Dressed To Kill (MGM/20th Century Fox) and Scarface (Universal) - Brian De Palma is one of those directors revered by aspiring filmmakers and movie fans. These two new-to-Blu releases capture De Palma at his prime. For my money, the better of the two is Dressed To Kill, the psychosexual 1980 thriller starring Angie Dickinson, Michael Caine, and Nancy Allen. It’s stylish, sexy, and suspenseful and the BD comes loaded with tempting bonus features.
As for Scarface, the 1983 crime drama with a scenery-chewing Al Pacino, it’s undeniably bloody fun with plenty of unforgettable moments. But the movie has always felt a little bloated and self-important for my taste. Its devoted legion of fans should be pleased by the BD, which includes Howard Hawks’ 1932 original on DVD as a bonus.
For the truly devoted, Universal is offering a limited edition humidor, most of which will probably be purchased by the many hip-hop superstars who view Scarface as a sacred text. It’ll set you back a cool $999.99, but Amazon is offering it right now at the bargain basement price of $699.99. What a steal!
X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox) - Marvel’s merry mutants go back to the '60s to see where it all began for Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). This was one of the summer movie season’s most pleasant surprises, although considering how low expectations were, you may want to take that with a grain of salt. The DVD and Blu-ray hits stores on Friday.
Hanna (Universal) - Joe Wright directs this stylish thriller about a 16-year old assassin (Saoirse Ronan) battling a cabal of intelligence agents led by Cate Blanchett. Eric Bana co-stars as Ronan’s ex-CIA father.
Everything Must Go (Lionsgate) - Will Ferrell gets serious when he loses his wife and job and decides to get rid of all the trappings of his old life in an impromptu yard sale.
Remembering 9/11 (National Geographic) - A 4-DVD set commemorating the 10th anniversary of September 11 through documentaries, interviews, and tributes.
The Caine Mutiny (Sony) - Humphrey Bogart gives one of his finest performances as instable Naval Captain Queeg in this 1954 classic.
Scream: 5-Film Set (Miramax/Lionsgate) - Ghostface goes high-def in this box set that includes Wes Craven’s first three films plus the comprehensive documentaries Scream: The Inside Story and Still Screaming.
Straw Dogs (MGM/20th Century Fox) - Instead of going to see the upcoming and wholly unnecessary remake, check out Sam Peckinpah’s controversial original instead, featuring one of Dustin Hoffman’s best roles.
United 93 (Universal) - The best film to date about the events of 9/11, Paul Greengrass’ movie is harrowing to watch but an unforgettable experience nevertheless.
Fringe: The Complete Third Season (Warner Home Video) - I’m not much of a TV watcher but evidently I’m missing out on one of the best sci-fi shows around by not watching Fringe. I’m overdue to discover what all the fuss is about.
Community: The Complete Second Season (Sony) - I was late to the party on this one too, but it turns out it’s one of the smartest, funniest and oddest comedies on network TV.
The Office: Season 7 (Universal) - Steve Carell bids farewell to Dunder Mifflin. The US version of The Office has always been slightly uneven but the highlights this year outweigh the low points.
Parks And Recreation: Season Three (Universal) - The Office’s spiritual cousin hits its stride in this third season collection.
Criminal Minds: Season 6 (CBS/Paramount) - The acclaimed criminal profiler drama enters its sixth year.
Midsomer Murders: Set 18 (Acorn) - The British crime drama returns with three new mysteries.
Two And A Half Men: The Complete Eighth Season (Warner Home Video) - Once the winningest show on TV, the sitcom warns Charlie Sheen not to let the door hit him on the way out.
No Ordinary Family: The Complete First Season (Buena Vista) - The complete first and only season of the short-lived superhero show starring Michael Chiklis.
Police Story: Season One (Shout! Factory) - A fondly remembered anthology series from the early 70s focusing on the LAPD created by Joseph Wambaugh. The first season features such guest stars as Ed Asner, Kurt Russell, and Angie Dickinson, whose series Police Woman was a spinoff from this season’s finale.
High School Musical China (Disney) - Did you know that Disney has a World Cinema line of DVDs? Me neither. But since they do, I guess it makes a weird kind of sense that they’d relocate one of their most popular franchises to Shanghai.