This Week On DVD/BD: The Lord Of The Rings Goes Blu In A Big Way

Plus Louis Malle, Sucker Punch, and what is The Baby?

By , Columnist

The big news in home entertainment this week is the long-awaited debut of the extended versions of The Lord Of The Rings films on Blu-ray. Ordinarily I wouldn't spotlight a new-to-Blu release that features no new supplemental material. But this massive 15-disc set includes all of the extras from both the original releases as well as the later limited edition versions, so unless you've been obsessively purchasing every LOTR disc, there's material here that's new to you. And if you're that obsessive anyway, just try to resist the allure of this high-def release. Besides, these are truly great films and the presentation here is simply the best way to watch them. That's certainly enough to make The Lord Of The Rings my Pick of the Week.

Meanwhile, Criterion finishes up its June lineup with two rarities from the great Louis Malle: Zazie Dans Le Metro and Black Moon (both on DVD and BD). Also new from Criterion, the 1930 German silent film People On Sunday (DVD/BD), an early work from directors Edgar G. Ulmer and Robert Siodmak and screenwriter Billy Wilder.

For cult fans, Blue Underground presents the 1981 shocker The Nesting (DVD/BD). Severin Films offers up three cult classics on DVD only: the Australian thriller Nightmares, the cult slasher Bloody Birthday, and Ted Post's utterly bizarre The Baby. Of these, I particularly recommend The Baby, especially to jaded viewers who think they've seen it all. Believe me, you ain't seen nothing 'til you've checked out The Baby.

Over on the new release shelf, Warner Home Video debuts Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch, both on DVD in its theatrical version and on a variety of Blu-ray editions including theatrical and extended cuts. Sucker Punch is one of those love-it-or-hate-it flicks and I fall squarely in the hate-it camp. But if you're one of its passionate defenders, I'm sure it'll look spectacular in high-def.

For those of you who just can't get enough of Sucker Punch co-star Vanessa Hudgens, Sony offers up the critically reviled Beastly (DVD/BD). Speaking of movies the critics hated, 20th Century Fox takes Nicolas Cage back to the middle ages for Season Of The Witch (DVD/BD). For something with a slightly higher score on Rotten Tomatoes, check out Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman in Barney's Version (BD & DVD combo) or Kris Kristofferson in Bloodworth (DVD), both from Sony.

As for TV releases, it's a quiet week but Warner Bros. brings us Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete First Season (DVD) starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Universal presents Law & Order: Criminal Intent - The Sixth Year although honestly, I've never understood why someone would buy any L&O series on DVD. Is there any time day or night when you can't find an episode on TV? And for fans of sci-fi and the paranormal, Universal debuts Warehouse 13: Season Two (DVD), while A&E distributes The History Channel's cult hit Ancient Aliens: Season Two (DVD). No doubt the truth is out there.

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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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