For some, this is likely going to be an expensive week. There are a number of titles that I know I want to add to my collection. As I went through the list of new releases selecting the ones to highlight in this column, I found a couple of titles that went on the shortlist for the honor of being the pick. This week's selections include horror, drama, animation, thrillers, fantasy, literary adaptations — there's something for everyone. The biggest question is just how much money are you willing to dedicate to this week's releases?
This week's pick is none other than William Shakespeare's Hamlet, a film which I have only seen once since its theatrical release in 1996. I have memories of getting there just before it was to begin, the only seats left were a couple of wooden folding chairs at the back of theater. I was hesitant to sit on what I was sure would be uncomfortable accommodations for a four-hour feature. I took the plunge, and it was a great four hours, I completely forgot about the hard seat I was on. It was also the only film I can recall seeing that had an intermission (I can think of a few that probably could have used one, *cough* LOTR *cough*).
Hamlet was directed by Kenneth Branagh, and was one of the last films shot entirely on 70mm film. I also believe that it is the only film to portray the entire play. The film is beautiful, with gorgeous expansive sets, excellent performances, and perfect staging. Of course, I am working off of my memory, which we all know is not an infallible resource. Still, it has been a long time coming. I have been waiting for this for years. I don't even remember that it had been announced, so I got a little giddy when I saw it on the list. It immediately jumped to the head of the list for this week.
This new two disk set contains the film, split across the two disks, and a few extras. Among the extras:
- Disc #1: Introduction by Kenneth Branagh, Commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Russell Jackson, M.A. PhD, Editor of the Cambridge Guide to Shakespeare on Film and Professor of Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham
- Disc #2: Commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Russell Jackson, M.A. PhD, Editor of the Cambridge Guide to Shakespeare on Film and Professor of Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham, To Be on Camera: A History of Hamlet, Vintage Cannes Promo, Trailers: Hamlet (1996), Hamlet (1990), Julius Caesar (1953), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), Othello (1995), Othello (1965), Romeo and Juliet (1937)
Also out this week:
- Wild Hogs. The biggest box office comedy of the year is here on DVD. I enjoyed it, but it isn't a great film. It will fill your need to laugh on a lazy night.
- Inland Empire. The latest David Lynch outing is here. I have been wanting to see this for some time. I hear that it is one of his most obtuse outings yet, and viewers are widely divided.
- Fracture. Anthony Hopkins facing off with Ryan Gosling in an entertaining thriller which is more about the face-off than the plot.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters for DVD. It didn't last long on the big screen, and the guerilla marketing caused something of an uproar in Boston.
- Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme. The latest Marvel animated feature. This time it brings the magic of Dr. Strange, who I believe has a live action feature in the works.
- The Fugitive: Season One, Vol. 1. The man with one arm strikes. The show that inspired the Harrison Ford film and the short-lived Tim Daly series arrives on DVD.
- Vacancy. This movie was a surprise. It is an effective horror thriller that plays it straight and delivers the goods.
- Taxi Driver: Two Disk Collector's Edition. A new edition of the Scorsese/DeNiro classic. Remastered picture and new extras adorn this set.
- Labyrinth: Anniversary Edition. Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie in this Henson-produced fantasy. A little odd, but highly enjoyable.
- The Lookout. Excellent movie. This should have gotten a wider release than it did. It is an excellent thriller featuring Joseph Gordon Levitt. He has a great future ahead of him.
- Psycho II, III, IV. The first release of Psycho IV in region 1 comes in the form of this triple feature. Thankfully, all three are anamorphic widescreen.
- We All Scream for Ice Cream. A new Masters of Horror release. I wonder how it compares to Clint Howard's Ice Cream Man?
- Valerie on the Stairs. Another Masters of Horror release.
- Amazing Johnathan: Wrong on Every Level. The manic comedian/magician is out with a new special. Haven't seen this one yet, but how can it not be funny?
- Graveyard of Honor. Takashi Miike Yakuza film from 2002. Haven't seen this one yet, but I have heard good things.