The Buzz on Blu: Indiana Jones, ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and ‘Battlefield America’
Although the high-def release of Raiders of the Lost Ark (even without the other three Indiana Jones films) is basically the only home video news that movie fans need this week, the studios are thankfully not content to rest on their laurels.
In fact, there all sorts of interesting stuff arriving on Blu-ray this week, including oddball independents, dance-battle dramas, black and white biopics, and heady horror comedies.
As such, we’ve assembled a short but sweet rundown of just a handful of the titles that we think you should add to your Blu-ray library.
Which new release should enjoy resurrected appreciation on home video?
Battlefield America (Arc Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Marques Houston stars in this kid-friendly dance-oriented drama about a successful businessman whose heart melts after he’s assigned to mentor a group of ambitious but talentless preteen dancers.
Picture Perfect? As directed by Chris Stokes (You Got Served), the film is slick and vibrant, and looks good in high definition.
What Else Is There? Not a whole lot – a couple of behind the scenes featurettes – so don’t pick this one up expecting to be immersed in BA mythology.
How Badly Do I Want It? Unfortunately, the focus on kids makes their chest-puffing turf war seem utterly silly, but there are almost enough good dance routines to make this worth watching.
Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate)
The One-Liner: Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard eviscerate horror conventions with a cathartic, gauntlet-throwing comedy about a group of college kids who unexpectedly encounter a litany of movie monsters.
Picture Perfect? The film’s contrast-heavy cinematography creates effective atmosphere even as it occasionally drifts into too-dark territory.
What Else Is There? A commentary by Whedon and Goddard offers insights into the duo’s creative process, as does a picture-in-picture track featuring other members of the cast and crew.
How Badly Do I Want It? Although many horror fans will find the film to be a celebration of the genre, it also seems to suggest that its conventions are played out – but the Blu-ray should highlight its ambitions more clearly, especially with multiple viewings.
Ed Wood (Touchstone Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: One of Tim Burton’s best films come to Blu-ray, offering a deliciously high-definition experience of watching the world’s worst filmmaker (the title character, not Burton) in action.
Picture Perfect? The film joins the ranks of some of the best black and white Blus in release with a gorgeous transfer that offers way more than 50 shades of gray.
What Else Is There? A frankensteinian commentary track and a series of featurettes all offer additional insights into the film’s creation, although in a familiar way – they all appeared on previous standard-defintion release of the film.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you’re a Burton fan, badly – but even if you’re not familiar with the film or its subject, it’s a rich, rewarding experience that celebrates the creative process against all odds.
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures (Paramount Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: One of the greatest action-adventure films of all time (and its three sequels) arrive on Blu-ray to give cinephiles something to eat up all of their available night and weekend hours.
Picture Perfect? The restoration of these films – in particular Raiders – is nothing short of stunning, featuring a 4K transfer that offers a spectacular amount of detail and clarity.
What Else Is There? A two-part, hourlong look back at the making of the films takes fans through virtually every major location in the series’ history, augmenting featurettes and making-of shorts that were previously released.
How Badly Do I Want It? This is a must-have for longtime fans or newcomers – if nothing else, to let Steven Spielberg show you how great action movies are made.
Love Exposure (Olive Films)
The One-Liner: Sion Sono proves himself to be one of the most promising filmmakers coming out of Japan with this amazing four-hour opus about a teenager who takes upskirt photos and falls in love with a girl who’s caught up in a cult. (Yeah, you read that right.)
Picture Perfect? Although the film was shot relatively cheaply on digital video, the transfer looks great, and the picture quality as a whole is consistent and vibrant.
What Else Is There? Unfortunately, nothing.
How Badly Do I Want It? It’s definitely worth a rental – it’s weird but a wonderful ride – but don’t be surprised if that first viewing turns into an obsession: once you’ve been exposed, there’s no turning back.