Pick of the Week: Muppets Most Wanted - The Unnecessarily Extended Edition
Not sure what happened, but after the Muppets came back to relevancy and made a hit movie a few years ago, here comes a sequel two years later that was met with a shrug of the shoulders. Of course, when The Muppets was released in 2011 it had been almost twenty years since Kermit and the gang were last seen in a movie. Adults were swept up in "Rainbow Connection" nostalgia and kids who had never seen the creations of Jim Henson's workshop were introduced to the felt puppets. Yet, while the follow-up underwhelmed in its box office, it was still a lot of fun (come on, who doesn't love Bret McKenzie's song "I'll Get You What You Want"?). With surprise cameos (is that Tom Hiddleston?) and better songs than the 2011 release, MUPPETS MOST WANTED should have been a bigger hit. In the vein of The Great Muppet Caper, the gang finds itself the cover for a shady frog named Constantin, who is pretty much Kermit's doppelganger, looking to steal jewels as the Muppets tour Europe. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burell star.
Did you know: The Blu-ray and DVD releases include three different versions of the movie (the theatrical release, the "unnecessarily extended edition," and the "Statler and Waldorf cut" - if you know how these two critics feel about the Muppets and their movies, less is more. And that's what we get. Less.)
Along with the Muppets, the House that Mickey Mouse built unloaded some of its catalog from the vault and ushered them to high-definition. This includes: TARZAN, HERCULES, BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS, THE ADVENTURES OF ICABOD AND MR. TOAD, and MICKEY DONALD GOOFY: THE THREE MUSKETEERS. A lot of these are underrated as compared to some other Disney classics so definitely check them out.
If you crave more animation, Warner Bros. has you covered. Those who are tired of reading about the upcoming Batman/Superman movie and are avid videogamers may be interested in BATMAN: ASSAULT ON ARKHAM, which ties into the best-selling video game franchise. Those who are looney about Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig may want to pick up the latest volume as part of Warner's LOONEY TUNES: PLATINUM COLLECTION. Even if you don't eat your carrots you should be able to see these legendary characters in pristine HD.
One of the best movies that was overlooked earlier this summer was Tom Hardy's LOCKE. While he'll be doing a lot of driving in the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road, here's a movie where he's behind the wheel for an entire film. That may not sound riveting, but it is truly some of the best all-around acting you'll see in 2014. In the course of 80 minutes his life is forever changed thanks to an event that occurred several months prior.
On the TV front it's all about James Spader and THE BLACKLIST. It's the first time in what seems like forever that NBC had a hit police procedural-type show that didn't have Law and Order in its title. The reason is simple: Spader. People tuned in each and every week a new episode premiered to see what this once '80s Rat Packer would do next. He plays a most wanted fugitive who surrenders to the FBI on the condition he deals with the bureau's rookie profiler (Megan Boone) to take down other criminals that have eluded capture for years, if not decades. Despite being a hit with a new season arriving in September, the release feels a little lacking. However, Target is offering a special "RED Edition" (the special edition is named after Spader's character, Raymond 'Red' Reddington), which offers special packaging and contains more supplemental material.
Can't Miss Episodes: "Pilot", "Anslo Garrick" and "Anslo Garrick (No. 16) Conclusion", "Mako Tanida (No. 83)", "Berlin (No. 8)" and "Berlin (No. 8) Conclusion"
For the "with a cast like that great it has to be good, right?" pick we have THE RAILWAY MAN. Despite starring a pair of Oscar winners (Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman) this film got little play when it was released in spring. Firth plays an ex-POW still traumatized from the abuse he suffered in a Japanese prison camp during the Second World War. When one of his friends, who was also a POW in the same camp, passes away, Firth decides to confront one of his captors who eluded prosecution after the war. The film is based on the autobiography by British Army officer Eric Lomax.
These are but some of the highlights for a massive lot of new releases and catalog films and television making their way to Blu-ray and DVD. Others that may be of some interest, include: James McAvoy in FILTH; for Elvis fans (THAT'S THE WAY IT IS and VIVA LAS VEGAS: 50TH ANNIVERSARY); fans of cult classics (Shout! Factory's MOTEL HELL and Troma's THE TOXIC AVENGER), and for classic cinema lovers (Warner Bros.' OUT OF THE PAST and Kino Video's BREAKHEART PASS, THE UNFORGIVEN, and MR. MAJESTYK).
That's it for the most popular movies being released this week on home video.