Tuesday, March 8, 2011
It looks like March is turning out to be quite the month for the DVD and Blu-ray market with several new and classic films coming out, including two of my favorites from 2010 (Black Swan and The Fighter). With all of the great titles already out or just on the horizon, I wanted to throw some shout-outs to some that I am greatly anticipating (or already enjoying). In no particular order:
Jackson County Jail/Caged Heat: One of March's most exciting releases is this edition of Shout Factory’s continuing Roger Corman collection. Jackson County Jail is solid but the real treat here is the re-release of Jonathan Demme’s terrific Caged Heat starring Erica Gavin, Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith and Roberta Collins. Shout Factory’s DVD not only contains a remastered print of Demme’s important early work but also a new audio commentary with the man himself! Demme is joined on, what I am sure is, an excellent track by cinematographer Tak Fujimoto and Gavin. I can't wait to hear Demme's stories of shooting the film, working with Collins and Smith and, hopefully, telling the story of how John Cale came to score the film.
Out of Sight: One of my favorite films of all time gets the Blu-ray treatment and I hear the results are quite stunning. My copy has been shipped and I can’t wait to spend time with Jack Foley and Karen Sisco in High-Def.
The Walking Dead (Season One): For those that missed AMC’s terrific new series, this DVD and Blu-ray set should prove a perfect opportunity for catch up in anticipation of Season 2.
Love and Other Drugs: I’m not a fan of Edward Zwick’s works typically but I was really taken with this beautifully acted (Anne Hathaway is particularly exceptional here) and well-made romantic drama that is refreshing in the way it approaches modern relationships and sexuality, and for making a rather tired genre feel vibrant again.
Daughters of Darkness: Harry Kumel’s masterful vampire opus starring Delphine Seyrig comes to Blu-ray fully loaded with quite a number of great special features (including the astonishing Blood Spattered Bride as a High-Def bonus film!).
Italian Classic Reissues!: Dario Argento’s wonderful Phenomena starring Jennifer Connelly hits Blu-ray courtesy of Britain’s Arrow label. The picture quality on Arrow’s release is supposed to be a great improvement over past versions and the near hour long documentary is a real selling point as well. Also look for Blue Underground's release of Argento's incredible Inferno as well.
Perfume of a Lady in Black: Francesco Barilli’s stunning giallo starring a brilliant Mimsy Farmer finally hits American DVD courtesy of Raro’s new stateside division. This is one of the best Italian films of the seventies and it is so great to finally see it released here.
The Beyond: Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece finally hits Blu-ray courtesy, again, of Britain’s Arrow label with extras aplenty.
Finally, one of the few films from Antonioni I haven't seen, Le Amiche, is also being released on disc in March. Now if we could only get quality versions of Blow-Up, Zabriskie Point and The Passenger on Blu-ray.
Galaxina: While it may not be the greatest film in the world, Galaxina did offer the much-missed Dorothy Stratten her largest role and I am sure one of our great lost beauties will look even lovelier than ever in High-Def.
The Next Three Days: Forget any prejudices you might have against the films of Crash writer and director Paul Haggis and check out this extremely well-done thriller from last year that mostly slipped under the radar. The always astonishing Russell Crowe gives a jolting and quite haunting performance and Elizabeth Banks proves she is just more than just a great comedian. The Next Three Days is a terrific and intense film that was one of my favorites from 2010 and I highly recommend it.
Dorm that Dripped Blood: One of the early eighties more undervalued slasher's gets the deluxe treatment in this DVD/Blu-ray combo set. I can't wait to throw out my old murky looking full-frame VHS copy.
Even though it came out in February, I also wanted to mention that Bernardo Bertolucci's monumental Last Tango in Paris is now out on Blu-ray. Frustratingly MGM still refuses to give one of cinema's most important films special edition treatment but the picture quality is a big improvement over past version.