Some movies are easy to miss; not because they’re forgettable or anything like that, but because some of the better releases out there become obscured — even when they’re in plain sight — by unsubstantial major studio titles pushed onto the masses en masse. This is particularly true with Blu-ray releases. A stroll though your average rental or retail boutique may reveal several thousand copies of the latest Transformers flick, displayed prominently for all to be hypnotized by, but will neglect to focus any attention on something worthwhile like Little Big Man (providing they even carry it to begin with).
Thus, the purpose of this “Catching Up at the Video Store” piece is to highlight some of those other High-Definition home video releases — ranging from truly excellent to decidedly so-so in nature.
· Point Blank (À Bout Portant) (2010) (Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Forget, for a moment that Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves ever made a movie together, thus ruining the opportunity for us to take a title like Point Blank seriously ever again. Instead, let’s refer to this tantalizing French thriller by its real name, À Bout Portant, instead. This spellbinding feature from Fred Cavayé brings us the tale of Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche), a male nurse in training who, by saving the life of a patient — his everyday job — opens the portal to peril as the man he rescues from the clutches of Death happens to be wanted by the police and gangsters alike. When his very pregnant wife (Elena Anaya) is kidnapped the following day by persons unknown, Pierret is given the unenviable task of smuggling his patient out of the hospital — which opens another portal to peril altogether. Roschdy Zem, Gérard Lanvin, and Mireille Perrier are just some of the great performers in this superb suspense masterpiece. Magnolia Home Entertainment brings us a fine Blu-ray; but, whatever you do, don’t watch it with the English dub!
· My Fair Lady (1964) (CBS/Paramount)
She’s back, more beautiful than before, and even fairer than ever. CBS/Paramount have really outdone themselves here with a magnificent Blu-ray release that outshines all previous home video versions of the film. For those of you who have somehow managed to be completely oblivious to the existence of this one all your life, the story here revolves around a snooty, chauvinistic professor of phonetics (Rex Harrison) who makes a wager with a fellow sound scientist (Wilfred Hyde-White) that he can take a lowly flower girl (Audrey Hepburn) off the London streets and “turn” her into a member of high society. The marvelous new HD release includes an incredible 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtrack as well as a vast array of special features that range from featurettes to interviews to unused vocal cues by Ms. Hepburn herself. A highly recommended venture into that world of classic, epic Hollywood musicals.