If you are a fan of Criterion's work in home entertainment or have some kids that need distracting for a few hours while you watch direct-to-video sequels and remakes of films younger than those children, then boy are you in luck this week.
Starting on August 10, Sony will release Neil LaBute's remake of Frank Oz's comedy, Death at a Funeral. The $42-million-grossing film went from British-to-African-American actors including Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan, part of the "Super Bowl of comedy" according to one reviewer, and was slightly better received than the original film from the long lost time of 2007. That was the same year in which Losers helmer Sylvain White first showed us how to Stomp the Yard. Now its Rob Hardy's turn with the direct-to-video sequel from Sony, Stomp the Yard: Homecoming on Sept. 21.
If you can't wait that long to dance and want the kids to join in, Disney kicks off a slew of new announcements with Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam on Sept. 7 featuring Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers. To accompany their release of Oceans on Oct. 19, you can discover The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos and test the pink levels on your HD system. To test the cuteness factor though you have to wait until Nov. 23 when you cuddle up with the next chapter in their doggies-in-santa-hats series, The Search for Santa Paws. Seriously, how can you resist that?
For serious cinephiles though, Criterion has unveiled their September selections. New to Blu-ray are absolute must-owns for movie lovers: Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless on Sept. 14 and Stanley Donen's incredibly fun Charade, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn on Sept. 21, a film everyone seems to be trying to emulate this summer. (See: Killers & Knight and Day.) On Sept. 28 to both DVD and Blu-ray will be David Bowie in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and, what I like to call, that other WWII movie from 1998, Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line. Bet that voiceover will look great on Blu-ray.
A different group of classics are coming to DVD courtesy of Olive Films, releasing a number of Paramount catalog titles starting on July 27. "Thank God it's only a motion picture!" boasts the 1965 disaster flick, Crack in the World. Seven years before I Spit On Your Grave, it was Raquel Welch getting raped and seeking vengeance in the western, Hannie Caulder. Then they have a trio of crime stories including Charlton Heston in 1950's Dark City, William Holden in Union Station and Alan Ladd in Appointment with Danger, which co-stars Dragnet's Jack Webb and Harry Morgan. On Sept. 7 they will also release the 1980 miniseries, Playing for Time, which featured Vanessa Redgrave as a concentration camp captive just a few years after railing against those "Zionist hoodlums" at the Oscars after winning hers for Julia.
The Blu-ray front, other than above, this week is pretty slight. Universal is releasing lackluster actioners Mercury Rising and Unleashed on Sept. 14. (Where is Jaws for its 35th anniversary?) And Anchor Bay is putting out Adam Green's Hatchet on Sept. 7. (Where is his Frozen already?)