High-Profile New Releases
War Horse (Touchstone / Disney)
Release Date: Dec 25, 2011
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis. Full cast + crew
Verdict: Buy Me
Available On: Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray, DVD
Special Features: War Horse: The Journey Home (20min), A Filmmaking Journey (64 minutes), Editing & Scoring (9 minutes), The Sounds of War Horse (7 Minutes), Through the Producer's Lens (4 minutes)
Additional Thoughts: On paper, War Horse seems like a super sappy animal love story, but thankfully it's more than that. Spielberg's second film of 2011 may be about how a single horse changes the lives of several people spread across Europe during the first World War, but this isn't a force fed story about how a bunch of humans thought they were raising a horse, when really the horse was raising its owners. It's a story dripping with Spielberg's trademark love for families enduring mid-struggle, and Joey the horse is simply the courageous thread that connects all of their lives.
And yes, I fully realize that everything I just typed still makes War Horse sound like a sappy animal love story, so just trust when I say its impressive scope, wonderful vistas, and incredible sound design make it a more well-rounded, richer experience than its simple premise implies. Plus, the Blu-ray is loaded with worthwhile special features that take you behind the scenes, which is always a worthy treat when a master like Spielberg is at work.
Other New Releases
High-Profile Catalog Releases
Release Date: Jun 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman. Full cast + crew
Verdict: Buy Me
Available On: Blu-ray
Special Features: Audio Commentary with David Fincher and Robert Towne, Water and Power (77 minutes), An Appreciation (26 minutes), The Beginning and the End (19 minutes), Filming (26 minutes), The Legacy (10 minutes)
Additional Thoughts: Paramount did right by Roman Polanski's classic neo noir with this new disc, its first HD trip to home video. The visual presentation alone is enough to make this Blu-ray worth an upgrade to anyone who already owns it on DVD, but on top of that, They've included a brand new commentary with Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne and director David Fincher. It's not a simple "Isn't Chinatown great?" love-fest, either. It's a rich analysis of the film, its attention to detail, its legacy and a whole lot more.
The rest of the features here are all standard definition ports from past discs, but again, the new HD transfer and audio commentary make this worth a double dip. And if you don't already own it, you're now officially out of excuses for having one of the finest films ever made in your collection.