Shelf Space Weekly: Only God Forgives Jim Garrison
This week in Shelf Space Weekly, we’ve got the usual crop of new releases and reissues of classic movies, but a exciting developments around the edges. First I’ve been reminded of the digital release of a festival film I loved, so I’m highly recommending that, and it doesn’t even require you to clear any shelf space. At the end, some exciting announcements for way down the line, but it’s all a very promising week for our Blu-ray shelves.
[CORRECTION: This article previously stated that the Blu-ray release of Only God Forgives included no special features. This statement was inaccurate. The special features for the release have now been included below.]
Rewind This – August 27
I reviewed this documentary on the VHS format and interviewed director Josh Johnston at SXSW. Now you’ll have a chance to see it, although they’re not releasing it on VHS just yet. Modern viewing technology will save you some shelf space though, as Rewind This premieres on digital download this week.
Rewind This chronicled the history of VHS and the continuing nostalgia for it in the days of DVD, Blu-ray and digital download. Johnson found video filmmakers from the VHS era, as well as filmmakers and experts reflecting on the format. If you love movies, I highly recommend this angle on mass production, which is really responsible for why we have so many movie available to us at home today.
Fright Night 2 – October 1
I actually liked the Fright Night remake. I thought it was an exciting, action packed take on the vampire next door. It didn’t do well, but it’s still enough of a franchise title that they can do a straight to video sequel. Here’s what I like about the premise. This time, Gerri Dandridge is a woman and she’s played by Jaime Murray. I like that. They even changed the spelling to the female version of Gerri.
Actually, the rest of the premise sounds more like a remake than a sequel. It’s still Charley and Evil Ed, and they enlist the help of Peter Vincent to save their girlfriend Amy from Gerri. Well, Jaime Murray will make a hot vampire and will look great on Blu-ray.
After Earth – October 8
This is the first Will Smith movie I have not seen in theaters since Six Degrees of Separation. I was even at Made in America on opening weekend. I wasn’t avoiding After Earth. It screened and came out while I was at Cannes and it left theaters before I could catch up. I will look forward to seeing the new film by Book of Eli screenwriter Gary Whitta, plus I’m still an M. Night defender to this day. This isn’t the forum for it, but I’d say he hasn’t stopped making the same kinds of movies we all liked the first three times so it’s kind of unfair to say, “Now change.” It would be like telling Tarantino, “Enough with the long scenes of dialogue with a sudden outburst of violence.”
For a film that underperformed they’re still giving After Earth a full special edition’s worth of extras. Six featurettes, a different version of the opening sequence and a prize winning robotics video should be fun, although one of the featurettes is really hyping pre-vis as if it’s something we haven’t been seeing for 10 years. I’m in. I trust you, M. Night.
Embrace of the Vampire – October 15
I mention this not because there’s a remake of Embrace of the Vampire, although… really? No, what’s important is that this remake’s Blu-ray release will also be accompanied by a Blu-ray release of the 1995 Alyssa Milano version.
If you subscribed to pay cable in the ‘90s, you know this movie very well. Will HD be kind to our memories of young, nubile Samantha from “Who’s the Boss?” I feel dirty just for writing that, so let’s hope so.
Only God Forgives – October 22
I was not a fan of the latest Nicolas Winding Refn movie when I saw it in Cannes, but I think I can assert with relative confidence that it will look great on Blu-ray. Ryan Gosling plays a drug dealer and boxing ring proprietor in Bangkok. His mother (Kristen Scott Thomas) demands he get revenge for his brother’s death, even though his brother was pretty justly killed for raping and murdering a teen. That’s about as much plot as you’re going to get out of Only God Forgives, but Refn enjoys lingering the frame on Gosling, or letting a foul mouthed Scott Thomas let loose.
JFK: 50th Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition – November 12
That’s a mouthful right there, isn’t it? Let’s be clear, it has not been 50 years since Oliver Stone made JFK. It has been 50 years since the events portrayed in Oliver Stone’s JFK. And there has been a special edition and a director’s cut before, so this is not those. This is an Ultimate Collector’s Edition of arguably the seminal work in Oliver Stone’s career, the one that solidified him as a conspiracy theorist. It is quite well done, whatever you say about the actual Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) investigation.
The UCE includes the director’s cut, the 1963 feature film PT 109 about JFK’s WWII days, the 1965 documentary John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums, the JFK episode of Oliver Stone’s “The Untold history of the United States,” a new documentary called JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later and some JFK commemorative items. It also includes previous DVD and Blu-ray extras. I will give them this, it’s not often you see a re-release include two other feature films relating to the film.
Shout! Factory Signs Werner Herzog
Some exciting news for art film lovers, Shout! Factory signed an exclusive deal for the library of Werner Herzog Film GMBH to release some classic Herzog films on Blu-ray. Expect top notch transfers of Fitzcarraldo, Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Nosferatu the Vampire, Little Dieter Needs to Fly (remade by Herzog as Rescue Dawn), nine other titles named and the promise of “several other acclaimed titles” in the future.
Hopefully we’ll get some Herzog commentaries and archival bonus features to go with them.
Nightbreed: Director’s Cut – 2014
Here I was all excited that Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut was screening at Fantastic Fest next month. Looks like everyone’s going to get to see it next year thanks to Scream Factory.
I remember reading about Nightbreed in Fangoria, with all those cool looking Clive Barker creatures. I don’t remember the actual movie much, which is probably a result of all the cuts, but the idea that there’s 42 more minutes of it is exciting.
I’ll report when I see it next month!