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New on Blu: John Cusack, Stanley Kubrick and 'Clue'

Full Metal Jacket Blu-Ray Cover - P 2012

"Full Metal Jacket," "Grosse Pointe Blank" and "High Fidelity" are among the week's high-profile high-defintion releases.

When it comes to Blu-ray releases, catalogue titles can often be underwhelming affairs, especially if they aren’t more high-profile “classics” like Singin’ in the Rain or even Total Recall. But this week brings a handful of films to high-definition that are the sorts of fan favorites for which any upgrade is an appreciated improvement, or in at least one case, a Double Dip-style release whose enduring appeal virtually ensures consumers will buy it, even if they have previous editions.

 

Check out a list of the week’s new releases:

Clue (Paramount Home Entertainment)

The Rundown:One of the great cult movies of all time turns up on Blu-ray with a boss HD transfer and a svelte but satisfying collection of bonus features.

How It Looks:Paramount did a great job making sure that the film’s first appearance in HD was a substantial improvement from its standard-def predecessors, maintaining solid, rich color tones without sacrificing either image sharpness or source material grain.

Best Extra: The option of watching the film with a randomly-selected ending is “bonus” enough, but the inclusion of all three of its potential finales ensures that longtime fans can choose their favorite, again and again.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: Buy

 

Full Metal Jacket: 25th Anniversary Edition (Warner Home Video)

The Rundown: Stanley Kubrick’s third-best war film returns to Blu-ray in a deluxe DigiBook set that offers some new in sights into its creation.

How It Looks: Amazing, although not revelatory – albeit because the transfer is the same as the one that was released in the deluxe edition from a few years ago, and in the Stanley Kubrick Limited Edition Collection. In other words, not new, but still great.

Best Extra: Although a commentary track and a short documentary are acrryovers from previous editions, Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes follows a documentary filmmaker as he explores a great wealth of Kubrick’s personal effects at his estate. Fascinating and odd, this is the sort of fan service that makes viewers wish they were there.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: Rent for the documentary, or Buy if you don’t own this already

 

Grimm: Season One (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

The Rundown: As fantasy and reality become increasingly intertwined on network TV, USHE brings home Season One of this acclaimed series where fairy tales come to fun and sometimes frightening life.

How It Looks: Great. Although a lot of television can look canned and even cheap outside of broadcast, these episodes maintain a solid, clear and even marginally cinematic look, keeping its fantastical ideas from looking like sitcom punch lines.

Best Extra: Although gag reels are always welcome, a collection of deleted scenes from various episodes provides additional details which may not be essential to the storytelling but they further expand the storytelling and character development.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: Rent

 

Grosse Pointe Blank (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

The Rundown: The first of two John Cusack-is-grown-up masterpieces released this week, George Armitage’s hit man/ high school reunion movie is a fun, smart and engaging look at how things change from adolescence to adulthood.

How It Looks: Good, but not great. Possibly due to the source material, there’s definite grain present, and the focus and brightness isn’t as strong as (by immediate comparison) High Fidelity. Nevertheless as the first and only time the film has been released in anamorphic widescreen, this transfer is still a godsend.

Best Extra: Unfortunately, it comes without any extras except for a theatrical trailer.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: At least Rent, if not Buy

 

High Fidelity (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

The Rundown: Cusack’s deconstruction of relationships via one man’s relentless quest to categorize and rank his musical obsessions remains an insightful and honest portrait of the kinds of feelings we wish we didn’t share about our significant others, but know we do.

How It Looks: Terrific – the anamorphic presentation provides clear, crisp picture quality that doesn’t unnecessarily augment images with a lot of DNR or other transfer post-production.

Best Extra: Although they were available on the previous version, the deleted scenes are all pretty great, as they further take audiences inside the mind of Cusack’s character. Plus, musicphiles will be hurting at his discovery of an immaculate 45 collection the wife of whose owner wants to vindictively sell for cheap, but Rob can’t bring himself to buy out of a collector’s code of honor.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: At least Rent, if not Buy

 

The Lorax (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

The Rundown: Universal brings Dr. Seuss’ environmentally-conscious adventure to life – in 3D, no less – in this vivacious and colorful adaptation.

How It Looks: Both in 2- and 3D, the movie looks pretty amazing, losing none of its brightness or sharpness even when images are dimensionalized; regardless how much you enjoy the story, the presentation is impeccable.

Best Extra: While we typically wouldn’t celebrate commercial interruptions, the O-Hare TV presentation presents the film with frequent breaks to advertise fictitious products, making for a goofy demonstration of how thoroughly the filmmakers conceived their world.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: Rent