Alcoholics, Beatdowns and ‘Cabaret’ Hit HD
More and more awards are being handed out in the weeks leading up to the Oscars, sort of the season’s Super Bowl: the SAG Awards rewarded great acting, the DGA Awards recognized achievements in filmmaking, and Tuesday’s VES Awards celebrated the best visual effects from films released in 2012. All of which means there are more and more high-profile films demanding audiences’ attention – especially on home video — and for so many different albeit equally worthwhile reasons.
Cabaret (Warner Home Video)
The One-Liner: Liza Minelli stars in Bob Fosse’s brilliant, decadent musical about a Berlin club that becomes a hub for a building political brouhaha.
Picture Perfect? An amazing transfer perfectly preserves the vintage source material, which means that the images are filled with saturated color and brilliant celluloid texture.
What Else Is There? A commentary track by Stephen Tropiano, who wrote a book about the film, offers myriad insights about its creation and its legacy, while a new featurette tops a small selection of behind-the-scenes materials that gives fans a more in-depth look at the making of the movie.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you’ve seen the film, this is a must-own – it vastly outpaces virtually any music made today – but it’s a definite rental if nothing else.
Celeste and Jesse Forever (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: A brilliant paean to the troubled and often tragic process of going through a break-up, Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg star in this winning, winsome dramedy.
Picture Perfect? A movie that demands little in the way of sophisticated visuals, the transfer nevertheless looks solid, giving their deteriorating relationship the right sort of plainness without looking anemic or underwhelming.
What Else Is There? Not one but two commentaries featuring Jones, Samberg, co-writer Will McCormack and director Lee Toland Krieger top the list of extras, but a making-of featurette and deleted scenes expand the landscape of the story the filmmakers wanted to tell.
How Badly Do I Want It? This is maybe or maybe not a movie you want to watch often – depending on how attached you are to your previous relationship – but it’s remarkably therapeutic, and genuinely engaging even if you don’t bring any baggage to it.
The One-Liner: Denzel Washington scored an Oscar nomination for his turn as an alcoholic pilot whose heroic rescue of a crashing jetliner precipitates his own personal implosion.
Picture Perfect? Director Robert Zemeckis is a master with a camera, and his handling of the crash – and all of its subsequent fallout – looks absolutely amazing on Blu-ray, ensuring that the experience is just as visceral and immersive at home as it was in theaters.
What Else Is There? Surprisingly little, including two featurettes, a making-of piece that focuses on the plane crash, and “Q & A Highlights,” which offer some interesting observations but hardly get in depth into why Zemeckis took on this unusual project.
How Badly Do I Want It? Another film that’s distinctive and interesting enough to watch once but perhaps not necessarily enough to own, Flight is nevertheless worth checking out.
Here Comes the Boom (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: As if someone requested a version of Warrior in which a chubby teacher took the place of two top-notch pugilists, Kevin James delivers his latest comedy, which also stars Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler.
Picture Perfect? Not that it matters a whole lot, but the transfer for this film on Blu-ray is pretty beautiful.
What Else Is There? Deleted scenes, a gag rell and a cast featurette are standard on both the DVD and Blu-ray releases, but the BR disc also features a collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes reveal a lot about how the made the movie, in some surprisingly funny ways.
How Badly Do I Want It? Honestly I’d be shocked if people really, aggressively wanted to see this film, but even if they do, it seems an unlikely must-have addition to anyone’s Blu-ray library.
Peter Pan (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Another of Disney’s animated classics arrives on Blu-ray, upgrading the presentation and packaging all of the previous editions’ extras.
Picture Perfect? As with all of the studio’s most celebrated films, Peter Pan looks astonishing in high definition, featuring a restored picture that maximizes clarity and brightness without transforming the movie’s texture into a glossy, day-glo nightmare.
What Else Is There? While the “Disney Intermission” games offers plenty to engage younger viewers, an introduction by Diane Disney Miller (Walt’s daughter), a deleted scene, and plenty of behind-the-scenes material makes this a rich and encyclopedic release for fans and newcomers alike.
How Badly Do I Want It? This thing is so chock full of content, it’s by far the best value of any release this week, but it’s certainly worth adding to almost anyone’s collection thanks to both those extras and the fact it’s a terrific film.
Which of the titles listed above looks the most appealing to you? Watch the trailer for Flight, and then let us know in the comments section below — which of these movies is on your must-see list?
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