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OnVideo's Guide to Blu-ray Releases

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    February 5
  • The Battle of Narayama

    (1958 -- Japan) This haunting, kabuki-inflected version of a Japanese folk legend is set in a remote mountain village, where food is scarce and tradition dictates that citizens who have reached their 70th year must be carried to the summit of Mount Narayama and left there to die. The sacrificial elder at the center of the tale is Orin (Kinuyo Tanaka), a dignified and dutiful woman who spends her dwindling days securing the happiness of her loyal widowed son with a respectable new wife. Filmed almost entirely on cunningly designed studio sets, in brilliant color and widescreen, "The Ballad of Narayama" is a stylish and vividly formal work from Japan's cinematic golden age, directed by the dynamic Keisuke Kinoshita. New 4K digital master from the 2011 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Trailer and teaser, booklet featuring an essay by critic Philip Kemp. (The Criterion Collection).
  • Cabaret

    (1972) Dir.: Bob Fosse; Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joel Grey, Helmut Griem, Marisa Berenson. Remastered with new and vintage special features, in a Blu-ray book that contains 40 pages of photos and text. A DVD version will also be available. Extras: A new documentary, "Cabaret: The Musical That Changed Musicals"; vintage documentaries "Cabaret: A Legend in the Making" and "The Recreation of an Era"; a multi-part memory gallery; more. (Warner).
  • Peter Pan

    (1953) 60th Anniversary release of Walt Disney's classic with a new digital restoration and high definition picture and sound in a Three-disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy & Storybook App), $44.99; two-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (BD & DVD), $39.99. Extras: DisneyIntermission, "Growing up With Nine Old Men," Disney View, introduction by Diane Disney Miller, deleted songs & scenes, "You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan," "Tinker Bell: A Fairy's Tale," Disney song selections, commentary hosted by Roy Disney, music videos, more. (Disney).
  • A Star Is Born

    (1976) Dir.: Frank Pierson; Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson, Gary Busey. Forty-page Blu-ray book. Soundtrack remastered in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Extras: Commentary by Streisand, additional scenes, wardrobe tests, trailer gallery. (Warner).


    February 12
  • The Kid With a Bike

    (2011 -- Belgium) Twelve-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret), all coiled anger and furious motion, is living in a group home but refuses to believe he has been rejected by his single father (Jeremie Renier). He spends his days frantically trying to reach the man, over the phone or on his beloved bicycle. It is only the patience and compassion of Samantha (Cecile de France), the stranger who agrees to care for him, that offers the boy the chance to move on. Spare and unsentimental but deeply imbued with a heart-rending tenderness, "The Kid with a Bike" is an arresting work from the great Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, masters of the empathetic action film. New digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Conversation between film critic Kent Jones and directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne; interviews with actors Cecile de France and Thomas Doret; "Return to Seraing," a half-hour documentary in which the Dardennes revisit five locations from the film; booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoff Andrew. (The Criterion Collection).

    February 19
  • Easter Parade

    (1948) Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford, Ann Miller. 65th Anniversary Edition. Extras: Commentary by Ava Astaire McKenzie and John Fricke; "Easter Parade: On the Avenue"; "American masters -- Judy Garland: By Myself"; "Mr. Monotony" outtake; "Mr. Monotony" dailies; radio promo; "Screen Guild Theatre" radio broadcast (March 11, 1951); trailer. (Warner).
  • The Insider

    (1999) Dir.: Michael Mann; Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall, Lindsay Crouse, Debi Mazar, Stephen Tobolowsky, Colm Feore, Bruce McGill, Gina Gershon, Michael Gambon, Rip Torn. (Disney).
  • The Nest

    (1988) Robert Lansing, Lisa Langlois. Meat-eating mutant roaches invade an island community after a biological experiment goes haywire. In a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Extras: Commentary with director Terence Winkless. (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory).
  • On the Waterfront

