Blu-ray Releases For December
December 3, 2015
It’s that time of the month again where we take a look at what you can expect at video retailers. Before we get into forthcoming releases, here are a few reviews of some discs that have recently been released on Blu-ray.
In Cold Blood (1967) (****), released by Criterion, is director Richard Brooks’ 1967 adaptation of the celebrated non-fiction best seller from author Truman Capote. It still stands as one of the best examples of how to correctly transfer a film from the printed page. Robert Blake and Scott Wilson are perfectly cast as killers, Perry Smith and Dick Hancock, teens who murdered a family of four in rural Kansas in the 1950s. Adding to the film’s greatness is its score by Quincy Jones and exquisite lensing by Conrad Hall. The film has been beautifully remastered in 4k and has been given a new 5.1 surround soundtrack. Extras include features about director Brooks and cinematographer, Conrad Hall.
Ikiru (1952) (****), released by Criterion, is one of director Akira Kurosawa’s (Seventh Samurai, Rashomon) greatest achievements. It’s a studied tale of a city official suffering from stomach cancer who is determined to make a lasting contribution to society before he dies. It’s also one of the most life affirming films ever made. The film has been remastered in 4K and features a 90 minute documentary on Kurosawa and a feature on the making of the film.
The Final Girls (2015) (**), released by Sony, is a horror parody disguised as a tribute to the slasher films of the 1980s. Max (Taissa Farmiga) is a teen whose world is shattered when her mother, a former horror movie queen, is killed in an auto accident.
Blake & Wilson, In Cold Blood
Things take a strange turn when she and her friends are sucked into a silver screen showing her mother’s most beloved film, Camp Bloodbath. The film boasts some occasionally good bits but eventually collapses under the weight of its flimsy premise. The disc includes alternate endings and commentaries.
Bad Boys 1 and 2 (1995/2003) (** 1/2/**), 20th anniversary edition is a Sony release offering both films, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, remastered in 4K for the first time. If you’re a fan of the cinema of director Michael Bay (Transformers) you’ll dig it, others beware. You know who you are. Both discs include music videos, deleted scenes and trailers.
Jimmy’s Hall (2015) (***), a Sony release, is the latest film from acclaimed director Ken Loach. Most of Loach’s films deal with the struggles of the working class and this one is no different in its unraveling of the true story of Jimmy Gralton, a man who opened a dance hall in his small working class community and paid the ultimate price. Among the disc’s extras are a commentary and deleted scenes.
Shelby (2015) (**), released by Anchor Bay, is a holiday offering featuring Chevy Chase, Tom Arnold and Rob Schneider in the tale of the title dog’s (voiced by Schneider) attempts to get himself rescued by a ten year old boy and his family during the Christmas season. Parents watching with their young ones may up the rating by a star but others beware. No extras on this one.
Goodnight Mommy (2015) (***), released by Anchor Bay, is a rather creepy and intriguing horror entry about what happens when the mother of nine year old twins returns home from a mysterious hospital stay, transformed to the point where her kids wonder if she’s actually their mother. Effectively eerie and worth a look.
New releases coming in December include Downhill Racer (***); Ant Man (** ½); the recent documentary on singer Amy Winehouse, Amy (*** ½); Twice Told Tales (** ½); The Car (** ½); Ted 2 (***); Nightmares (** ½); the second and third Naked Gun films (***); Zoolander (** ½); Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (***) and Minions (**). Twilight Time will also issue several titles in limited editions, found at their website, www.twilight time.com, which include The Detective (** ½); 1984 (***); Mysterious Island (***) and Born Free (***).
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