Every week, we sift through all the new Blu-ray releases and single out the "must see" titles. Look for the column every Monday. This week: Nostalgia, relationships ... and aliens!
Our Top 5 Picks for This Week: What to Buy or Rent
1. 'Stand By Me.' A nostalgic look back at four friends in small town Oregon, circa 1959. DVD upgrade. Buy.
2. 'How Do You Know.' Romantic comedy lambasted by critics, so of course it's a must see. New to home video. Buy.
3. 'Our Hospitality.' Buster Keaton stars in a slapstick classic about a New Yorker who heads out West and falls for the wrong girl. DVD upgrade. Rent.
4. 'Skyline.' Another critically-drubbed flick that deserves a kinder second look. Besides, it has aliens! New to home video. Rent.
5. 'The Sandlot.' Another nostalgic look back, this time to 1962 Los Angeles as a new kid in the neighborhood tries to fit in. One of Cinematical's Summer Scenes We Love. DVD upgrade. Rent.
Shush! No Talking Allowed! Classic Comedy Happening Here:
Buster Keaton wrote, directed and stars in a timeless slapstick comedy. We're rating it as only a rental because Gary W. Tooze of DVD Beaver notes that the Blu-ray presentation is "imperfect." (Check out the review for details and screen caps.) Still, there are amazing sight gags -- one involved a waterfall must be seen to be believed -- and Keaton's comic face and agile body language are classic.
People Are Imperfect, and So Is Romantic Comedy:
'How Do You Know'
Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson star in a poorly-reviewed romantic comedy that, on second thought, deserves another chance to make a first impression. Films by James L. Brooks tend to age well and Paul Rudd does some fine work.
Watch Out For That Train! (AKA Special Feature of the Week):
'Stand By Me'
Four young men (River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell) go in search of a dead body. Director Rob Reiner shares with Wheaton and Feldman in the new high-definition feature "25 Years Later: A Picture in Picture Commentary Retrospective," which is "spirited and lively," per DVD Talk.
2 Blu-rays to Skip:
'The Tourist.' Notwithstanding the presence of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie and the Golden Globe nominations it received, this is a thriller without thrills.
'Yogi Bear.' "Cute for what it is" it not, actually, a recommendation to spend hard-earned cash to see it. Stick with the original cartoons.
Check out all of this week's new DVD and Blu-ray releases
Latest Blu-ray Release Announcements:
'The Hustler.' Tough choice this week, but we're going with Robert Rossen's piercing drama, which doesn't get the love it deserves today. Repeat viewings are necessary to fully appreciate Paul Newman's performance, a volatile mixture of anger, self-loathing, and regret. The 50th Anniversary Edition will include an audio commentary, 8 featurettes, a scene gallery, trailer, and 24-page book, per The Digital Bits.
'All the Right Moves.' 5/3
'Black Moon.' 6/28
'The Comancheros (50th Anniversary).' 5/17
'The Crow: City of Angels.' 5/3
'From Dusk Til Dawn.' 5/24
'Halloween H20.' 5/3
'The Horse Soldiers.' 5/10
'The Hustler (50th Anniversary).' 5/17
'The Illusionist.' 5/10
'Kiss Me Deadly.' 6/21
'The Makioka Sisters.' 6/14
'People on Sunday.' 6/28
'The Rite.' 5/17
'Some Like It Hot.' 5/10
'Square Grouper.' 4/19
'The Tempest.' 9/13
'Twelve O'Clock High.' 5/3
'Vanishing on 7th Street.' 5/17
'Zazie dans le métro.' 6/28
Blu-rays We've Been Watching This Week: 50s Science Fiction
'Forbidden Planet.' The passing of Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis made a recent viewing more poignant, but the film itself stirs up joyful childhood memories and is a pleasure to revisit as an adult. (See more from Todd Gilchrist.) The Blu-ray looks gorgeous and is packed with quality extras.
'The Day the Earth Stood Still.' Robert Wise's cautionary tale has lost none of its power; its cry for peace is more timely than ever. The message never gets in the way of the drama, however, as the future of making comes into question. The high-definition disk is stunning and immaculate, and it too is filled with interesting extra features.
Poll: (Last week's top vote-getter: 'The Fighter,' with 37.8%. Runners-up: 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,' 16.2% and 'BMX Bandits,' 13.5%).
If you had enough money to buy one Blu-ray this week, what would it be?