This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Aug. 7
This week: Dr. Suess makes another housecall with The Lorax; vintage '80s cheese with The Boogens; and Full Metal Jacket on blu-ray will unscrew your head and shit down your neck.
► The problem with Dr. Suess movies is that once you get past all the bright colors and classic characters, there isn’t enough story to fill a 90-minute movie. Exhibit D: THE LORAX. Already one of the good doctor’s more touchy stories because of its environmental message, directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda pad it out with 3-D overkill, animated excess, and Betty White. Hoping to correct a huge wrong, a CGI version of ‘The Cat in the Hat’ is next.
► The first time you watch Stanley Kubrick’s FULL METAL JACKET, it was all about R. Lee Ermey in the first half, wasn’t it? I was quoting that glorious cuss machine for months afterwards, and that final image of frumpy Leonard (Vincent D’Onofrio) was the stuff of nightmares. Over the years, however, it’s the second half which lingers, with gung-ho Matthew Modine discovering the true nature of war during a horrific battle scene, where the scorched scenery truly makes you feel like you’re in hell. An enigma at first, over the years this has taken its rightful place among the best war movies ever made. Deluxe Edition Blu-ray includes the theatrical aspect ratio (for whatever reason, Kubrick hated letterboxing, one of the rare occasions when he didn’t know what the hell he was talking about).
► The battle of the ‘fairy tale’ shows didn’t end well for NBC’s GRIMM which finished 89th in the ratings, a mile behind ABC’s ‘Once Upon a Time.’ But in a rare display of patience, the network greenlit a second season, which gets a headstart on fall by starting next week. Of course, that makes it easier to replace with a new show if ratings don’t pick up by September. The first season is a fun enough (if a bit routine) mix of cop drama and Grimm fantasy, with David Giuntoli as a detective keeping the balance between humans and mythological creatures.
► I can still recall my brother and I cracking up at the poster for THE BOOGENS when it first came out. We couldn’t stop giggling. You see, ‘boogens’ sounded like ‘boogers,’ and that was all it took. I’d like to say the movie is an unappreciated gem of early ‘80s horror, but it’s just a goofy monster flick with the era’s trademark bad acting and crummy special effects. Still, if you’re going to pick just one lousy horror flick this week … pick some boogens.
► Pretty much every facet of Bob Marley’s life has been dissected in the 31 years since his death, but few documentaries dig as deep as Kevin MacDonald’s MARLEY. With full access to his family and music, he doesn’t just explain his legacy, but the often bumpy road required getting there – including way too many kids with too many wives. As beautiful and uplifting as his music could be, there always seemed to be a dark cloud over Marley – if he hadn’t died of cancer at 36, you get the sense his life would have been shortened some other way.
► Let’s see here … GUNSMOKE ran for 20 seasons and it has taken Paramount six years to get the first six and a half seasons out on DVD. They are aware DVDs will likely be obsolete by the time they finish, right? Why not just get the whole shebang out now while people still buy the things? Whatever, here’s the first half of Season 6 … because fans really love when you split a season into two separate boxed sets to gouge them in every orifice. This was the show’s final season as the #1 show on TV, and also the last time the episodes were half an hour.
► Based on a popular 2003 memoir by Donald Miller (one of Paste Magazine’s Top 20 books of the decade), BLUE LIKE JAZZ is one of those rare religious dramas which doesn’t get too heavy-handed. It finds Miller fleeing his conservative hometown after he discovers his mom had an affair with a youth pastor. He ends up at a liberal Portland college, where booze, bad romances and a lesbian best friend broaden his faith instead of crush it.
► The cyberpunk show PARASITE DOLLS throws a whole lot of Terminator and Blade Runner into the blender with some typical anime weirdness. In the near future, corporations are churning out synthetics (dubbed Boomers), which naturally goes all to hell when a few go rogue. These episodes are more then a decade old and haven’t aged well, but I’ve learned to stop guessing what anime fans get jacked for.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!