Stuff to Buy Channel / Bullz-Eye Home
Every year, the studios see it fit to re-release classic movies with sharper picture, better special features and fancier packaging. They're often tied to some ridiculous anniversary and almost never worth the double dip. This year is a little different, however, as the movies that have been given the aforementioned treatment are well worth your time and money. From individual releases like "Apocalypse Now" to hulking box sets like the "Alien Anthology," this holiday season is all about giving the fans what they deserve. Of course, we've also thrown in some of our favorite theatrical releases just hitting DVD and Blu-ray, and we're confident that they're gifts that any movie lover would appreciate.
When you're dealing with the most successful movie of all time, it's probably safe to assume that it would make a great gift for just about anyone on your holiday shopping list. But while the previously released barebones edition of "Avatar" should do the trick for most people, diehard fans will be more interested in the extended collector's edition. Along with a new cut of the film featuring 16 additional minutes of footage, the three-disc set also includes the original theatrical version and the special edition re-release from its limited run this summer. There's also a full-length documentary about the 16-year journey of making the film, over 45 minutes of deleted scenes, and a slew of other production featurettes that should keep you occupied well into the New Year. It may seem a bit like overkill, but this is James Cameron's "Star Wars," and until the definitive 3D version is released on Blu-ray, consider this your Bible to all things Pandora.
For a director with a knack of creating some pretty complex movies, you'd think that Christopher Nolan would eventually slip up and spoil his impeccable track record. Instead, his films only get better, and "Inception" might just be his finest yet. The idea alone – thieves who invade people's minds to steal ideas – is absolutely brilliant, but the execution is what makes it all work. From the presentation of the various dream levels to its fantastic cast, "Inception" is like a blockbuster action movie and indie thriller rolled into one; the perfect marriage of style and substance. The final act of the film is positively jaw-dropping (particularly Joseph Gordon-Levitt's scenes in the zero-gravity hallway fight and while gathering up his partners in crime as they suspend in mid-air), and the cleverly composed ending continues to divide viewers to this day. The Blu-ray itself is a bit of a mystery as well, because it doesn't actually come out until December, but we're confident that Warner Bros. will deliver the goods. Until then, we're just dreaming of the possibilities.
It laid every other movie to waste at the box office this year (it currently ranks #5 all time), and it made grown men cry. Pixar has always been careful to make sure their movies have heart, but the opening and closing scenes of "Toy Story 3" are downright devastating, and the end result is, of all things, the most moving coming-of-age/prison escape movie ever made. (The casting of Ned Beatty as warden in disguise Lotso was genius.) It's worth noting that "Toy Story 3" is the first time in Pixar's history that they haven't
run into a storytelling problem – check the bonus features for the "Toy Story" Blu-ray to see how that movie's first draft nearly dismantled Pixar before they had begun – and in the process they delivered some unforgettable twists on old characters (two words: Spanish Buzz) and some eye-popping visuals to boot (two and a half more words: Mr. Tortilla Head). As bulletproof a stocking stuffer as you're likely to find this holiday season.
Barring only Christopher Nolan's "Inception," it would be hard to find another movie released this year that's more ambitious and innovative than "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." Adapted from the six-volume comic series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, the film takes everything that people loved about the books – great characters, snappy dialogue, and plenty of geek-friendly references – and improves upon it. There's not a single weak link in the entire cast, and the movie even plays like a comic book in motion thanks to its ADD-style pacing and onomatopoeia graphics. Fans of Edgar Wright will love every minute, but unlike his British comedies, "Scott Pilgrim" has a much wider appeal. Better yet, the Blu-ray release is filled to the gills with bonus material including seven different ways to watch the film – on its own, or supplemented by a picture-in-picture storyboard track, text-only trivia track, or one of four audio commentaries – as well five hours of additional bonus material. It's definitely worth fighting some evil exes for, but let's hope it doesn't come to that.
What makes the character of Kick-Ass so endearing is that he doesn't have an unlimited bankroll to buy fancy cars, or gadgets, or suits made of impenetrable armor; he just has the will to do what most people would never dream of doing: stick his neck out for the innocent, even if it means getting, well, his ass kicked. Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Icon comic series definitely takes some liberties with the source material, and while those changes wouldn't have made for a better comic, it definitely makes for a better film. Newcomer Aaron Johnson nails the title character's passive-aggressive teen angst, and he's surrounded by a superb cast, highlighted by a breakout performance by Chloe Moretz as the pint-sized killing machine Hit Girl. Funny, action-packed, smart and gleefully profane, "Kick-Ass" is both the year's best superhero movie and the year's best gangster movie. It's also one of the best comedies of the year, too.
