This week on The Shelf, a president’s defining moment comes home in a multi-disc set, plus more old favorites than you can shake a dinosaur bone at… at which a dinosaur bone can be shaken. There’s no hope for that sentence, so let’s go to the Blu-rays!
Hot on the heels of the release of Schindler’s List on Blu-ray a few weeks ago comes Spielberg’s most recent political and social epic, Lincoln. One of the most highly-acclaimed movies of 2012, Lincoln has a fabulous screenplay by Tony Kushner and dazzling performances by Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, and, of course, Daniel Day-Lewis, who won the Best Actor Oscar in February. Who’d have thought a movie about people trying to get an amendment passed could be so gripping? The movie comes in several sets, including a 4-disc Blu-ray-DVD-Digital Copy one. It’s an excellent movie, and totally worth your time if you haven’t seen it.
The Jurassic Park Trilogy
It’s the film with the tagline that still rattles around in my brain – “An adventure 65 million years in the making.” In 1993 (20 years ago, to be horrifyingly precise), a little Spielberg movie named Jurassic Park filled dinosaur-loving kids with equal parts wide-eyed wonder and pants-peeing terror. It still holds up mightily today, as people who went to see the recent 3D conversion can tell you. The 3D Blu-ray won’t be out until next month, but for now, you can relive your fear of velociraptors with all three original Jurassic Park films: Jurassic Park, The Lost World, and Jurassic Park III. They don’t come in a boxed set, but each is very reasonably priced and comes in Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet sets with loads of extras. It’s a great way to get back in the dino-spirit before Jurassic Park IV stomps into cinemas next year.
Now, these are four movies that DO come packaged together; it’s the entire theatrical Terminator saga, featuring The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and Terminator: Salvation. This is a five-disc set that includes James Cameron’s phenomenal two films, that one with Chris Hardwick in it, and that other one where Christian Bale yelled at that guy. The packaging is very spiffy and, though there is a marked difference between the films post-1991, even the lesser entries in the collection are enjoyable. At the risk of making a stupid joke, this is one Blu-ray set you’ll “be back” for time and again. Maybe I shouldn’t have risked it.
Other releases this week
Killing Them Softly – The gritty crime thriller from The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford writer-director Andrew Dominik stars Brad Pitt as a mob enforcer who’s tasked with sussing out the robbery of a protected card game. Stylish cinematography and graphic set pieces highlight this downbeat drama which also stars Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, and James Gandolfini.
The Sandlot 20th Anniversary Edition – Here’s another one that makes me feel incredibly old. This was a staple of VHS for many a kid in my neighborhood, being nearly the quintessential summer break movie. Who hasn’t said “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!” countless times?
From Beyond – Possibly one of the gooiest horror movies ever made, this 1986 flick re-teamed Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon with star Jeffrey Combs with source material by H.P. Lovecraft.
Phantasm II – For more horror, pick up Don Coscarelli’s 1988 follow-up to his 1979 low-fi classic, Phantasm. The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) is back to torture Michael and Reggie and has those weird, pointy, flying ball bearings again. Jerk.
Veep Season 1 – From Armando Iannuci, the genius behind The Thick of It and In the Loop, comes another political comedy, this time in the U.S. Julia Louis-Dreyfus knocks it out of the park as the put-upon vice president surrounded by the dumb and the vile. Cast and crew commentaries will surely be stellar.
For the Anime enthusiast
Digimon The Complete Second Season – It’s taken awhile, but the second season of the popular anime series has finally reached DVD. Now you can watch all 50 episodes of the season in this 8 disc set. The only special feature is a 32-page character guide booklet, but after years of never having the season at all, fans will surely be too ecstatic to complain.