All you really need to know this week is that the best action/adventure in years is coming home this summer. But if you are a completist, then we have rock stars, comic book heroes and zombies. Not enough? How about documentaries and Oscar nominees of the foreign and animated variety? More you say? What about a giant ape with every stop-motion pore visible in Blu-ray? Let's not bury the lead though.
Anyone enraptured with Iron Man 2 or to a much-lesser extent Clash of the Titans or Prince of Persia this year might want to mark Aug. 17 on their calendar. While still available on certain On Demand services for a few more days, Ji-Woon Kim's The Good, The Bad, The Weird is going to be a must-own for anyone who wants to school Michael Bay apologists on how you shoot an action sequence. Put simply, this film is an about-face masterpiece that takes the best from Indiana Jones, Mad Max and Jack Sparrow and bundles them altogether in a tribute to Sergio Leone, Errol Flynn and you name it. And if you don't love it, just please never talk to me again. MPI Home Video will also release Don Argott's "heist" documentary, The Art of the Steal on July 27 about the control for Albert C.Barnes' famous collection. For more of the non-fiction variety, Monterey will release a special edition of Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer as well as The Ultimate Summer Bruce Brown Surf Collection on Aug. 17. You remember that date, right? When The Good, The Bad, The Weird comes out.
In less spectacular news, Warner Bros. will remind us of The Losers on July 20. This lame PG-13 comic book adaptation featured what seemed like the cast that didn't get The A-Team roles and serves up the important physics lesson that children disintegrate in a helicopter explosion but huge wads of cash remain unscathed after a jet blows up. For gals who do kick ass (at least on stage), the story of Joan Jett and Cherie Currie is told in Sony's release of The Runaways on July 27. The film maintains many of the cliches of rock 'n' roll biopics but is definitely worth seeing for not just the music scenes but also for Michael Shannon's full-voltage performance as manager Kim Fowley and the first film where Kristen Stewart doesn't play with her hair. Probably because if she did, the wig would come off.
Sony also releases the highly-acclaimed French prison film, A Prophet. What many considered to be the film most deserving of last year's Foreign Film Oscar arrives on August 3, just three weeks before one of its competitors, Ajami, is released by Kino on August 24. Continue to make room on your 2009 Oscar nominee shelf for the surprise Animated Feature contender, Tomm Moore's Irish fable The Secret of Kells, which New Video is releasing on Oct. 5.
Also on tap for the kiddies and the Irish is Fox's modest Spring hit, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the popular book series by Jeff Kinney on Aug. 3 and George Romero's latest zombie entry, Survival of the Dead, on Aug. 24 from Magnolia. They will also release The Good Heart with Brian Cox and Paul Dano on Aug. 10.
The big Blu-ray news of the week, naturally, is Warner Bros. bringing out 1933's King Kongon Sept. 28 featuring all of the special features to be found in their Collector's Edition DVD from 2005. Through New Line, the studio will also be releasing Robert Altman's excellent The Playera few weeks earlier on Sept. 7, the same day that Universal bow both The Black Dahlia and The Skeleton Key on the format.
For further planning, just click on the following links for a full schedule of DVD and Blu-ray releases.