May Blu-ray Releases
May 9, 2013
Another month has come and gone, meaning the time is ripe for my monthly column highlighting films making their high-definition video debut via the Blu-ray format. May is definitely a busy month so let’s go on and get to it. Here is a look at what’s coming this month. Hopefully you’ll find something to your liking and there’s so much to choose from in May that I can’t imagine anyone coming away disappointed.
First off, I’ll mention the releases of newer films that you can expect during the month. These include the thriller from January, Mama (** ½), the dreary Nicholas Sparks opus from February, Safe Haven (* ½), the January big screen return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Last Stand (**), the Tom Cruise release from last December, Jack Reacher (** ½), the alien invasion pic from February, Dark Skies (**), the romantic fantasy from February, Beautiful Creatures (not reviewed) and a re-release of last summer’s The Amazing Spiderman (***) in Sony’s new ultra-high 4k-resolution.
While I’m on the subject of Sony’s dedication to releasing titles with 4K transfers, it is worth noting that the company will also be issuing the 1989 Oscar winner Glory (***), the original Ghostbusters (***), the 1976 classic Taxi Driver (****), the 2002 version of Spiderman (***) and Battle: Los Angeles (* ½) in 4K as well.
James Cromwell & Babe in Pig In The City
I’ve mentioned this in previous Blu-ray columns but it bears repeating that Twilight Time is a company that has been releasing certain films with a dedicated fan base that the major studios haven’t been interested in issuing. The catch is that these discs are always limited editions starting in price at around $50 and since the pressings are so limited, when they’re gone, they’re really gone. The month of May will see the company issuing the classic film noir from 1943, Leave Her to Heaven (*** ½), which features Gene Tierney as a dangerous femme fatale and looking more gorgeous than ever in this striking Technicolor production. The company will also issue the 1993 Oscar winner, Philadelphia (***) in a limited edition as well.
Echo Bridge has recently licensed the rights to many of the older titles from the Miramax Pictures library. In May they will be issuing quite a few of these titles which include Kevin Smith’s 2004 film Jersey Girl (**), the 1998 black comedy Teaching Mrs. Tingle (**), The Hoax (*** ½), the 2007 dramatization regarding the 1971 publication of a fake autobiography on the life of Howard Hughes, the 2002 Cate Blanchett thriller Heaven (***), the acclaimed 1990 film The Grifters (***), Steven Soderbergh’s 2002 experimental film Full Frontal (**), director Boaz Yakin’s 1994 thriller Fresh (***) and the rom-com She’s So Lovely (**).
Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra
Warner Brothers has recently acquired distribution rights to the Paramount catalog and this month will issue both An Officer and a Gentleman (***) and Runaway Bride (** ½). Warners also controls the rights to the United Artists library and will be issuing The Great Escape (***) via that licensing agreement. In terms of their own catalog Warners will be issuing Vegas Vacation (** ½), a 30th anniversary edition of the original Vacation (***), the classic Jame Cagney crime pictures White Heat, The Public Enemy and Little Caesar (all *** ½), the 1993 romance Sommersby (***) and the original 1976 version of Sparkle (***).
Criterion continues its trend of issuing well-regarded films with breathtaking new transfers and mouth-watering extras. Their offerings this month include Medium Cool (*** ½), the 1968 film about a reporter covering the 1968 Democratic national convention in Chicago and director Mike Leigh’s rarely seen 1990 film Life is Sweet (***).
Universal has a few catalog titles worth a mention. These include Babe: Pig in the City (***), Jesus Christ Superstar (** ½), Pillow Talk (** ½) and In the Name of the Father (***). Fox will be issuing the 1982 drama, The Verdict (*** ½), the 1980 prison drama Brubaker (** ½), the notorious 1963 film Cleopatra (**), the 2002 thriller One Hour Photo (***) and White Men Can’t Jump (** ½). Starz has a licensing agreement with Fox and will be releasing a few of their films as well.
Huston, Cusack & Bening in The Grifters
Theses include Jumping Jack Flash (** ½), Dying Young (**) and The Star Chamber (*** ½).
Finally Shout Factory/Scream Factory will be issuing a well-remembered horror film from my youth, the 1976 dramatization The Town That Dreaded Sundown (***), the 1977 revenge thriller Rolling Thunder (** ½) and the horror film that launched the careers of Holly Hunter and Jason Alexander, The Burning (** ½).
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