Zombies are the speed bumps of the horror world. Inherently evil by design, they pose little more than an annoyance when only one is involved. But as they multiply, the danger increases exponentially (try managing a parking lot full of speed bumps without losing your sanity). The works of zombie guru George A. Romero are nothing short of legendary, but recent zombie spoofs, including today's Blu-ray release of Zombieland have proven to be just as (if not more) entertaining.
It's quite easy to poke fun at zombies because they are a failed concept to begin with. As seen in other spoof films such as Shaun of the Dead, their limited intelligence and mobility make them an easy target for comic relief. Even when they do manage (slowly) surround their victims in an inescapable circle of death, the many ways of which to dispose of a zombie can be just as humorous.
"Zombieland is a genre lover's dream come true, a movie that's put it all together, realized what the genre is all about," commented staff reviewer Martin Liebman in his Blu-ray review of Zombieland. "Featuring a dazzling 1080p picture quality, an equally impressive lossless soundtrack, and plenty of ooey-gooey extras, Zombieland is a must-own disc that's deserving of a spot in every Blu-ray collection."
Warner's policy of releasing classic films as part of their “Ultimate Collector's Edition” series is somewhat understandable. Many titles require extensive restorations that cost much more than the studio could ever dream of getting back through individual disc sales. By releasing them in more expensive box sets, it not only gives collectors a reason to upgrade, but also helps pay for the higher than average production costs.
Actor Oscar Levant once said, “There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.” Since first watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas some years ago, I have always wondered in writer Hunter S. Thompson had based his life on just such a goal. The film, which is based off Thompson's book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, tells the story of Raoul Duke (Johnny Deep as Hunter S. Thompson) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro as Oscar Zeta Acosta) as they search for the American dream in two depraved weekends of hallucinogenic excesses.
While the film features some of the most respected people in Hollywood, it has never been considered part of the mainstream. It was a box office bust, though it has earned a cult status over the years, likely due the directorial skills of Terry Gilliam. It was definitely made for a particular audience, so while I can't recommend this film enough, make sure you know what you are getting into before you sit down to watch it with your family and friends.
Unfortunately, the Universal Blu-ray release left me a somewhat disappointed. The video has many errors that, at least to me, should have been addressed before the film was remastered in high definition. I understand the idea of “Director's Intent”, but I doubt Gilliam intended a line to run down the entire length of the frame during a particular scene in the film. Luckily, the audio is strong, making this an easy upgrade for those who already own the film on DVD.
As you can tell from the complete list, I was only able to talk about a relatively few titles that make their debut today on Blu-ray. There are a few gems being released today that I'm sure some people have been looking forward to for quite some time.
I'm picking up Zombieland (Best Buy exclusive w/extra content) and Walk the Line today for sure. I'm kinda sad Fear & Loathing has only deleted scenes (when there is a ton of other content available -- see the Criterion DVD), so I will probably wait to see if a superior edition streets further down the line.
Josh, how could you fail to mention The Music Man, which is also from WB? I can't think of a Blu-ray in some time that I have been so happy is being released. And blu-ray.com's own review of that backs up how good it is.
Picked up Zombieland and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Just finished watching Zombieland for the first time and my god, this is easily in my top 5 for 2009. Hilarious, gruesome, frenetic and all around a great story. Looks and sounds great as well. Definitely worth 25 bucks.
Man the studios, distributors and retailers really need to start adjusting their new release inventory amounts for bluray asap. I tried 7 different places today in the Seattle Metro area for Zombieland with not one copy in stock. Yet each place had anywhere from 6 to 60 copies on dvd. It's like they aren't taking into account the massive amount of bluray players sold over blackfriday/christmas yet.
was shocked to only see ZOMBIELAND, MYSTIC RIVER on the shelves....no Gangs, Maid/Manhat, some stores are beginning to tick me off not having the new releases in the new release section....not even Casablanca or Gone/Wind was up!!! GRRRR!!! Ridiculous!!! Was also funny to buy COUPLES RETREAT early as Wal-Mart is stupid and don't pay attention to release dates LOL!!!!