Blu Tuesday: Star Trek, Fight Club and Rome

The Blu-rays keep on rolling this week with more great titles making their debut. It’s actually gotten to the point where I wish I had more time to write, because there’s too much stuff coming out, especially compared to the last few months. That’s the domino effect of the holidays in full swing, but just because you don’t want to break your bank on all these Blu-rays doesn’t mean you can’t add them to your Christmas wish list.

“Star Trek” (Paramount)

If you were to ask any “Star Trek” fan a few years ago if they thought there would be another movie so soon, they’d probably laugh in your face. That’s because the film franchise was practically DOA until Paramount managed to lure J.J. Abrams into directing an origin story reboot. By introducing a time-traveling villain that allowed him to explore alternate storylines without tainting “Trek” canon, Abrams was able to create a film that appealed to longtime fans and newcomers alike. To say it was a success would be a major understatement, and that carries over to the film’s Blu-ray release as well, which is jam-packed with so many special features you’d swear they were Tribbles. The three-disc set includes everything from an audio commentary and deleted scenes to a whopping ten production featurettes on just about every aspect of the moviemaking process. It’s a great bang for your buck, although Trekkies will no doubt be tempted by Amazon’s limited edition gift set, which includes a replica U.S.S. Enterprise.

“Fight Club” (20th Century Fox)

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been ten years since David Fincher’s “Fight Club” was released, but Fox has made sure that you won’t forget about it any time soon with one of the best Blu-rays of the year. That may sound like a pretty bold statement, but between the new 1080p video transfer and the hours upon hours of special features, it’s one that would be pretty hard to argue against. Not only has Fox included all of the bonus material from the previous DVD releases (including four audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and several production featurettes), but they’ve also added some new extras as well. “A Hit in the Ear” is a cool featurette that allows you to remix four different scenes with the help of sound designer Ren Klyce, while “Flogging Fight Club” offers a behind-the-scenes look at Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and David Fincher’s acceptance speech for the film’s induction into the Guy Movie Hall of Fame. The piece de resistance, however, is “Insomniac Mode: I Am Jack’s Search Index,” an interactive database that allows you to search any part of the disc from a large glossary. This is truly a game-changing addition – especially for movies with as much bonus material as this one.

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Blu Tuesday: Observe and Report, Wallace & Gromit and Star Trek

On the surface, this week’s selection of Blu-rays may not look like much, but there’s something here for everyone, including the latest from Seth Rogen, the debut of a couple cult classics, and a few box sets that most movie nerds already have on their radar. There may not be any really major titles being released today, but I’d much rather have the option to choose from a solid list like this any day of the week.

“Observe & Report” (Sony)

A curious mix between “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” and “Taxi Driver,” Jody Hill’s sophomore effort isn’t the usual Seth Rogen laugh-a-thon, but rather a pitch-black comedy that only gets darker and more sadistic with each passing minute. This is the kind of film that usually divides moviegoers, and though I didn’t love it or hate it, I will admit that it’s Rogen’s strongest (and most mature) performance to date. It usually takes a while for a comic actor to branch off into more serious roles, but Rogen has been so overexposed lately that it’s nice to see him try something new. “Observe and Report” is hardly the kind of film that benefits from high definition, however, so Warner Bros. has made a point of distinguishing the Blu-ray edition from its DVD counterpart by making all of the extras – like a picture-in-picture commentary, deleted scenes and a gag reel – exclusive to this release. It isn’t exactly the smartest business practice, but HD fans won’t complain. At least we’re finally getting a little extra bang for our buck.

“Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection” (Lionsgate)

People may think of Tim Burton when they hear the words “stop motion animation,” but for my money, Nick Park is the king of the genre. His “Wallace & Gromit” shorts have earned a nice little following over the years, and though the feature-length “Curse of the Were-Rabbit” failed to take the franchise to the next level, it’s still a darned good film in its own right. Still, Park’s bread and butter (or crackers and cheese, if you will) has always been the shorts, and along with collecting his three previous films (“A Grand Day Out,” “The Wrong Trousers” and “A Close Shave”), the new compilation also features Wallace and Gromit’s latest madcap adventure, “A Matter of Loaf and Death.” To sweeten the pot, Lionsgate has also included a bevy of bonus material like commentary tracks, making-of featurettes and a hilarious episode of “Shaun the Sheep.” At only $20 bucks for the Blu-ray edition, it’s hard to imagine even the most casual fan not succumbing to such a great deal.

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