The Weekly Spin: June 24th 2009

With the Father’s Day holiday over, the level of disc releases this week is tiny. Here’s a look anyway at this shorter than usual edition:

Paramount Home Entertainment is launching a ‘Sapphire Series’ label for catalogue titles on ‘Blu-ray. The first three will be all recent Oscar winners – “Forrest Gump,” “Gladiator” and “Braveheart”. The later two come out September 1st, ‘Gump’ hits on November 3rd.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will bring four major Asian martial arts action movies to Blu-ray on September 15th in the “Ultimate Force of Four” boxset. The titles, sold as the box and separately, include ‘The Legend of Drunken Master’, ‘Hero’, ‘Iron Monkey’ and ‘Zatoichi’.

New Line has announced a November 3rd release date for “The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy”. As previously stated, these are the theatrical versions, NOT the extended editions which will likely be released closer to “The Hobbit”.

Other Newly Announced DVDs: “The Beast: Season One” (Aug 18th), “Bring It On: Fight to the Finish” (Sept 1st), “Duplicity” (Aug 25th), “The Fighter” (Aug 18th), “Fighting” (Aug 25th), “Hannah Montana The Movie” (Aug 18th), “The Last House on the Left” (Aug 18th), , “One Step Beyond: Season One” (Sept 15th), “Paris 36 ” (Aug 11th), “The Soloist” (Aug 4th), “Spring Break” (Aug 8th), “Varsity Blues: Deluxe Edition” (Sept 15th).

Other Newly Announced Blu-rays: “Bring It On: Fight to the Finish” (Sept 1st), “Duplicity” (Aug 25th), “Fighting” (Aug 25th), “Hannah Montana The Movie” (Aug 18th), “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” (Aug 29th), “Hot Fuzz” (Sept 22nd), “The Last House on the Left” (Aug 18th), “Requiem for a Dream” (Sept 8th), “Shaun of the Dead” (Sept 22nd), “The Soloist” (Aug 4th), “Varsity Blues” (Sept 15th), “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (Oct 20th).

This Week’s Picks:

Last Year at Marienbad: Criterion (DVD & Blu-Ray)
The haunting and controversial 1961 French New Wave classic from Alain Resnais is still a much-debated but visually splendid and often fascinating piece which toys with audience preconceptions. The story of this love affair gilded in often unreliable memory demands much but rewards greatly. A must own.

Waltz with Bashir (DVD & Blu-Ray)
One of last year’s strongest films and surprisingly uplifting despite the dark subject matter, this animated docu-drama explores the experiences of Ari Folman an Israeli soldier during the first Lebanon War in the early 80’s. It’s a damning piece about personal responsibility and moral opportunism in war.

Other Releases This Week:
Confessions of a Shopaholic (DVD & Blu-ray)
Inkheart (DVD & Blu-ray)
My Dinner with Andre: Criterion Collection (DVD)
Phoebe in Wonderland (DVD)
The Code (DVD & Blu-ray)
The Pink Panther 2 (DVD & Blu-ray)

One of the more interesting columns I’ve read lately is the Criterion Covers collection over at The Auteurs where people contribute artwork for homemade Criterion covers they’d love to see. I myself have contributed a few covers for the list (pages 42, 44 & 58-61) for films ranging from Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish-language movies and WarGames to Hayao Miyazaki’s animated features and recent studio fare like Moon. I’ve included a montage of below, and I hope some of you budding DVD artwork people will add your own creative examples to that quite awesome forum in coming weeks.