Blu-ray Today: Apes Get Heady, Star Trek Ends Again, and Some Things Nobody Asked for


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – So why was Caesar wearing that wacky skull facepaint, anyway? It’s not great camouflage, he thought there were no humans left to scare, and it’s doubtful the deer gave a crap one way or the other. Obviously, then, he just thought it looked cool. What a dork.

And that’s why we relate to the guy, even though he’s going to end up making us all extinct whether he wants to or not. If you haven’t already, find out which of his conflciting urges wins out…for now…in the latest Apes movie that may or may not be considered part of the original canon, depending where they go from here and whether you think Cornelius and Zira created a tangent universe, Abrams-Trek style, in Escape.

You can buy the deluxe version above stored in Caesar’s head, which seems awfully, uncomfortably reminiscent of the dessert course at Pankhot Palace, or just a regular Blu, or a 3D version. Unlike future man and evolved ape, we will not force you to pick a side.

Star Trek the Next Generation: Season 7 – Make it so…that your Blu-ray collection of TNG will be complete? Indeed! Discs, Blu-ray, hot. The final season sees curtain calls not just for the core crew, but appearances from previous recurring characters like Lore, Hugh Borg, Q, Tasha Yar, Alexander, Lwaxana Troi, Wesley Crusher and more. Plus the usual photon array of extras. The final episode, “All Good Things,” is also available separately for people who just want to cherry-pick their favorite episodes – and it is one of the best. Now then – time for the inevitable seven-season box set inside a giant Data head, or something.

The Simpsons: The Seventeenth Season – Looking over a summary of this set’s episodes, I realized I can’t remember any of them with any clarity, which either means I forgot them, or never saw them in the first place. It does seem like there were a lot of anthology-style episodes, if that helps.

The Strain: Season 1 – I started watching this and then forgot about it, right about the time the show appeared to introduce “good” vampires and promptly forgot about them. I dug the gore factor, eye-worms and Kevin Durand’s Pacino-with-a-stroke line deliveries, but I guess not enough that I had to see what happened next. Did anyone here make it the whole way through?

As Above, So Below – Suitably scary but stupidly scripted found-footage horror, set in the Catacombs below Paris, and then possibly Hell itself. The Blu-ray includes exactly one featurette, and nothing else extras-wise.

Tales From the Crypt/The Vault of Horror – Before that sniggering puppet appeared on HBO, the EC comics got theatrical treatments over in the UK, in these anthology horror features which include the likes of Joan Collins, Tom Baker, Ralph Richardson, Peter Cushing and more. The Vault of Horror has previously only been available in an edited, PG version, but this Scream Factory release purports to contain the unrated version for the first time.

The Quatermass Xperiment – Hammer Films’ first big-screen adaptation of the UK sci-fi serial of almost the same name (decades before the ’90s made it routine, they dropped the “e” to make the movie more X-treme!), starring the controversially cast American actor Bernard Donlevy as the alien-fighting Professor Bernard Quatermass (the equivalent of casting an American to star in a Doctor Who movie). Time has moved on from the nerdy casting debates of ’50s fandom, however, so you are free to make your own decision, likely without the same baggage, as to whether or not he did a good job.

The CongressAmbitious, partially animated movie about Robin Wright (as herself) selling the rights to her own onscreen avatar in order to help cure her son’s hearing disability. While it isn’t as brilliant as it would like to be, its trippy perception shifts reveal the kind of reach we rarely see in half-cartoon features. I hope there’s a commentary track, but I have no indication that such is the case.

The Legend of Korra Book Three: Change – You all have told me this is a good show, and I believe you. Enjoy this.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action – I saw this when it came out and remember almost nothing about it. Which already puts it ahead of Space Jam, from which the horrible, horrible memories linger.

Jingle All the Way 2 – This sequel nobody asked for replaces Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad with Larry the Cable Guy and retired wrestler Santino Marella, which means we traded one ridiculous-but-real foreign accent for two absurd fake accents (seriously, if you’ve ever heard Dan Whitney’s real voice, you’ll realize what a deliberate dumbass he’s playing as “Larry”). Too bad they didn’t get Jake Lloyd to make a cameo.

The Package – Gene Hackman stars in a movie that is presumably about my penis.

The Hero of Color City – Fucking crayons come to life and fucking sing, and talk, or some shit.

Hickey & Boggs – Dark-toned 1972 cop buddy movie that reunited the stars of I Spy: Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. Guess what won’t be selling too many copies today?

Them’s the most conspicuous offerings today. What would be on your list?