The Indiana Jones films have earned individual Blu-ray releases this week, after the hi-def upgrades were released in a four-film set last year, and the 2013 films “Elysium,” “Prisoners” and “The Lone Ranger” are new to DVD and Blu-ray.
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Paramount/Blu-ray, 1981, PG, $26.98, Blu-ray and digital versions, trailers). This release allows fans of the original Indiana Jones film (or any of the sequels) to purchase the Blu-ray upgrade without having to shell out for the box set of all four movies.
The upgrade is gorgeous and the outdoor location footage looks especially stunning. The stereo mix is also excellent. The upside with this disc is that a digital version is included for whatever device you may wish to use as a conveyance. The downside is that none of the box set's bonus features is included. But if you aren’t someone who cares about how-the-movie-was-made featurettes, this is for you.
As for the movie, I’ve reviewed it so many times for the Deseret News (starting with its theatrical release in 1981) that you can Google it in all its forms. Director Steven Spielberg is at his formidable peak, the script is a glorious mix of action and humor, and the cast is pitch perfect. Nuff said. (Each of the sequels is also available individually on Blu-ray, same price.)
“Elysium” (TriStar, 2013, R for violence and language, $30.99, DVD and digital versions, featurettes). Matt Damon is an ex-con on 2154 Earth, which is burned out, overpopulated and ruled by dictatorship. Meanwhile, the wealthy and entitled live in luxury aboard a space station. Damon heads up there to balance things out, though his motivations are selfish. The plot is as old as “Metropolis” mixed with today’s immigration controversies, but Damon is great in reluctant action-hero mode and director Neil Blomkamp (“District 9”) keeps things moving. As the chief villain, Jodie Foster is surprisingly stiff and affects a weird accent. (Also on Blu-ray with more bonus features, $40.99)
“Prisoners” (Warner/Blu-ray, 2013, R for violence and language, two discs, $35.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; featurettes). Strong performances elevate this moody, offbeat thriller focusing on the grief-stricken father (Hugh Jackman) of an abducted 6-year-old girl and the low-key investigating detective (Jake Gyllenhaal). When Dad takes the law into his own hands and tortures the chief suspect (Paul Dano), it alarms his friends (Terrence Howard, Viola Davis) whose own daughter is also missing, and for the audience it becomes difficult to watch. (Also on DVD, $28.98)
“The Lone Ranger” (Disney/Blu-ray, 2013, PG-13, two discs, $39.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; deleted scene, featurettes, bloopers, trailers). Filmed partly in southern Utah — but tinted in that odd metallic gray color scheme that signals despair and makes you wonder where the sun went — this adaptation of the classic Western tale shifts its point of view toward the title character’s Indian companion Tonto (Johnny Depp) and makes the Ranger (Armie Hammer) seem wimpish and ineffectual. Bizarre, only occasionally funny and the over-the-top, computer-enhanced stunts don’t help. (Also on DVD, $29.99)
“Kick-A— 2” (Universal/Blu-ray, 2013; R for violence, language, sex, nudity; two discs, $34.98; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; extended scenes/alternate opening, audio commentary, featurettes). Sequel to the original comic-book adaptation about kids in costumes acting like superheroes but without super powers. As vulgar, bloody and tasteless as the first film. Maybe worse. (Also on DVD, $29.98)
“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” (IFC/Blu-ray, 2013, R for violence, $29.98, deleted scenes, featurettes, trailer). Brooding, moody, beautifully photographed story of doomed romance between Bonnie and Clyde-type lovers set against Texas hill country in the 1970s, evoking Terrence Malick’s “Badlands.” When they are cornered during a shootout, Bob (Casey Affleck) takes the blame for shooting a cop, although Ruth (Rooney Mara) pulled the trigger. She has his baby while he’s in prison so he breaks out to be with them. (Also on DVD, $24.98)
“Furious Beauty: A Hip Hop Family” (Cinema Libre, 2013, not rated, $19.95, featurettes, photo gallery, trailer). Documentary about Versa-Style, a dance company comprised of kids from the streets and schoolyards of Los Angeles, focusing on how they become like family as they mount a stage show.
“One Direction: This Is Us: Ultimate Fan Edition” (TriStar/Blu-ray, 2013, PG, two discs, $35.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; theatrical and extended versions; extended scenes, featurettes, music video). Concert film/documentary about the five-man boy band One Direction. The extended version is 20 minutes longer and includes four more songs. (Also on 3D combo, $45.99, and DVD, $30.99)
“Night Train to Lisbon” (Lionsgate, 2013, R for violence and sex, $26.98, DVD and digital versions, featurettes, trailers). Jeremy Irons stars as a staid Swiss professor who rescues a young woman from committing suicide, then begins an unlikely journey prompted by a book she leaves behind. Interesting concept rather dully executed.
“Havana 57” (Monarch, 2013, not rated, $24.95). Low-budget, gritty melodrama set against 1957 Havana follows a young police officer who is trying to remain incorruptible despite what goes on around him. But when he uses a Tropicana dancer to help him investigate a mob murder he may be tempting fate.
“Line of Duty” (Lionsgate, 2013; R for violence, language, sex, nudity, drugs; $26.98, DVD and digital versions, deleted scenes, trailers). Stop me if you’ve heard this one: four childhood pals take different paths as adults, two become drug-runners, two become FBI agents, and their paths cross again when the latter two go undercover. And no, it doesn’t star James Cagney and Pat O’Brien.
“The Beast Within” (Scream/Blu-ray, 1982; R for violence, sex, nudity, language; $19.97, audio commentaries, trailer). Strange exploitation horror with Ronny Cox and Bibi Besch on their honeymoon in the 1960s when she is raped and impregnated by some kind of swamp creature. Eighteen years later, their son turns into a monster, so they return to the scene of the crime to figure things out.Comment on this story
“Crawlspace” (Scream/Blu-ray, 1986; R for violence, sex, nudity, language; $19.97, audio commentary, featurette, trailer, short film: “Please Kill Mr. Kinski”). Klaus Kinski plays the son of a Nazi surgeon who runs a boarding house where he spies on nubile young women before subjecting them to torture and murder. Kinski is effective; the film is not.
“Ghost Team One” (Paramount/Blu-ray, 2013; R for sex, nudity, drugs, violence; $39.99, Blu-ray and digital versions, deleted/extended scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Sleazy horror comedy, a riff on haunted-house flicks in general and the “Paranormal Activity” films in particular as two guys try to impress a woman by setting out to make a documentary about a murder that occurred in the house they occupy. (Also on DVD, $29.98)