Deliverance 40th Anniversary Edition
Director John Boorman's landmark 1972 man-vs.-nature thriller stars Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox as four buddies who take a canoe trip down a remote river and sail into a struggle for survival after they encounter a handful of rapist, gun-toting hillbillies. The Oscar-nominated film based on the novel of the same name by James Dickey was first released on Blu-ray in September 2007.
What's New?: This 40th anniversary edition is repackaged in a Digibook with color photos and info on the production. The BD has all the extras found on the 2007 original, plus a new retrospective featuring the four lead actors.
Skip or Double Dip?: Although this new 40th anniversary edition is unquestionably the one for first-time buyers to add to their collection, only someone who has a framed picture of the film's banjo boy on his wall will "squeal" with delight over paying full price for one new extra and some photos. Skip it.
Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3
Hollywood must think we have the memory of a goldfish or is just bankrupt of original ideas…or both. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire came out in theaters in 2002 and was followed by two popular sequels. Now, just before the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man swings into theaters with Andrew Garfield as the webslinger only 10 years after Raimi's original, Sony is re-releasing the original trilogy of Spider-Man films again. The three films were first bundled together on Blu-ray in October 2007 and then the first two films were made available individually in November 2010.
What's New?: Despite being mega-blockbuster movies, the Spider-Man: The High-Definition Trilogy contained no extras for the first two movies—only the least-popular third entry. When Sony split the movies apart to sell individually in 2010, there were still no extras included for the first two entries. Finally, this month, Sony got it right. Not only do the first two movies come with extensive behind-the-scenes and making-of featurettes as well as music videos and screen tests, all three include an Ultraviolet digital copy so you can stream the films from the cloud to your compatible portable devices.
Skip or Double Dip?: To have no bonus features on Marvel-ous movies like these—especially Spider-Man 2—was an embarrassing exclusion made by Sony during Blu-ray's infancy. Now that Blu-ray is all grown up and mainstream, Sony has righted all past wrongs and presented fans with definitive versions of the original trilogy before it reboots the franchise in theaters. If you are a collector that wants more than just the movie, your Spidey sense should be tingling and telling you to double dip.
The Big Lebowski
The Dude abides on Blu-ray, and he should. The pot-smoking, White Russian-loving slacker made popular by Jeff Bridges loves to bowl and becomes unwittingly involved in the drama of a much wealthier Lebowski in Coen brothers' 1998 cult classic. The film has been released on Blu-ray three times: August 2011, November 2011 and a new combo pack this month as part of Universal's 100th Anniversary collection.
What's New?: The first edition was packaged as a Digibook with a bunch of fun extras and a code to download a digital copy. A few months later, a non-Digibook version was released that also had a code to download a digital copy as well as the same bonus features. This new combo pack does not have the book of photos, but it includes a second disc—a DVD of the film with a digital copy that can be extracted from that disc instead of being downloaded from the Internet. All of the other behind-the-scenes bonus features and a retrospective remain the same.
Skip or Double Dip?: The first Blu-ray Digibook edition still bowls over the competition and is like, our opinion, man. Sure, it is convenient to have a separate DVD copy included to spin in other rooms in the house without a Blu-ray player, but you can always use the download feature of the Digibook Blu-ray and burn yourself a copy of the movie on DVD if you really needed that functionality without buying this whole set again or a separate DVD copy. Skip it.
Hoosiers 25th Anniversary Edition
This 1986 basketball drama stars Gene Hackman as a coach with a spotty past who leads a small-town Indiana high school to the state championship. The Oscar-nominated film based on a true story has been released individually on Blu-ray two times, once way back in March 2007 and a second time this month.
What's New?: The first release of Hoosiers came during Blu-ray's infancy and suffered for it. The video was a disappointment and the only extra included was a beat-up copy of the original trailer. Thanks, MGM. This new edition isn't a slam-dunk, but it is definitely an improvement. The 25th anniversary edition has a new video encode that is smoother and cleaner than the original release. In addition, all the extras that didn't make it on the 2007 disc are added here, including an audio commentary, documentary, deleted scenes and rare video of the original 1954 championship game.
Skip or Double Dip?: If you're a Hoosiers fan, don't keep dribbling in circles about whether or not to upgrade for this superior edition. Double dip.