Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What's up on Blu-Ray?

Is it just me, or does the Blu-Ray market seems slow and sluggish lately? There really haven't been many good releases lately.

We've had two Tuesday releases so far in June. What have netted? On week one we got the following things:
  1. The Wolfman
  2. A shitload of Clint Eastwood oldies.
  3. Life: A BBC Documentary
  4. Band of Brothers.
  5. Bad Boys
  6. Alice in Wonderland
  7. The New Orleans Saint: Road to Super Bowl 44
  8. The Red Barron
I am very pleased to announce that the Blu-Ray of The Wolfman does indeed contain the theatrical release. I already own my copy. It's terrific. I can ignore the bad stuff.

Many old-timers will be utterly thrilled by the arrival of so many Clint Eastwood goldies. I used to be a big-time Eastwood fan in my angry youth. My temperament has changed. So has my education level. While there is still an entertainment level to many of Clint's oldies, I am slumming it when I check these out. The directors and writers were aiming low. We know that now.

If you discount the Eastwood collection what is left? What are the sure-fire crowd pleasers?
  1. The Wolfman
  2. The Saints
That's it. There are some "maybes" on this list.
  1. The Red Barron might be good
  2. Life might be good.
I have to call bullshit on a few of these other releases:
  1. Alice in Wonderland was straight-up bad. It's one of Burton's worst movies. It's basically a lesbian romance without the sex. You see, the White Queen is afraid to handle the Vorpal sword. Ergo, her femme girlfriend (Alice) must take on the masculine 'knight and shinning armor' roll and slay the Jabberwocky to prove her love. I must say, Anne Hathaway was perfectly cast in this roll. She didn't even have to act. She was just being herself.
  2. Bad Boys sucks. This is a stupid buddy flick conceived by Bruckheimer and Bay. When those two guys get together, your first question is "who cut the cheese?"
  3. Band of Brothers is over-rates. I might feel different if I was a Nam vet, but I am not.
So what do we have this week? You know what we have? We have exactly one release this week: Shutter Island. As you know, I liked this movie quite a bit. I blogged about it several times. Good flick! The rest of it this week is rubbish.
  1. Caddyshack is one of the dumbest comedies of all time. The Snickers bar floating in the pool tells you everything you need to know about the level of this film. This is the absolute quintessential stoner movie. People laugh because they smoked weed, not because the jokes are funny.
  2. The Illusionist is a very over-rated romance, that is very popular among teen-girls. It's basically a darker version of a Harlequin romance. That is the audience demographic: Teen girls. It was okay, but the movie irritated me by wasting the talents of some of my favorite actors. Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Rufus Sewell, not to mention the luscious Jessica Biel.
  3. From Paris with Love was almost a total cinematic catastrophe. This was awful stuff, far worse than Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. This one insulted my intelligence 25 times.
Let us remember that in literary circles, the Harlequin is a wooden clown who is often an emissary of the Devil. This theory forcefully applies to the Canadian publisher.

The list doesn't get much stronger next week. The solid goldie is Flash Gordon (1980). This is the comedy with the great European actors and the amazing Queen sound track. That is one of the most under-rated movies of all time. I thought it was very funny.

Other than that, we get the Book of Eli, Darkman, and a new box for Enter the Dragon. Bouy...

There really seems to be no rhyme or reason to Hollywood's choice of Blu-Ray releases. There are so many great titles in their back-log. Yet, they continue to focus on releasing bad comedy on Blu-Ray. Stop me if I am wrong, but what do you gain by putting bad comedy on Blu-Ray? Money? I doubt it. Show me the proof on the bottom line. I don't believe you.

I think this release schedule proves several things:
  1. Piracy is hurting the release schedule for Blu-Ray. Since the bottom line is lower than it might otherwise be, studios have less incentives to invest in the upgrade process. This is why we get fewer releases.
  2. It would seem the recession is still hurting the uptake of Blu-Ray. When I look down this long list of bad comedy and Rom-Com (which is terrible by definition), I see release schedule which is mom-friendly and kid friendly. This suggests to me that there is just one Blu-Ray player in the house, and that is in the family room.
  3. Right now, studios do not see a profit margin in releasing some of their better titles. They are holding them out for a better climate. With a W shaped recession on tap, we may be waiting for sometime.
What would l like to see released? Let me give you a new top 11 release list:
  1. The Incredibles
  2. Star Wars (the original)
  3. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc
  4. Apocalypse Now!
  5. Alien
  6. Aliens
  7. The Exorcist
  8. Monte Python and the Holy Grail
  9. Blue Velvet
  10. Princess Mononoke
  11. Barry Lyndon
I gave you an odd number just because I didn't want to leave Barry Lyndon off the list. I just can't believe that some of these all-time classics didn't lead the way into the Blu-Ray era.

The #1 pick on my list--The Incredibles--was a runaway smash hit in 2004. Everybody loved it. It is one of my favorite movies of all time... Maybe even my absolute favorite. Why this movie wasn't at the head of the class in 2006 is beyond me. Why Pixar has delayed a release is beyond me.

Star Wars and Aliens have both been shown many times in glorious HD on cable TV. HBO used to show Star Wars all the time. The SciFi channel shows Aliens every couple of weeks. Why they haven't released the Blu-Ray is utterly beyond me.

Every other film on that list is a classic in one way or another, and should be released.