Over the past few weeks, we've received some cool DVDs and Blu-ray releases in the mail. Today we're going to examine a small selection and talk about the extras inside each one for those of you who may still be on the fence about purchasing them.
Beyond The Gates
IFC Midnight – May 2, 2017
Beyond The Gates got a pretty favorable set of reviews for being a super creepy homage to '80s horror without all the baggage of being as horrible as some '80s horror flicks were. The film itself feels like Jumanji had a kid with The Ring, and when they turned sixteen they found out what Hammer Films was. The film comes with audio commentaries with cast and crew that are a blast to listen to, as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette that gives you a good glimpse into making a decent horror flick without a massive budget.
There are some lovely little add-ons like a retro trailer for the film as if you watched it on TV between episodes of Cheers and Night Court, and deleted scenes that are kinda cool to watch but you can also tell why they got deleted in the first place. I recommend it for horror fans and even B-horror fans, but I could also see a lot of people not getting into it. Flip a coin if you wish to take a chance.
Shout! Factory – May 16, 2017
The first of two rat-themed films that Shout! Factory's horror division Scream Factory released last month. This is the original 1971 film where the titular character who basically is the Rat King from TMNT before he grew up and moved to the sewers. The film has this skin-crawling vibe about it that makes you want to take a shower after. It may be a little old with weird pacing, but it still holds up on the cringe factor.
The Blu-ray version comes with an audio commentary from actor Bruce Davidson (who you may know better as Senator Kelly from the X-Men films), the original theatrical trailer, TV and radio spots, as well as a still frame gallery of photos and live shots from the film. If you get the 4K version, the picture is a scan of the original camera negative, which makes the colors pop and removes a lot of the grit the original film had at the time. It's one of the classic '70s horror flicks that is a must-own for horror buffs.
Shout! Factory – May 16, 2017
Ben… didn't age as well as Willard. A sequel to the first film and released just one year later, the film makes you believe that one of Willard's rats named Ben has become the leader of an army of rats that terrorize the town. That is a real premise that cannot be ignored. The film borders on being goofy and just plain disgusting with the amount of rat footage you see. You can tell this was one where Cinerama saw a hit on their hands and thought they could do better with a sequel. They didn't.
This release comes with audio commentary and an interview with actor Lee Montgomery, the original theatrical trailers, TV and radio spots, a still gallery, and a double-feature trailer for drive-ins where you saw Willard followed by Ben. The copy itself is a refined HD transfer from the best surviving print archive, so what you're getting here is the best possible look they could create. Honestly, you could pass on this one, unless you want to keep both of the films together. I don't understand why Shout! didn't put both films together, as it feels like more people would opt to just get Williard and opt out of this one.
20th Century Fox – May 23, 2017
Oh me oh my! Where to begin with Logan? First off, you should read Kaitlyn Booth's review of the film if you want something more in-depth for this one. We're primarily looking at the special features, which surprisingly doesn't have as much as we thought it would. Across three discs you get deleted scenes with optional commentary, audio commentary with director James Mangold, and a making-of featurette. But considering everything this film has meant to people since the release, you'd think we would have seen something more in terms of special features and retrospectives for the cast. Sadly, this is all we get.
The one bonus feature that we can't ignore is the Logan Noir disc, with the film shown in black and white. I"m not going to act like a film snob and preach to you the glory that is watching cinema in an old-school style. But I will say that this version adds a little something that watching it in color doesn't. Maybe it feels a little more sentimental, maybe it feels a little more gritty. But ultimately it does conjure up a sense of emotional attachment to the film that you can't really duplicate.
Logan is a must-buy, but I wish there as more here.
Disney – June 6, 2017
I remember a time not too long ago where every six months Disney would talk about the latest film they dragged out of the vaults to put on whatever the current home movie format was at the time. And if you don't get it, it's the last time you'll ever see it. Bambi is one of those films that has returned three times. (VHS, laserdisc, and DVD.) This blu-ray, however, looks to be the definitive edition.
The features for this include deleted scenes, some of which have never been seen outside the animation department. An extended edition of "Inside Walt's Story Meetings" as well as "Studio Stories: Bambi" where they talk about the making of and recording for the film. There's also a retrospective on the genre as a whole on how Bambi influenced filmmaking and storytelling in the animation industry. The physical copy comes with a stand-up portrait dedicated to Tyrus Wong. There's also a feature on animal facts and some other minor additions like a short film featuring Oswald The Lucky Rabbit.
Bambi is a must have for Disney people, simply because this is a bunch of stuff you've never received in a Bambi release before.
Beauty and the Beast
Disney – June 6, 2017
The second Disney-related film coming out on Tuesday, the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast divided a lot of people. For diehard fans, it was their chance to see the original film brought to life. For casual fans, we questioned why we needed a shot-for-shot remake when we already had the original. You can read Kaitlyn's review for the film as we focus on the Blu-ray.
This blu-ray and the 4K are loaded with so much content it literally will make your head spin and cost you two days worth of work to get through it all. First off, you get a table read of the film from the entire cast, which is like sitting in on a Broadway show rehearsal. "A Beauty Of A Tale" talks about the work that went into turning the classic animated film into reality. There are featurettes that talk about the women in the film, the musical numbers and helping bring those to life, there's even one on Celine Dion. There's a music video and the making of said music video, an extended clip of "Days In The Sun" that didn't make the film, deleted scenes, and a song selection. No bloopers, which is dissapointing, but I bet there were many against a green screen.
If you adored this film, it's a no-brainer to buy. But if you were on the fence about the film to begin with, maybe stay back and give it some time before purchasing it for the collection.
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