Pick of the week: Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 4
Dog of the week: Night Junkies
From Warner we have "Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 4," which stretches the noir concept a bit too far but is still a fine continuation of this series. "The Big Steal," for example, is more of a romantic caper movie set in Mexico -- but almost anything with Robert Mitchum qualifies in my book. Except "Where Danger Lives," a dog that's also in the box. Don't worry: Noir fans will find lots of tough-guy existentialism spread across the other 8 films -- such as "Crime Wave." The movies look great and they all have commentaries.
Sony gives the delightful HK martial-arts film "Kung Fu Hustle" plenty of backup with the "Axe-Kickin' Edition." Highly recommended for, well, just about everybody. Extras include an interview with creator/star Stephen Chow along with some fun outtakes and bloopers.
Universal gives "Hot Fuzz" a great ride stateside with an extras-laden edition. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead") do the commentary on their cop-buddy-film spoof. I found it OK for most of the way but ultimately tiresome. The combo HD DVD provided for review wouldn't work on the high def side in my machine; the DVD side was fine. Keep the remote handy for some crazy volume spikes. Includes the handy "Fuzz-O-Meter."
And I must mention Sony's effort to make Ray Harryhausen's "20 Million Miles to Earth" more accessible to a new generation via colorization. The effects master went along with this; guess it's his to
vandalize contemporize. The b&w original is included, looking slightly better than before, and there are many extras about the making of this terrific touchstone film.
Also: "Popeye the Sailor 1933-1938 Vol. 1" from Warner ... "300" from Warner ... the seminal "Blue Water, White Death" from MGM ... and the Imax/Blu-ray stunner "Roving Mars" from Buena Vista.
New and notable:
The Archie Show: The Complete Series (Genius)
Blue Water, White Death (MGM)
The Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 4 (Warner)
Hawaii Five-O: The Second Season (Paramount)
Hot Fuzz (Universal)
Kung Fu Hustle Axe-Kickin' Edition (Sony)
Lonely Hearts (Sony)
Popeye The Sailor 1933-1938 Vol. 1 (Warner)
Roving Mars (Buena Vista)
20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition (Sony)
Complete list of today's releases on my pal Harley's site, onvideo.org