If it's crap ... We'll tell you
SCI-FI/FANTASY PART TWO
If I didn't include this lovingly remastered HD upgrade of former Spill critic Carlyle's favorite movie of all time (which should tell you something), he'd send me a nasty note, so here it is: Roger Corman's space opera version of "The Seven Samurai" which was written by John Sayles, scored by James Horner, and with F/X by James Cameron. Hey, everybody's gotta start somewhere. Even with the inherent b-movie qualities unmissable when viewing so much as a single frame of this 1980 film, there's a definite charm and an almost embarrassing amount of fun to be had for those who can look past (or perhaps can even embrace) the extreme budgetary constraints, terrible acting, and a laughably crap script (sorry, Sayles).
-CLICK HERE TO BUY Battle Beyond the Stars
My precious.....This was, no question, the blu-ray set I was looking forward to the most all year and boy, did it deliver...mostly. While we've got gorgeous looking and sounding upgrades of the full director's cuts (which are considerably longer, for the record) of all three films, there exists some amount of controversy about some slight color and contrast changes made to this version. Hmm, let's see......looks just fine to me. But then again, I'll admit to not being exactly a perfectionist about such things. I can tell you that it rocked MY world. However, the decision to NOT upgrade the ported and exhaustive bonus features up from SD left me scratching my head. Never mind, because this is still the definitive version of these films to own.
-CLICK HERE TO BUY The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy
Lord high king of all controversial dystopian science fiction films, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Anthony Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange" was freaking people the hell out in 1971 when it came out originally, and surprisingly is no less freak-out inducing today. Not even mildly for the faint of heart, Malcolm McDowell's futuristic juvenile delinquent performs atrocities that remain hard to witness, but the film's central and most disturbing element is the question it poses: if we can change a man like this using science, should we? The new blu comes with a digibook (best packaging style...evar) and lots of bonus features, including a few new HD featurettes. It's a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolent.
-CLICK HERE TO BUY A Clockwork Orange
Yes, it's true, I wasn't a huge fan of the wildly anticipated (and long-overdue) sequel, "Tron Legacy". I admit part of that was indeed my own anticipation, but upon watching it again...it's still got a pretty crap script. Some might say that as well about the original 1982 film. Hell, they might be right, but I was a kid and I loved it to pieces and still do: enough to REALLY appreciate this set that bundles together the new film with a HD upgrade of the original in one set. I'll say this for the sequel: it sure looks and sounds spectacular here, in what has been rated one of, if not THE, best looking and sounding blu-ray of the year by more anal retentive HD nuts than me. Add in a series of mini-films that serve as a epilogue sequence to the movie, and it's hard not to see the value here.
-CLICK HERE TO BUY Tron: Legacy / Tron: The Original Classic
You knew it had to pop up on this list somewhere. And you're damn right that ROTPOTA is one of the best blu-rays this year, much less one of the best MOVIES, PERIOD. That's right, Academy (amongst others), I'm a'callin' you out. Pistols at dawn. Who knew that this would be as darn good as it was? While the humans seemed a little less than thoroughly fleshed out, Andy Serkis's portrayal of lead ape Caesar goes a LONG way, as does the rest of the impressive F/X and mimed storytelling aspects of the film. The blu-ray contains lots of bonuses, most importantly, plenty of chances to see Serkis performing the role sans CG makeover.
-CLICK HERE TO BUY Rise of the Planet of the Apes