The Weekly Spin: May 26th 2009

Disney did utterly incredible restoration jobs with their “Sleeping Beauty” and “Pinocchio” Blu-ray releases. Now that they’re going back and giving the same treatment to many of the titles already in their ‘Platinum Collection’, however they’ve changed the name with future Disney animated classics being released under the ‘Diamond Collection’ banner. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is the first to get the treatment which is released as a three-disc set (Blu-ray, regular DVD, digital copy DVD) on October 6th.

The recent “Terminator 2: Skynet Edition” Blu-ray is causing a bit of a ruckus with claims that filters applied to lessen noise on the image have robbed it of fine detail, especially compared to a recent Blu-ray release of the film by Japanese company Geneon. The Japanese release has encoded the film in the MPEG4 AVC codec at 35Mbps compared with the Skynet edition’s VC-1 25Mbps which suffers from notable DNR manipulation. Screen captures over at DVD Beaver from both discs show the complaint is valid up close with fine detail on the skin notably missing from the recent Skynet edition. Yet the Japanese disc is three times the price, and the difference will only really be noticeable on screens of about 60 inches or larger which makes it a judgement call on each person’s part.

Film classic “The Red Shoes” underwent a meticulous two-year 4K digital restoration, with the help of Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker (Scorsese’s long-time editor and widow of ‘Shoes’ director Michael Powell), and premiered to great effect in Cannes the other week. Now comes word that a UK Blu-ray release of this print is in the works for June 29th with a US edition expected to follow later in the year. A video interview about the restoration, complete with comparison shots, is up at The Guardian.

Sony is preparing to release 1978 classic “Midnight Express” on July 21st and “A River Runs Through It” on July 28th in the digibook format – the same kind used for various Warner releases like “Amadeus”, “One Flew

Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Poltergeist” and this week’s “Falling Down”.

MGM is said to be planning a box-set containing all six “Rocky” films for Blu-ray release around the end of the year.

Spike Lee’s “Inside Man”, originally slated for Blu-ray release this week, has been pushed back to next Tuesday due to an audio glitch with the release.

Other Newly Announced DVDs: “90210: Season One” (Aug 11th), “2 or 3 Things I Know About Her” (July 21st), “Adventureland” (Aug 25th), “Californication: Season Two” (Aug 11th), “The Class” (Aug 11th), “Dexter: Season Three” (Aug 18th), “Everybody Hates Chris: Season Four” (Aug 18th), “The Haunting in Connecticut” (July 14th), “The Human Condition” (July 14th), “Leverage: Season One” (July 14th), “Mad Men: Season Two” (July 14th), “Messengers 2: The Scarecrow” (July 21st), “The Mighty Boosh: Seasons Two & Three” (July 21st), “Miss March” (July 28th), “Scrubs: Season Eight” (Aug 25th), “Sunshine Cleaning” (Aug 25th).

Other Newly Announced Blu-rays: “Adventureland” (Aug 25th), “The Class” (Aug 11th), “Cutthroat Island” (Aug 11th), “Dexter: Season Three” (Aug 18th), “The Haunting in Connecticut” (July 14th), “Mad Men: Season Two” (July 14th), “Miss March” (July 28th), “Monster” (Sept 1st), “Mutant Chronicles” (Aug 4th), “The Ninth Gate” (Aug 11th), “See No Evil” (Aug 11th), “Sunshine Cleaning” (Aug 25th).

This Week’s Picks:

Children of Men (Blu-Ray)
Alfonso Cuaron’s post-apocalyptic road trip drama about a man (Clive Owen) in a now sterile and despair-ridden world trying to get the last pregnant woman on Earth to safety has become a modern classic and justifiably so. From the stellar camerawork to perfect performances and design – a true gem.

The Closer: Season Four (DVD)
One of the best diversions of the Summer time, TNT’s mega-rating police drama has very effectively walked the balance between serious drama and farcical comedy thanks to one of the best ensemble casts on the box including JK Simmons, G.W. Bailey, Jon Tenney and Kyra Sedgwick.

Falling Down: Deluxe Edition (DVD & Blu-Ray)
While Joel Schumacher cops a lot of flack for his bad films, his good ones from “The Lost Boys” to “Tigerland” to “Phone Booth” are often great. ‘Down’ is one of his best with Michael Douglas delivering a strong performance in a film that strikes with surprising relevance in this time of mass layoffs.

Forever Strong (DVD)
Some sports that are huge all over the world just seemed to skip by mainstream USA – most notably cricket, soccer and rugby union. Now comes a film about the latter which was well-reviewed but essentially dumped by its distributor. The involvement of Penn Badgley, Gary Cole and Sean Faris make me curious.

Other Releases This Week:
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (DVD)
Cinderella Man (Blu-ray)
Designing Women: Season One (DVD)
Field of Dreams (Blu-ray)
Killshot (DVD)
Land of the Lost: Complete Series (DVD)
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
Mistresses: Volume One (DVD)
New in Town (Blu-ray & DVD)
Powder Blue (Blu-ray & DVD)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Blu-ray)
Seabiscuit (Blu-ray)
Spy Game (Blu-ray)
The Sky Crawlers (Blu-ray & DVD)
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (DVD)
True Romance (Blu-ray)