[12 May 2009]
McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)
The first six “Star Trek” movies, a Clint Eastwood Western classic and two more James Bond adventures are among a starship-load of impressive titles landing on Blu-ray this week.
“Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection” (Paramount, $139.99) obviously is being released to coincide with the “Star Trek” prequel currently playing in theaters. It is a 7-disc set that not only includes the six films but also 2 1/2 hours of new extras as well as “The Captain’s Summit.” The latter is a 70-minute piece that features William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Whoopi Goldberg sharing their Trek memories.
The titles include:
“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979): After 10 years, Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest of the Enterprise crew reunite to investigate an alien object approaching earth.
“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn” (1982): Ricardo Montalban reprises his role of the superhuman Kahn in this top-notch sequel to the original TV series’ episode “Space Seed.”
“Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984): A project known as Genesis might help bring Spock back to life after he sacrificed himself in film two.
“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986): Kirk, Spock and the crew travel back in time to rescue a pair of humpback whales in hopes that they can save Earth’s future. One of the best Trek films.
“Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (1989): This time the Enterprise makes what might be the ultimate voyage — a supposed encounter with God.
“Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991): The Federation and the Klingon Empire are nearing a peace agreement but someone is out to stop it. This is a terrific Blu-ray collection and is highly recommended.
Films 2, 3 and 4 are also available in the 3-disc “Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy” (Paramount, $65.99).
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (MGM/20th Century Fox, 1966, $29.99) marked the finale of Clint Eastwood’s trilogy of films for director Sergio Leone. In many ways it is the best of the three and is set against the backdrop of the American Civil War. Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach all are after gold that is buried in the grave of a dead soldier. The final showdown is a memorable one. Highly recommended.
Agent 007 is back in action in the person of Roger Moore in “The Man with the Golden Gun” (MGM/20th Century Fox, 1974, $34.98). Bond squares off against horror legend Christopher Lee, who plays Francisco Scaramanga, an assassin who wants to add the British secret agent to his list of kills. Recommended.
Timothy Dalton plays Bond in “Licence to Kill” (MGM/20th Cenury Fox, 1989, $34.98), a grim, serious entry that has more in common with the current Daniel Craig films than the often tongue-in-cheek outings of Connery and Moore. When high-profile drug dealer Franz Sanchez has Bond’s friend Felix Leiter maimed, 007 goes after the criminal with a vengeance. Highly recommended.
Other Blu-ray releases:
“Fargo” (MGM/20th Century Fox, 1996, $29.99): Frances McDormand won an Oscar for her role of Marge Gunderson, the pregnant police chief of a small Minnesota town. In the dead of winter, she investigates three murders that is the result of a kidnapping. William Macy is the nervous and bumbling guy behind the crime. The film also won an Oscar for Best Screenplay and was nominated for five others, including Best Picture. Recommended.
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season” (Paramount, 2000-01, $99.99): This show, now in its ninth season, is the one that made forensics such a popular subject. William Peterson stars as Gil Grissom, who leads his expert investigation team on various cases in and around Las Vegas. Also in the cast are Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Paul Guilfoyle and Eric Szmanda. First-rate series so much better without commercials. Includes 23 episodes on 5 discs. Recommended.
“Major League” (Paramount, 1989, $39.99): This is one of the funniest and most enjoyable baseball movies ever made. Margaret Whitton plays the new owner of the Cleveland Indians and she wants to move the team to Florida. She figures losing will help make that happen so she puts a bunch of misfits on the team. The players cross her up by winning the division title. The cast includes Tom Berenger, Charlie (“Wild Thing”) Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes and Dennis Haysbert. Recommended.
“It Could Happen To You” (Sony, 1994, $28.95): A fine romantic comedy. Nicolas Cage plays Charlie Lang, an easygoing cop who buys a lottery ticket and promises waitress Yvonne (Bridget Fonda) that he’ll give her half if he wins. After he does win, Charlie is determined to make good on his promise. There is an obstacle, however; his nagging wife, Muriel (Rosie Perez), who goes ballistic when she finds out about the agreement. Recommended.
“Underworld Trilogy” (Sony, $92.95): It seems that an underworld exists right beneath us where a war rages between vampires and werewolves. Kate Beckinsale plays Selene, one of the bloodsuckers, and Scott Speedman is Michael, one of the hairy folks. When the two fall in love it makes for an unusual relationship. The films have developed a cult following. The set includes “Underworld” (2003), “Underworld: Evolution” (2006) and “Underworld; Rose of the Lycans” (2009). The latter is a prequel.
“Passengers” (Sony, 2008, $34.95): Anne Hathaway plays psychologist Claire Summers, who tries to help survivors of a plane crash cope with their experience. She is surprised when each survivor seems to have a different story about what happened during the accident. She’s even more surprised when they start disappearing. Only Eric (Patrick Wilson), also a survivor, appears to hold the key to the mystery.
“Taken” (20th Century Fox, 2008, $39.99): When his 17-year-old daughter is kidnapped in Paris, a retired CIA agent heads to France determined to get her back. He’s also just as determined to make the kidnappers pay for their crime. Liam Neeson stars in this thriller.
“Force 10 From Navarone” (MGM/20th Century Fox, 1978, $29.99): Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford and Barbara Bach star in this World War II adventure about an Allied team that is sent on a mission to destroy an enemy bridge. Directed by Guy Hamilton, who oversaw several James Bond films.
“The Grudge” (Sony, 2004, $28.95): In Tokyo, a vengeful spirit possesses the souls of those who recently met terrible and mysterious deaths. Now it’s out to claim more souls. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars.
“Black Sheep” (Paramount, 1996, $39.99): Chris Farley plays doofus Mike Donnelly, who tries to help his brother Al (Tim Matheson) win the race for Washington state governor. Al probably would do better without his kind of “help.”
“Wayne’s World” (Paramount, 1992, $39.99): Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Alger (Dana Carvey) get a chance to host their own late-night cable-access TV show. Plenty of funny mishaps follow.
“Wayne’s World 2” (Paramount, 1993, $39.99): Myers and Carvey are back and this time they’re going to put on a rock concert and dub it Waynestock.
“Without a Paddle” (Paramount, 2004, $29.99): Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dax Shepard play childhood buddies who learn that a recently departed friend had a map that supposedly shows where 1971 airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper hid $200,000. So the trio sets off in the backwoods to find the loot and also encounter plenty of wacky adventures.