[Our editor, Emily Bloom, brings you the best new releases in her "DVD / Blu Review" article. No filler, no hype, only movies and TV shows we personally buy.]
It was honestly pure coincidence that both this and the "A Movie A Week" column feature a World War II movie but we're going for it anyway. Some of the best classic movies are war films and we've neglected them for the most part until now. Vietnam even gets in on the action and in HD (on Blu-ray this week rather than DVD like last week). But that's not all that's featured in this week's new releases, there's so much more.
One of the most well-known war movies from the classic days, Tora! Tora! Tora!, makes its way to Blu-ray. If there's an appropriate way to celebrate Pearl Harbor Day tomorrow, it's by watching this movie. If there's an inappropriate way to celebrate the day it's by watching the Michael Bay (literal) disaster, 'Pearl Harbor'. Without bashing the obviously inferior movie on the same subject, let's hear some praise for Tora! Tora! Tora!. Well first of all, it has Martin Balsam on it's side, one of THE best supporting actors in cinematic history. For the trivia nerds, he's also joined by E. G. Marshall, his costar from last week's pick '12 Anrgy Men'. Then there's the little-known bit about Akira Kurosawa's minimal involvement as director for some of the Japanese sequences. Factor that in with the Academy Award for "Best Special Effects" and you have a must-see on your hands.
Of course all the essential special features are included in this digibook including an audio commentary with director Richard Fleischer and the Japanese cut of the movie which adds ten minutes of footage. AMC provides the appropriate episode of 'Backstory' to accompany another 90 minute documentary on the film. Also of note is roughly an hour's worth of documentary and newsreel footage on the attack on Pearl Harbor itself. There really can't be much more to expect from this set as it's nicely done and comes with high recommendation.
We all know how the Pearl Harbor events panned out so how about some suspense in your new releases? Try Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes in a nice Criterion package which most of his works are deserving of. My first experience with this story was unfortunately the version made for 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' but this one-trick pony is considered a classic in this format. Or, if you can just enjoy movies for their fun factor, Jon Favereau's ballsy Cowboys & Aliens hits shelves today as well.
Did your pal Emily miss your favorite new release title? Are you sure you aren't the only one that likes it? Let her know at: firstname.lastname@example.org