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Top 5 New Blu-ray releases for the Week of November 9

Top 5 New Blu-ray releases for the Week of November 9

The last couple of weeks have been absolutely overwhelming with scads of killer Blu-ray releases that have been making my head spin (and my eyes exhausted from all the hours of viewing time I’ve been cramming in, outside of the hours of monitor viewing I cram in as part of my daily office grind.) This week is a bit more manageable for we Blu-aholics but, thanks to a couple of A-list films and a few surprises, it’s absolutely just as enjoyable.


1. ANTICHRIST

Antichrist: (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]


I know that the films of Danish auteur Lars Von Trier aren’t for everyone but I kind of worship the ground the man walks on. It’s pretty tough to effect me on any level with film these days but Von Trier seems capable of touching some kind of nerve in me with every one of his works. I wouldn’t call any of his films perfect, by any means. But they’re all masterworks of the medium hewn by one of the finest craftsmen working in the business today. His latest opus, Antichrist might be the most raw and effecting of anything he’s released to date. And it is, without question, the most incredible Blu-ray released today. But if your stomach is easily turned or if you have no taste for a little “art” in your “film” then you’ll most likely want to skip Antichrist.

Special Features:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Lars von Trier and supervised by director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Audio commentary by von Trier and professor Murray Smith
  • Video interviews with von Trier and actors Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg
  • A collection of video pieces delving into the production of Antichrist, including interviews with von Trier and key members of his filmmaking team as well as behind-the-scenes footage
  • Chaos Reigns at the Cannes Film Festival 2009, a documentary on the film’s world premiere, plus press interviews with Dafoe and Gainsbourg
  • Three theatrical trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie

Amazon: $29.49

ALSO AVAILABLE:

If the premium Criterion Collection edition of the film profiled above is a little beyond your budget, eOne films is also releasing a more affordable version of Antichrist on Blu-ray today. No word on how the transfers of the two discs compare but the special features look relatively similar.

The Visual Style of Antichrist from eOne Films on Vimeo.

Antichrist [Blu-ray]


Special Features:

  • Feature Commentary with Director Lars von Trier and Journalist Murray Smith
  • The Antichrist Test (English subtitled)
  • Antichrist – Chaos Reigns at the Cannes Film Festival 2009
  • Confessions About Anxiety
  • Eden – Production Design
  • The Sound and Music of Antichrist (English subtitled)
  • The Three Beggars – The Animals of Antichrist
  • The Make-Up Effects and Props of Antichrist
  • The Evil of Woman
  • The Visual Style of Antichrist (English subtitled)
  • Interviews

Amazon.ca: $19.99 CDN


2. SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (2010)

It’s almost half-way through November and I still haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim yet. Sigh…I’m starting to believe it’s never going to happen. Honestly, I have pals who’ve seen it three, four times already and I’m still waiting for the chance to have my Pilgrim-cherry popped. I won’t have any time to run out and grab this disc any time this week, so I’ll be waiting to hear what you think of it. Do you think it’s been worth the wait? Does the disc live up to the film itself?

READ MORE: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Blu-ray officially announced

Amazon: $24.99


3. SHERLOCK

Sherlock: Season One [Blu-ray]

I love Sherlock Holmes mysteries in any form. I guess it was only a matter of time before some genius had the idea of taking those famous tales by Arthur Conan Doyle and giving them a modern spin. But as wonderful as the script-work of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat happens to be, the real breakout star for North American audiences is going to be the electrifying Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. Martin Freeman, our future Bilbo Baggins is also wonderful as faithful partner Watson.

Amazon: $27.99


4. DC SHOWCASE: ANIMATED ORIGINAL SHORTS

Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam (DC Showcase) [Blu-ray]

If you’ve been reading our reviews of the last number of DC Animated Blu-ray releases, you’ll note that no matter the quality of the main feature, one of the aspects of the discs that stands out as truly spectacular time and again is the DC Showcase short film. This new release from the studio collects the last number of shorts and adds a brand new, exclusive Superman/Shazam team-up to the mix. This is some of the best stuff that Warner animation has created in years, if not ever and definitely worth a look.

Amazon: $19.99


5. OCEAN’S 11

Ocean's 11 (50th Anniversary) [Blu-ray] (1960)

This is the classic. The real-deal. The good stuff. Sinatra and all his boys making trouble and messing things up in Vegas. This new 50th Anniversary Blu-ray edition of Ocean’s 11 from WHV isn’t going to blow your mind if you’re not already a fan but will certainly impress those who’ve been longing for a little Rat-Pack in HD. The image is clean and clear with vibrant, if not slightly unstable colours and more detail than you’ve ever seen in the film before. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix isn’t very modern but will no doubt delight fans of the film. An excellent commentary track from Frank Sinatra Jr. and Angie Dickinson is the highlight of a collection of special features that also packs in a couple of trailers and a bunch of vintage clips.

