One of my favorite movies of the year, the much and unfairly maligned Speed Racer is coming to Blu-ray September 19. Start your engines and fasten your seatbelts for the high-octane adventure Speed Racer, combining heartfelt family humor and groundbreaking visual effects. Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is a natural behind the wheel of his thunderous Mach 5. With support from Pops and Mom Racer (John Goodman and Susan Sarandon), girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci), younger brother Spritle (Paulie Litt) and the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox), Speed takes on fierce competitors to save his family’s business and protect the sport he loves. When Speed steps onto the track, it’s not just a race. It’s an adrenaline-fueled, high-speed charge to the finish. Go, Speed Racer, go!! The press release doesn’t tell you anything about special features but the MSRP will be about $29. I was one of the few critics who loved this movie. The reason it failed was a horrible marketing campaign and hope audiences discover it on the Blu machine.
One of my favorite Johnny Depp movies, the little seen Blow is coming to Blu-ray. There’s no money in a “real job.” So George Jung deals pot. Lots of it. The blue-collar kid dubbed Boston George spirals up from there, into the riches and excesses of the huge cocaine cartels. And crashes hard. Johnny Depp portrays George, the ambitious outlaw who, perhaps more than any American, transformed powder cocaine from relative obscurity in the U.S. into a 1970s/80s feeding frenzy. Penelope Cruz costars in this riveting, fact-inspired tale of glitz and glamour, fast times and hard time, betrayal and Blow. Director: Ted Demme Actors: Penelope Cruz, Ray Liotta, Bobcat Goldthwait, Cliff Curtis, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Franka Potente, James King, Jennifer Gimenez, Jesse James, Johnny Depp, Jordi Molla, Lola Glaudini, Max Perlich, Miguel Sandoval, Monet Mazur, Noah Emmerich, Paul Reubens, Rachel Griffiths, Kevin Gage
Everything is suspect, everyone is for sale and nothing is what it seems. Word on the street is on September 23, Warner Home Video will revisit 1950s Hollywood with the digitally remastered film noir L.A. Confidential, as a Two-Disc Special Edition (Standard Definition) DVD and single disc Blu-ray™ Hi-Def. The Standard Definition will be available for $20.97 SRP and Blu-ray™ Hi-Def for $28.99 SRP. Order due date is August 19, 2008.
I apologize for being a little lax on updating this weekly column, but I’ve been busy putting the final touches on the upcoming EM Book. But wow, what a way to come back. The folks at Fox Home Vide are bringing a slew of their Horror classics to Blu-ray (or as they call it Boo-ray, cute) September 9th. It seems weird that they don’t release these titles on, oh, I don’t know…Halloween? They are bringing out the complete Omen Collection – which includes the bad 2006 remake with the goofy (not scary) looking kid (Damn you Fox! I just bought that collection off of Amazon last week) and the Russian Horror series Night Watch and Day Watch. I don’t know if I would classify those two as horror, even though it is about things that go bump in the night. We may try and convince Fox to let us do a giveaway. These are some great titles. Check out the full press release after the break, jump, whatever….
Get it while it’s hot, the brand new PlayStation Store is upon us, thanks to today’s Firmware 2.30 update. I just downloaded it and kicked the tires a bit. It’s a million times better than the old store. It’s cleaner, slicker and better organized than before. I actually discovered stuff on the store, that I never noticed before because I would go to the old store, gripe about how ugly and non-user friendly it was and not spend anymore time than I had to on it. The new store is colorful, but it feels slower, it took a good minute for the images to show up. And I have a Fios connection so it should definitely be faster. I liked all the new stuff that I discovered in my short perusal. I found the Classics store, and the downloadable games section. In the old environment I just went straight for the demos and that’s it. While the store is definitely improving, it still has an amazing lack of content. There are only about 20 or 30 demos available – compare that to XBox Live’s 300+. A couple of game trailers, access to a limited number of classic titles. It’s embarrassing that after being on the market for over a year they still don’t have much content in their store. Game downloads are painfully slow, it’s taking me literally 5 hours to download one game demo that is less than 800 MB. They still don’t have downloadable entertainment content. Hey Sony, you own a Record Label, Movie and TV Studio. Wake up! Hello? Is anyone listening? The facelift is a great start, now put something there that will make us want to check out the store.
