Well, it seems as if Hollywood broke the bank with last week’s generous release of horror, fantasy, and science fiction titles on home video, leaving nothing for today. Except for a handful of direct-to-video titles, the only new cinefantastique is INKHEART, the Brendan Fraser film about the magic of reading that disappeared from theatres about as fast as a pile of books being burned in Farenheit 451. (At least Fraser can comfort himself with the residual checks from the MUMMY movies.) INKHEART arrives on DVD and Blu-ray. The latter is a two-disc combo pack: Disc One offers the film on Blu-ray; Disc Two provides a DVD copy and a down-loadable digital copy. The Blu-ray disc is BD Live-enabled, but the bonus features are limited:
- The Story with the Cast & Crew is a short HD video that has those involved with the film riffing on a fairy tale, everyone contributing a line to the story.
- From Imagination to the Pageis an HD featurette on Cornelia Funke, author of the book on which the film is based.
- Eliza Reads to Us (HD) features actress Eliza Hope Bennett (who plays Maggie in the film) reading an excerpt from the source novel.
- 9 Deleted Scenes offers 14 minutes of footage in Standard Definition.
The only other home video release of note is the Criterion Collection version of director Alan Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad, which is available both on Blu-ray and DVD. Ranked #333 on IMDB’s all-time best list, this 1961 excursion into obscurity is one of the most famous works of art house cinema ever lensed. Not exactly a fantasy, it is a surreal tale of three unnamed characters who reunite and recall a previous meeting in Marienbad, which may or may not have happened. Events repeat and continuity is deliberately confused; the result is less like a dream than a memory, in which overall feel is clear but the details are blurred by time. The new Director-Approved Special Edition features:
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Alain Resnais
- New audio interview with Resnais
- New documentary on the making of Last Year at Marienbad, featuring interviews with many of Resnais’ collaborators
- New video interview with film scholar Ginette Vincendeau on the history of the film and its many mysteries
- Two short documentaries by Resnais: Toute la mémoire du monde (1956) and Le chant du styrène (1958)
- Theatrical trailer
- Optional original, unrestored French soundtrack
- New and improved subtitle translation
- A booklet featuring essays by critic Mark Polizzotti and film scholar François Thomas, and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s introduction to the published screenplay and comments on the film
Other than that, this week has only DTV titles and an animated TV series from 2004, called Dragon Hunters. At least Simon Sayshas a certainly novelty going for it: starring Crispen Glover (Charlie’s Angels), this bloody slasher film (which apparently has been lying on the shelf since 2006) was directed by William Dear, who used to do nice family entertainment like Harry and the Hendersons and Angels in the Outfield.
Oh, just for fans of obscure ’80s movies, there is now a 20th anniversary edition of Hobgoblins on DVD, accompanied by the direct-to-video debut of its sequel Hobgoblins 2. Just for the record, the release date for Hobgoblins was July 1988, making the anniversary disc a year late. For me the real question is whether there is any demand for a new DVD devoted to this title, when you can already purchase it as part of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection Volume 8 – which has the obvious advantage of being enlivened by the caustic commentary from the crew of the Satellite of Love.