Here we are, a scant week and a half away from Thanksgiving. We have elected a new president, snow has finally fallen (and stuck, much to my consternation) in the midwest and radio stations have been playing wall to wall Christmas music for entirely too long. Hollywood is rolling out the big fall movies every week; this past weekend saw the premiere of the new Bond movie in the United States. This coming weekend is the vampire love story "Twilight" with Thanksgiving weekend seeing at least two Oscar hopefuls debut. Then we hit December, where a revamped Punisher stakes a claim, not to mention a new version of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and the oft-delayed and ridiculed "Valkyrie." But that's putting the cart in front of the horse, considering the three summer releases coming to disc this week.
First off is the newest Pixar production, "Wall-E," a film which has generated serious Oscar buzz since it was released in June. The Mouse House is pulling out all the stops for its home theater debut. DVD sees a single-disc widescreen edition as well as a three-disc version with Digital Copy (Spanish language edition, too). High Def-wise, there is a two-disc Special Edition, along with a three-disc SE; the latter includes Digital Copy. Ben Stiller's action spoof "Tropic Thunder" drops in roughly the same configurations: single disc, Unrated Director's Cut and Spanish language DVD as well as the Unrated Director's Cut on BD. Last up from this summer is "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2." Widescreen, fullscreen and the gift set of the two films on DVD; the 1080p edition includes Digital Copy.
Three down, 30-something to go.
Werner Herzog's "Encounters at the End of the World" sees a dual format release courtesy of Image Entertainment. Cult favorite "Heathers" finds itself with a Limited Edition Locker Set on DVD and a 20th High School Reunion Edition on BD. The first wave of Criterion Blu-ray's has been postponed until December 16 ("Bottle Rocket," "Chunking Express," "The Third Man" and "The Man Who Fell to Earth") with "The Last Emperor" slated for January 6. Those were going to be the only worthy BD-only titles this week, ironically, with the snoozer "Awake," ridiculously embarrassing "Mad Money" and the stupefying star-studded "Southland Tales" all getting the blue treatment. Martin Lawrence gets a twin bill of high def goodness with both "Blue Streak" and "National Security." "Lucky Number Slevin" managed to put together an attractive cast and never managed to catch on fire. And then there's "Paris je t'aime" and "Revolver," the latter from the ex-Mr. Madonna, Guy Ritchie.
I mentioned Criterion a moment ago. A slimmed down "The Last Emperor" hits the shelf along with the new release of "Fanfan la Tulipe," both on DVD. Also for film lovers is the "Columbia Pictures Best Picture Collection" featuring: "It Happened One Night," "You Can't Take It With You," "All the King's Men," "From Here to Eternity," "On the Waterfront," "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Lawrence of Arabia," "A Man for All Seasons," "Oliver!," "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Gandhi." Director David Lynch gets his own DVD set, entitled "The Lime Green Set." Er...okay. It includes a gaggle of Lynch films-"The Elephant Man," "Eraserhead," "Wild at Heart," "Blue Velvet"-and a host of extras, like soundtracks, short films and a collector's book.
"Flowers for Algernon" is one of those stories we all read in high school English, I'm sure. It had something to do with a mouse, remember? Anyway, this version is from a couple years back and stars Matthew Modine and Kelli Williams. Hunter S. Thompson is the subject of "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson." He will be remembered, mostly, as the guy who wrote "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Warner introduces a Limited Collector's Edition of last year's bloody terrific "300" with film clips, documentary, digital copy, photo cards and even a leather thong for Spartan wannabe's. Alright, I made that last part up.
Moving on, National Geographic streets two new releases ("Extreme" and "Stress: Portrait of a Killer"). "Extreme," for the record, deals with extreme outdoor sports. Which brings us to "D. W. Griffith: Father of Film," a three-part documentary about the man behind "The Birth of a Nation." The "Griffith Masterworks 2" collection is also available, with five films and the aforementioned doc.
And now we hit TV on DVD. Starting with classic shows, Season One Volume Two of "Burke's Law" is released, alongside the 1969-1970 season of "Daniel Boone" (aka the sixth season), the fifth season of "Hawaii Five-O," season four of "McHale's Navy," the final season of "The Odd Couple" and the remastered third season of "Star Trek: The Original Series." There's also a Collector's Edition Megaset of "The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus" ready for fans to take home.
Current programs include "Bones: Season Three," "Charmed: The Complete Series" (both regular and limited edition packaging), "Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Season" and the animated "Dr. Who: The Infinite Quest," "Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season Three," "Hannah Montana: The Complete First Season," "Spongebob Squarepants: Season Five Volume 2" and "The Fairly Oddparents: Season Six Volume One."
Blu-ray Recap: "Awake," "Blue Streak," "Encounters at the End of the World," "Heathers," "Lucky Number Slevin," "Mad Money," "National Security," "Paris je t'aime," "Revolver," "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2," "Southland Tales," "Tropic Thunder," "Wall-E."
DVD Recap: "300," "Burke's Law: Season One Volume Two," "Charmed: The Complete Series," "Columbia Pictures Best Picture Collection," "The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus," "D.W. Griffith: Father of Film," "Daniel Boone: The 1969-1970 Season," "David Lynch: The Lime Green Set," "Dr. Who: The Complete Fourth Season," "Dr. Who: The Infinite Quest," "Encounters at the End of the World," "The Fairly Oddparents: Season Six Volume One," "Fanfan la Tulipe," "Flowers for Algernon," "Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season Three," "Gonzo: The Life an Work of Hunter S. Thompson," "Griffith Masterworks 2," "Hannah Montana: The Complete First Season," "Hawaii Five-O: The Fifth Season," "Heathers," "The Last Emperor," "McHale's Navy: Season Four," "National Geographic: Extreme," "National Geographic: Stress Portrait of a Killer," "The Odd Couple: The Final Season," "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2," "Spongebob Squarepants: Season Five Volume Two," "Star Trek: The Original Series Season Three Remastered," "Tropic Thunder," "Wall-E."