This Week On DVD/BD: Cocteau Goes Blu With Beauty And The Beast

Plus Satyajit Ray, Miramax Titles Go Hi-Def & It Takes Two To Skidoo

By , Columnist

It’s another light week of new DVD and Blu-ray releases but my Pick of the Week is not to be missed. Criterion gives Jean Cocteau’s Beauty And The Beast a Blu-ray upgrade today and if any movie deserves to be seen in high-def, it’s this one. One of the most stunningly beautiful and romantic films of all time, the disc comes packed with extras including an alternate soundtrack by Philip Glass. This is a magnificent presentation of a marvelous film that should be on the shelf of anyone who appreciates cinema.

Also from Criterion today, Satyajit Ray’s 1958 The Music Room makes its debut on DVD and BD. Let’s hope this is the first of many Satyajit Ray films from Criterion. A box set of his Apu trilogy would be most welcome.

Lionsgate has acquired the rights to the vast Miramax library and several are making their Blu-ray debuts today, including Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s sublime Amélie, Lasse Hallstrom’s Chocolat, and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Also new to Blu, Sony celebrates the 20th anniversary of John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood with a new high-def release.

Today’s lackluster lineup of new releases includes the sci-fi thriller Limitless (DVD/BD from 20th Century Fox) with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. Topher Grace attempts to recreate the '80s with Take Me Home Tonight (DVD/BD from 20th Century Fox). And the short but tumultuous life of folksinger Phil Ochs is documented in Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune (DVD from First Run Features).

Sci-fi fans will want to grab Doctor Who: Series Six, Part One (DVD/BD from BBC/Warner). And if you’ve been enjoying Torchwood: Miracle Day on Starz (and it sounds like a whole lot of you have), check out where it all started with Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series (DVD/BD from BBC/Warner).

Finally this week, one of the strangest movies of the 1960s makes its long-overdue DVD debut thanks to Olive Films. Otto Preminger’s Skidoo was a thoroughly misguided attempt to capture the youth audience with a madcap LSD comedy featuring a bunch of stars that young people in 1968 couldn’t have cared less about. The cast includes Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Frankie Avalon, Mickey Rooney, and in his final film, Groucho Marx as a Mafioso named “God.” Music is by the great Harry Nilsson. Skidoo must be seen to be believed, although many will be able to make it through their lives quite comfortably without believing it.

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Adam Jahnke has been writing about film since age 13, when he began foisting a self-published newsletter on friends and family (copies of which are now mercifully lost to the ages). In 2000, he joined the staff of the highly respected DVD website The Digital Bits, where he continues to serve as columnist…

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