Welcome to the Home Entertainment Forecast for September 22nd, 2009.
It’s a pretty big week, all things considered. I think the whole fall season is packed with big titles almost every week. All I can do is covet most of it at this point, but one day, I shall win the lottery, and I shall dedicate that lottery win to amassing an Alexandrian library of physical media, skeptics and VOD advocates be damned.
You wait and see. And in the meantime, I’m picking up what I can and making a list, and this week, there are some featured titles that are at the absolute top of that list:
THIS WEEK’S FEATURED TITLES
If you read this blog on a regular basis, then you know that the “Star Trek” movies and television series have all become very important this year to my four-year-old, who used the JJ Abrams film as his gateway hit, and who is now a full-blown “Trek” nerd for everything he’s seen of it. We’re talking about a franchise that’s survived 40 years. He’s only been exposed to a fraction of it, as much as that little-kid brain seems prepared to hold at the moment. But when “Star Trek: The Next Generation Movie Collection” (BluRay) arrives here at the house, I guarantee his eyes are going to bug out of his head, Tex Avery style, and he will proceed to launch a hardcore campaign with me to screen whatever is contained in the mysterious box with the “Trek” logo right there on the front.
He gets Kirk and Spock and McCoy. Will he get it if they’re suddenly replaced by someone totally different? Will he like it?
[more after the jump]
If he rejects it, we always have “Star Trek: The Original Series Season Two” (BluRay) to fall back on. The restorations on these shows is so beautiful, so subtle, and so tastefully produced that I have no problem simply showing my son the “Original Series” episodes with the modern FX updates. I’m not some crazy purist who insists that he only watch what I watched, how I watched it. I really enjoyed watching the first season again. I always think of “Star Trek” in the same way I think of “The Twilight Zone.” Moral fables wrapped up in a slick pop genre package. If this is what my kid finds himself drawn to, I don’t have to be a giant “Trek” fan to appreciate that this is something I can feel good about him
If it was only on DVD, I would just pick up the new film “Wallace & Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf And Death” and be done with it, but the idea of upgrading everything and getting the new film with it leads me to believe that “Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection” (BluRay) is the way to go. I don’t really need the bonus episode of “Shaun The Sheep,” but I adore the films by Nick Park and Gromit is an icon in my house. Every night, Toshi sleeps with the oversized stuffed Gromit I brought him back from one of my London trips, and those films have each been played about 10,000 times in my house over the last four years. Good stuff all the way around.
For comedy fans, it’s a great BluRay day. Even though Best Buy has been offering them as exclusives for the last month, today is the official street date for the Edgar Wright double-feature of “Shaun Of The Dead” (BluRay) and “Hot Fuzz” (BluRay). Both films look outstanding in these new transfers, and both discs are absolutely packed with extras ported over from earlier releases. And I am thrilled that “Observe & Report” (BluRay/DVD) is also out today. I wish I had a review copy already, but no matter… this film by Jody Hill is still very near the top of my list of movies I’ve seen and enjoyed this year, and I have a feeling home video is going to extend this one’s life significantly as people discover it in the years ahead.
It’s taken a while for “Taxi: The Complete Fourth Season” to make it to home video, but I’m happy that it’s finally here. The show’s last year on ABC before it’s fifth-season switch of networks, the fourth year on the air saw the series settling in with these characters, with Latka and Simka taking center stage for most of the season leading up to their wedding. I’m both a “Taxi” freak and an Andy Kaufman freak, so this season represents the heftiest on-screen body of work that Kaufman left behind in his short film and TV career. I still maintain that even the worst episodes of “Taxi” are better than most of what’s on the air now in any genre, and all I need is for that fifth season to come out, and I’ll finally own the full run of one of my favorite TV shows in history.
Finally, today’s gaming release schedule sees two franchises get oddball updates. I know there were people lining up last night to get their hands on “Halo 3: ODST,” and considering how addicted my friend Aaron in Austin is, I expect I’ll see a lot of this one while I’m staying with him during Fantastic Fest. It’s a prequel to “Halo 3,” taking place in-between the two earlier games, and for the first time, you’re not playing as Master Chief. Anything that extends the series is evidently welcome to “Halo” freaks, and I wish them buckets of happiness with it. I just played the demo for “Katamari Forever”, and it doesn’t appear to be radically different from earlier “Katamari” titles… just prettier. This is a strange Japanese puzzle game where you use a ball to roll up items in an environment, or the environment itself, making the balls bigger and bigger until they eventually become stars or planets. Sounds weird, I know, but it’s a hypnotic, soothing game with some of the silliest art direction out there, and once you play a little bit of it, there’s a fiendishly compulsive quality to it.
ALSO ON BLU RAY
I liked the first season enough to give “Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Season Two” (BluRay/DVD) a chance. And my wife’s love of “13 Going On 30” guarantees that “Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past” (BluRay/DVD), a “Christmas Carol” rom-com riff with Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey, will end up in the house as well. The independent animated film “Battle For Terra” (BluRay/DVD) is a smart, amiable SF story, not really new but admirably adult. After seeing how gorgeous the “Woodstock” BluRay transfer was earlier this year, I’m itching to get a look at Criterion’s “The Complete Monterey Pop” (BluRay). Criterion’s also releasing Godard’s “Pierrot Le Fou” (BluRay) this week, and I love the pop art look of that film, so I’m curious to see what this transfer looks like. Likewise, I’m a huge fan of the dark and terrifying look of the original “Gojira” (BluRay) and can’t wait to see it in high-definition. “Clive Barker’s Book Of Blood” (BluRay) is part of his renewed presence in indie horror on filmAnd I’m finally going to get a chance to see “Lymelife” (BluRay/DVD), an indie film I missed at Sundance and during its brief run. I quite liked an earlier film from these filmmakers, “Goat On Fire and Smiling Fish,” and I’m curious to see what they’ve done this time.
A handful of TV shows are releasing full season box sets this week that will all end up in the house at some point. Although I’m not as frothing-at-the-mouth insane for it as the Emmy nomination committee seems to be, I’m enough of a fan to want to have “30 Rock: Season Three”. Didn’t see a single episode, but I like Nathan Fillion enough to check out “Castle: The Complete First Season”. And every single night right now, my wife, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law all sit together and they watch “Betty La Fea,” the original telenovella that inspired “Ugly Betty: Season Three”, but once they’re done, they plan to jump back into the American version, which is radically different in tone. I’ll have a review of Rob Zombie’s animated comedy “The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto” later this week, but I’ll just say this: he suuuuure does like John K. I’m going to see “Adam Resurrected” because of Jeff Goldblum, but it sounds like tough going. I like the sound of foreign indie comedy “O’Horten,” but if live comedy’s more your thing, there’s also the stand-up special “Mitch Fatel: Mitch Fatel Is Magical”.
I can’t imagine ever finishing “Fallout 3,” no matter how much time I devoted to it. I loved playing it, but I had to eventually give up. It’s just way too huge and dense. But obviously hardcore gamers not only finished it but also went back for more. The third major DLC for the PS3 comes out today, called “Fallout 3: Broken Steel.” There’s also a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Smash-Up” for the Wii today, a “Zombie Apocalypse” for the XBOX360 and PS3, and, finally, “Spyborgs” for the Wii, which is… well… this:
“The Wizard Of Oz” on BluRay. Brace yourself. It’s a doozy.
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