April has been a tad slow so I took an extra week to compile the best Blu-ray releases, and it was worth it. This week we’ve got the Oscar winner The Revenant and the spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey, and then next week is the Christmas horror movie Krampus and a new special edition of the landmark visual effects comedy Death Becomes Her. Here are the details.
The Revenant – Out Today
The big story of The Revenant was about how difficult it was to film in those extreme locations. With the flawless picture of the Blu-ray, you can still see the magnitude of what was achieved. You see all the detail in the forest, every ripple of water in the rivers, and you feel the cold as you see the seasons change. It is stark and desolate, but beautiful.
The Revenant puts you in the forest at the level of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio). The technique still works on TV as opposed to a big screen, because you zone in on the frame. You can still feel enveloped by the landscape at home when you’re focused on Glass and the rest of your TV is surrounding you.
A 45 minute documentary combines a new interview with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with behind the scenes footage. Inarritu speaks artistically about the movie and the footage shows us practical matters of dealing with the locations, like pulling DiCaprio up a hill on a rope. And we see the crew parking lot in the wilderness. That’s odd to think about. Rehearsal footage blends into film clips and it’s also trippy to see DiCaprio in jeans and a T shirt running through the blocking, and practicing fights on mats in the forest.
Death Becomes Her – April 26
When I was a kid, I found Death Becomes Her a tad disappointing because I was hoping they would do more with the visual effects. I knew they could only do big effects for a few scenes, but it left me wanting more. Now I can appreciate what Death Becomes Her was really doing. It is a melodramatic love triangle in the film noir tradition, but imagine if the melodramatic love triangle had immortal undead women? That’s a cinematically delicious angle.
Of course it has something to say about our obsession with youth, which has a greater impact on me at my age today. Could they have even imagined the Kardashians and social media in 1992?
The film looks good on Blu-ray. The opening titles are grainy and fuzzy, kind of like how 24-year-old movies originally looked on VHS. Once the movie proper begins it cleans up. The detail of Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn peeling is so gross. Even with director Robert Zemeckis participating, the behind the scenes piece feels superficial. Or perhaps because he participated he kiboshed any real dirt getting revealed. There’s no mention of the alternate ending that Hawn spoke about on talk shows in the ‘90s, and they certainly didn’t include it.
Fifty Shades of Black – Out Today
I’m sorry these Marlon Wayans spoofs make me laugh because I’m immature. His spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey is exactly what you expect, but Fifty Shades of Grey kind of deserves it.
You might not believe it, but this blu Ray looks phenomenal. It’s bright and vivacious, dare I say sultry? But only for the purpose of mocking the pseudo sultry Fifty Shades of Grey. The deleted scenes are even sillier and dirtier than what was in the film. They even spoof the infamous period scene from the book!
Krampus – Out April 26
They usually wait to release Christmas movies on video the following year. I’m glad we don’t have to wait until Christmas to enjoy Krampus again. The Christmas horror movie will be fun year-round, but it’s sure to come off the shelf again every December.
Krampus begins with a festive look, with sinister overtones. Christmas decorations look happy but you can tell the families are not. Then the power goes out and a blizzard covers the exterior with a moonlit blue hue. The dark house holds up well on Blu-ray. Once the evil creatures hit, you can see all the detailed creature work
Bonus features on Krampus are fun. Deleted and extended scenes humanize the relatives a bit more. Seeing all the different methods Weta used to make creatures is fun, including some repairs to the puppets. The alternate ending is just the same thing but a little less sinister. The writers, director and producer keep a lively commentary track going if you want to listen along.