Selected highlights from today’s Blu-ray releases.
Mad Max Trilogy – Each of these three movies has left an indelible stamp on pop-culture, from part one’s hacksaw scene that both Watchmen and Saw lifted wholesale, to the post-apocalypse sports gear chic of the second and the iconography of a Thunderdome where “two men enter, one man leaves” in part three. It’s interesting to note in the modern era of Internet nit-picking of plot inconsistencies that each subsequent installment retcons the previous ones a bit more: there’s no indication in Mad Max that society at large has crumbled; The Road Warrior introduced the idea of a global crisis, but it wasn’t until Beyond Thunderdome that it was definitely referred to as a nuclear war. These Blu-rays have been released separately before, but different studio distribution deals have made it tricky to sell them as a set; perhaps whatever it was that finally paved the way for the upcoming fourth installment, Fury Road, cleared things up. And yes, the original Mad Max has the original audio – though if you grew up loving the horribly dubbed “American accent” version, that is still an option, because not all trilogy directors named George act like douchey perfectionists. Oh yeah, and I’ll be giving away one of these sets later today. I’d rather keep it, but I love my readers just that much.
The Shadow – Alec Baldwin always wanted to play Batman – I remember him giving a Rolling Stone interview back in the Tim Burton days, saying that Batman should have an instant hard-on each time he got in the suit – but he had to settle for this one instead. Like the Billy Zane Phantom, it’s a fun movie if you don’t expect too much, with Baldwin hypnotizing people into seeing him with a digitally enhanced nose under the bandana, and John Lone as the descendant of Genghis Khan (the closest you’re likely to see to a comic-accurate version of the Mandarin).
Warm Bodies – If you can get past the notion that zombiedom is curable if and when an emotional moment starts to trigger your heartbeat, this loose take on Romeo and Juliet starring a confused corpse isn’t half bad; it’s certainly not as nonsensical as Twilight, and Rob Corddry is pretty funny as a best-pal zombie who communicates in grunts whether alive or not. We’ve lost many of the social satire aspects of zombiedom lately – this movie is at least as focused on pointing out how we already act brain dead as it is on warming hearts onscreen and off.
Creature From the Black Lagoon – The gill-man is easily the coolest of the classic Universal Monster designs, but how many of you have actually seen him in 3D, as originally intended? This goes one better than the original, because 3D Blu-rays don’t need the headache-inducing red and blue. Previously available in the box set, but icthyophiles who don’t care so much for Frankenstein can now own it solo. (Ditto The Invisible Man and The Mummy, as of today available as singles too.)
Sadako 3D – Reboots aren’t just the domain of American cinema, as this new take on the Ringu series proves. By most accounts less successful at scaring than those that came before it, it at least adds the twist that VHS is no longer a factor, and the hair-faced harridan can emerge from mobile devices and giant video screens – appropriately resized for each – just as easily as TV sets. I suppose a Hollywood take on this Asian remake is inevitable.
It’s A Disaster – Before all the other apocalypse comedies come out, you could do worse than watching Todd Berger’s take, in which David Cross and Julia Stiles play a newly dating couple at a dysfunctional brunch with alleged friends when biological warfare breaks out. Faced with imminent demise, they still have trouble seeing beyond their own navels.
Adventure Time: Seasons 1 and 2 – Finally I can catch up and start to learn what half of the gifs y’all post mean.
12 Rounds 2: Reloaded – The director of The Marine 2, Death Race 2 and The Scorpion King 3 gets stuck with Randy Orton as a leading man in a movie even WWE doesn’t seem interested in promoting (and may I remind you they just pushed a horror movie in which Brodus Clay is one of the first to die). The original 12 Rounds, with Renny Harlin directing John Cena, actually had its moments. But while many fans hate Cena, they don’t really care about Orton. Nor should they.
And those are my picks of the week – as always, add yours below.