This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: The Campaign, Christmas Story 2, Rosemary's Baby, Hitchcock ...
This week: Punching ballots and babies in The Campaign; holiday horror with A Christmas Story 2; and a Hitchcock feast on Blu-ray.
► Mitt Romney has provided plenty of comedy already this election, but THE CAMPAIGN is a nice bonus. Will Ferrell is the standing congressman challenged by a patsy (Zach Galifianakis … dammit, I hate spelling his name). As the underdog scores points, they make their battle personal. If you can’t laugh at a politician accidentally slugging a baby in the face, followed by a scene of him nursing his hand, this isn’t your movie. Quality support from John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd and Jason Sudeikis.
► There’s no use fighting it, A CHRISTMAS STORY 2 exists and it’s out this week. Just how bad does this shit on the original? It substitutes Daniel Stern for the late Darren McGavin as The Old Man. Daniel Stern. It’s telling that the original Ralphie, Peter Billingsley, has nothing to do with this despite executive producing a musical version of the first movie in 2010. If you dare to proceed, this one has Ralphie five years older, obsessed with getting a car this time.
► If you define a great horror film by its gore and number of shock scares, you’re no fan of ROSEMARY’S BABY. If you define it by the suffocating dread, paranoia and unease a movie can make you feel, you’re very much a fan. By any standard, this is one of the genre’s crown jewels, and - I’m convinced - the movie that made ‘The Exorcist’ possible. Criterion edition includes a new digital restoration and new interviews with Roman Polanski and Mia Farrow.
► Unless you’re going to include everything, a Hitchcock collection will always leave someone feeling burned: To some, ‘Notorious’ is his greatest film. Universal’s ALFRED HITCHCOCK: THE MASTERPIECE COLLECTION will no doubt miff some purists, but there’s no denying the greatness of what’s here. The usual suspects (‘Psycho,’ ‘Vertigo,’ ‘The Birds’) are joined by some of his less celebrated later works (‘Frenzy,’ ‘Family Plot’). Many of these are making their Blu-ray debut. Fifteen hours of extras plus a booklet.
► Folks like to go on about the ‘golden age’ of television, but let me assure you: TV in the ‘70s sucked. We thought it was great at the time, because there was shit all else to do, but at least 99 percent of the shows are unwatchable today. With one glorious exception: ALL IN THE FAMILY. You can practically see the rules and taboos broken every episode, and even if other shows explored the same themes, Norman Lear’s truly groundbreaking show did it first and more often than not did it better. So many classic episodes to rave about here, and the complete set includes documentaries on the birth of the show and how it revolutionized TV. Pricey, but TV doesn’t get much more essential than this.
► I could give you a long-winded plot description of AMERICANO, or I could just tell you it stars Salma Hayek as a stripper. More impact, fewer words. Alas, this French film from director Mathieu Demy isn’t as saucy as you think. It’s a family drama about a man digging into his mother’s past after her death, and discovering she had a hidden relationship with a hot woman he tracks down at a Tijuana strip club.
► The BBC goes Stateside with COPPER, set in New York’s Five Points shortly after the civil war. Kevin Corcoran plays a troubled Irish-American cop trying to resist sin while solving the disappearance of his wife and daughter. Created by Tom Fontana (‘Oz’) and executive produced by Barry Levinson. First season is 10 episodes, the 13-part second season started this month.
► Robin Cook’s medical thriller COMA was already a limp 1977 movie, and here’s the equally limp 2012 mini-series. Lauren Ambrose is a med student who notices a large number of patients at the hospital she’s training at end up in comas. They’re then transferred to an institute run by Ellen Burstyn, which can’t be good. James Woods and Geena Davis co-star.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!