It’s a grab bag of DVD and Blu-ray titles coming Tuesday, so let’s start grabbing,
• Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is back on Blu-ray in a two-disc 25th-anniversary set ($34.99) in what Warner Entertainment likes to call “premium book-style packaging.” Very classy, unless you tightly file your Blu-rays; then this taller-than-most-Blu-rays box might be tough to fit on the shelf. (Hey, I speak from sad experience.) The set includes a fine-looking, remastered print; appreciative essays about the military drama; photos; and two previously released extras, a making-of featurette and commentary by cast members R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D’Onofrio and Adam Baldwin along with film critic Jay Cocks. New to this package is Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes, a documentary looking at the filmmaker through his vast accumulation of memorabilia.
• John Cusack has seemed almost diffident about his acting career, veering at times into writing, political activity and other ventures. Still, he has built up an impressive resume through movies like The Grifters, Say Anything, Being John Malkovich, Pushing Tin, The Jack Bull and two films arriving on Blu-ray: High Fidelity and, in a 15th-anniversary edition, Grosse Pointe Blank (each $20, from Disney), Both demonstrate Cusack’s knack for playing characters with a lot of anxiety, and the actor had a hand in writing each. And both films have excellent soundtracks that sound especially good in this format. Grosse Pointe Blank has no extras, while High Fidelity’s are archival.
• One of the funnier notes I’ve seen on a DVD box describes an extra on the new Dance Moms: Season One (New Video, 13 episodes, $29.95). It promises “most outrageous moments” from the series which, to me, would be pretty much everything in every episode of this appalling reality show. I can sit through most things onscreen, but the bad behavior and overall meanness in this program turn my stomach very quickly. The DVD set also promises “additional bonus footage.” You’ve been warned.
• Speaking of box notes, the movie Blue Like Jazz (Lionsgate, $27.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray) includes a review calling it “a rare bird, a sincere movie about Christian faith.” There are plenty of “sincere” movies made about faith that apparently eluded that reviewer, pictures like Fireproof, Brother White and Courageous. Blue Like Jazz, based on the book of the same name, seems different because it looks at hypocrisy in some Christians while still underscoring the value of faith — and by going for some PG-13 content. But its story of a young man named Don who leaves his religious upbringing for a liberal, largely secular college is not without faults. As a Christianity Today reviewer argued, “Christian moviegoers will find much to challenge them, to be sure— but those hoping Don’s journey leads him to a clear understanding of the gospel might find Blue Like Jazz a bit unsatisfying.” Extras include audio commentary, a making-of piece and five featurettes.
• CBS and Tom Selleck have reportedly ended their Jesse Stone relationship (although Selleck has been looking for another venue for the crime movies inspired by a series of books by Robert B. Parker). While the films have remained popular, CBS doesn’t do much of anything with TV-movies anymore — and the most recent film, Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (Sony, $26.99), suggests that the movies are losing steam. I’m a fan of Selleck and the Stone movies, but this seemed the weakest of the lot. No DVD extras, either.
• Maybe you liked Benefit of the Doubt. Opinions often differ. Take The Lorax, the animated adaptation of a Dr. Seuss tale (Universal, $19.99 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo, $49.98 for a combo that adds a 3-D Blu-ray). According to the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, only 55 percent of the Lorax reviews were positive, meaning that dozens of critics disliked it. But, according to Box Office Mojo, it took in more than $214 million at the U.S. box office, and another $100 million-plus overseas. So somebody — and I’m guessing a lot of somebodies with ages in the single digits — liked it. And, as if the movie isn’t enough, extras include three mini-movies and a game.
• The release of movies for home viewing at times allows for a different experience for viewers. Recently the widely praised, engrossing movie Margaret with Anna Paquin was released in a Blu-ray package that included both the 2½-hour theatrical cut and, on a standard DVD, a director’s cut that ran 36 minutes longer. Tuesday will bring two different cuts of the John Woo production Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale. Sold separately, they offer the 140-minute version shown in U.S. theaters (from Well Go USA, $24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray) and an international release that runs almost twice as long ($29.98 DVD, $32.98 Blu-ray). And both versions come with extras.
Also of note on Tuesday: Cinemax’s first season of action drama Strike Back (HBO Home Entertainment, 10 episodes, $49.98 DVD, $59.96 Blu-ray) sets up a second season beginning on Aug. 17. Marley, the acclaimed documentary about musician Bob Marley, arrives with notable extras (Magnolia, $26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray).
Kathy Griffin’s Bravo specials Pants Off and Tired Hooker land in a single DVD set with bonus footage from the standup shows (Shout! Factory, $14.97 standard DVD). And there’s Grimm: Season One, the NBC fantasy drama (Universal, 22 episodes, $59.98 DVD, $69.98 Blu-ray), with extras; the second season begins Aug. 13.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 and firstname.lastname@example.org.