The Classic 1966 Batman movie is coming to Blu-ray, July 1st. But Fox is crazy, they are charging $40 bucks for this. I think my rant about the price of Blu-ray Discs going up and not down has been proven basically true. Since I don’t own this on DVD, I would seriously be tempted to pick it up. It’s one of those films that makes me relive my fondest childhood memories. And this disc is packed to the gills with stuff. For $40 it better be! Check out the press release, it’s pretty nice.
If it’s Tuesday, it must be Bluesday (copyright EM) and we have a tone of interesting news on Sony’s PS3 upcoming firmware upgrade. Not only are we going to get the new Profile 2.0 update which will bring us Blu-ray Live functionality. I saw this at CES earlier this year and it looks really promising. The Internet interfaces that was showcased at the Blu-ray conference looked beautiful and fully like Web 3.0. My fear is it’s going to end up being just as lame as all Internet enabled DVDs in the past. Not only is the new PS3 upgrade bringing us profile 2.0 capabilities, but today rumor has it that you will soon be able to download a copy of your Blu-ray movie directly to your PSP. I recently picked up an 8 Gig SD Duo stick for $80. How cools will it be to be able to drop your movies onto your PSP. It’s nice to see studios finally loosing up on their draconian DRM and helping people take their content with them. The first two movies to support BD- Lve will be Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and The 6th Day. Here’s the full press release on the PS3 Upgrade.
Update (Tuesday, 8am) – Sony saw my post and decided, “Y’know what? Let’s release this update now!” So get it while it’s hot.
Other notable Blu-ray releases this week. Include Fox’s amazing new Hit Man DVD. The DVD includes Fox’s way cool new Digital Copy technology. So not only do you get the Blu-ray disk, but you can also rip a copy of it for your portable digital media player. I honestly haven’t tried this yet, I’ve been busy switching over to a Mac (more on my woes later this week). I’ll give it a try and let you all know how well it works. I love the idea of it though and hope more disks incorporate this tech.
John Woo’s (Mission: Impossible II, Face/Off) first Anime production, Appleseed: Ex Machina, directed by Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed, Bubblegum Crisis) on DVD and Blu-Ray Disc. Based on the popular science fiction manga from renowned creator Shirow Masamune (Ghost in the Shell), Appleseed: Ex Machina follows partners and lovers, Deunan and Briareos.
The fine folks at Fox Home Video (can you tell they sent me a nice little package this weekend) have a block buster Blu-ray Tuesday this week releasing several of their big Sci-fi titles. Including one of my favorite – cheesy films of all time Independence Day. When I first bought my 60 inch HDTV 4 years ago – before there was any HD content available, but DVD was still new enough to wow people. ID4 was my reference disk, I’d put that on, fire up my Dolby Digital surround sound and my guests would be blown away by the beauty of it. Now imagine it on Blu-ray. The disk features 1080P, commentary by the directors, a separate commentary by special effects supervisors Volker Engel and Doug Smith, Trivia Track, a cheesy Alien Scavenger hunt game, theatrical trailers and D-Box motion support. This is a pretty amazing set, the only thing missing is Picture in Picture. This is a disk all Blu-ray owners need to have. I love the movie and the disk. This package is a solid A.
Final Grade A
EM Review by
The Sci-Fi Classic Gattaca: Special Edition is coming to DVD and Blu-ray this week. Watch some clippage and go out and pick this up. Confidently conceived and brilliantly executed, Gattaca had a somewhat low profile release in 1997, but audiences and critics hailed the film’s originality. It’s since been recognized as one of the most intelligent science fiction films of the 1990s. Writer-director Andrew Niccol, the talented New Zealander who also wrote the acclaimed Jim Carrey vehicle The Truman Show, depicts a near-future society in which one’s personal and professional destiny is determined by one’s genes.