Non-comprehensively highlighting the week’s top picks in Blu-ray…
The Hudsucker Proxy – Considered a flop when it first came out due to its relatively large budget and high production values, this Coen brothers film has only gained in esteem over the years. A tribute to classic screwball, it’s a fictionalized comedy about the invention of the hula hoop, set in a fully stylized retro universe. Tim Robbins stars as the naive inventor from Muncie, with Jennifer Jason Leigh impersonating Katherine Hepburn and Paul Newman as the executive setting our hapless hero up for a fall.
The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson’s character study about a very familiar-seeming author-turned-cult-leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and the pure post-traumatic, stress-disorderd id of the WWII veteran he takes under his wing (Joaquin Phoenix) gives rewards to the viewer in equal proportion to the degree of attention the viewer is willing to pay. Essentially a chaste love story of a control freak drawn to a wild id he longs to tame but never can, it’s not the easy Scientology spoof some expected, nor is it a movie to be viewed for casual escapism. But for those who are fascinated by the way human beings relate, it offers much in return. The Blu-ray has almost 20 minutes of deleted scenes edited together into a new short, and John Huston’s feature-length 1946 documentary Let There Be Light, about World War II veterans, which inspired Anderson and reveals some early attempts to understand and treat PTSD (before it was called that).
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D – I really wanted to see this one, but despite some impressive Comic-Con clips, the word of mouth was universally terrible, which is too bad, as the original remains my favorite video-game movie by far. This much I know: Pyramid Head comes back for more, and there’s a giant spider made of mannequin parts. If I can find anybody with a 3D TV who’ll rent it, maybe I can finally check it out. Virtually no extras to speak of.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: Extended Edition – On the offchance any of my readers happen to be guards at Guantanamo Bay: I know you’re not allowed to waterboard any more, so I offer you this instead. Actually, to be fair, this is the least worst of the series, with a bugnuts childbirth sequence and Bill Condon finally treating the whole premise as unseriously as it deserves. But suspected enemy combatants will hate it just as much as everybody else, nonetheless.
Joshua Tree – Dolph Lundgren faces off against…George Segal? And our favorite giant Swede is playing a character named “Wellman Santee”? Enough said.