This week’s classic Blu-Ray releases are headlined by the Steven Spielberg Collection, which collects all of Spielberg’s blockbusters made with Universal into one set (though the Universal films “Schindler’s List” and “Munich” aren’t here). That “Universal” clause means no Indiana Jones films (made with Paramount) or “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (Columbia), unfortunately, but the collection does include Blu-Ray copies of some of Spielberg’s strongest: “Jaws,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” and “Jurassic Park” (along with the lesser sequel “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”), plus the Blu-Ray debuts of “Duel” (yay!), “The Sugarland Express” (yay!), “1941” (um, it has its fans), and “Always” (*crickets*).
Other big releases on the classic front include the Criterion release of “My Darling Clementine,” John Ford’s sublimely ambling version of the O.K. Corral shootout, starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp. Kino, meanwhile, has Blu-Ray releases of two 80s classics: Jonathan Demme’s delightfully kooky, warm-hearted mob comedy “Married to the Mob” and Susan Seidelman’s farce “Desperately Seeking Susan,” starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna.
This week’s best new releases, meanwhile, are a pair of strong seasons of television. The first seasons of FX’s “Fargo” and Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” are coming to Blu-Ray, so viewers can now marathon acts of violence in both the mid-2000s Midwest and 19th century London. Film fans have slightly slimmer pickings this week, with the best bets being either Joe Berlinger’s documentary “Whitey: The United States of America v. James J. Bulger” or another superhero movie (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”). Unless, of course, you’re eager to catch up with “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”
More thoughts from the Criticwire Network:
Stephen Whitty, NJ.com
The script, to its credit, also avoids the usual DreamWorks fallback of shoveling in pop-culture jokes whenever possible; although there’s a brief “Spartacus” gag, much of the humor comes from Mr. Peabody’s painful puns and a fractured view of history. Read more.
“Whitey: The United States of America v. James J. Bulger”
Criticwire Average: A-
Steve Greene, Criticwire
The number of persistent vagaries and the level of unconfirmed involvement in these various crimes still lingers beyond where the story leaves off. One of Bulger’s associates proclaims that “Nobody’s going to know the truth until people tell it.” The eerie effectiveness of “Whitey” is that it shows how many people can tell their version of the truth and still come up short. Read more.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club
For better or worse, “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” is the first Marvel movie to truly embrace comics-style storytelling. Context-less and origin-story-free, it presumes that its audience is familiar with all relevant character traits, continuities, and fantastic elements. It returns the genre to its geek roots; depending on the viewer, it has the potential to be the most narratively satisfying and fluid entry in the “X-Men” film series, or the most alienating. Read more.