D.J. Caruso's I Am Number Four, based on a book of the same name by James Frey and
Jobie Hughes, is this weeks biggest release. It is a teen sci-fi drama which follows the
trials and tribulations of John Smith, portrayed by Alex Pettyfer, as he tries to escape his
would be assassins that have followed him from his home planet.
Blu-ray.com's Kenneth Brown said in his review, "All things considered, I Am Number
Four is worth renting. For those of you with young teen filmfans in the house, it may
even be worth an eventual purchase." On the disc itself, " Disney's Blu-ray release is
more rewarding -- thanks to a terrific AV presentation -- but stumbles with an anemic
supplemental package." Giving it a final rating of 3.5/5 overall.
Next up is Gnomeo and Juliet 3D, a modern day, comedic spin on the old Shakespeare tale,
Romeo and Juliet. It brings new and creative ideas to a classic love story and has voice
work from James McAvoy and Emily Blunt in the title roles. Lady GaGa and Elton John
both contribute to the musical score.
Blu-ray.com's Martin Liebman said, "while Gnomeo & Juliet won't go down in the annals
of animated cinema as an all-time great, it's nevertheless a strongly-crafted and
entertaining little picture that's sure to dazzle young audiences and even keep mom and
dad entertained enough to sit through it once or twice." Martin's comments on Disney's
Blu-ray were also positive with sparse 2D extras being the only let down, "Disney's Blu-
ray 3D release of Gnomeo & Juliet features a dazzling 3D transfer, a strong lossless
soundtracks, and a relatively tiny assortment of 2D extras which is this release's only
real weak spot." He gave the BD a 4/5 rating overall. Gnomeo and Juliet is also available in 2D.
Vietnam War movie, Platoon, is the biggest catalogue release for the week. Oliver Stone's Academy Award winning film, starring Charlie Sheen and William Dafoe, is widely regarded as one of the greatest war movies of all time and was voted 83rd by the American Film Institute in their "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies" list. It follows an enthusiastic young soldier, Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), as he battles with moral ambiguity and the horrors of war amidst the need to survive the harsh realities of the Vietnam conflict. All of that while trying to gain social acceptance among his peers.
In his review, Martin Liebman says, "Platoon is an extraordinary film and perhaps the most important of all War pictures. It gets to the very essence of war, which is the toll it takes on man not in the physical, but in the emotional and spiritual senses." He rates the disc highly too, "MGM's Blu-ray release of Platoon features decent video, shaky audio, and a wonderfully enthralling array of extra content. It's debatable whether the release could have been better, but it would seem that this is probably close to the pinnacle of quality of how Platoon is going to look and sound for home viewing." Martin gave Platoon 4/5 overall and his highest recommendation.
Criterion release Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris, a Russian masterpiece set on a Soviet space station, Solaris, orbiting a distant planet. The movie follows the story of a psychologist, Kris Kelvin, who is sent to Solaris to investigate why the crew of the station are suffering from hallucinations. The protagonist eventually falls victim to these hallucinations and the movie, through Kris, touches on how we perceive reality and its ambiguity.
Dr. Svet Atansov, Blu-ray.com's specialist foreign movie reviewer, said of the movie, "Arguably one of the greatest and most influential science fiction films ever made, Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris does not need to be promoted or recommended; it simply belongs in any serious film library." On the Criterion disc he says, "Despite these limitations, however, detail is mostly good, and certainly substantially improved when one compares this Blu-ray release of Solaris to Criterion's SDVD release of the film." Svet gave the movie a 4.5/5 rating overall.
I Am Number Four and Gnomeo are possible pickups, granted you can pick both combo packs for pretty much $15 a pop. Soul Eater is a definite must, and Platoon is, too, just later on for that one. Hoping for a good Father's Day sale in the next few weeks.
This week is actually quite good for me, with three catalog titles that I've very much been looking forward to:
Solaris is a blind preorder that I had wanted to for a very long time. But these are three rock solid films. If you haven't seen Papillon, perhaps the least known of these three, you should. It's quite an intriguing story that stars Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, and it was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, who also directed Patton and the original film of Planet of the Apes.
Other films from this week I plan to eventually acquire include Gettysburg, Gods and Generals (those two are in a limited edition big box set I have on preorder), Le Mans (another Steve McQueen film), Tigerland and The Great Dictator.
Want: Platoon, Le Mans, Solaris
Will Probably Get: Platoon (I'm cautious on Criterion blu until another sale pops up and I doubt I'll be able to find Le Mans around here. Plus I'm going to be spending money at the Anime con this weekend as well I'm sure!)
Gnomeo & Juliet was an okay movie. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't THAT great. It's something that I would see only once. I heard "I Am Number Four" was pretty good. I'll get around to seeing that one eventually. I'd rather get "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" instead of "Gnomeo & Juliet" instead.