This week’s new DVD and Blu-Ray releases include an Oscar nominated animated feature, one of the most successful French films in history, and another ‘found footage’ production.
“Sure must be nice being the good guy,” laments Ralph, the over-sized but lovable doofus who has but one job in life and that’s to wreck things in the new animated feature from Disney, Wreck-It Ralph. To quote another Walt Disney production, the voice work in Wreck-It Ralph is practically perfect in every way. John C Reilly, who himself always comes across as a lovable doofus in live action films, makes a great Ralph. And then there’s Sarah Silverman as the diminutive Vanellope von Schweetz. Her voice won’t be immediately recognizable, but once you realize that the little character determined to be a part of the kart race is Silverman you’ll be amazed. It’s great work, and Silverman is a revelation. Wreck-It Ralph begins with a funny idea and gets better and better as it goes along. Available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and an Ultimate Collectors Edition.
Another from the ‘Found Footage’ genre, only The Bay comes with a difference, and it’s surprisingly effective. For those unfamiliar, ‘Found Footage’ is the name now given to films where the conceit is that a video recording of some horrific event has been unearthed and what we see is what was recorded at the time, like a reality event. The setup here is that a deadly form of bacteria has invaded the water off the coast of Maryland. The small town of Claridge is about to be hit with a horrific catastrophe during its July 4th celebrations and it will eventually claim more than seven hundred lives. And who’s to blame? Big business. The film lets itself down towards the end – you’re hoping for a big payoff, but it merely fizzles – but up until those final moments, The Bay has an undeniable impact. However, having said that, how about we call a moratorium on the found footage genre? Available on DVD where it actually looks better than it did on the big screen.
There are a few things you need to know before seeing the comedy from France, The Intouchables. First, the film is the highest grossing French film in history; second, one in three people in France have seen the film; third, it spent ten weeks at the top of the French box-office, nine weeks at the top of the German box-office, eleven weeks at number one in Switzerland, and set records in several other European countries. Plus, it’s based on a true story. Beyond a doubt, The Intouchables is a cultural phenomenon. Yes it’s a charmer, at times very funny and above all extremely entertaining but, no, there have certainly been better films out of France before The Intouchables, but who can ever really predict what is going to capture a nation’s imagination when it comes to the art of film and the takings at the box-office? The Intouchables has two great performances with no scenes lasting longer than they should, and despite covering a subject that is usually treated as drama, the whole enterprise manages to be very funny with a warm hearted center without indulging in cloying sentiment. Recommended. Available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Look for more new DVD and Blu-Ray releases next week.