Coming out on home video this week are a few new releases from earlier this year (such as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Observe and Report), as well as a couple of collections of older, more classic films (a collection dedicated to Paul Newman and two compilations of the Star Trek movies). We’ve got some animation for the kids (Battle for Terra, a Wallace and Gromit collection), and we’ve got some animation for the adults (Rob Zombie’s animated film The Haunted World of El Superbeasto). Plus, there’s a few other little goodies thrown in for good measure, so check out what we think are the most interesting DVDs hitting store shelves this week!
Who knew we were going to get not one, but two mall cop-themed movies this year? After Kevin James segwayed and tumbled his way through Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Seth Rogen put a decidedly darker spin on the theme in Observe and Report. Rogen plays Ronnie Barnhardt, a delusional mall security guard who dreams of becoming a real cop and wooing Brandi (Anna Faris), a cosmetics girl. Critics were split almost exactly down the middle by Observe and Report, mostly due to the film’s somewhat vicious nature, but many found rising star Seth Rogen’s performance oddly compelling. You can pick it up on DVD and Blu-Ray this week.
The first question the title of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past just begs to be answered is whether or not Matthew McConaughey’s past flames are, in fact, dead. The next question that inevitably follows is why these women would appear in the form of otherworldly apparitions if they aren’t, in fact, dead. These, of course, are best answered by watching the film itself, and many did so, despite the collective critical “meh” it received. Still, if nothing else, the premise is an interesting spin on A Christmas Carol, and there are a few laughs to be had, so die hard rom-com fans might still get a kick out of it. Grab it on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The last widely released film of this year to hit the home video market this week is Battle for Terra, an animated action/adventure and morality tale with some top notch voice talent at work. Among the cast are Luke Wilson, Evan Rachel Wood, Brian Cox, David Cross, and Amanda Peet, just to name a few. The story focuses on the battle between two species, humans and Terrians, for control of the planet Terra, which might be the last hope for the survival of humanity. While it’s no Delgo, and some critics found the movie thought-provoking and visually appealing, most were unable to get past what they felt was a heavy-handed message delivered within an all too familiar story. If nothing else, it’s a passable diversion for the kiddies.
Coming on the heels of the J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise are two collections of the previous ten films. The Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection already exists in Blu-Ray format, but those who haven’t yet made the transition to hi-def will now be able to pick up this set in standard definition, which includes all six of the first Star Trek films starring the original crew of the USS Enterprise. On the other hand, the Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection debuts this week in both DVD and Blu-Ray and includes the subsequent four films starring Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and friends. Both collections carry a slew of special features associated with each film, though the Blu-Ray discs offer even more content than the standard collections.
Almost nobody besides critics saw O’Horten, but if their word is to be trusted, we were all missing out. Bent Hamer, who helmed 2004’s odd yet touching Kitchen Stories and 2006’s Charles Bukowski biopic Factotum, directs this eccentric, deadpan comedy about a train engineer dealing with retirement. Like his other two films, O’Horten earned Certified Fresh status with critics, and since you probably didn’t know it existed before, you can pick it up or rent it when it comes out tomorrow.
The operative word in the title is fou — Godard’s gonzo 1965 lovers-on-the-run dramedy is one of the French New Wave legend’s craziest features. But it’s also a boldly colorful, formally inventive, emotionally resonant tribute to amour fou. Pierrot Le Fou stars the impossibly cool Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina, who go on a crime spree after escaping their dull bourgeoisie lives. This Criterion release showcases Godard at his most deliriously entertaining, and features a documentary on the director as well as vintage interview clips with the stars.
Is Paul Newman the coolest man ever? He’s at least in the conversation. Exhibit A is the DVD box set Paul Newman: The Tribute Collection, featuring 13 of the legend’s films, including The Long Hot Summer, The Hustler, Hombre, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Verdict. The collection comes with loads of special features and a 136-page book. (Regrettably not included: a jar of Newman’s Own roasted garlic salsa, which is super tasty).
Rob Zombie just can’t get enough of trashy pop culture. His latest feature, the animated The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, has it all: a hero who’s a washed up Mexican wrestler, an antagonist named Dr. Satan, plus strippers and a horde of Nazi zombie bikers. If this sounds like your cup of tea, you’re in luck; this long-gestating flick, featuring voice work from Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, Danny Trejo, and Mrs. Rob Zombie (aka Sheri Moon), hits video stores this week.
This British stop motion duo has captured the hearts and minds of millions with their animated high jinks, winning a little award known as the Oscar more than once in the process. This new four-disc compilation presents all four of their short films, including 2008’s A Matter of Loaf and Death, in one nifty set and includes hours of special features like commentaries and featurettes on each film and a bonus episode with Shaun the Sheep. Separately, an individually packaged release of A Matter of Loaf and Death is also available this week, so if that’s the only one you care to own, you can pick that up instead.
The Edgar Wright-Simon Pegg-Nick Frost trio has earned quite a following in the past several years, beginning for some with their collaboration on the homage-infused BBC show Spaced in 1999. 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, an affectionate take on the zombie movie genre, was the first feature film the three worked on together, and while it was a bit of a sleeper at the box office, it received high marks from critics and went on to achieve cult status in popularity as word of mouth spread. Three years later, they followed it up with a buddy cop satire, Hot Fuzz, which also won critics over and cemented them as an audacious comedic force to be reckoned with. This week, both films hit the shelves in Blu-Ray editions, so you can watch your zombie-bashing and small town shootouts in high definition.