New on Blu: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT 1, FUBAR: BALLS TO THE WALL, THE KING’S SPEECH, and more

GATW Staff

by: GATW Staff
April 19th, 2011

Last week, there wasn't quite the bevy of options for available releases as there are this week. This week there isn't a retro release of a film with a large fan base like THE INCREDIBLES, but this week does offer a wide variety of films. From underground comedy, to new Criterion, and of course a major Oscar-winning film, there is a lot to choose from this week.

FUBAR: BALLS TO THE WALL
By J.C. De Leon

For those who loved this film at SXSW 2011, or whose interest in seeing this film was piqued upon seeing the glowing review written by our very own Chase Whale, the wait to see this film was thankfully not a very long one.

The mockumentary comedy stars the lovable losers Terry Cahill (David Lawrence) and Dean Murdoch (Paul Spence) as they embark on a new chapter of their lives where they have to grow up and can't live a care-free life with no responsibilities. The film itself is incredibly funny and a far superior film to the first one and fans of the original, as well as those fans who are just looking for a fun movie to watch, won't regret checking this Blu-ray out. It's kind of a sparse disc as far as the extras that are on it, it's got nine deleted scenes that are mildly funny, but in the context of the film, might have slowed down its momentum. There is, however, a great deleted scene with a freestyle rap from Tron that's pretty good.

The highlight of the disc is a commentary track by Terry and Dean; if you like the guys enough to wonder what it would be like to watch the film with them, this gives you a little bit of a taste of what that experience would be like.

THE KING'S SPEECH
By J.C. De Leon

The recipient of this year's Academy Award for Best Picture makes it way onto Blu-ray this week, and without an edited (read: PG) version, thankfully this is available as it was intended to be seen. Those interested in the educational aspect or the historical significance shouldn't be swayed by the fact that it's rated R and drops a few F-bombs, as they are timely placed and serve a purpose for the main character.

Superbly acted and well-shot, this is everything an Academy Award-winning film should be. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush put in some absolutely stunning performances and the film is full of great moments of triumph and well-timed comedic beats. On the surface, it may not appear as though it's got a lot of extras, but this disc is all about quality over its seeming lack of quantity. It's official list of extras include:

Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Tom Hooper. Commentaries have become kind of a standard on any major blu-ray release, but this one is still able to provide some very good insight into the back story of the real life characters.

The King's Speech: An Inspirational Story of an unlikely Friendship (23:01): A pretty in depth feature where cast and crew discuss the characters, the true-life events that inspired the film, the real-life relationship between King Georve VI and Lionel Logue, the performances in the film, the work of Director Tom Hooper, the film's score, costumes that helped create the perfect period appearance, the piece also consists of interview clips and a few snippets from the film.

Q&A With the Director & the Cast (22:02): A Q&A featuring Claire Bloom, Guy Pearce, Tom Hooper, Helena Bonham Carter, and Colin Firth.

Speeches From the Real King George VI: What is probably the coolest feature on the disk are the inclusion of the King's Pre-War Speech from September 3, 1939 and his Post-War Speech from May 14, 1945 a truly unexpected surprise, but a pleasant one nonetheless.

The Real Lionel Logue (10:34): A brief featurette about the man who saw the King through the struggle the film is based on, as told through an interview with his grandson Mark, author of The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy.

The Stuttering Foundation -- Public Service Announcement

THE INHERITANCE (Unrated)
By John Gholson

Movies like THE INHERITANCE are the toughest to review. For a horror movie, it’s totally middle-of-the-road, and I can’t think of a good reason to recommend it. That sounds almost too harsh, because, when compared to other DTV horror films, THE INHERITANCE isn’t that bad. The cast of mostly unknowns is an ensemble of capable, willing actors, and the script, while not ground-breaking, never gets really dumb like too many of these movies do.

The plot follows a group of attractive black twentysomethings invited to a remote retreat by sinister relatives (including Keith David), whose ancestry is bound in pagan ritual to the resurrection of a ruthless, angry warlock (and former slave) named Chakabazz. It’s half-slasher film, half-supernatural mumbo jumbo, but it’s also unambitious and lacking in thrills and gore. They had the foundations for something really good here, so it’s a shame that I can’t muster up more praise than “it’s all right.”

The Blu-ray picture quality is spotty - great at times, filled with bustling video noise at other times, and if you’re looking for special features, you’ve come to the wrong place. You get a trailer. Happy birthday.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATH HALLOWS PART 1
By John Gholson

We’ve come to expect the HARRY POTTER films to look and sound great on Blu-ray, and this is no exception. If you like your Blus to be reference quality, then here’s another to add to the list.  The 3-disc version I reviewed contains the high-def Blu, as well as the digital copy and standard DVD.

Look, by the seventh film, you’re either on board or you’re not, but if you needed a little something extra to get you excited, I highly recommend the Maximum Movie Mode. Not just a commentary track, Maximum Movie Mode is a fantastic, must-see special feature, that’s almost like a simultaneous documentary on the entire film while it plays. Actors and filmmakers appear onscreen explaining the behind-the-scenes material in a way that is hugely informative and entertaining, occasionally taking an aside to read a passage from the novel while a scene plays or showing how an outtake would’ve worked if it were left in at a particular moment. I’ve seen features that were supposed to be like this, with information running concurrent with the movie, but I’ve never seen it as expertly executed as on HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATH HALLOWS PART 1.

DALLAS Movie Collection
By John Gholson

All right, DALLAS completists, here’s one for you. You get DALLAS: THE EARLY YEARS, DALLAS: J.R. RETURNS, and DALLAS: WAR OF THE EWINGS, all in glorious broadcast TV quality on standard-def DVD. For those that aren’t DALLAS fans, I’d urge you again to pick up that HARRY POTTER Blu-ray.

If you’ve never seen the show, expect lots of soap opera-style oil tycoon shenanigans. It may be the perfect set to get you primed for the new television series from TNT, one that picks up where the long-running TV show left off. Consider DALLAS:  THE MOVIE COLLECTION a primer on all things Ewing, without having to sit through thirteen twisting, turning seasons of DALLAS.

Also available:

KES (Criterion)

SWEETIE (Criterion)

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS

MORTAL KOMBAT

MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION

RABBIT HOLE

SOMEWHERE

THE WAY BACK

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