This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Dark Shadows, Cinderella, Iron Sky, Red Lights...
This week: After 'Dark Shadows,' Burton and Depp may need to start seeing other people. Also: 'Universal Classic Monsters' shows you where it all began; 'Iron Sky' wants this year's so-bad-it's-good award; and 'Pet Sematary' won't stay dead.
► The Tim Burton Express has been wobbly for awhile now, but DARK SHADOWS was the derailment. Everything about it looked tired, and it would seem the Burton/Johnny Depp combo has run its course. Re-imagining the gothic ‘70s soap as a comedy isn’t a terrible idea, it’s just that Burton can’t do funny any more. His movies aren’t even weird in a cool way like they once were, they’re just bogged down in the same look and feel that reached its miserable crescendo with ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ Nonetheless, his films always look fantastic on Blu-ray, especially when they star Eva Green.
► Despite being way overpriced, UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION truly is essential – this is Ground Zero for pretty much everything we love about horror movies. They don’t all hold up (‘The Wolf Man’ is still a chore to get through, as is the original ‘Dracula’), but ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ remains one of the most groundbreaking monster movies ever made. Be aware, though, this set includes the 1943 Claude Rains ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ not the 1925 Lon Chaney version. Twelve hours of bonus stuff and each film has been digitally restored.
► Disney’s big Blu-ray push for 2012 continues with CINDERELLA in three different versions: a standard Blu-ray/DVD release; a three-disc Diamond Edition (pictured); and the waste of money ‘trilogy’ edition which includes the two dismal sequels and jewelry box packaging. Certainly not the best of Disney’s golden age classics, but a crucial one: It was the company’s biggest hit since ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ at a time when Disney was facing bankruptcy.
► Stephen King’s PET SEMATARY, despite its morbid reputation, was actually one of his more painful books – a study in grief and bereavement wrapped up in a gruesome horror story. Mary Lambert’s 1989 movie goes for camp a bit too often, but it’s still one of the most entertaining and scary of all King adaptations. If the cat and dead kid don’t creep you out, Zelda and her slinky spine surely will. The blu-ray retains all of the DVD special features, including Lambert’s commentary. Sad fact: I constantly misspell the word cemetery because of this movie.
► If you’re still hanging in there with 90210, the fourth season goes where all high school shows go to die: College. Suddenly, all that backstabbing and sluttiness seems less interesting. If this CW show wants to stick around like the original, it should just introduce an all new cast of high schoolers every four years because that’s the show’s core audience. The show still tries to out-do ‘Gossip Girl’ with its hokey storylines, but even at its worst, GG has the better writing and characters. Score one for the Upper East Siders.
► What’s that? Too many artsy-fartsy movies in theatres now that summer’s over? Here’s the craptastic IRON SKY, which asks: What if Nazis landed on the moon in 1945 and have been waiting for the chance to re-invade? Filmed on the cheap, it seems people have been talking about this movie for years (it has been in production since 2006, and a teaser was shown at Cannes in 2008). Still not enough to make it to U.S. theatres.
► The CW’s HART OF DIXIE got some of the worst reviews and ratings of any new show last year … so of course it got renewed for a second season. A mix of ‘Doc Hollywood’ and ‘Northern Exposure,’ it stars Rachel Bilson (‘member her?) as a New York med school grad who doesn’t get the fellowship she wanted, and instead accepts a job in the small town of Bluebell, Alabama. Cue every lame southern cliché you can think of.
► Yep, here’s De Niro again in another movie no one’s heard of. In RED LIGHT he plays a blind psychic who comes out of retirement to discredit his chief rival (Cillian Murphy) after the death of a paranormal investigator (Sigourney Weaver). Joely Richardson and Elizabeth Olsen add to the impressive cast, but am I the only one bummed we’re at the point a Robert De Niro movie opens in 18 theatres and makes $52,000?
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!