by ANDY DURSIN
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It takes just several seconds for one to realize that director Robert Zemeckis’ first film without CGI rendered actors since 2000's “Cast Away” is going to be one of those “edgy” vehicles certain filmmakers produce in an effort to separate themselves from their prior work. In the case of FLIGHT (**½, 138 mins., 2012; Paramount), the film also marks Zemeckis’ first R-rated directorial venture since "Used Cars," and the filmmaker makes you keenly aware of this fact in its opening scene, wherein he positions a topless woman on various edges of the Panavision frame while pilot Denzel Washington drops f-bombs and snorts cocaine while he shakes off a hangover.
It’s a scene unlike anything in Zemeckis’ prior filmography, though the film on balance plays like one of the director’s final movies he produced before believing that CGI animated, motion-capture rendered fantasies were going to be the wave of the future. With a leisurely (if not overly placid) pace that harkens back to “Contact” and “Cast Away,” “Flight” follows Denzel Washington’s troubled commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, haunted by a failed marriage and a dependance on drugs and booze. Whitaker is even high when his latest flight falls prey to mechanical failure, and only a daredevil maneuver is able to save most of the lives onboard as he ditches the plane in a rural field outside Atlanta. Scarred but still alive, Whitaker is quickly interrogated in the days and weeks afterwards by both his airline – aware of his toxicology report – and the NTSB, which attempts to determine whether Whitaker’s decision making directly lead to the death of several passengers and crew members, or if it was the best option in the face of grave danger.
John Gatkins’ script is definitely more of a downbeat, character-driven drama as opposed to the “action-packed” film Paramount’s packaging indicates. The plane crash sequence is harrowing and brilliantly shot by Zemeckis, who proves that he’s lost none of his touch for effects-driven set-pieces, but the film soon settles into a slow-moving – and not especially engaging – profile of the self-destructive Whitaker and his substance abuse problem, hitting predictable dramatic beats along the way. A subplot involving Whip’s relationship with a recovering heroin addict (Kelly Reilly) takes up far too much time, and there are other points in the story where you just wish Zemeckis would get the story moving. Washington gives a fine, believable performance, but “Flight” isn’t one of the actor’s best films: instead, it’s a merely serviceable return to live-action filmmaking for its director, in a movie that’s just never as engrossing as one would hope.
Paramount brings “Flight” to Blu-Ray this month in a fine 1080p (2.35) transfer. Lightweight extras include a few featurettes and Q&A highlights, plus a finely engineered DTS MA soundtrack featuring a thankless Alan Silvestri score. A DVD and digital copy round out the release.
Also new from Paramount is PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 (87/96 mins., 2012, R/Unrated), the fourth entry in the now-annual October horror franchise that’s basically become the “Friday the 13th” of the 21st century for its studio. Fans, though, had serious issues with Part IV, which mostly dials back on the “mythological” aspects of its prior installment for a by-the-numbers rehash with a new family and younger teen heroine being haunted by demonic Katie and company. Nothing new to see here, with standard-issue “found footage” thrills comprising a sub-90 minute running time that fizzles out long before its preordained, inconclusive ending. Paramount’s Blu-Ray includes both an R rated and unrated version of the film (offering 9 minutes of extra footage) plus the trailer, 1080p transfer (1.78), 5.1 DTS MA soundtrack and extras including a DVD and digital copy.
New From Warner Home Video
A few years back I received a number of impassioned (and a few rude) emails when I revealed that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (I like and respect the film; I just don’t love it). At this point I’ve already placed a special block in my account for all the folks who will want to tar and feather me over my reaction to Bob Fosse’sCABARET (122 mins., 1972, PG; Warner), a highly honored “classic” that I disliked much more than Hitch’s iconic thriller, finding it cold and slow-going – a product of its era that hasn’t translated particularly well across the decades.
Liza Minnelli stars and seems a tad too polished as Sally Bowes, an American singer trying to make it in Germany during the early '30s and the beginning of the Nazi era. She does a bang-up job with Kander and Ebb's climactic "Cabaret" number, but as a supposedly struggling singer, she's less than convincing, with strong, clear pipes that never miss a note. Michael York co-stars as a bisexual British academic who becomes wrapped up in Bowes' bohemian lifestyle during the decadent final days of idyllic German life before the Nazis took over, while Hermut Griem plays a local playboy who becomes involved with both of them -- sexually -- in a who-cares triangle that falls apart as the film lumbers its way to an ambiguously downbeat conclusion.
