This Week On DVD and Blu-ray: July 21, 2009


There are a few titles that may interest you that are releasing this week, but I guarantee there are some titles that will catch your eye in the new release date section at the end of this post as I spent all afternoon yesterday updating the DVD and Blu-ray new release titles. Hope you find something you like…

Due to its box-office letdown, fanboy defense mechanisms and the high regard held for its source material, like it or not, Watchmen is the release of the week, but it won’t be the last time. I reviewed the Blu-ray director’s cut, which you can read right here, and inside of it I was sure to remind you there will be yet another release of Watchmen this December. So, it’s up to you. Do you double-dip or endure the wait?
Buy Watchmen
Midnight Express
Sony’s Blu-ray release of Midnight Express duplicates last year’s 30th Anniversary DVD release in every way outside of the improved picture quality and the included booklet is now part of the packaging as it appears Sony has embraced the digi-book packaging Warner Home Video has been going to for quite some time now. In this case, the included memoir by director Alan Parker is a very worthwhile read as he recounts the tumultuous experience directing the film. Here’s a snippet from my DVD review, which you can read in full right here:

Do I talk about how this is Oliver Stone’s first major script to be produced? How about the true story it was based on and the controversy the film caused as it deviated from that story? Or do I bring up the star of the film, Brad Davis, and the unfortunate loss to filmmaking his death was? Midnight Express is much more than just a movie and I think I actually find it more interesting for everything that went into its making and came out of its success than for the actual movie itself, which in and of itself is also impressive.

Buy Midnight Express
Made in the U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her
(Criterion Collection)
I already reviewed 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (read here), but haven’t seen Made in the U.S.A., but these two films should be a Jean-Luc Godard lover’s dream come true.
Buy Made in the U.S.A. (Criterion Collection)
It’s my belief people are enjoying Coraline for its fantastic visuals and not for its story, because lets face it, the story isn’t all that good. Sure, it’s cute and all, but it hardly has the ability to entertain for an hour and 41 minutes. Then again, this is coming from someone that does not like Henry Selick’s A Nightmare Before Christmas. As a matter of fact, the last two times I tried watching that film I fell asleep at the exact same 15-minute mark. I don’t know, despite their beautiful animation, Selick’s films just don’t move me.

Of course, if you are convinced Coraline is the film for you Universal has stacked the deck when it comes to features. Looking at the 2-Disc an Blu-ray editions, both come with deleted scenes and several making-of featurettes as well as a commentary track with Selick and composer Bruno Coulais (another highlight to go along with the animation). The Blu-ray also includes the exclusive U-Control feature with picture-in-picture goodies as well as synced voice sessions as you can watch the actors voice the characters on screen. I may not like the film all that much, but it goes without saying Universal has put together an impressive package for those that do.

Buy Coraline
300 (The Complete Experience)
I already owned the HD DVD as well as the previous Blu-ray edition of 300. I never did receive that limited edition collector’s set, but it appears this is the version to buy as it contains the bluescreen picture-in-picture that was part of the HD DVD release but omitted from the original Blu-ray release, everything else from prior releases, a second in-movie interactive feature and impressive digi-book packaging. The included booklet contains a detailed legend of the new three-part interactive feature and contains a few pages of reading to accompany all three parts (“Creating a Legend,” “Bringing a Legend to Life” and “The History Behind the Myth”). For all intents and purposes, it truly does appear to be the “complete” experience. Personally, this film has several flaws in it, but I enjoy it nonetheless. It’s far from perfect and balancing on mediocre, but it works well enough for a couple hours of brutality.
Buy 300 (The Complete Experience)
Prison Break: The Final Break
Like so many crappy TV dramas you can get easily hooked to “Prison Break,” but that doesn’t mean it is any good. My personal opinion was this show should have ended with one season. It’s a prison break, so break out and be gone. Otherwise call it “Prison Break and Then Some…” Looks like it will end with a “Final Break”. Good.
Buy Prison Break: The Final Break