This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Noah, The Other Woman, Twin Peaks
This week: Catching waves with Noah, ogling The Other Woman, and a return to Twin Peaks.
► Like a crazy hybrid of ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ NOAH is as implausible as it is entertaining – a biblical epic with an environmental kick not afraid to piss off purists. God is never mentioned by name (he’s called The Creator throughout), and, oh, those crazy rock monsters. You know how to make Sunday School cool? Tell me giant rock monsters helped Noah build the ark. Director Darren Aronofsky uses the book of Genesis, with Noah (Russell Crowe) as a family man slowly driven mad by orders from upstairs to build a big-ass boat for the storm about to drown the planet. We all know he brings a pair of each animal, but he takes that to mean mankind’s time is over. Nutty stuff ensues. Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone and Emma Watson also star in a movie you and your church-going grandma can enjoy equally.
► A blonder, bouncier riff on ‘9 to 5,’ THE OTHER WOMAN has Cameron Diaz discovering the new hunk she’s dating (‘Games of Thrones’ Jamie Lannister, Nikolaj Voster-Waldeau) is married to Leslie Mann. They then discover he’s also seeing Kate Upton on the side. Rather than tear each other apart, they team up to bring him down, eventually discovering he’s embezzling at work. As generic a comedy as you’ll see all year, but for most guys here’s what matters: Kate Upton + White Bikini + Slow Motion.
► It’s easier to appreciate David Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS for what it inspired than sitting through the actual show itself 24 years later. Slow-moving to the point of comatose and drilling the same three or four snippets of music into your head with most every scene, it’s tough to sit through, especially that misbegotten second season. The first season, however, was appointment TV back in the day, and it can’t be emphasized enough how different and unconventional Kyle McLaughlan as Agent Dale Cooper was. This complete set includes both seasons, the U.S. and international versions of the pilot, and the North American blu-ray debut of ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.’ Something this weird could never be sustained in the early ‘90s, but Lynch truly changed the game before he was finished. This set also includes the Log Lady intros for each episode, and Lynch reuniting with the Palmer Family actors.
► Werner Herzog fans will surely quibble, but there’s nothing to complain about with the 13-disc HERZOG: THE COLLECTION, which gathers 16 of the German director’s always fascinating flicks, from 1970’s ‘Even Dwarfs Started Small’ to his 1999 documentary ‘My Best Fiend,’ about his volatile relationship with his favorite actor/victim Klaus Kinski. Yes, that leaves a lot out (you’d think his incredible doc ‘Grizzly Man’ would be a no-brainer), which means a second set is likely down the line. But – oh man – there are some classics here: ‘Aguirre, The Wrath of God,’ ‘Fitzcarraldo,’ ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre.’ Herzog is the best kind of enigma – one you’ll gladly follow down the rabbit hole. Extras include both English and German commentaries, a Herzog documentary and the making of ‘Nosferatu. The Vampyre.’
► A Lawrence Kasdan classic from 1983, THE BIG CHILL is this week’s must-have Criterion release, with a new digital transfer, remastered sound, and a reunion with the cast and crew from last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. In many ways, this was the last word on the ‘60s, as a group of baby boomers reunite for the weekend after the funeral of a friend. It’s there they realize the ideals they swore they’d never compromise have a way of vanishing when car payments, mortgages and life itself get in the way – a sentiment every generation goes through. The great ensemble cast, that phenomenal Motown soundtrack and Kasdan at his peak make this a seminal ‘80s flick.
► Almost ten years after the original, Tony Jaa puts on his ass-kicking shoes again for THE PROTECTOR 2. After his boss is found dead, bodyguard Kham (Jaa) gets grief from the cops, a crime lord and even his boss’ twin nieces. All of the fight choreography these movies brag about is rendered useless by attention deficit editing. Jaa’s first movie in four years, and he’s understandably lost a step or two.
► If you’ve been collecting every MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 boxed set, you’ll need to clear a spare room soon. The 30th edition gathers Season 1’s ‘The Black Scorpion’ (which has some great stop motion effects by Willis O’Brien, actually), Season 5’s ‘Outlaw (of Gor)’ with the gang riffing on all the skimpy costumes, Season 9’s ‘The Projected Man,’ and Season 10’s painful ‘It Lives by Night.’ Extras include the making of ‘the Black Scorpion,’ and good stuff with the writer, director and producer of ‘Gor.’
► Vivian Maier was an incredible street photographer, but in one of those ‘FU’s life tends to dish out, she didn’t become famous until shortly after her death when Chicago historian John Maloof purchased boxes of her negatives and posted some of the pics on his blog. Her fascinating scenes of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles during the ‘50s and ‘60s have since spawned several gallery exhibitions, books and two documentaries, including FINDING VIVIAN MAIER. Unlike the BBC doc, this one focuses mostly on Maloof’s efforts to discover who she was.
Also out this week:
Be sure to check out what's new on Netflix streaming for the month of July in our new video column below!
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!