Watership Down (Criterion Collection) – Watership Down was one of my absolute favorite books when I was younger – an epic adventure with a quest, a team of heroes, a big bad evil villain who doesn’t emerge until many other more abstract threats have been conquered, its own second language, and…aside from a weird last-minute twist, it’s all about rabbits.
I didn’t see the movie when it first came out, but when it finally came back around (in my youth, before everyone had a VCR, that happened a lot) I saw it and was disappointed that IT WASN’T EXACTLY LIKE THE BOOK. Hollywood didn’t cater quite as much to authors as it does now – if the novel came out today, it would of course be planned as a trilogy with the third part split in two, converted to 3D and every last scene intact. But young me didn’t get that sometimes things have to change, and an annoying Art Garfunkel song has to go somewhere in the middle.
I’d like to check it out again. Based on everything I hear, I bet it’s actually a more decent adaptation that fundamentalist li’l me was willing to accept. A new director interview, as well as one with Guillermo del Toro for some reason, is included in the extras.
Big Hero 6 – You get two Oscar winners in one here, as the short “Feast” is also included. The most specifically geared to kids (as opposed to “all-ages”) of the nominees for Best Animated Feature, Big Hero 6 was the inevitable winner few saw coming (I was predicting Princess Kaguya, until it became clear that most Academy voters choose based on what they see kids responding to). It’s good to see a Marvel-based movie unconstrained by having to interlock with all the plots of the Marvel Studios stuff, and it’s refreshing to see a multicultural super-team of girls and boys where no big deal is made of that fact. If only it were a slightly riskier story than “vengeful bad guy steals good guy’s technology to become a super-villain.”
Ah well, everyone loves Baymax, the inflatable health-care robot with super rocket-powered armor – he’s the only HMO that actually loves you back, which arguably makes him the biggest bit of wish fulfillment from any movie last year.
Note: there are several different retailer-exclusive versions, so…yeah. Fun.
Whiplash – J. Jonah Jameson throws things at Reed Richards’ head and yells at him the whole movie. Or as Peter Parker calls it, Tuesday.
Sons of Anarchy: Season 7 and Complete Series – People swear to me that Charlie Hunnam is actually good in this biker show loosely based on Hamlet, but I have been burned by him in every movie I have seen of his. I like Ron Perlman and Leela Bundy, though. (Yes, I know her real name’s Katey Sagal. I could call Perlman “Hellboy Johner,” but how many of you remember what he was called “Johner” in?)
Dragonheart 3 – Yes, there’s a Dragonheart 3 and it’s a prequel and they somehow got Ben Kingsley to do the voice of the dragon. I know it makes no sense, yet here it is.
God Told Me To – From Larry Cohen, director of It’s Alive and The Stuff, this 1976 horror involves people going on murder rampages because they believe God said so, all because of a religious cult that may or may not be controlled by aliens. Andy Kaufman plays a possessed cop, and the movie reuses stock footage from Space: 1999. The Blu-ray features an unrated cut of the film, commentary from Cohen, and an interview with star Tony Lo Bianco.
New Year’s Evil – Golan-Globus slasher flick from the ’80s in which the killer keeps calling in to a punk rock New Year’s party. Starring Roz Kelly, best known for playing Fonzie’s girlfriend Pinky on Happy Days.
Those are my top picks. What are you checking out?