In our Shelf Space Weekly column we highlight a few of the DVD and Blu-ray announcements and anticipate which titles just might be worthy of space on your crowded shelves. This week is mostly new releases, with one catalog release that was personally significant to my early shelf space days, back when it was a VHS shelf we were talking about.
Cloud Atlas - May 14, 2013
Cloud Atlas may have been destined to get discovered on video. It’s so ambitious its cast and filmmakers couldn’t even explain it, though I think that was just hype. It’s easy to say: it’s six different stories in six different time periods. Cloud Atlas did not open well, did not have legs, and did not even get Oscar nominations in the technical categories.
Well, Blu-ray will be your chance to do Cloud Atlas right and the visual palette of past, present and future is sure to look outstanding in HD. I mean, have you seen the Speed Racer Blu-ray? If not, you should, because Speed Racer is also awesome. Cloud is a Wachowski Starship and Tom Tykwer movie and they know how to make stuff look good.
Blu-ray extras include seven featurettes that all seem to hint at how monumental this project was. “Eternal Recurrence,” “A Film Like No Other,” “The Essence of Acting”... well, now it seems like they’re making it intentionally impenetrable, but I’d love to hear Tom Hanks explain the essence of acting, wouldn’t you? No commentary or deleted scenes, and there must be some scenes that didn’t make it into the three hour film, but this looks like a thorough exploration of the movie. You could say the Blu-ray is so stuffed with bonus features, it’s Cloud Fatlas! [Editor’s Note: But let’s not, shall we?]
Zero Dark Thirty - March 19, 2013
Wow, here’s a quickie. Less than a week before the Oscars and one of the key nominees is announced on DVD/Blu-ray while it’s still in theaters! Since the climax of this film is the night raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, I’ll be interested to see how that holds up on Blu-ray.
Bonus features include four featurettes: Kathryn Bigelow reflecting on the importance of these events, the recreation of the OBL compound, the training and equipment for authenticity, and Jessica Chastain on the role of Maya, all including soundbites from the cast and crew. Seems a bit basic. I predict a more in-depth special edition coming down the road.
The Sandlot - March 26, 2013
The Sandlot was one of those surprising kids movies that I really liked back in the ‘90s and watched over and over again on home video. I don’t know if that sort of thing even happens anymore. Even if you give a movie a chance and love it, you don’t keep a tape of it lying around. You may only have a 24-hour viewing window on some streaming services.
I guess the story of a new kid in town finding his place with the local baseball kids got to me. I think baseball was a metaphor for belonging. It was about the adventures the kids found, making epic quests out of mundane local situations. Baseball gave them a jumping off point, and the ‘60s setting helped make a Babe Ruth autograph a particularly poignant treasure.
If Fox Home Entertainment is going to the effort of putting The Sandlot on Blu-ray, I imagine they have a nice transfer of it. It will probably be the highest quality in which I ever see the film, since I only discovered it on VHS. The only extras are a featurette, which was probably made to run on shows like “Entertainment Tonight” back in the day, and some trailers. I’ll look forward to reviewing it after all these years. I hope it still deserves space on my shelf.
Bachelorette - March 19, 2013
Bachelorette was a VOD hit in August, landing at number one on the digital download charts, so perhaps a disc release is only a formality. But since this is Shelf Space and you may want this on your shelf, you can get a DVD or Blu-ray next month. Bonus features include bloopers, behind the scenes featurette and commentary with writer/director Leslye Headland.
A Haunted House - April 23, 2013
It has to be mentioned just to be thorough, the found footage spoof movie A Haunted House will be a new release in April. Besides trailers, there’s only one bonus feature on either Blu-ray or DVD, a featurette called “How to Survive a Paranormal Presence.” At least it seems like they knew not to overdo it.
Hyde Park on Hudson - April 9, 2013
Likewise, this prestige film didn’t make any waves when released at the height of awards season, so we’ll just do our diligence and inform you that it will be out on DVD and Blu-ray. There is a healthy collection of extras including deleted scenes, two featurettes and commentary by director Roger Michell and producer Kevin Loader.
Superman: Unbound - May 7, 2013
The latest animated DC Comics movie will be aptly timed to this summer’s live-action Man of Steel movie. Matt Bomer voices Superman, which makes us think he’d make a pretty good Superman in real life too. He already played a Ken Doll in Magic Mike. Stana Katic and Molly Quinn play Lois Lane and Supergirl respectively. Oh, and John Noble plays Brainiac! I wonder if it’ll be an Aussie Brainiac.
The animated DC movies have been quite good. This is based on the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank story arc “Superman: Braniac.” If you know that story, you tell me, would it make a good movie? Bonus features include a sneak peak at the upcoming Justice League animated movie, some featurettes on Supergirl’s home planet Kandor and Brainiac himself, four episodes of “Superman: The Animated Series,” audio commentary from the filmmakers and a digital comic excerpt from “Superman: Braniac.”
Tormented - April 2, 2013
I actually saw Tormented at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival last year. I’m not particularly a fan of Japanese Horror or Takashi Shimizu’s work, but it seemed pretty in line with his other stuff. As a fan of Asian movies in general, I’m always happy with Well Go’s Blu-ray releases. Tormented was in 3D and this American release only announces standard Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy, but the box art confirms 3D so you can literally invite Shimizu into your living room with this one. It had a lot of sticky outty 3D in it too.