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Blu-ray Releases For March

March 14, 2013

March is here and you know what that means. That means that it’s time for my monthly column highlighting films making their debut on the high definition video format known as Blu-ray. While the thoughts of some folks are turning to Spring, others will be turning to the video shelf. For you film fans, here is a look at what’s coming this month and there is quite a variety to behold.

Warners will be issuing a box set of the Nightmare on Elm Street films via their distribution deal with New Line Cinemas.

Scene from John Dies in the End

I won’t try to review the numerous films as there are simply too many of them, but those of you who like these films know who you are and should plan accordingly. Other releases on the horror/sci-fi movie front in March include; John Carpenter’s 1984 take on the Stephen King’s novel, Christine (***), Brian De Palma’s 1978 suspense thriller, The Fury (***), the box office phenom, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (* ½), Michael Crichton’s 1973 writing-directing, feature film debut, Westworld (***) and its 1976 non-Crichton sequel, Futureworld (***), the 1986 Ron Howard-George Lucas collaboration, Willow (***), Jurassic Park (*** ½), its first sequel, The Lost World (** ½), and its second sequel, Jurassic Park 3 (** ½), the adult film take-off on The Exorcist from 1973, The Devil and Miss Jones (not reviewed), a deluxe, Criterion edition of the 1958 horror class, The Blob (** ½). Also, a ‘final cut’ of Blade Runner (***), the 1961, giant monster-on-the-loose entry, Gorgo (***), Charlie Chaplin’s 1947 portrait of a serial killer, Monsieur Verdoux (***) and the first installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (** ½).

Not to be outdone by Universal’s massive Hitchcock box set released last fall, MGM/UA, via their releasing deal with Fox, will be issuing a box set of their own featuring some of Hitch’s work from the 1940s. These include Notorious, Rebecca, and Spellbound (all ***).

Don Coscarelli is a favorite among cult directors, with a loyal fan base standing behind his Phantasm and Beastmaster series of films. Coscarelli’s latest entry, John Dies at the End (***), which revolves around a pair of college dropouts who discover a mindbending drug and stars Paul Giamatti, will be issued this month via Magnolia. Meanwhile, Coscarelli’s Phantasm II from 1988 (** ½), will also be issued in a deluxe special edition from Scream Factory.

On the family film front, there are several releases worth mentioning.

These include a Disney double feature of The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1 and 2 (not reviewed), a 25th anniversary edition of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (*** ½), director Ang Lee’s recent Oscar winner, Life of Pi (***), and Disney’s recent animated offering, Wreck it Ralph (not reviewed).

Roger & Bob Hoskins in ...Roger Rabbit

If you’re a fan of director Steven Spielberg you’ll be delighted to know that several of that director’s films will be making their hi-def debuts this month. These include the recent Oscar winner, Lincoln (** ½), which comes in both a two and four-disc edition and his 1993 Oscar winner, Schindler’s List (*** ½).

Several other releases that don’t neatly fit into any other categories include the 1996 film, Marvin’s Room (***), director Michael Powell’s classic, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (***), the 1964 action film Zulu Dawn (***) and the disc that I’m most eagerly awaiting, a Criterion, deluxe edition, of director Terrence Malick’s 1973 masterpiece about teen killers on the lam, Badlands (****), which features great, early work from Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek in the leads.

Finally, a few recent releases that will be making their home debuts include Zero Dark Thirty (***), Killing Them Softly (* 1/2), the spectacular historical Danish film, A Royal Affair (*** ½) and the remake of Red Dawn (not reviewed).

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