Curiosity of the Week
Detention (Sony) - Blu-ray and DVD
Release Date: Apr 13, 2012
Director: Joseph Kahn
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Spencer Locke, Dane Cook, Walter Perez, Erica Shaffer. Full cast + crew
Detention is a fascinating movie. Regardless if you hate it or love it, there's no denying this is an interesting movie that gets people talking. It's not the straight horror-comedy its high school-slasher setup seems, and is more an arthouse film made for, and by, the MTV generation. If the sheer idea of that seeming contradiction is enough to steer you off, you're probably not going to like Kahn's experiment in rapid-fire nostalgia for golden age of the '90s. But, if you are game for a kitchen-sink assault on several genres and conventions at once, you might just fall in love with Detention. Either way, it's worth checking out.
Special Features: A PiP commentary track with the cast and crew, and then a few rehearsal and outtakes, plus star Shanley Caswell's screen tests.
The other new releases this week aren't quite as intriguing as Kahn's Detention, unfortunately. There's ATM, a thriller about three people trapped in an ATM in the middle of a parking lot by a psychopath. It's written by the same mind behind the quite good single-location thriller Buried, but it doesn't have a shred of the inspiration that makes the latter one of the more underloved genre films of the last few years. Then there's the straight-to-video ensembles We the Party and 188.8.131.52, each with intriguing casts but little beyond that.
Then there are a trio of films that each will certainly only appeal to pre-existing fans of the stars: Hijacked, an action movie starring Randy Couture; LOL, a box-office dud starring Miley Cyrus; and Syfy's Sand Sharks, which easily has the most amusing cover art of the week.
And the last new release of the week is The Whisperer in Darkness. It's an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft stories, and while most films based off of the highly influential writer's works are complete messes, this does come from the same minds behind the great black-and-white adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu, so it's certainly promising.
Box Set of the Week
Forever Marilyn (20th Century Fox) - Blu-ray
If you're a fan of iconic bombshell Marilyn Monroe's films, then this week is a dream come true for you. 20th Century Fox has released a box set featuring seven of her biggest films all in HD: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), River of No Return (1954), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Some Like It Hot (1959) and The Misfits (1961). But that's not at all!
If you don't want to shell out for Forever Marilyn: The Blu-ray Collection (though it averages out to a superior $10.50 per movie), Fox is also releasing all of the films new-to-Blu individually as well. (Note: Some Like It Hot and The Misfits were the only two titles previously released, so they're not getting new discs today, but the rest are).
Special Features: Unfortunately this new box set doesn't contain any exclusive Blu-ray features beyond the presentation upgrades. There's a nice number of quality extras for each film, thankfully, but they are all ported over in SD from previous DVD releases. However, the affordable price per movie and the significant bump in visual quality should make this a worthy buy for fans of Monroe's work. All seven films have superb visual transfers, and the newly created DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks sound great to boot. Also, if you're a more strict audiophile for vintage films, do note that each title does haves a DTS-HD MA mono track for the purists out there.
All the Rest
Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall has been available on Blu-ray for years, but ahead of the remake's release Lionsgate has decided to give the film a double dip. It does feature a new video transfer, thankfully, but even the new encode doesn't look quite as clean as one would hope. There are no new special features to be found, but this release does include a few pre-existing DVD features that were missing from the last Blu release. It's not going to be worth an upgrade if you already own it, but at a very affordable new price of $7.99, it's certainly the disc to buy if you want it in HD.
The rest of the week is rounded out with a smattering of disparate titles. The most noteworthy is of course the Criterion Collection's disc for Le Havre, but then again what Criterion release isn't going to stand out against retail competition like notorious box office record holder Zyzzyx Road (only six people paid to see it during its limited release) and Bradley Cooper's straight-to-video rom-com, Reality of Love?
Follow along on Twitter: @PeterSHall and @Moviesdotcom.