Jay Presson Allen is credited with the screenplay for "Cabaret," which Bob Fosse directed based on the hit Broadway musical (and previous "Berlin stories" by Christopher Isherwood). Discarding most of the musical's book and several Kander/Ebb songs (though the duo wrote some original material for the film to replace what Fosse removed), Fosse's gritty, "realistic" musical is noteworthy because of its then-groundbreaking adult themes and decision to eschew the typical confines of the musical genre for a darker take on mature subject matter. Joel Grey's emcee certainly gives the picture a strange, detached tone right off the bat (and Grey does an impressive amount with so little screen time), but what surprised me the most about "Cabaret" was how passionless the film feels. I never felt anything for the lead characters and their relationships with one another, nor did I find the songs memorable (save the title composition and "Money Makes the World Go Round") or interestingly shot -- they're almost entirely perfunctory, as if they're there to add to Fosse's middle-finger raising to traditional musical benchmarks. That's all fine and good, and certainly "Cabaret" established itself as a dark, moody antidote to Hollywood's big-budget genre bombs of the era ("Goodbye Mr. Chips," "Camelot," "Finian's Rainbow," "Man of La Mancha", etc.). However, when viewed today, the movie looks like, and comes across as, a product of the early '70s, and more of a pretentious statement than an enduring piece of moviemaking. The "love story" is flaccid, the pacing is slow, and the musical component isn't nearly as strong as the film's reputation suggests. When the film ended, I could've cared less about York and Minnelli's relationship, and while I understood the frigid tone that Fosse was striving for here, I can't imagine the point was to make the viewer feel as emotionally detached as I ultimately did.
I certainly realize I'm in the minority on "Cabaret," and admirers of the film have been looking forward, with great anticipation, to Warner's Blu-Ray Digibook release of the picture. While the elements here don't appear to be in the greatest shape, with a general softness and lack of detail permeating the image throughout, I’ll go by what viewers more familiar with the material have written (including Robert A. Harris), most of whom are bowled over by this transfer. Whether it's due to Fosse and cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth employing a gritty look to the film, or Warner working from materials removed from the original negative, the 1080p AVC encoded transfer (1.78) doesn’t exhibit lots of HD detail, yet I’ve read that previous video masters were far worse. Certainly DNR isn’t an issue – it’s more that the source elements on their own exhibit their share of shortcomings. On the audio side, the DTS MA soundtrack is mostly monophonic (as the film originally was) unless a song is present, during which the sound spreads out to a broader stereophonic stage. Extras include a half-hour retrospective look at the film offering comments from Liza, Joel Grey, Michael York, historians and others; three additional featurettes; a very rough looking trailer; and a commentary track from historian Stephen Tropiano. Fans are likely to love it – I just can’t say I’m one of them.
Warner Home Video has also released an impressive BEST OF WARNER BROS. 20 FILM COLLECTION: BEST PICTURES DVD box-set, collecting a number of Oscar winners from the Warner Bros. vaults – though these are not necessarily Warner Bros. released films (a number of Turner/MGM titles are included along with Saul Zaentz’s production of “Amadeus”). Among the films offered in this collection:
The Broadway Melody (1929)
Grand Hotel (1932)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Casablanca (1942; won the 1943 award)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
An American in Paris (1951)
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
The Departed (2006)
All the films are presented on previously released DVD platters – however, the copy I looked at erroneously included only the “Special Features” disc of “Amadeus” (meaning the film itself wasn’t inside!) as well as disastrous packaging with two of the three larger DVD cases cracking in my hands as soon as I opened the set. I’m not sure if all copies are affected but buyers should take a look inside as soon as they open the box-set for any packaging issues or the wrong disc of “Amadeus.”
More classics are on-hand this month from 20th Century Fox as part of their recently revived “Studio Classics” line, which has debuted a handful of films on Blu-Ray.
