Shelf Space Weekly: Bruce Lee Returns Edition
This week presented me a rare occurrence for Shelf Space Weekly. I find myself writing up a Blu-ray set for the second time, only this time it’s a revised and improved version. Following that, we go through the second month of next year on the lookout for movies worth clearing space for on our crowded shelves, including one that I personally endorsed.
Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection (Updated) – October 22
This week, Shout! Factory is re-releasing their Bruce Lee collection from the summer. It turns out they didn’t obtain the optimum sources for The Big Boss, Fist of Fury or Way of the Dragon, so they’re fixing that. Game of Death is still the same old Game of Death but any Bruce Lee fan knows where they can see the full uncut Game of Death fight footage.
They also mislabeled discs 10 and 11. I bet some OCD collector had a heart attack when they realized those were swapped. You won’t even have to clear any shelf space for this one. Just swap out the Bruce Lee Legacy Collection you already have and replace it with this one.
Passion – November 5
Oh sure, someone remakes a Brian De Palma movie and they get a nationwide theatrical release, but De Palma remakes a French movie and it’s an “arthouse” deal. Passion, the De Palma remake of Love Crime starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, hits home video next month.
Knowing the way De Palma shoots, I’ll look forward to seeing those split screens in HD. Bonus features include interviews with De Palma, Rapace and McAdams.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Five and Unification – November 19
CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Video are keeping up a pretty fast pace restoring those old “Next Generation” TV episodes into HD. Remember, this isn’t just transferring the source materials. They have to rebuild the edits from original film negative and re-composite all the visual effects.
Season Five seems noteworthy for guest stars, including future movie star Ashley Judd, the legendary Paul Winfield, and Leonard Nimoy’s return as Spock in the two parter “Unification.” “Unification” gets its own single Blu-ray release if the whole season is too expensive. I bet “Unification” makes a nice stocking stuffer.
Kick-Ass 2 – December 3
I think the main problem with Kick-Ass 2 may have been that it didn’t understand that attempted rape is still rape. A pretty vile and detestable movie, the only reason I’m mentioning it here is one bonus feature that looks intriguing. “Big Daddy Returns: The Unshot Scene” has commentary by writer/director Jeff Wadlow. I am curious how they would have reintroduced Nicolas Cage’s character into the sequel. I wonder if it will also illuminate why Cage declined.
Other bonus features look very self-congratulatory about how tough the film’s fight scenes were to shoot. Take a look at The Raid and then call me. I get it, they’re putting together a nice package for the fans but I’m Franchise Fred and even I’m out for this sequel.
Jayne Mansfield’s Car – December 10
Someone I trust recommends this movie. I saw it at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, and I wish there had been more fanfare for a theatrical release, but I’m just happy to see Billy Bob Thornton directing again.
The only bonus feature it includes is a behind the scenes featurette, but I personally consider that sticker on the front cover all the bonus content you could possibly need.
Throne of Blood – January 7
Each week in January boasts a new Criterion Collection. The first is Akira Kurosawa’s classic and legendary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Throne of Blood.
I wonder if they still have to call it “The Scottish Play” in Japan. A new 2K digital film transfer promises an exquisite look at Kurosawa’s vision, and the slew of usual Criterion extras.
Rififi and Thief – January 14
Two classic movies about stealing come out the same day from Criterion. I saw an early Criterion edition of Rififi but this new 2K digital restoration will surely be worth a new look. This movie has a 32 minute burglary/safe cracking which is already stunning in low definition. Extras are a bit minimal but include an interview with director Jules Dassin, set design drawings and production stills.
Thief is a bit more brash of a Michael Mann crime movie starring James Caan. He’s a safe cracker planning to go straight, but just when he thought he was out, he gets pulled back in, as much by society’s prejudices as the criminal lifestyle. Mann approved a new 4K film transfer, and the Blu-ray includes his commentary track with Caan, and new interviews.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – January 21
This all star madcap road race comedy is full of old school action and classic comedians doing their schtick. Already 159 minutes, Criterion has unearthed a 197 minute extended cut. 4K digital film transfer of the theatrical release, and still a high definition digital transfer of the restored road show version. Bonus features include a new documentary, new audio commentary and historical features going back as far as 1963.
Additional Criterion January titles include La Vie De Boheme and The Long Day Closes.
Two Weeks Notice and City of Angels – February 4
For Valentine’s Day, the two movies Warner Brothers chose out of their entire library, are the Hugh Grant/Sandra Bullock rom-com Two Weeks Notice and the Nic Cage/Meg Ryan remake City of Angels. Actually it makes sense. Bullock is hot right now and Ryan is back in the news for doing TV. I should be more excited as a Cage fan but Angles was not one of my favorites.
Funny story: when DVD was new, City of Angels was one of five DVDs you would get for free if you purchased a DVD player. The others were U.S. Marshals, Lost in Space, The Perfect Murder and Lethal Weapon 4. But now that it’s on Blu-ray, you have to buy it, suckers!
Million Dollar Baby: 10th Anniversary Edition – February 4
Technically, 2014 is the 10 year anniversary of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby, but remember it was a year-end release. February is the 9 1/2 year anniversary. I’m just keeping you honest, Warner Brothers. I only recently got over my fear of watching the Lucia Rijker scene again when Million Dollar Baby was included in the Clint Eastwood 20 film Blu-ray set. Now I’m going to have to watch it again for the 10th anniversary.
New bonus features include Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman discussing “how the film overcame incredible odds.” Not sure about that. Eastwood has a pretty secure deal at WB to make what he wants, but hey, it’s the three principals. Also a commentary by producer Albert Ruddy, which gives you something since Eastwood himself doesn’t do commentary.
The Grandmaster – 2014
After last week’s announcement that Wong Kar Wai’s martial arts epic The Grandmaster was coming to Blu-ray this November, The Weinstein Company changed their minds.
No specifics yet but the date is now listed as first quarter 2014.