While this isn't the most exciting week of new video releases, any New Release Tuesday that includes two new additions to The Criterion Collection can't be all bad. My Pick of the Week is Criterion's Insignificance, Nicolas Roeg's brilliant 1985 meditation on the double-edged sword of fame. Theresa Russell, Gary Busey, Tony Curtis, and Michael Emil star as thinly veiled versions of Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Joseph McCarthy, and Albert Einstein. I'm thrilled this underrated gem finally has a chance to reach a larger audience thanks to Criterion's new Blu-ray and DVD.
Also from Criterion, Kon Ichikawa's 1983 drama The Makioka Sisters (BD/DVD). I'm not familiar with this title but Ichikawa is a fascinating, often wonderful filmmaker, responsible for such classics as Fires On The Plain and Tokyo Olympiad. Part of Criterion's mission is exposing audiences to important films that have been unjustly overlooked, so I'm excited to give this one a spin.
Most of the week's new movies are titles you probably skipped in theaters but might be curious enough to rent. First up, Aaron Eckhart defends the City of Angels from invading aliens in Sony's Battle: Los Angeles (BD/DVD). No doubt the city blows up real good. Warner Bros. brings us Red Riding Hood, the first of the dark-reimaging-of-fairy-tales subgenre that will consume your multiplex over the next couple of years. This is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and a BD/DVD combo that offers an alternate cut of the movie. It's curious that the packaging specifies this isn't a director's cut or an unrated cut or anything like that. It's simply an "alternate" cut, whatever that means.
Warner also has Hall Pass from the Farrelly Brothers, also on DVD, Blu-ray and BD/DVD combo with an "extended" cut. Starz/Anchor Bay debuts the crime movie Kill The Irishman (BD/DVD) with an intriguing cast that includes Ray Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Val Kilmer, and Christopher Walken. Martial arts fans will want to check out Donnie Yen in Legend Of The Fist: The Return Of Chen Zhen (BD/DVD) from Well Go USA. And in the Least Wanted Sequels Department, 20th Century Fox sticks Martin Lawrence back in a fat suit for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (BD/DVD). At least you know what you're getting yourself into if you pick this one up.
The Warner Archive Collection debuts several new titles today, including The Herculoids: The Complete Series, a much-loved animated series from the late 60s. Also from Warner Archive, Spencer Tracy in John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat and John Garfield in Ernest Hemingway's The Breaking Point. New releases from Sony's manufactured-on-demand imprint include the 1975 cult classic White Line Fever and the hilariously-titled TV-movie Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? starring Tori Spelling. Both Warner Archive and Sony MOD discs can be ordered from the Warner Archive website.
It's a relatively quiet week on the TVD front but there are a few interesting releases, starting with E1's Haven: The Complete First Season (BD/DVD). The series is ostensibly based on Stephen King's novel The Colorado Kid but, having read that wisp of a book, I have to assume it's very loosely based on it. 20th Century Fox releases The Glades: The Complete First Season on DVD only, while Warner and the BBC present two new Doctor Who DVDs: Frontios from the Peter Davison years and Time And The Rani from the Sylvester McCoy era.
Finally, S'More Entertainment presents what may be the strangest DVD release of the year: Celebrity Bowling. Yes, some of the biggest stars of the '70s, including William Shatner, Adrienne Barbeau, Bob Newhart, and many others, hit the lanes to see who can defeat the dreaded 7-10 split. I'm curious to find out if guest star Lloyd Bridges agrees to roll on Shabbos.