John Ford’s Oscar winning HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (119 mins., 1941) is at the top of the list – a sterling adaptation of Richard Llewellyn’s chronicle of a Welsh mining family, their tragedies and assorted triumphs. Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O’Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp and, of course, Roddy McDowall starred in this multiple Oscar winner that here receives an outstanding 1080p AVC encoded transfer filled with occasionally brilliant detail, particularly for a film from the early ‘40s. Freed from any heavy use of DNR, this is one of the best catalog discs I’ve seen for a film of this vintage, and Fox has included both a 5.1 DTS MA remix and the original mono soundtrack on the audio side. Extras are carried over from the prior DVD release, including commentary by Anna Lee Nathan and writer/historian Joseph McBride, plus a Hollywood Backstories episode and the original trailer.
Also joining the Fox “Studio Classics” are GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT (118 mins., 1947), starring Gregory Peck in Elia Kazan’s celebrated Best Picture Oscar winner about a NYC reporter who portrays himself as a Jew in order to expose anti-Semitism; as well as WILD RIVER (110 mins., 1962), another Kazan film starring Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick in a gorgeously shot Cinemascope production. Clift stars as a Tennessee Valley Authority agent who tries to convince an elderly woman (Jo Van Fleet) to relocate from her rural home so a dam can be constructed through the area during the Great Depression. A box-office disappointment in its day, “Wild River” is the type of film that Blu-Ray was made for, with the movie’s gorgeous location shooting benefiting appreciably here from a beautiful 1080p hi-def transfer (2.35) and DTS MA mono audio. Available previously as part of an Elia Kazan box-set (or in individual releases overseas), Fox’s Blu-Ray is a revelation with an insightful commentary from Richard Schickel provided on the supplemental side along with the trailer. Sensitively acted and lovely -- highly recommended! “Gentleman’s Agreement,” meanwhile, offers a crisp and satisfying B&W (1.33) transfer with extras including a commentary featuring Schickel, Celeste Holm and June Havoc; two Fox Movietone newsreels; the trailer; and a Hollywood Backstories retrospective on the film’s production.
Also New on Blu-Ray and DVD
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Blu-Ray/Digital Copy (***½, 103 mins., 2012, PG-13; Summit/Lionsgate): One of the best movies of last year, Stephen Chobsky’s cinematic adaptation of his popular book is likely to surprise those expecting just another high school/coming-of-age movie. Logan Lerman here gives a sympathetic turn as a troubled high school freshman who finds navigating his Pennsylvania school problematic for a number of reasons that become clearer as the film unfolds. Emma Watson is terrific as the girl he develops a crush on in a circle of friends that welcomes him into the fold in a believable late '80s/early '90s-set slice of adolescence.
Chobsky wrote and directed the Pittsburgh-set film and his movie has a tremendous supporting cast (Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, and Joan Cusack among them) that's not always well utilized (I’m guessing some of his story was trimmed for the final cut). Either way, the movie is a winner -- funny, moving, and ultimately quite serious with unsettling subject matter that’s sensitively dealt with in a mature manner. Winning performances and a fine underscore by Michael Brook further enhance a low-key film that Summit opted to roll out around the country in limited release and never really caught fire at the box-office.
Hopefully "Perks" will find a larger crowd on home video next week, when Summit releases the picture on Blu-Ray in a fine 1080p (1.78) transfer with DTS MA audio and extras including commentary from Chbosky, cast/director commentary, deleted scenes, dailies and other goodies, plus a digital copy. Highly recommended!
THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS Blu-Ray/DVD/Ultraviolet (*, 96/108 mins., 2012, R/Unrated; Universal): Quentin Tarantino – or someone – must’ve owed The RZA a big-time favor since the rapper was somehow able to coax a major studio into funding this glorified vanity project, which tanked at the box-office last fall. The RZA fills the role of writer/director/star/composer in this ridiculously juvenile, would-be “drive-in” flick that finds various warring factions – and Russell Crowe, too – joined in a bloody martial arts melee set in feudal China. Owing little to historical accuracy (of course), “The Man With The Iron Fists” offers all the expected trimmings: a throbbing soundtrack, a blitz of action sequences, buckets of blood, a lightweight tone and occasional editorial techniques that recall the work of “presenter” Tarantino and co-writer/co-producer Eli Roth. Unfortunately, the movie also has none of the style of its esteemed producers, with The RZA amateurishly packaging the project as a waste of time that some of its cast members (that also include Lucy Liu, Rick Yune, David Bautista and the lovely Jamie Chung) will likely be leaving off their resumes. Universal’s Blu-Ray includes a 1080p transfer (2.35), DTS MA soundtrack, two cuts of the film (theatrical and unrated versions), plus deleted scenes, featurettes, and both digital and Ultraviolet copies.