Amazon: $19.99


6. CIRCUS

Circus [Blu-ray]

Boy, did this show ever take me by surprise (and no, it’s not because it’s number six in our Top 5 list this week!) Circus is a new reality show from PBS following the Big Apple Circus from the inception of one of its yearly productions through to their “350-show tour – an epic, unforgettable journey from town to town and stand to stand, from the big top to “backyard” where the trailers are parked and the heart of the circus beats.” It seems to have just debuted on the network last week but the entire 6-episode series is already available on Blu-ray today. It’s unfortunately shot and transferred in 1080i, which only impacts the image a handful of times (an unfortunate “ghosting” effect.) Otherwise, this is a great looking high-def representation of a beautifully photographed reality show.

Recommended!

Amazon: $31.49


ALSO AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY THIS WEEK
Clicking an image will take you to Amazon.com where you can learn more about and purchase the Blu-ray disc:

Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series [Blu-ray] (2010)Grown Ups (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (2010)Charlie St. Cloud [Blu-ray] (2010)Tremors [Blu-ray] (1990)



Xam'd: Collection 2 [Blu-ray]Love Ranch [Blu-ray] (2010)Metalocalypse: Season 3 [Blu-ray]Scooby-Doo 1 & 2 Collection [Blu-ray]



Hunt to Kill [Blu-ray] (2010)Knucklehead [Blu-ray] (2010)Damned by Dawn [Blu-ray] (2009)Ramona & Beezus [Blu-ray]



Robin-B-Hood [Blu-Ray] (2006)Locked Down [Blu-ray] (2010)The Dry Land [Blu-ray] (2010)A Christmas Carol [Blu-ray] (1984)


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Sherlock Holmes Blu-ray Disc Review

Sherlock Holmes Blu-ray Disc Review

Welcome new reviewer Doug Hollingworth to The Blu-ray Blog!!

SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009, Blu-ray released March 30, 2010 – MSRP $35.99)

Sherlock Holmes Blu-rayIf you think that Swept Away was not only Guy Ritchie’s masterpiece but the crowning achievement of Madonna’s acting career then steer clear of this film…because this film is actually good.

The game is afoot in Guy Ritchie’s “Ba-ritsu” laden, tough guy touting adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes legacy. I’m not saying that this was the most amazing film that came out in ’09, but it certainly was one of the more fun films in theaters and all without any 3D pretense.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are the Victorian age Starsky & Hutch dynamic duo who run around London solving the mystery of the recently-raised-from-the-dead bad guy bent on world domination, kicking ass and taking names all the way. Oh, and did I mention that in addition to being a feast of Victorian-era mystery and mood, it’s also a ‘bromance’…with martial arts and Rachel McAdams. So really, what’s not to like?

The Blu-ray has only been out for a couple of weeks, but I’ve already given it multiple viewings and I’ve got to say it looks beautiful on Blu. Dirty and gritty London never looked so damn good, with the high-def encode only showing the slightest bit of ghosting during some of the quicker fight scenes but with top-notch audio throughout. I’d put Sherlock Holmes up there with JJ AbramsStar Trek Blu-ray in terms of audio and video quality. ‘Nuff said about that now on to the goodies.

Sherlock Holmes is chock full of extras including WB Maximum Movie Mode which I have to say is one of the better ones they’ve released so far. I’m a big fan of special features and production documentaries but by and large most studio docs these days are nothing but kiss ass PSAs for how amazing the film is and how great the director is and how wonderful the co-star is. I mean, if you bought the damn film, chances are you are already sold on it… so stop selling it.

Instead we are treated to several mini production videos covering everything from costumes and fight scenes (did you know that RDJ has been studying Jiu-Jitsu for the past 5 years? Well I didn’t.) to the dialect coach and even a doc on why they chose NOT to give Holmes his deerstalker hat.

Those of you keen on running commentary but who are new to WB’s Maximum Movie Mode are in for a more fast face paced and immersive experience than you have ever found on DVD. You get Guy Ritchie’s insightful commentary plus clips of each of the individual docs that run sporadically throughout the film as well as a “picture in picture mode” which shows you the scene as it was being filmed, side by side with the finished product.

Along with that are fluff but fun pieces like a timeline of real life events concerning Arthur Conan Doyle’s life and various histories of famous British landmarks.

So is Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes a worthy addition to everyone’s Blu-Ray collection? One could say it’s almost “elementary my dear Watson”. See that? I put in two references to Holmes in this review…so how could you not want to see it?

[ED NOTE: Great all around Blu-ray. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it. What an amazing surprise!]

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Top 5 New Blu-ray releases for the Week of March 30

Top 5 New Blu-ray releases for the Week of March 30

I would say this is an “underwhelming” week but that I truly love the top two films on my list. It’s just that beyond that, the pickin’s get a little slim, unless you’re into b-grade horror, kids fliks or anime. There aren’t really any surprises hidden here, so if you don’t see anything you like after a quick perusal, I’d recommend hitting up the Amazon sale lists.


