Blu Tuesday: Friday the 13th, Dr. Strangelove and Morning Light

Those who saved up a little extra pocket change from the lack of Blu-rays released over the last few weeks will probably want to grab a hammer and break open the piggy bank, because there are a slew of must-own titles hitting stores today. Even better is the variety, from new horror films and old classics to cult television shows and HBO mini-series, this week features one of the best HD line-ups that you’re likely to see all year.

“Friday the 13th” (Warner Bros.)

The new adventures of Jason Voorhees may just be the latest in a long line of mindless sequels (in fact, one might even argue it’s little more than a compilation of greatest hits from the first three films), but it does serve as an excellent reboot of sorts that horror fans should appreciate. While Jason’s ninja-like stealth is a bit ridiculous, it’s but a minor obstacle in an otherwise entertaining slasher flick. The kills are just as inventive as they were 30 years ago (there’s even a Blu-ray exclusive featurette that takes an in-depth look at the seven most memorable ones), and at the end of the day, that’s all anyone really cares about. Whether or not it truly revitalizes the franchise is a whole another matter, but at least Warner Bros. is willing to stand behind their product. The Blu-ray release is one of the studio’s best yet, and includes an extended (but still R-rated) cut of the film, as well as a making-of featurette, deleted scenes and a picture-in-picture video track.

“Dr. Strangelove” (Sony Pictures)

Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Cold War satire isn’t exactly the kind of film that benefits from high definition, but it still looks remarkably good for its age. Though I’ve never really been a fan of black-and-white cinema, “Dr. Strangelove” is one of the few exceptions. It’s probably because the movie would seem absolutely ludicrous in color. Not only are many of the characters (like George C. Scott’s General Turgidson and Peter Seller’s Strangelove) already so outlandish that they’re practically cartoons, but the monochrome effect lends a certain seriousness to the film that only makes the events that follow even funnier. The “Inside Dr. Strangelove” retrospective included on the disc – which covers everything from Kubrick’s original idea of making a serious political thriller to an 11th hour legal coup designed to delay the release of the similarly-themed “Fail-Safe” – should be of particular interest to fans of the film, while the addition of never-before-seen pages from the screenplay sheds new light on the infamously deleted cream pie fight ending.

“Morning Light” (Walt Disney)

Walt Disney’s “Morning Light” isn’t the kind of documentary that you hear about during awards season, nor is it the kind of sleeper hit that takes the world by surprise “March of the Penguins” style. It is, however, an enjoyable little film that may not make the sport of sailing seem as exciting as it really is, but tries its darndest nonetheless. Following 15 rookie sailors as they compete for the chance to partake in the 2,225-mile Transpacific Yacht Race, “Morning Light” documents their six-month journey from training to racing head-to-head against a crew of seasoned professionals. Though the movie does a good job of promoting the allure of sailing (and boy does it look beautiful in HD), it fails to give its cast of youngsters any semblance of personality. Had we gotten the chance to actually get to know the youngsters involved, “Morning Light” might have been as riveting as it inspires to be, but unfortunately, the film plays it so safe that the final product pales in comparison to its full potential.

Also Out This Week:

“Spaceballs” (MGM)
“John Adams” (HBO)
“Generation Kill” (HBO)
“The Seventh Seal” (Criterion)
“Ghostbusters” (Sony Pictures)
“Lost: Seasons One & Two” (Walt Disney)
“Burn Notice: Season Two” (20th Century Fox)

  

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