"Anchorman" is one of the more delightfully absurd comedies to come out in recent years, so it's only fitting that the Best Buy-exclusive Rich Mahogany Edition comes with a truly absurd number of bonus features (including pretty much anything Ferrell ever did in character as Ron Burgundy, from interviews and silly promotional clips right down to table reads and scraps of test footage) and gewgaws (like a Burgundy diary and a pack of collectible trading cards). You also get "Wake Up, Ron Burgundy," the direct-to-video "sequel" cobbled together out of deleted scenes from the original film, making this box the be-all and end-all of anything "Anchorman"-related. There are bona fide classics that will never see a fraction of the lavish treatment "Anchorman" gets here, and holding this box is bound to make a few cinephiles weep in frustration. For aficionados of goofball comedy, however, owning the Rich Mahogany Edition will be a fine way of staying classy.
There are Vietnam movies, and then there's Francis Ford Coppola's epic "Apocalypse Now." Likewise, there are Blu-ray discs, and then there's the three-disc "Full Disclosure" edition of the '70s masterpiece. Both versions of the movie (the original theatrical cut as well as the recent "Redux" version) are presented for the very first time on home video in the film's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio – something fanatics of this movie have begged for for years. The aspect ratio issue alone is enough reason to gift this, but Disc Two is jam-packed with interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes, and other material that takes hours to sift through. But wait – there's more! Disc Three sports the feature-length documentary, "Hearts of Darkness," which painfully (and sometimes humorously) chronicles the riveting making of the film. As making-of docs go, few are as perfect as this one, and it's an ideal bookend for the set. "Full Disclosure" is the must-own Blu-ray of the year, and its existence is sure to sell plenty of Blu-ray players throughout the holiday season.
You have to think that the execs currently walking the halls at 20th Century Fox marvel over the fact that "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is one of their properties. Would the studio even consider releasing a movie like it now? Would anyone? Even the movies that send up their favorite genres today still make them smarter than the source material ("Galaxy Quest," for example), but "Rocky Horror" came from a time when it was still acceptable to love something that was flawed, which is why it was embraced by the outcasts and would ultimately become the biggest cult movie of all time. And for as much as the movie gets wrong – the story is admittedly lacking – the soundtrack is one of the best glam albums ever made, and the recent Blu-ray edition of the movie has a sparkling new mix job, along with a gaggle of bonus features that will prompt you to do the audience participation, allow you to use props like toast and squirt guns, and rock the hell out of the songs karaoke-style. It would be easy for Fox to be cynical and just dump their best-selling catalog items on Blu-ray with no whistles and bells, but they did "Rocky Horror" right.
"Heeeeeeyyy yoooooouuuuu guuuuuyyyyys!!" Can't believe it's been 25 years since you first heard Sloth bellow those three words in the classic Steven Spielberg adventure film, "The Goonies"? Well, neither can we, but this loaded 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition is proof, and now you can introduce Sloth, Chunk, Mikey, Brand, Mouth and the rest of the gang to a whole new generation of fans with this set, available on Blu-ray or DVD. The fun doesn't stop there, though – included in the set are a reproduction of the 1985 souvenir magazine that any aficionado will love, a reprint of the "Where Are They Now?" feature that ran in Empire
magazine in 2009 (check out these names: Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton...), 10 storyboard cards and, last but not least, an exclusive 25th-Anniversary Board Game that challenges 2-4 players to escape from One-Eyed Willy's Cave. Now this is how to celebrate the anniversary of a true classic. Well done, Warner Bros.
If you've got a fan of Buddy the Elf on your list (and really, who isn't a Buddy fan?), this Blu-ray Ultimate Collector's Edition set is a pretty slick little purchase. Granted, there's nothing about the movie itself that sets it apart from the 2008 Blu-ray release – the same enjoyable bonus features, including commentaries from Will Ferrell and director Jon Favreau and an hour and a half of various "making of" featurettes – but if the Buddy fan on your list doesn't already own the movie in glorious high-def, this collector's edition will not only rectify that, it will also give them some cute extras like a Buddy-styled plush stocking, a soundtrack sampler, a magnetic photo frame and a bunch of "Elf"-themed gift tags, all housed in a collectible holiday tin box. A little cheesy, perhaps, but then again, so is Buddy. And that's why we love him.
It can't hope to compete with the "North by Northwest" Blu-ray, which allegedly cost Warner Bros. a million dollars, but the second Hitchcock classic to get the hi-def treatment isn't too shabby, especially for a budget-priced clamshell title. "Psycho" is definitely no stranger to the reissue treatment, having arrived on DVD shelves in a number of flawed configurations – all of which are corrected with this 50th anniversary edition. If you have the deluxe DVD version, you've already seen all the bonus features, but there's plenty to choose from, especially for a film this old, and the 1080p transfer – while not as sparkling as the one for the "North by Northwest" Blu-ray – brings "Psycho" to startling new levels of clarity. Toss in a new 5.1 soundtrack, and you don't need to go a little mad to consider buying this for the film fan on your Christmas list.