SILENT HILL: REVELATION Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy (**, 95 mins., 2012, R; Universal): Disappointing sequel to Christophe Gans’ better-than-average adaptation of the Konami video game series finds now-grown Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) returning to Silent Hill in order to take on her doppelganger and find her father (Sean Bean). Writer-director Michael J. Bassett does attempt to recreate the mood of the original “Silent Hill” here in a direct continuation of its predecessor’s story (which finished with a gaping, open-ended conclusion), but he has none of Gans’ visual style, while a number of returning cast members appear fleetingly (including Bean, Radha Mitchell and Deborah Kara Unger). Universal’s Blu-Ray includes just one featurette plus a digital copy, Ultraviolet copy, 1080p (2.35) transfer and DTS MA 5.1 audio.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet (94 mins., 2012, Not Rated; Universal): The “reimaginated” Battlestar Galactica hasn’t had the greatest success in terms of spinoffs, with “Caprica” having been canceled after a fairly brief run and the pilot “Blood and Chrome” – a prequel to the new BSG – passed over entirely by the Syfy Channel. Fans had to make due with the pilot being released in multiple segments online last November, though Universal’s Blu-Ray release (it’s also airing on Syfy this month) at least contains the full 94-minute feature in an excellent 1080p transfer (1.85) with DTS MA audio. Extras include deleted scenes, a visual effects featurette, Ultraviolet and digital copy.
BULLY Blu-Ray (***, 99 mins., 2012, PG-13; Anchor Bay): Lee Hirsch’s searing, heart-wrenching portrait of school bullying generated a fair amount of discussion last year when the Weinsteins lobbied for a PG-13 rating from the MPAA. While they didn’t end up with one for the movie’s original cut, Hirsch and the Weinsteins did recut “Bully” slightly to net a PG-13, allowing younger viewers to see the film’s sensitive, truthful portrait of kids bullied by their peers and other parents who lost their children to suicide following harassment in their school systems. It’s a superb film that Anchor Bay releases on Blu-Ray this month with additional extras including a further-edited version for younger viewers, deleted scenes and featurettes, along with a 1080p (1.78) transfer and 5.1 DTS MA soundtrack. A DVD is also included.
HERE COMES THE BOOM Blu-Ray (**, 105 mins., 2012, PG; Sony): Kevin James struck improbable box-office gold several years ago with “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” a film received so poorly that it remains one of the most disliked $200 million-plus grossing movies in history. While the movie was a runaway hit, the fact that so many people ended up seeing it may have cost the comedian some ticket sales with every project he’s made since, including the lame “Zookeeper” and the particularly tired “Here Comes the Boom.” Here, James plays a high school teacher who, in the face of school cutbacks, decides to take up MMA fighting to nab some extra cash and prove to his students they can do anything that they desire. Or, something...Frank Coraci’s comedy, written by Allan Loeb and James, tries to rework “Rocky” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” – and numerous other, better films – here to diminishing returns. James is likeable but the film is so tired and the comedy undernourished that it’s no surprise the movie had a hard time catching on with audiences. On the plus side, the PG rating and good-natured tone make it viewable for kids, who are likely to be the ones most satisfied by it. Sony’s Blu-Ray includes deleted scenes, a gag reel, a cast featurette, plus BD format exclusives including a set tour with Henry Winkler and a handful of featurettes. The DTS MA audio is fine and the 1080p AVC encoded transfer is quite good, with the movie wasting the talents of cinematographer Phil Meheux on such a disposable film like this.
CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER (**½, 92 mins., 2012, R; Sony): Rashida Jones and SNL alum Andy Samberg play a thirtysomething couple, married for years and together since high school, who find themselves growing apart while the duo travel on divergent career plans: Jones ascending in business, Samberg (naturally) struggling and unemployed. Lee Toland Krieger directed a script by Jones and co-star Will McCormack that’s light on laughs but sincerely acted and moving in places, and certainly benefits from likeable performances (Chris Messina, Eric Christian Olsen, and Elijah Wood co-star). Sony’s Blu-Ray includes deleted scenes, a Making Of featurette, two commentaries with cast/crew members, premiere and Q&A content, a 1080p (2.40) transfer and DTS MA audio.
YELLING TO THE SKY Blu-Ray (95 mins., 2012, Not Rated; MPI): Zoe Kravitz stars in Victoria Mahoney’s debut film as Sweetness O’Hara, a mixed-race teenager living in a tough neighborhood who tries and gets her act together. Gabourey Sibide, Tim Blake Nelson and Jason Clarke co-star in this gritty drama that MPI brings to Blu-Ray this month in a 1080p (2.40) transfer with DTS MA 5.1 audio, an interview with Mahoney, featurette and the trailer.
LITTLE WHITE LIES Blu-Ray (154 mins., 2012, Not Rated; MPI): Marion Cotillard, Gilles lellouche, Jean Dujardin, and Francois Cluzet star in Guillaume Canet’s follow-up to “Tell No One,” which MPI also bows on Blu-Ray this month in a 1080p transfer (2.35) with 5.1 DTS MA French audio. A behind the scenes featurette and the trailer comprise the supplemental section.
DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL DVD (86 mins., 2012, PG-13; E One) is a fascinating documentary portrait of the influential “Empress of Fashion” and her 50 years of work in the fashion and publishing industries. E One’s DVD boasts a 16:9 transfer, 5.1 soundtrack and additional interviews.
NATURE CALLS Blu-Ray (79 mins., 2012, R; Magnolia): Slight comedy about an aging scoutmaster (Patton Oswalt) who decides to take his 10-year-old nephew away from his business-minded brother (a cast-against-type Johnny Knoxville) for a camping trip that goes awry. Todd Rohal’s film has a tough time getting to the 80 minute mark and wastes a talented cast (Maura Tierney, Darrell Hammond and Rob Riggle co-star) in a film that’s no more than a serviceable timekiller. Magnolia’s Blu-Ray includes a behind the scenes featurette, outtakes, the trailer and more, plus a 1080p (2.40) transfer with DTS MA 5.1 audio.
NOBODY WALKS Blu-Ray (82 mins., 2012, R; Magnolia): John Krasinski plays a Hollywood sound designer who gets into trouble when he opts to help an aspiring filmmaker (Olivia Thirlby) as a favor to wife Rosemarie DeWitt. Thrilby’s arrival in their relationship fuels an interesting character-drama with Dylan McDermott, Jane Levy and Rhys Wakefield co-starring in Ry Russo-Young’s well-acted feature. Magnolia’s Blu-Ray includes deleted scenes, interviews, Making Of content, the trailer, a 1080p transfer (1.78) and DTS MA audio.
New From CBS
A trio of new TV on DVD box-sets highlight CBS’ latest releases.
GUNSMOKE: Season 7, Volume 2 DVD (1962, aprx. 15 hours; CBS) offers the back end of episodes from the series’ 1961-62 season, once again starring James Arness as Dodge City’s resident U.S. Marshal, Matt Dillon. Episodes include Old Dan; Catawomper; Half Straight; He Learned About Women; The Gallows; Reprisal; Coventry; The Widow; Durham Bull; Wagon Girls; The Dealer; The Summons; The Dreamers; Cale; Chester’s Indian; The Prisoner; and The Boys, all presented in crisp B&W transfers (1.33) with sponsor material and original preview trailers on select episodes.
BONANZA: Season 5 DVD (1963-64, CBS): The classic western storms back onto DVD in another remastered set from CBS. This two-volume “Value Pack” offers the entire fifth season of “Bonanza” with original music intact plus good looking transfers and mono soundtracks. Episodes include She Walks in Beauty; A Passion for Justice; Rain From Heaven; Twilight Town; A Toy Soldier; A Question of Strength; Calamity Over the Comstock; Journey Remembered; The Quality of Mercy; The Waiting Game; The Legacy; Hoss and the Leprechauns; The Prime of Life; The Lila Conrad Story; The Ponderosa Matador; My Son, My Son; Alias Joe Cartwright; Gentleman From New Orleans; The Cheating Games; Bullet For a Bride; King of the Mountain; Love Me Not; The Pure Truth; No Less a Man; Return to Honour: The Saga of Muley Jones; The Roper; A Pink Cloud Comes From Old Cathey; The Companeros; Enter Thomas Bowers; The Dark Past; The Pressure Game; Triangle; and Walter and the Outlaws.