1. SHERLOCK HOLMES

Sherlock Holmes Blu-ray


I skipped this one in the theatres. I love, love, love Sherlock Holmes stories and had no desire to see Guy Richie butcher the character with his ‘enslickened‘ boy-with-guns style, so I just avoided the film all together. I honestly couldn’t have been more wrong about it. It’s so good, from top to bottom! I hate to say it but it works on almost every level – it’s well designed, well performed and, as much as it pains me to admit, it was quite well directed. And the Blu-ray disc is spectacular to boot, replete with a killer transfer and some incredible special features.

Amazon: $24.99


2. AN EDUCATION

An Education Blu-ray

An Education is so good it nearly nosed its way into the number one spot this week. The coming of age story, young girl being wooed by older man, is fairly well worn but the wonderful performances here in this film really make it shine. Carey Mulligan emerges as the breakout star, practically painting herself as this generation’s Audrey Hepburn. Great film. Great Blu-ray disc.

Amazon: $26.99



3. COLLATERAL

Collateral Blu-ray

You can’t really go wrong with a Michael Mann film and though I wouldn’t count Collateral amongst his finest, it’s certainly worth watching. One of the director’s earliest digital-video efforts, the striking visuals really look great on Blu.

Read more: Collateral Blu-ray Disc Review

Amazon: $19.99



4. THE BAADER MEINHOFF COMPLEX

THE BAADER MEINHOFF COMPLEX Blu-ray

Based on the 1985 German best selling non-fiction book of the same name by Stefan Aust, The Baader Meinhoff Complex is a compelling film covering the early years of the West German militant group, the Red Army Faction. It was Germany’s submission for the 81st Academy Awards and worth a look on Blu-ray this week.

Amazon: $25.99



5. VAMPYRES

Vampyres Blu-ray

The number five slot was down to either I Sell the Dead or this film. I ultimately had to give it to Vampyres because as much as I wanted to love I Sell the Dead, a 2008 indie film that’s essentially an homage to old EC horror comics and Hammer films, it just didn’t do much for me. Vampyres, however, is true, vintage b-movie horror. The transfer on the Blu-ray isn’t going to win any awards here but remains faithful to the source. If you’re a fan of lesbian-vampire films from the 70s, you won’t go wrong here.

Amazon: $20.49



ALSO AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY THIS WEEK
Clicking an image will take you to Amazon.com where you can learn more about and purchase the Blu-ray disc:

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Blu-rayThe Killer Blu-rayI Sell the Dead Blu-rayOuran High School Host Club: The Complete Series Blu-ray



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CONFIRMED: Sherlock Holmes coming to Blu-ray in March!

CONFIRMED: Sherlock Holmes coming to Blu-ray in March!

Well, will you look at that! It turns out Sherlock Holmes is being released on Blu-ray on March 30th! Who Would’ve guessed?! Check out the details below:

Sherlock Holmes Blu-ray

SHERLOCK HOLMES
(March 30, 2010 – MSRP $35.99)
Video: 1.85:1 1080p
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Special Features:

    * WB Maximum Movie Mode (TRT Feature Length)

      o Director Guy Ritchie Walk On
      o PIP
      o Focus Points
      o Storyboard Comparisons
      o Still Gallery Timeline

    * Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented
    * Deleted Scenes
    * BD-Live
    * LCS
    * My Commentary
    * DVD and Digital Copy

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UPDATED: Sherlock Holmes coming to Blu-ray in … ?

UPDATED: Sherlock Holmes coming to Blu-ray in … ?

Well that was quick, wasn’t it? Who would’ve guessed that Warner Home Video would unleash the new Sherlock Holmes film onto Blu-ray (and DVD) so swiftly following its theatrical release last month. According to the press event I attended last night, Guy Ritchie‘s newest opus, starring the fabulous Robert Downey Jr. in the titular role, will make its Blu debut on March 30th!

No further information was made available (aside from the intimation and potential spoiler of Brad Pitt making an appearance in a certain role in one of the special features) but artwork and a firm date were provided:

UPDATE: Whoa. Apparently there was an embargo on all info given at the WHV event. We’re only allowed to talk about the details of a title three weeks before street date. I’m also informed that the street dates we were given aren’t firm and subject to change, calling into question how and when we can actually ever give these titles press.

Sigh…

So, for the time being, let’s pretend I didn’t publish this and that Sherlock Holmes won’t be released on Blu-ray and DVD in March. When I get the green light from the studio, I’ll let you know the actual, for sure, 100% approved disc details.

Um…and I guess we should all assume that the package art below is also subject to change.

Sherlock Holmes Blu-ray

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