New on Blu: 'Total Recall', Marilyn Monroe and 'Detention'
As the summer movie season begins to wind down, home entertainment unfortunately does too, thanks largely to a lackluster new release slate that was released theatrically during the earliest months of the year (February is nicknamed “Dump Month” for a reason). Nevertheless, there are a handful of intriguing high definition titles turning up in stores this week, and we’re here to run down whether or not they’re worth your time.
Check out this week’s new releases:
126.96.36.199 (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
The Rundown: The title refers to four girls experiencing three unforgettable days in two different cities; whether or not that adds up to one entertaining movie is for viewers to decide.
How It Looks: A solid transfer preserves the film’s glossy look, ensuring that the color of the image is vivid even as the focus is sharp.
Best Extra: A making-of featurette goes behind the scenes of how the film was made, but it wins this competition only be default since the only other bonus material is the ability to bookmark scenes.
Buy, Rent or Avoid: Rent
ATM (IFC Films)
The Rundown: From the writer of Buried comes this containment thriller about three people trapped inside an ATM booth by a psychopath. Implausibilities pile up like overdraft charges on the filmmakers’ creativity.
How It Looks: A solid HD transfer maintains the film’s digital cinematography, which is important since virtually all of the film takes place at night. Colors are strong and focus is crisp.
Best Extra: A behind-the-scenes featurette (unsuccessfully) argues for the realism of the film’s premise, but like with 188.8.131.52., it’s the only thing packaged as extra content.
Buy, Rent or Avoid: Avoid
Detention (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The Rundown: Torque director Joseph Kahn’s overdue follow-up is a blitz of genre deconstruction filtered through some of the most dexterous pop-culture mashups in recent movie history. Shanley Caswell and Josh Hutcherson are a winning couple racing to figure out who’s picking off their classmates, slasher-movie style.
How It Looks: Kahn’s brilliantly-detailed cinematography looks wonderful on the small screen – imagine the cinematic equivalent of bubblegum lip gloss on the hottest (legal) teenage hottie you’ve ever seen, and you’re close.
Best Extra: A pop-up commentary track featuring several members of the cast and crew examines each participant’s introduction to the project, and then offers insights into how the group collectively brought its characters and story to life.
Buy, Rent or Avoid: Buy – this is one you’ll want to live with for a while
Forever Marilyn Collection (Fox Home Entertainment)
The Rundown: Also available individually, seven Marilyn Monroe movies (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, River of No Return, There's No Business Like Show Business, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like It Hot and The Misfits) arrive on Blu-ray in a delightfully new boxed set.
How It Looks: The Misfits and Some Like It Hot have been available for a while, but the rest of the films are being released in HD for the first time – and it was worth the wait. The red luster on Monroe and Jane Russell’s dresses in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes alone make the whole set worth buying, but all of the films look gorgeous.
Best Extra: Everything on The Seven Year Itch is pretty great, but the Hays Code – Picture in Picture featurette offers a really interesting look at the sexual innuendo that was covered up or otherwise disguised in the film.
Buy, Rent or Avoid: Buy
Total Recall (Lionsgate)
The Rundown: In advance of Len Wiseman’s remake, Lionsgate re-releases Paul Verhoeven and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s original, which retains all of the fun and excitement it did when it was released in 1990.
How It Looks: Evidenced as much by a restoration comparison as simply watching the movie, the Verhoeven-approved transfer is gorgeous, restoring the dynamic range of the colors, sharpening and deepening the color quality and making the whole thing look better than it ever has on home video.
Best Extra: Some of the extra content is held over from previous standard-definition versions, but a 35-minute interview with Verhoeven about his trepidations with the problem – and how they were subsequently addressed – makes this a remarkably insightful special feature for fans – and even for critics.
Buy, Rent or Avoid: Buy