The Buzz on Blu: ‘The Avengers,' ‘Cinderella’ and ‘The Princess Bride’
Because Fantastic Fest precluded us from reporting from the frontlines of the home video market last week, we’re doubling up with high-profile releases past and present.
Look for an in-depth, dedicated review of the new Bond 50 box set later this week. But in the meantime, check out a curated list of titles – new and old – that deserve to be added to your Blu-ray library.
From blockbusters to indies, which movies are worth watching on home video?
The Avengers (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Joss Whedon’s epic adaptation of the superhero team-up series comes to home video in 2- and 3D versions, along with a bounty of bonus materials.
Picture Perfect? Almost, but not quite. The high-definition picture quality is mildly undermined by a consistent dimness that seems deliberate but is occasionally distracting, especially when you want to admire the otherwise terrific action and effects work.
What Else Is There? Although the “Item 47” short is a silly, fun lark, Whedon’s commentary track offers predictably dry, witty observations that actually enhance audience enjoyment and understanding of the construction of the film.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you’re one of the bajillion people who saw it in theaters – probably more than once – the answer is most likely pretty badly. It certainly lives up to the original theatrical experience.
Cinderella (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Disney’s classic fairy tale comes to Blu-ray in a deluxe new edition.
Picture Perfect? As always, Disney brings their classic to HD with such a stunning transfer that it seems inevitable to become a reference disc. Not only are there no flaws, there’s virtually no evidence of restoration work, making this an immaculate viewing experience.
What Else Is There? A handful of new, HD extras augment an expansive spate of bonus material from a 2008 SD edition, making this not just the most comprehensive to date, but perhaps the definitive version of this film’s home video journey.
How Badly Do I Want It? Although this particular Disney film isn’t one of our personal favorites, it’s such a beautiful set that it would be a shame not to add it to the others in your collection. The Game (Criterion)
The One-Liner: David Fincher’s most underrated film comes to Blu-ray, a thriller about a cushy businessman (Michael Douglas) who receives a gift from his brother (Sean Penn) that turns his life upside down.
Picture Perfect? As with all of their releases, Criterion spared no effort in making this look as stunning as possible, creating a director and cinematographer-approved transfer that features strong contrasts and remarkable clarity.
What Else Is There? A commentary track and a handful of featurettes that previously appeared on the laserdisc release of the film appear here, as well as a few new items that further explore not just the making but the marketing of Fincher’s follow-up to Seven.
How Badly Do I Want It? As one of our all-time favorite movies, this is a must-own for us, but in general it’s a great movie that deserves renewed attention and appreciation.
The Princess Bride (Fox Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Rob Reiner’s wonderful, romantic fantasy comes to Blu-ray in a new 25th Anniversary Edition.
Picture Perfect? As with previous versions, the transfer is solid and effective, offering a clean and vibrant picture for fans to enjoy.
What Else Is There? In addition to the extras on all 400 previous versions of this film’s home-video release, there’s a new featurette entitled “True Love: The Princess Bride Phenomenon,” which collects comments and observations from various members of the cast and crew as they recall their experiences making the film.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you don’t have the film on Blu-ray already this is probably a must-own, but there’s not enough new content to warrant throwing out old ones.
Sound of My Voice (Fox Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: In a truly auspicious debut as star and co-writer, Brit Marling delivers a knockout performance as a cult leader who may or may not be more than what she seems. This odd little drama conjures lots of interesting questions and keeps audiences guessing right until the end.
Picture Perfect? An extremely well-shot film, director Zal Batmanglij’s film looks good on home video thanks to a solid transfer that preserves his Spartan compositions and rich but often neutral colors.
What Else Is There? Two making-of featurettes expand the palette of the film and explore its intricacies, but this is a film that not only deserves, but demands more.
How Badly Do I Want It? An odd but truly special little film, this is absolutely worth renting but you might want to watch it once before deciding whether or not to own it.