    (1954) Marlon Brando gives the performance of his career as the tough prizefighter-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy in this masterpiece of urban poetry, a raggedly emotional tale of individual failure and institutional corruption. "On the Waterfront" charts Terry's deepening moral crisis as he must choose whether to remain loyal to the mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) and Johnny's right-hand man, Terry's brother, Charley (Rod Steiger), as the authorities close in on them. Driven by the vivid, naturalistic direction of Elia Kazan and savory, streetwise dialogue by Budd Schulberg, "On the Waterfront" was an instant sensation, winning eight Oscars, including for best picture, director, actor, supporting actress (Eva Marie Saint), and screenplay. New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Alternate presentations of the feature restoration in two additional aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (widescreen) and 1.33:1 (full-screen); alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition; commentary featuring authors Richard Schickel and Jeff Young; new conversation between filmmaker Martin Scorsese and critic Kent Jones; "Elia Kazan: Outsider" (1982), an hour-long documentary; new documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with scholar Leo Braudy, critic David Thomson, and others; new interview with actress Eva Marie Saint; interview with director Elia Kazan from 2001; "Contender," a 2001 documentary on the film's most famous scene; new interview with longshoreman Thomas Hanley, an actor in the film; new interview with author James T. Fisher ("On the Irish Waterfront") about the real-life people and places behind the film; visual essay on Leonard Bernstein's score; trailer; booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Almereyda and reprints of Kazan's 1952 ad in the New York Times defending his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, one of the 1948 New York Sun articles by Malcolm Johnson on which the film was based, and a 1953 Commonweal piece by screenwriter Budd Schulberg. (The Criterion Collection).
  • The Terminator: The Remastered Blu-ray

    (1984) Dir.: James Cameron; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen. Bonus features: Seven deleted scenes, "Creating the Terminator": visual effects and music, "Terminator: A Retrospective." (Fox).
  • The Thief of Bagdad

    (1924) Dir.: Raoul Walsh; Douglas Fairbanks, Anna May Wong. Hollywood's first great action hero was Douglas Fairbanks, and one of his most iconic movies is returning in a pristine new version. Newly restored from two 35mm negatives and incorporating the color tints and tones of the original release prints, this definitive edition features silent film score maestro Carl Davis("Napoleon") conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, performing a magnificent score that intermingles Davis' own music with the famous Orientalia of Rimsky-Korsakov. The soundtrack is in 5.1 Dolby Digital for DVD and DTS-HD Master Audio for Blu-ray. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Commentary by Douglas Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance and a featurette about the making of the film and its impact, including rare behind-the-scenes photographs. (Cohen Media Group's Cohen Film Collection).
  • Top Gun 3D

    (1986) Dir.: Tony Scott; Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside. Re-mastered from high resolution original negative scans and painstakingly converted to 3D by Legend3D under the supervision of director, Tony Scott. Formats: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray 2D two-disc set. Extras: Commentary by producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, co-screenwriter Jack Epps, Jr. and naval experts; "Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun" (six-part documentary); multi-angle storyboards; "Best of the Best: Inside the Real Top Gun"; music videos; TV spots. (Paramount).

    February 26
  • Chronicle of a Summer

    (1961 -- France) Few films can claim to be as influential to the course of cinema history as "Chronicle of a Summer." The fascinating result of a collaboration between filmmaker-anthropologist Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin, this vanguard work of what Morin would term cinema verite is a brilliantly conceived and realized sociopolitical diagnosis of the early 60s in France. By simply interviewing a group of Paris residents in the summer of 1960 -- ­beginning with the provocative and eternal question "Are you happy?" and expanding to political issues, including the ongoing Algerian War -- ­Rouch and Morin reveal the hopes and dreams of a wide array of people, from artists to factory workers, from an Italian emigre to an African student. "Chronicle of a Summer's" penetrative approach gives us a document of a time and place with extraordinary emotional depth. New high-definition digital transfer of the Cineteca di Bologna restoration of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: "Un ete + 50" (2011), a 73-minute documentary featuring outtakes and new interviews with co-director Edgar Morin and some of the film's subjects; archival interviews with co-director Jean Rouch and Marceline Loridan, one of the film's subjects; new interview with anthropology professor Faye Ginsburg, organizer of several Rouch retrospectives; booklet featuring an essay by scholar Sam Di Iorio. (The Criterion Collection).
  • Sansho the Baliff

    (1954 -- Japan) When an idealistic governor disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, his wife and children left to fend for themselves and eventually separated by vicious slave traders. Under the dazzling direction of Kenji Mizoguchi, this classic Japanese story became one of cinema's greatest masterpieces, a monumental, empathetic expression of human resilience in the face of evil. Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras: Commentary by Japanese-literature professor Jeffrey Angles; video interviews with critic Tadao Sato, assistant director Tokuzo Tanaka, and legendary actress Kyoko Kagawa, on the making of the film and its lasting importance; booklet featuring an essay by film writer Mark Le Fanu and two versions of the story on which the film was based: Ogai Mori's 1915 "Sansho Dayu" and a written form of an earlier oral variation. (The Criterion Collection).


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January 30, 2012