The Blu-ray market is lousy with reissues – and many of them are
lousy – but Warner Bros. plunders the vaults more smartly than most, and this beautiful "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" set is a fine example. The hi-def transfer is brilliant, considering the age of the original film, it's packaged in a handsome box, and it comes with bonuses both on the disc (including an audio commentary track and a feature-length documentary, "Completely Cuckoo," about the making of the film) and off (including a book and a deck of specially made playing cards). The newly expanded "Completely Cuckoo," which appeared in slightly edited form on an earlier release, is almost worth the price alone; director Charles Kiselyak isn't shy about underlining the movie's legacy (including its effect on the standard of care in institutions), but he also gets to the heart of the creative conflicts between the filmmakers and author Ken Kesey, who wrote the original novel. This
is how you pay tribute to a classic film.
A lot of love has gone into the making of the six-disc "Alien Anthology" box set, and it shows. The book-like packaging is top-notch, the new hi-def video transfers are gorgeous, and the special features will have you knee-deep in over 17 hours of documentaries, production featurettes, interviews, photo galleries and just about anything else you can think of. This has to be the most comprehensive collection of bonus material ever assembled (including all of the extras from the previous editions, as well as brand new extras exclusive to this release), and it's all made incredibly easy to browse through thanks to MU-TH-UR Mode, which allows the viewer to tailor the presentation of the content to their liking. It doesn't really get any better than this, and it almost makes up for the fact that the last two films in the anthology pale in comparison to the first two. Not that anyone will mind, because this is still a must-have item for even the most casual fan. And for those of you who truly bleed yellow, Fox has also released a limited edition set that comes packaged in an alien egg guaranteed to become the centerpiece of your movie collection.
Just like they did when the trilogy finally arrived on DVD, Universal is packaging the "Back to the Future" movies as a set -- meaning that even if you're not as, ahem, enthusiastic about owning the sequels, this is the only way you're going to see the 1985 classic in hi-def. Thankfully, this 25th Anniversary Edition box makes up for that (not to mention its re-reissue status) with impressive 1080p transfers and an expanded set of bonus content, including never-before-seen footage of Eric Stoltz as the original Marty McFly and new interviews with the creative team (director/writer Robert Zemeckis, producer/co-writer Robert Gale, and producer Steven Spielberg) and most of the cast (including Michael J. Fox and Claudia Wells, the long-lost Jennifer from the first film). It won't make "Part II" or "Part III" as good as the original, but all three films have never looked better. So what are you waiting for, butthead?
Leave it to Pixar to create a trilogy that actually ups the ante with each successive release. Not that it hasn't been done before, of course, but it still was refreshing to have our expectations exceeded each time a new "Toy Story" movie was released. Unfortunately, expectations for this box set should be held in check. If you've been waiting for Disney to release the trilogy all together, the good news is you'll save some coin by buying this "Ultimate Toy Box" collection instead of purchasing each movie separately, and as a nice little bonus, you'll get Blu-ray, DVD and digital copies of all three films. The fun stops there, though, as the 10 discs come in a rather flimsy toy box, held in place with a piece of black foam rather than their own jewel cases, meaning there's no easy way to store the set with the rest of your collection. There also aren't any additional bonus features or slick inserts to commemorate the trilogy. Just a cardboard box with 10 discs inside. If you're looking for an easy and cost-effective way to pick up all three "Toy Story" movies on Blu-ray, this Toy Box Collection will suit your needs. Just don't expect your expectations to be exceeded in this instance.
Despite being a guy's website, we here at Bullz-Eye do not discriminate (and hopefully neither do you). If you've got gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered friends or relatives, you could do worse than giving them the gift of this box set which collects 10 MGM films dealing with LGBT themes. This set is quite the diverse celebration, which is as it should be. There are classics like "The Children's Hour" starring Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn, as well as the original "La Cage Aux Folles" from 1979. Appropriately, the Robin Williams/Nathan Lane remake, "The Birdcage," is also present. Some fare on here is laugh out loud funny, while others are borderline horrific, such as "Boys Don't Cry" and "Bent." But once you've been shocked by those, there's lighter fluff to bask in, such as "The Object of My Affection" with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, or the indie comedy "Kissing Jessica Stein." Of course, any such MGM collection would be incomplete without the cult classic "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and wisely MGM doesn't skimp on the goods in that area. Still a great movie for so many reasons, but chief among them is seeing it with someone for the first time and hearing them say "Is that Guy Pearce?" Yes, yes it is. And that other guy is Agent Smith from "The Matrix" and right over there is General Zod.