DVD and Blu-Ray Weekly: Jacob’s Ladder and Other Ventures

Tim Robbins is a great at playing the “everyman.” He reminds me a lot of a Frank Capra character. Like Gary Cooper or James Stewart, he just seems so innocent, a little naïve, but fully capable. He is the all-American man. Obviously his most notable portrayal of this is The Shawshank Redemption, but Jacob ’s Ladder is a solid example of this as well.  His “everyman” quality adds to the visceral experience of the 1990 Vietnam thriller by creating a sense of empathy. If it can happen to Tim Robbins, it can happen to everyone, clearly.

This week, a new release of Jacob ’s Ladder is available. I assume that this has some connection to it being exactly twenty years old, but nothing on the case or features seems to indicate this. Alas, the set is still decent. It is only a single disc, and the features are rather basic, but the films looks and sounds great (particularly on blu-ray), and the artwork is vastly improved. The old image was a rather simplistic, blurred image of Robbins’s face; the new one has a trippy staircase surrounding a new (not blurred) image of his face that actually captures the tone of the film rather successfully.

For those who have not seen Jacob’s Ladder, it is nothing revolutionary. But it is a quality scare that is reminiscent of early 1970’s horror; it stylistically reminds me of Polanski’s Repulsion. The film, in its latter sequences, actually turns into a beautiful life affirming story with visual symbolism that is rather literal. I would recommend checking the film out, or if you already like it, buying it for only $6.99 on Amazon.

Other Ventures:

Prince of Persia and Letters to Juliet are available this week to those who are concerned. Jerry Bruckheimer seems to be slipping as of late. Prince of Persia clearly set out to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean and fell flat on its face, despite having an enormous cast.

Letters to Juliet has fared a little better with its respective audience, it was a box office success, and not an all bad film. However, both titles share the commonality of being totally forgettable, and probably will not serve as priority rentals to many.

$5 Find of the Week:

Continuing with this week’s depressing show of DVD’s is Children of Men, which I found for five dollars at a local rental location, I’ve previously seen it at K-Mart and Wal-Mart cheap as well. It is one of the finest films of the past decade and an exhibition of glorious cinematography. Everyone is familiar with the famous twelve-minute tracking shot at the end of the film, but there is also a seven and a half minute shot in the middle of the film, when the car is attacked.

Cuaron’s upcoming space saga, Gravity, starring Robert Downey Jr., is rumored to open with an epic twenty minute shot. I can’t wait!

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