A Bunch of Blu 7
In this edition, we look at It's Kind of a Funny Story, Nanny McPhee Returns, Lost in Translation, Ray, and the Iron Chef favorite, Backdraft
It's always intriguing to see what gets put on the latest format upgrade and what begs to be remastered. It's also fun to imagine the distributors, when faced with a particularly prickly cinematic dilemma, second guessing that titles to take on and what extras to obtain. As with many of these blu bunch overviews, there is an intriguing, often incomplete vision of the final decision. On the one hand, everything that hits the Cineplex in the current calendar year can anticipate a switch over to high definition. It's the way that all media is headed. Elsewhere, catalog efforts with limited sell through capabilities are also hurried out into the marketplace with little contextual support. It's a battle between the business model mindset acknowledging a need to feed the every growing consumer consensus - and yet lingering in the back of such vast and varied vaults are movies so magnificent and amazing that only one thing is stopping their update debut - money. It costs a lot to revamp an old negative, especially with the demands of the fanbase confusing your ability to concentrate.
Thus we have a decidedly mixed bad this time around, a selection that sees two contemporary titles (a psycho-drama and a comical kid vid) buoyed by a bio-pic, an awkward actioner, and a certified indie darling. Perhaps even more interesting is the collection of bonus features to be found. Few have director's commentaries, while most contain that most pointless of cinematic supplement - the deleted scene. Others are adorned with featurettes that do little except pimp the final product in pure EPK style. While many of these movies weren't hits in the traditional sense, they illustrate the current mindset on such offerings - give the buyer something resembling value, and they'll come out spending...maybe?
It's Kind of a Funny Story (Score: 5)
(As with any film starring the unhinged Galifianakis, this presentation offers some humorous outtakes, a collection of deleted scenes, a look at the making of the movie, and a peek at the premiere in NYC)
Nanny McPhee Returns (Score: 7)
(This Blu-ray version of the title contains a wonderful commentary track from director Susanne White, a behind the scenes making-of, a few more behind the scenes featurettes, and a selection of deleted scenes)
Lost in Translation (Score: 8)
(As part of this package, you get some deleted scenes, a conversation with Coppola, a visit to the set of her latest film, and a few film-oriented odds and ends)
Ray (Score: 6)
(In a release overflowing with added content, this Blu-'Ray' comes complete with a Hackford introduction and commentary track, a series of featurettes focusing on the musicians, his collaborators, his life outside music, and how Foxx found his way into the role. There are also uncut performances of the various songs, as well as a few deleted scenes)
Backdraft (Score: 5)
(This new Blu-ray release contains an intro by Howard, a collection of deleted scenes, and five featurettes revolving around the story, the production, and the true life adventures of real firefighters.)