Warm Bodies - Summit Entertainment - Blu-ray and DVD
Director: Jonathan Levine
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Dave Franco. Full cast + crew
Warm Bodies is the kind of project that screams like it's cashing in on a trend -- in this case teen supernatural romance adaptations -- but still manages to have its own unique identity. I didn't love the film nearly as much as many seemed to when it hit theaters a few months ago (my problems with the book's lack of a story extend to the movie as well, unfortunately), but it's a funny, unique comedy that mostly works. Some of the romance stuff may make me groan, but overall it's a totally fine movie that stands out because of its straight-faced commitment to a premise that's pretty absurd.
(It also doesn't hurt that its retail competition this week is pretty mediocre.)
Special Features: audio commentary with Levine, Hoult and Palmer; well over an hour of featurettes about the making of the film. The longest is "A Little Less Dead," (17 minutes) which focuses on the casting of the film, and the shortest is "Beware the Boneys," (seven minutes) about the creation of the film's undead badguys. Plus there are deleted scenes (11 minutes total) and a gag reel.
Clint Eastwood 20 Film Collection - Warner Home Video - Blu-ray
Films: A Perfect World, Dirty Harry, Every Which Way but Loose, Firefox, Gran Torino, Heartbreak Ridge, Hereafter, Invictus, J. Edgar, Letters from Iwo Jima, Magnum Force, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Pale Rider, Space Cowboys, Sudden Impact, The Gauntlet, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Trouble with the Curve, Unforgiven
Hard-core Clint Eastwood fans will no doubt argue that this set is hardly a definitive collection of the actor and director's 20 best films (for example, none of his Sergio Leone Westerns are included), but you should also keep in mind that this isn't claiming to be the collection to end all collections. This is more like a greatest hits sampler pack of the icon's work, and considering it averages out to $4.50 per movie, it's a pretty damned good value, too.
Special Features: In addition to the special features for each movie on their respective discs there's a 48-page sampler of a larger book called Clint Eastwood: Master Filmmaker at Work; two documentaries, Eastwood Factor (from 2010) and Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story, which is new and featured for the first time on this Blu-ray.
Other Notable New Releases
Oy, what a great week for not-so-great movies made by some pretty great people. First up is Identity Thief, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. Both are very funny people who have brilliant projects in their history, but who just aren't very funny here. Most of that blame falls on the script itself, which saddles them with two incredibly obnoxious and dumb characters. The story doesn't make a lick of sense in the real world, and the whole thing is just an unfunny mess.
Then there's A Good Day to Die Hard, a movie that accomplishes the seemingly impossible task of making Live Free or Die Hard look like a masterpiece by comparison. This isn't the John McClane we all grew up with, plain and simple. And finally there's Escape from Planet Earth, a CGI-animated kids film about a dorky alien who has to rescue his hero brother from the clutches of human scientists. It's actually probably the best movie out of all three new releases hitting this week, but as far as animated films go this day, it's mediocre across the board. Chalk that up to studios really upping their animated-films game in recent years.
Also out this week is a Blu-ray box set for the Mad Max trilogy. The first two films have been on Blu-ray for a while, but this set also gives fans Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in HD for the first time. If you already own the other two, you can grab it separately, but this is a pretty snazzy set that comes in a cool metal case. A great all-in-one package for those who don't already own some of the movies.
And lastly we have two seasons of Adventure Time hitting Blu-ray for the first time. They're not movies, and unlike most shows we feature don't really have many ties to big-screen talent, either, but Adventure Time is like wacky chicken soup for your irreverent soul. Fans of brilliantly silly things should check it out.