now one of those super-out-of-print Blu-rays. The Big Heat is an exceptional 50’s noir with an okay lead performance from Glenn Ford, and great supporting work from Lee Marvin and Gloria Grahame. You have to order these from their website, but they are definitely worth it.
Dirty Dancing Collection: Did you once have the time of your life, and you swear you’ve never felt this way before? Is it true? I think part of the reason these films get released in packages is so the studio can make money off of the sequel. To be fair, I own a number of terrible films because they’re part of a box set (I’m looking at you Alien Resurrection)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch: Joe Dante’s pop-art masterpiece was never given the respect or attention of 1984’s Gremlins, but it’s enjoyed a healthy cult following from those who love Dante’s work. This is his most film (perhaps not his greatest) and the energy carries the film through his Frank Tashlin-esque sense of humor. Can’t wait to get this.
La Haine: Directly influenced by Do the Right Thing, Mathieu Kassovitz’s raw, energetic and charming film about characters who are fated to end up in a bad place is one of those great films that led to Kassovitz directing crappy American films like Gothika. But the film still has the power of violence and belief behind it, and holds up well.
What are you picking up this week?