No Dragons. No Iron Men. No Robins of Hood. But if you want to catch up on some films you may have missed when they were On Demand or get the back stories on some famous works of art, then you have something to look forward to with the announcements this week.
Summit, the studio responsible for the films that only look and sound like vampire films (Twilight), is releasing the film that looks and sounds like another Nicholas Sparks story, but is really just another cutesy generic romantic drama. Letters To Juliet with Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave arrives on Sept. 14, just a few days after the day of infamy used as a plot point in their other ghastly Robert Pattinson film of 2010, Remember Me. Viewed in that company, Juliet might actually look pretty good. Nine months after its initial theatrical release, Warner Bros. will release Me & Orson Welles - but only to DVD and only to Target stores.
That's right, if you want to catch Christian McKay's Oscar-snubbed performance as the famed director in an otherwise so-so film about the recreation of the Mercury Theatre's production of Julius Caesar you'll have to follow the red bullseye on Aug. 17 and hope Jennifer Connelly is riding the kiddie horse. For another lesson with the kids, on November 30 check out Don Hahn's fine documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty, about Disney animation's rebirth from the mid '80s through The Lion King. It is currently only slated for DVD.
Those without a Video On Demand service in their homes from one cable provider or another are really missing out. Films like Neil Jordan's Ondine and George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead were already available through Magnolia and many of IFC's titles are coming through MPI Home Video over the next three months. The top of the list for many will be the accliamed Red Riding Trilogy; three films from three different directors all encompassing a series of murders in Yorkshire from 1974-1983. For my money, James Marsh's second film (1980) is the best of the lot with Anand Tucker's 1983 entry the weakest. Julian Jarrold's 1974 opener is a so-so affair that nevertheless features some solid work from Sean Bean, Rebecca Hall and our new Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield as the first man on the case.
Then on October 5th comes Tom Six's revolting The Human Centipede where a mad doctor who has put his sibling separation practice to bed is now trying out stitching human beings together mouth-to-anus. Don't ask what happens when the first link on the flesh chain has to go to the bathroom. Just open wide and say "ahhhhhhewwwwww." Actually the more revolting parts ironically involve how poorly Six has put this whole thing together from the performances to the psychology to the suspense. Sloppy all around and far more offensive than a diarrhea smoothie. It's your dime though. Just be aware that only this film, Paper Man, and the Red Riding Trilogy will be available in Blu-ray.
Normally in this space we would conclude with some of the new titles coming to Blu-ray, but there is just nothing to report this week. Instead we'll finish it off with Warner Bros. repackaging a couple of their big hits for the October sell-through push. The Hangover: Extreme Edition will be available on Oct. 12 and the Ultimate Collector's Edition of Jon Favreau's Elf will be on tap for Oct. 26. In-between those dates for those intrigued at the news that Judd Apatow is working with Paul Reubens on a new Pee-Wee Herman film, you might be interested in picking up The Complete Collection of Pee-Wee's Playhouse from Image on Oct. 19. Finally, from the Where-Did-That-Come-From file, was anyone aware that the SyFy channel debuted a new version of The Phantom? Cause I sure didn't. This one doesn't star Bruce Campbell either, but if you're curious, Vivendi will release it to DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 7. It has to be better than The Human Centipede.