Two massive, spectacular box sets are coming to Blu-Ray this week. First comes Paramount's "Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery," which includes both seasons of the cult series, the feature prequel "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" (on Blu-Ray in America for the first time), nearly 90 minutes of deleted scenes, and hours of never-before-seen material. Fans are encouraged to get a cup or two of damn good coffee and dive into the mystery all over again.
Meanwhile, Shout! Factory has a limited edition 16-film box set of Werner Herzog's films entitled "Herzog: The Collection." Films include heralded masterpieces like "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" and "Fitzcarraldo" and lesser known gems like "Even Dwarfs Started Small" and "Where the Green Ants Dream." 15 of the films are making their Blu-Ray debuts, and the collection also includes a 40-page booklet with photos and an essay by author Stephen J. Smith, commentaries on select films, and other extras.
2014 films making their way to DVD and Blu-Ray include Darren Aronofsky's uneven but often inspired (and weird) blockbuster "Noah," the Nick Frost dance-comedy vehicle (?!) "Cuban Fury," and "The Other Woman," which somehow managed to fail the Bechdel test in spite of having three female leads. Perhaps viewers not ready to shell out cash for David Lynch or Werner Herzog have better bets in the other two classic films hitting Blu-Ray this week, Michael Wadleigh's landmark documentary "Woodstock" and Lawrence Kasdan's Baby Boomer drama "The Big Chill," the latter of which is the latest from Criterion.
More new on DVD/Blu-ray
Mike D'Angelo, The A.V. Club
Having made his name working alongside his pal Simon Pegg (mostly in projects directed by Edgar Wright), Nick Frost finally gets his own starring vehicle with "Cuban Fury", a romantic comedy about a middle-aged English sad sack who takes up salsa dancing to win a woman’s heart. Pegg does appear in a cameo, for all of two seconds, and it’s a sign of how blandly formulaic this movie is that they’re the two funniest seconds in the entire picture. "Cuban Fury" feels like the product of a computer program that was fed a dozen screenwriting manuals and synthesized the ultimate generic rom-com. Only one scene—the very one that Pegg shows up in—demonstrates any real creativity, and even that mostly amounts to a couple of goofy dudes attempting to intimidate each other with terrible dance moves. Read more.
Eric Kohn, Indiewire
All the same, it's virtually impossible to disregard the profound moving images that burst through Aronofksy's cluttered narrative. Noah's early dream visions include snippets of the horrors yet to come, interspersed with glimpses of the forbidden fruit, and threaded together with a speedy rhythm reminiscent of the drug sequences in the director's "Requiem for a Dream." Later, he outdoes any isolated moment of graphic inspiration from "The Fountain" with a tantalizing outline of the creation story, from the big bang to the birth of life. The jittery CGI imagery, produced by the ever-reliable team at Industrial Light & Magic, suggest "The Tree of Life" on Adderall — as the montage speeds from the dark void of space to the progression of sea animals onto land, the cycle is overwhelming in its relentless complexity. Read more.
Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects
Nick Cassavetes‘ film is aimed squarely at a female audience, but if the Bechdel test is your jam then it’s worth noting that this film fails. It has three female leads, but the closest it comes to allowing them to have conversations unrelated to men is when two of them reference dog shit. (But as someone pointed out to me earlier, the dog in question is a male.) Even if you don’t agree with the test’s value you’d be hard-pressed to defend the film as positive for women. Read more.