This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Wreck-It Ralph, Red Dawn, The Bay ...
This week: Wreck-It Ralph wonders where his Oscar is, Barry Levinson makes a scarier movie than Toys, and Red Dawn gets a ridiculous rermake.
►The consensus after last week's Oscars is that WRECK-IT RALPH wuz robbed. And while there's no shame in losing to Pixar, the fact it was favoured to win against a top tier Pixar flick speaks plenty about its merits: This nostalgic and emotional tribute to video games stood out from a lot of mediocre animation last year, and should have took home the Oscar for its efforts. John C. Reilly voices a video game baddie who yearns to be the good guy for once, so he travels to different games at night after the arcade closes. Along the way, he unknowingly carries a 'bug' from one game to the other, threatening to infect the world they all live in. This actually felt more Pixar than 'Brave' for some folks. As a bonus, the blu-ray includes this year's Oscar-winning animated short film 'Paperman.'
► In 1984, ‘Red Dawn’ overcame its own mediocrity to become a hit because the U.S. was still in a staredown with Russia, and the film’s cast was about to hit the Brat Pack jackpot. The RED DAWN remake has no chance of becoming a classic because 1. The producers changed the villains from Chinese to North Korean because it couldn’t be screened in China otherwise, 2. One of the characters actually says “Dude, we’re living Call of Duty,” and 3. It’s way worse than the original. Chris Hemsworth, you rock as Thor but you, sir, are no Patrick Swayze.
► It’s bizarre just how many Bruce Willis movies there are lately I’ve never heard of. Everything he did 20 years ago was a big deal, now he kills time between ‘Die Hard’ movies with stuff like LAY THE FAVORITE as a sports gambler who uses a Vegas cocktail waitress (Rebecca Hall) to outslick the casinos, until his wife (Catherine Zeta Jones) gets jealous. Another empty vessel from director Stephen Frears, who resurfaces with a classic every 10 years or so (High Fidelity, The Queen). This isn’t one of them.
► THE BAY is another found footage thriller from an up-and-coming horror director named … Barry Levinson? 'Rain Man' Barry Levinson? Why not. In fact, Levinson's mannered style and attention to detail made this one of last year's most disturbing movies, proving the gimmick still works when wielded by the right hand. A reporter stitches together footage from several sources (Skype, cell phones, etc.) to uncover the government cover-up which occurred during a parasitic outbreak in a Maryland town in 2009.
► They’ve regurgitated the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET COLLECTION yet again, collecting all seven original films minus the remake everyone hated. I don’t see how it could hurt things. Does anyone really think crapfests like Part 4 (The Dream Master) or Part 5 (The Dream Child) add prestige to the series? At least ‘The Final Nightmare’ is still here, where Wes Craven restored some dignity and did a test run on ideas he’d later explore in ‘Scream.’ Also missing is ‘Freddy vs. Jason,’ part of the ongoing attempt by everyone to forget it ever happened.
► Nearly 20 years before he revisited the concept for ‘Jurassic Park,’ Michael Chrichton’s WESTWORLD would prove to be one of the most influential sci-fi movies of the ‘70s. James Brolin and Richard Benjamin are two buds partaking in a high-tech amusement park which uses androids to re-enact the wild west. The robots are programmed to never kill, but one malfunctioning bad-ass, played by Yul Brynner, decides otherwise. And somewhere, a young James Cameron was taking notes. Brynner, in one of his last movies, is basically reprising his character from ‘The Magnificent Seven.’
► John Cena is long gone from the WWE’s Marine franchise. Mopping up for him in THE MARINE 3: HOMEFRONT is Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin, who takes on a group of extremists after his sister is kidnapped on vacation. Neal McDonough plays the bad guy, and after his awesome turn in Justified’s third season, he should not be making movies with The Miz. At this rate, ‘The Marine 4’ will star Hornswaggle.
► Taking its cue from the Blair Witch and Human Centipede sequels, GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 is another follow-up in which characters are obsessed with the first movie. In this case, the 2011 ‘found footage’ flick about a paranormal TV show crew trapped inside a haunted psychiatric hospital. This time, another group breaks into the hospital to see if the events of the first film really happened, which is about as lame and unoriginal as it sounds.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!