MATLOCK Season 8 (1993-94, aprx. 17 hours, CBS): Arriving on DVD February 12th, this penultimate season of Andy Griffith’s long-running courtroom procedural finds Matlock teamed with Brynne Thayer, Warren Frost and Daniel Roebuck in a collection of 20 episodes. CBS’ DVD includes the broadcast-length shows in 1.33 full-screen with stereo soundtracks and episodic teasers on all episodes.
Also on DVD
THE BOUQUET DVD (90 mins., 2012, Not Rated; Vivendi): Kristy Swanson and Alberta Mayne play contrasting sisters who find their lives intersecting when their mother falls ill; Michael Shanks and Danny Glover co-star in a feel-good romantic comedy-drama that hits DVD just in time for Valentine’s Day from Vivendi. A 16:9 transfer and 5.1 soundtrack are included along with a Making Of featurette.
LAKE PLACID: THE FINAL CHAPTER DVD (90 mins., 2012, Not Rated; Sony): “Law & Order” alumnus Elisabeth Rohm saddles up with big game warden Yancy Butler for this supposedly final installment in the killer croc franchise, which began over a decade ago with David E. Kelley’s serviceable 2000 box-office success. This Don Michael Paul-directed small screen outing is pretty much by-the-numbers but not bad overall for anyone who watched the prior TV sequels in the series. Sony’s DVD includes a 16:9 transfer and 5.1 soundtrack.
Animation on DVD: The Monster High ghouls return in a double-feature DVD offering FRIDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS and WHY DO GHOULS FALL IN LOVE? (92 mins., 2013; Universal), both features presented in 16:9 and 5.1 Dolby Digital...SLUGTERRA: RETURN OF THE SHANE GANG (110 mins., Shout!) boasts a number of episodes from the animated series including The World Beneath Our Feet Parts 1 and 2; The Trade; The Slugout; and Deadweed, plus an intro to the series with production personnel and animated “slugisodes”...ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE: THE COMPLETE SERIES (aprx. 20 hours, 1993-96, Shout!) includes Joe Murray’s complete series – all 52 episodes and four series – in a terrific multi-disc Shout! box-set available on February 26th. Numerous extras include season three selected-scene commentaries from Murray; “Trash-o-Madness” original pilot version; and a “Wacky Delly” Live 2012 with Murray and cast members. Highly recommended for series fans.
Mill Creek Releases: NATIONAL PARKS: EXPLORE THE NATION (aprx. 14 hours) isn’t Ken Burns’ account of the history of our national parks, but rather a low-key, nicely scored (by David Arkenstone) series of standard travelogue videos devoted to The Everglades; Great Smoky Mountains: The Black Hills and the Badlands; Grand Canyon; Yellowstone; Yosemite; and the complete 12-volume “America’s National Treasures” series. Over 14 hours of content are included on six DVD platters...THE DEFINITIVE CIVIL WAR COLLECTION (29 hours, 2011) is a 10-disc DVD set offering the complete documentaries “The Ultimate Civil War Series,” “Civil War: America Divided,” “The Civil War: Commemorative Documentary Collection,” “Lincoln: Trial By Fire” and “Up From Slavery”...8-MOVIE COLLECTION: STAR-STUDDED DRAMAS offers eight films culled from the Sony vaults, presented on four DVDs: All The Pretty Horses, Excess Baggage, Running With Scissors, Motorama, Off the Map, The Squid and the Whale, Lords of Dogtown, and a Love Song With Bobby Long. 16:9 transfers all look pretty decent here, though the compression levels are bit on the heavy side. Check the Aisle Seat archives for full reviews of the specific flicks.
NEXT TIME: Streisand's A STAR IS BORN on Blu-Ray. Until then, don't forget to drop in on the official Aisle Seat Message Boards and direct any emails to our email address. Cheers everyone!