As Steven Spielberg’s mammoth biopic about Abraham Lincoln advances towards theaters, Timur Bekmambetov’s decidedly more fantastical interpretation of the Great Emancipator tops this week’s list of Blu-ray releases.
Meanwhile, Channing Tatum’s male-stripper tome, Magic Mike, and a re-release of Ridley Scott’s iconic sci-fi classic Blade Runner rank among the movies Celebuzz considers must-haves in this week’s Buzz on Blu column.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Fox Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Timur Bekmambetov turns the president’s efforts to eliminate slavery as a backdrop for an epic battle against vampires in this adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s historical-fiction novel.
Picture Perfect? The theatrical presentation of the film left much to be desired thanks to murky cinematography – or at least projection – that obscured too much of the action, but on Blu-ray, the imagery is much more vivid and sharp, even if it’s probably a film better seen in 2- than 3D.
What Else Is There? A five-part, 75-minute documentary digs into the production of the film, showcasing how Bekmambetov brought Grahame-Smith’s imaginative re-interpretation of history to life on the screen.
How Badly Do I Want It? Perhaps worth a rental if you’re a fan of the source material, but otherwise avoidable.
Blade Runner (30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) (Warner Home Video)
The One-Liner: Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic comes home again in a deluxe set that offers spectacular presentation and encyclopedic extras.
Picture Perfect? If there’s one true reference-quality film, it’s Blade Runner – a meticulous restoration of whose film elements (undertaken for its 25th anniversary) produced one of the greatest and most gorgeous transfers in high definition history.
What Else Is There? Although there’s nothing in this release that wasn’t already available in the 25th Anniversary Edition, five different versions of the same film is a bounty for fans. And several documentaries discuss its production and its legacy in enough detail to keep even casual viewers completely enthralled.
How Badly Do I Want It? It’s a must-have, although if you own the 25th Anniversary Edition, you won’t be getting anything new except for cover artwork.
I, Robot 3D (Fox Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner:Will Smith’s visceral interpretation of Isaac Asimov’s iconic sci-fi novel has been converted into 3D as the studio expands its library of dimensionalized titles.
Picture Perfect? Although review copies were unavailable as of press time, director Alex Proyas’ visuals were stunning in two dimensions, so they should be at the very least interesting in three; regardless, as the flagship release in what is intended to be a series of 3D conversions, Fox no doubt poured considerable resources into making the movie look as good as possible.
What Else Is There? According to Fox’s press site, the set includes 3D, 2D and standard-definition versions of the film, which means you can watch the movie pretty much anytime, anywhere.
How Badly Do I Want It? We’re as curious as anyone about how this movie looks in 3D, making it a must-rent at the very least.
Magic Mike (Warner Home Video)
The One-Liner: Channing Tatum and Steven Soderbergh deliver the goods – and then some – with a funny, smart and engaging tale of a South Florida male stripper who deals with the trials and tribulations of his profession.
Picture Perfect? Absolutely, meaning the clarity and brightness of Soderbergh’s images is rich, textured and consistent, ensuring that fans can and will see everything they want to – whether it’s great performances or just perfect physiques.
What Else Is There? In addition to extended dance scenes, which offer full routines for the characters played by Joe Magianello and Matt Bomer, a behind-the-scenes featurette offer in-depth insights into the camaraderie and competition that went on between the guys as they got into character and took to the stage.
How Badly Do I Want It? The movie’s great, the presentation is fantastic, and the bonus materials are even more entertaining, so it’s worth a rental at least, or a purchase either as wish-fulfillment for ladies or instructional material for men.
Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire (Kino Lorber)
The One-Liner: The Stanley Kubrick movie you never saw – the filmmakers’ very first – comes to Blu-ray after almost 60 years of obscurity.
Picture Perfect? Given how old the film is and how the film elements have aged, the transfer is a marvel, offering unprecedented clarity and brightness to preserve Kubrick’s then-emerging vision.
What Else Is There? To say “only” is a joke, but the sole extra is The Seafarers, Kubrick’s 1953 documentary about the Industrial Union, which is itself a welcome and glorious rarity many Kubrick fans won’t be familiar with.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you’re even a tenth as big of a Kubrick fan as we are, this is a must-own; regardless, it’s a fascinating chapter in cinema history that is well worth seeing.
Watch the theatrical trailer for Magic Mike below.
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