Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Black Sheep presents BLU-TUESDAY

Today is my first day without a real job outside of this here writing thing that I’m doing for you right now. I figured, why not start the day with a brand new Black Sheep feature called BLU-TUESDAY? Here at Black Sheep Reviews, we like to consider ourselves cutting edge. We don’t usually say that out loud because it inherently takes away from your credibility and the honest truth is that we’re not actually that cutting edge; we just wish we were. That said, I have fully immersed myself in the new high definition Blu-Ray culture. In a matter of months, I have amassed about 30+ Blu-Ray discs. This is nowhere near as hardcore as some people I know (yes, I mean you!) but I am for the most part thrilled with the quality of my new found toys. This leads me to this new feature. Every Tuesday that warrants a mention will be Blu-Tuesday from here on in and Black Sheep will break down what’s Blu, new and ready to take its place on your freshly dusted shelf.

It has been ages since I’ve seen this baby but with the newest installment hitting theatres this Thursday, it seems to me to be perfect timing for a step back in time. It is the summer of 1991 and before long, I will have shaved half my head and left the other half long so that I could look a little more like Edward Furlong in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY. I already had the cracked squeaky voice so I figured I would go all in. Although, it has already made its Blu-debut previously, Lionsgate is releasing the Skynet Edition and a six-disc complete collectors set today to capitalize on the near deafening buzz the new McG film has generated. The difference in price between the two is apparently $30 vs. $180, so you’d best be a real fanatic if you’re going to go the collector’s route. That said, you get a neat robot terminator skull (T-800 Endoskull to be precise) with the pricier package. The rest of the details are as follows:

- 8 hours bonus content
- 1080p format
- 6.1 DTS HD master audio
- Theatrical & Special version of film
- 140 minutes behind the scenes (picture in picture)
- Audio commentary with 26 cast & crew members
- Audio commentary with director, James Cameron
- Storyboard script mode
- BD live and more

The HBO people didn’t get where they are by being dumb. They have consistently delivered quality television programs and those programs have delivered consistently solid sales on DVD. This is likely because most folks don’t have access to watch directly on HBO and people like to catch up on their quality programming all at once. That said, without access to watch, it is difficult some times to get the word out on their shows. Their latest success is TRUE BLOOD, a modern vampire series where vampires walk among the living and try to co-exist from Alan Ball, the creator of SIX FEET UNDER and Academy Award winning writer of AMERICAN BEAUTY. To make sure people knew about it, HBO included a free DVD copy of the pilot episode with the purchase of any other HBO series. I have to this day only seen the pilot and, like any pilot, there were kinks to work out but star, Anna Paquin, is looking great and there seems to be plenty on the horizon to sink my teeth into. Right. The features are:

- Picture in Picture for each of the 12 episodes
- Six cast and crew commentaries (including Ball)
- True Blood previews

Pixar also has an impending release with their 10th feature, UP!, hitting theatres on the 29th. Many of their previous features are not yet available on Blu-Ray so it seems like the right time to get in on that. MONSTERS INC is expected later this year and FINDING NEMO and THE INCREDIBLES are in the works but for now, we get A BUG’S LIFE. This remains to date, Pixar’s least successful film but, personally, it remains one of my favorites of all their films. One little ant can do anything. It’s a pretty simple message but Pixar gives it nuances that make it universal and particular simultaneously. It is empowering and encouraging and therefore perfect for both adults and children. Pixar did what they did for a toy chest previously and made this tiny ant world seem like the biggest, most authentic world that ever existed. This is what I love about Pixar; they make you believe. That and they never do anything half-assed; The Blu-Ray disc contains all the features from the previous DVD release and:

- 2.35:1 widescreen
- 5.1 DTS HD master audio
- John Lasseter (director) intro
- Filmmaker roundtable
- First draft (animating storyboards to life)
- Digital copy
- BD live options

There you have it, people. Now get out there and spend! The economy needs you.

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