The Blu-ray Crypt – May 21

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The Last Stand blu art

The Last Stand

Schwarzenegger’s return to the big screen as a leading man didn’t seem to have much of an impact at the box office.  That’s a shame really as The Last Stand is stupid fun, complete with Arnold throwing out one-liners.  It’s not terribly well-written but if you’re checking it out, it’s more than likely for the action and for Arnold.  The movie succeeds in creating a fun B-grade experience and fits well into Schwarzenegger’s filmography (for my full review, click here).  With very solid video and audio quality and some decent special features, The Last Stand is recommended.

True Blood Season 5 blu art

True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season

True Blood is a show that I always debate if I should continue watching when each new season hits home video (I don’t watch it while it airs).  I always hear that they keep delving into bad storylines and keep expanding the fairy element of the show (which I wouldn’t mind if they just flat out abandoned with no mention of it whatsoever).  Season four started off really rough and it wasn’t until halfway through the season that I got on board with the show once again.  I plan on watching this fifth season but if it doesn’t impress, this might be where I part ways with True Blood.  I am excited by the addition of Chris Meloni to the cast in the fifth season.  He’s absolutely hilarious in Wet Hot American Summer and the Harold and Kumar movies, though I’m sure he’s probably in a role that is a tad more serious here.  What are your thoughts on the fifth season? Are you liking what the writers are coming up with?

The Burning blu

The Burning

This Scream Factory release is what I’m most excited for this week.  The Burning is a really fun horror movie from 1981 that should easily please fans of the slasher genre.  This is the first time the movie has been released on Blu-ray and Scream Factory celebrates the occassion with new artwork for this Collector’s edition (the original poster art is provided on the reverse side of the insert too!) as well as a bundle of special features that include behind-the-scenes looks at Tom Savini’s make-up effects, interviews with various cast members and audio commentaries from the director, some of the stars and film journalist Alan Jones.  I’ve already ordered my copy of the disc and can’t wait to watch Cropsy take on some teens in high definition.

The Town that Dreaded Sundown blu art

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Scream Factory has another really interesting offering this week that I’d consider worth the purchase and I haven’t even seen it yet.  To be honest, I may never have known of the film if it hadn’t been referenced in Wes Craven’s Scream.  Since then, I’ve always wondered about the movie and have been curious to check it out.  Now I have the opportunity to see it for the first time in high definition and I’m pretty stoked about it.  What makes this release seem like a worthy purchase, besides the reportedly good video and audio presentation, is a whole other movie provided as an exclusive bonus feature!  On the DVD portion of this release (it’s a Blu-ray/DVD combo), you can find the 1979 horror film, The Evictors!  Two movies for the price of one, sounds good to me.

Side Effects blu art

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh has been making a lot of good movies recently and Side Effects is no exception.  This thriller has a well-rounded cast that provide great performances, especially Rooney Mara, who wowed me in Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I don’t want to give away anything about the story as it’s best to go in unspoiled but it’s a really solid movie that is well-written and superbly directed.  The Blu-ray itself features a fantastic video transfer and very few supplements.  Despite the lack of special features, this comes recommended.

ABCs of Death blu art

The ABCs of Death

This horror anthology from Magnet comes in two flavors, a single Blu-ray disc or a Blu-ray/DVD combo.  The movie features 26 tales of death from 26 different directors.  I’ve not seen the movie yet but I’m hoping to see it soon or to make it a part of my annual horror movie marathon this year.  Either way, I love that the horror anthology has been making a big comeback and I’m pretty excited to see one of the latest efforts in the genre.

Parker blu art

Parker

I really love Brian Helgeland’s Director’s Cut of Payback, which features the Parker character (played by Mel Gibson).  This new film has Jason Statham playing Parker and, as much as I love me some Statham, I’m not sure he’s right for the part.  I could be wrong and he could be great in the movie but I don’t really anticipate this iteration of Parker to be as hard-boiled.  Judging from the reviews this movie received, it looks like my decision to pass on the film in theaters was well-advised.  Still, I’ll be putting this in my Netflix queue and will give a watch down the road.  The Blu-ray features a small amount of bonus features but the video quality looks to be top notch.

Captain America 1990 blu art

Captain America

A long time ago, I once cracked a plan to rent this movie on VHS from a rental store and transfer it to DVD myself, since it wasn’t available on that format.  I’m not sure why I wanted to own this movie so bad, especially considering I’d never seen it.  Needless to say, my plan failed and I went without my cheesy Captain America movie for years.  Now thanks to Shout Factory, my dream is finally coming true and I can now have my own Collector’s Edition copy of the movie in high definition (and for only $10.99 as of this post)!  Since fans of the film have only been treated to shoddy looking copies of the movie, they should rejoice at the high quality transfer Shout has provided on this release.  The disc also features “A Look Back at Captain America” featurette that has Albert Pyun and Matt Salinger looking back at the film and discussing how the film could have been better had they been given more time and a larger budget.

Beautiful Creatures blu art

Beautiful Creatures

This movie is obviously targeted to the Twilight demographic.  However, unlike the Twilight movies, Beautiful Creatures actually has some charm to it and I found it to be more satisfying than all of the Twilight movies combined.  That being said, it’s still pretty much everything you’d expect and doesn’t exactly break any new ground.  It’s not something I’d add to my collection but I think it should please its intended audiences just fine.

Stand Up Guys blu art

Stand Up Guys

This film centers on three retired gangsters who reunite for one epic final night. However, one of the friends is keeping a dangerous secret, and as the sun rises on the guys’ reunion, they must confront their pasts once and for all.  The summary doesn’t exactly sound enticing but the involvement of Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin has sparked my interest in the movie some; Al Pacino doesn’t really do anything for me nowadays.  The reviews on this seem to be lukewarm but it might warrant a rental if you are looking for a mild distraction.

More titles released today:

Medium Cool (Criterion)

National Lampoon’s Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition

Vegas Vacation

Lego Batman the Movie: DC Super Heroes Unite

My Neighbor Totoro

Howl’s Moving Castle

Cold Eyes of Fear

The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine

The Public Enemy

White Heat

The Petrified Forest

Little Caesar

Sommersby

Private

Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics

Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Contemporary

K-ON! The Movie

Struck by Lightning

Neighboring Sounds

Call the Midwife: Season Two

This Girl is Badass

Open Road

Nightfall

A Common Man

by Ben McBride

Follow Ben on Twitter @monsterpopcorn

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