A Bunch of Blu 5
On the high-def agenda this time around: The Last Airbender, Salon Kitty, The Wiz, Charlie St. Cloud, and The Kids Are All Right.
They say that, within a decade, all practical digital mediums will be dead, or at the very least, commercially obsolete. We will no longer shop for DVDs or fret over what added content will be provided on the next Special Edition Blu-ray release of our favorite film. Instead, small boxes will stream content directly into our TVs, with laptop portability and IPad watchability taking the place of a tricked out home theater system. In essence, there will no longer be an aluminum disc middle man preventing you from seeing your beloved blockbuster beamed directly to the smallest screen from the big. For those of us who still enjoy breaking out a slip case and firing up an actual 'player', such a suggestion seems shocking. After all, it was just 30 years ago when the VCR promised the motion picture purist a chance to own and 'forever' enjoy their favorite films in the privacy of their own residence. Now, we want to move away from some sense of permanency and rely on items like hard drives and memory sticks to secure our favorite films? Last time anyone checked, a DVD doesn't 'crash' or get accidentally wiped clean.
Still, it's an intriguing idea, one that the makers of movies keep pushing if only because of the definite dollar signs involved. As long as they can sell the aging baby boomers on the whole "live feed" ideal, they may have another reconfigured format hit on their hands. But there is still the nagging notion that collectors will not give back their wall space so readily. After all, what's more impressive to your fellow film geeks - a living room overloaded with carefully arranged and alphabetized selections, or a single set-top devices with everything you own downloaded and susceptible to sudden disappearance? In the end, of course, it's all about the product. If Hollywood makes disposable movies, a similarly throwaway means of experiencing them seems sensible. But would you really want something like the new three hour cut of Avatar only accessible via a web connection? It's an interesting thought to consider, not that the five selections here will warrant any kind of preservationist complaints. As Blu-ray tries to build its audience, even in spite of such future shock suggests, it remains a question of content, as with the first undeniable flop featured:
The Last Airbender (Score: 1)
(The new high definition release features an hour long documentary on the making of the film, three featurettes on different aspects of the production, a gag reel, a collection of deleted scenes, and a picture in picture added content play-along element)
Salon Kitty (Score: 6)
(Fans of the film will have to settle for a pair of interviews - one with director Tinto Brass, the other with production designer Ken Adams, as well as a pair of trailers and a some radio spots)
The Wiz (Score: 7)
(The Blu-ray release a behind the scenes featurette entitled "Wiz on Down the Road" and a theatrical trailer)
Charlie St. Cloud (Score: 5)
(As for bonus features, we are give insight into the production from director Burr Stears as part of a commentary track, a selection of deleted scenes, two EPKs focusing on star Zac Ephron, and a featurette looking at the spirit world)
The Kids Are All Right (Score: 8)
(As part of the package, we get three rather lightweight EPKs centering on the creative process behind the film, as well as a full length audio commentary from director/co-writer Lisa Cholodenko)