June 16, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: Friday the 13th (2009)

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.

Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles, and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.

Friday the 13th: The Killer Cut (2009) (also Blu-ray). No, this is not a perfect reboot, but it is terribly effective in delivering a nasty, death-dealing Jason. Playing like a mash up of the first four films, this redux takes us through the death of Jason's mother up through him being the mythical reason for disappearing teens. It is bloody, nasty, and an awful lot of fun. The biggest problem is the focus on the drug aspect, which was a bit much, and the writing for the kids, it did not strike me as being terribly realistic. The DVD is available in theatrical and extended cut varieties, while the Blu-ray includes both versions as well as a second disk with a digital copy. The extended cut runs 9 minutes longer than the theatrical and it adds more gore and smooths out a few sequences.

Burn Notice: Season Two (also Blu-ray). This USA Network series has just begun its third season. It centers on a former operative for the FBI who has been burned, rather somebody does not like him and has had him cut off from his assets. He is stranded in Miami with a friend who used to inform on him, an ex-girlfriend, and his mother. He takes whatever work he can while trying to stay alive and find out who is behind the burn notice. It is a fun, action packed series that is well worth spending time with.

Ghostbusters (Blu-ray). Can you believe it has been 25 years since this was on the big screen? I know, it's hard to believe. In any case, to celebrate its anniversary, the movie is here in high definition. I am looking forward to watching Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson take on the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man in full HD resolution. It is sure to look great.... I hope.

Family Guy: Volume Seven. Here is a show that I have had a blast watching over the years and own the first handful of DVD releases, but I wonder if my interest is waning. I can watch episodes online at places like HULU, or go back to the early DVD's I already own, I can even watch on TBS. All that said, I am unsure if I want to buy any more. It seems all the best episodes are in the past. Could the series be losing steam?

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 6: 1949-1951. The chronological releases of remastered Stooges continue. I only have the first couple, but plan on getting the rest at some point. Unlike Family Guy, I never get tired of the Three Stooges.

Lost: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) and Lost: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray). This is sure to be a hot ticket as fans will want to relive the story in as high a resolution as possible. I still believe the first season is the best of the bunch. I bet those Hawaiian sets are going to look fantastic on these sets. I may not be the biggest fan of the show, but they have to be given a lot of credit for the amount of planning that has gone into the show.

Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail. I know he has his fans, but I am not all that interested.

Transformers: The Complete First Season (25th Anniversary Edition). I grew up on this show and have the first set that was released. Hopefully this set looks better than the original, it may not be high art, but it should be treated with respect, if only for the fans who grew up with it.

Dr. Strangelove (Blu-ray). Among this week's class of catalog releases is Stanley Kubrick's satire classic. I have to wonder how god it will look on Blu-ray? We already know the quality of film, but is it worth the upgrade?

The Seventh Seal (Criterion, also Blu-ray). Continuing the week's strong class of catalog titles comes an upgraded re-release of an Ingmar Bergman classic. As I understand it, this is the first Blu-ray from Criterion thus far, making it the only one worthy of plunking down your cash. So, does anyone agree?

Sword of the Stranger (also Blu-ray). This anime film had a one night stand in Regal Cinemas thanks to a Fathom Events booking. Unfortunately, those bookings do not go that wide. From what I have seen of the samurai epic looks pretty good. The animation looks beautiful, plus it looks loaded with action. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Spaceballs (Blu-ray). Keeping the catalog rolling, here is one of the funniest films of the 80's that has stood the test of time. This Star Wars spoof is a fantastic slice of comedic film. Hopefully the high def transfer does it justice.

Friday the 13th Part 3 3D (Blu-ray). Tuesday is masquerading as Friday (the 13th of course). In addition to the remake arriving, we get the first high definition 3D release of the third entry in the series. I am sure the 3D will look terrible, but at least the film will be remastered. This is the first film where the venerable slasher Jason Voorhees first gets his famed hockey mask. This appears to be a port of the recent Deluxe release.

Friday the 13th Part 2 (Blu-ray). Not to be left out is the second film in the series, the first to feature Jason as the killer, and the only one to feature him doing his killing with a potato sack with one eye-hole cut out. Like the third film, this looks to be a transfer of the Deluxe DVD release.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. The fourth film gets the Deluxe DVD treatment. This is the film where Jason is finally killed (ahh, who am I kidding). It features the effects work of Tom Savini, returning for the first time since the original. That alone makes it worth a look. However, I am not sure it is worth the upgrade.

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning. Continuing Friday on Tuesday, here is the fifth outing and the second to not feature Jason as the killer. Not one of the better entries, but I cannot lie, there are things to like about all of the films.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Rounding out the Friday round up is the sixth film in the series, the third to feature Tommy Jarvis, and one of the better films in the run. This marks the introduction of zombie Jason. How long before these Deluxe editions arrive on Blu-ray?

Kickboxer (Blu-ray). Also among the catalog Blu-ray releases is this old-school Jean Claude Van Damme flick. Not sure this is a Van Damme flick I want in my collection, but there is no denying the guy has his fans. I am more a Universal Soldier kind of guy.

Platoon of the Dead. In the future warfare is a little different. Instead of nations, war is waged on the undead. Zombies are the final opposition. In this movie a group of soldiers are trying to get to their pick up point, but have to battle their way there.

Terror at Blood Fart Lake. I have nothing to say. I think the title says it all.


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