I don’t even want to have an article for today. Today was a special day, you see, a day I had been longing for since I saw the mouth-watering preorder announcement on Amazon. Today, Readers, was the day Universal’s Alfred Hitchcock: Masterpiece Collection was to ship on Blu-Ray. But it is not to be…
Actually, I shouldn’t complain. There were several problems with the discs that Universal is cleaning up, such as credits for Frenzy and color grading on Vertigo, so we should be thankful that they are working to get this release right. The new push date is 30 October, so let’s hope a month is enough time to get all the kinks ironed out.
Anyway, with that released pushed back, there’s not a lot to make this Tuesday worth your interest. Film Misery usually offers up a Top 5 releases of the week, but to be honest there are only three in any way notable.
Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection
For the die-hard Bond connoisseur, MGM’s boxed set of every single Bond flick is nothing short of heaven. Be your preference Connery or Craig, Pussy Galore or Honey Ryder, you’ll see them in pristine 1080p amidst 130 hours of bonus features. But what about Skyfall‽ you may well be asking. Never fear, because this boxed set leaves one slot open for Sam Mendes’s upcoming Bond outing—so once you buy that Blu-Ray, you can ditch its packaging and snuggle it up to the 22 discs provided here! So your new boxed set won’t be out of date for about five years or so.
Joss Whedon’s superhero gabfest was greeted with much enthusiasm by a number of critics who weren’t me—Alex gave it a solid B in his review for Film Misery—and is today being released by Walt Disney Studios in four different versions. You can buy a plain single-disc DVD, two-disc DVD/Blu-Ray combo in DVD packaging, two-disc DVD/Blu-Ray combo in Blu-Ray packaging, or a four disc Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray/DVD + Digital Copy/Digital Music Download. There was also supposed to be a 10-disc boxed set featuring The Avengers and all the component movies (Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk) but that fell through for legal reasons, and will likely be available next spring, if for some reason that appeals to you.
This is notable primarily for being a Criterion Collection release. I saw this film years ago, and to be honest all I can remember about it was that I was surprised to see Raoul played by Commander Chakotay, out of his Starfleet uniform. As with Criterion’s other pristine releases, Eating Raoul features a new transfer supervised by its DP, commentaries by the screenwriter, editor, and art director, and a documentary on the film’s making. For Criterion completists out there, Eating Raoul is now an essential buy.
Elsewhere in the land of digital video discs, The American President and Dave get first-ever Blu-Ray treatments, for those trying to catch up on their 1990s political romantic comedies. Both of those films are fun in their charming ways. Unseen by me, we have the animated feature Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part I, in no way seeking to cash in on Nolan’s latest pteropine epic, and the Samuel L. Jackson vehicle The Samaritan; co-starring Gil Bellows and Luke Kirby, it looks like a lower-octane A History of Violence.
FDR: American Badass hits store shelves today, featuring Barry Bostwick as the four-term commander-in-chief. The case describes the film as telling the heretofore unknown tale of the 32nd President of the United States, who, “with the help of a team of historic figures …must end WWII by exacting revenge on an army of Nazi-werewolves from the comfort of his Albert Einstein-designed wheelchair of death.” And for those who can’t wait for Spielberg’s biopic later this year, FDR: American Badass features Kevin Sorbo as Abraham Lincoln. So there’s that.
Also for the horror fan, we have fresh releases of Zombie, Maniac, Exit 101: Halloween Party Massacre (tagline: “Party till you drop…DEAD”), and Night of the Devils. For those who like their relentless, gory violence laced with lighthearted humor, the Blu-Ray of Strippers vs Werewolves drops today, as well. The description on the package promises “strippers toting shotguns… werewolves with low self-esteem… bright lights, skimpy outfits, buckets of blood, and Robert Englund as a patriarch hound with a taste for the ladies.” Nothing to dislike there, really.
In television, we have full-series boxed sets of Rescue Me and Desperate Housewives, along with season one of American Horror Story, season two of Portlandia, season thirteen of Law & Order: SVU, season six of Touched by an Angel, and the latest seasons of all the myriad CSIs gracing American television screens. Fox presents us with Volume Ten of Family Guy, though I’ve lost track of what that translates to in seasons. It frustrates me when television releases don’t match up with the show’s seasons. And studios wonder why torrenting happens.
Streaming Pick of the Week:
One of 2012’s very best films is streaming on Netflix. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Prix, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s dark, moody police procedural follows a group of men searching for a dead body in the steppe of central Anatolia. Ceylan creates tension and atmosphere slowly; as the men comb Turkey’s rural landscape, their search takes on poignant and symbolic meanings. Though long and deliberately paced, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia builds to an intense, rewarding conclusion. Not to be missed.