A Bunch of Blu 6
This time around, we sample The American, Devil, Quiet Days in Clichy, Catfish, and Death Race 2.
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 this oddball "action" film from a famous superstar would suggest:
The American (Score: 7)
(The new high definition release features deleted scenes, a basic Making-of featurette, and an engaging commentary track from director Anton Corbijn)
Devil (Score: 6)
(This particular Blu-ray package offers deleted scenes and three featurettes on the making of the movie)
Quiet Days in Clichy(Score: 6)
(There are only three interview featurettes offered on this Blue Underground release: one featuring an expert on Henry Miller, another focusing on Barney Rossett, and a final one with theme song composer Country Joe McDonald)
Catfish (Score: 7)
(Universal's only contribution to this otherwise intriguing high definition release is something called "Secrets Revealed", which promises insightful interviews with the filmmakers)
Death Race 2 (Score: 5)
(The high definition release of this direct to DVD title is tricked out, featuring both rated and unrated versions of the film, deleted scenes, a director's montage, three featurettes on the movie's making, and a commentary track from director Reine)