I bought a house a year ago. It is the first house I ever purchased. I’ve always been a renter. Never really stayed in one rental for very long either. In the twenty years since my first apartment, the longest I’ve ever stayed in one abode is about two years. The thing about regularly moving to a new place is that you are constantly rearranging your furniture. What fits well in one rental house may not fit at all in an apartment. There is constant flux - expanding and contracting - from place to place. But now that I own a house there is a realization that this is the wall space I’m stuck with. Sure, I may remodel in a few years, or we may sell and buy a bigger place someday but for the foreseeable future this is it.
My living room has all the DVD/Blu-ray shelving it's ever gonna have. Frankly, I’m running out of room. I can fit a handful more disks on my Criterion shelves and that’s it. This has made me seriously reconsider my movie collection. I’ve already spent time going through each film and making decisions on whether or not I really need to keep it. Whenever I browse a store’s stock, I have to ask myself if the movie is “shelf worthy.”
Multiple streaming platforms has helped with this tremendously. I’ve been a movie collector since the VHS days and one of the reasons to collect is so that I’d always have something to watch. You can never rely on television to provide the entertainment you need exactly when you need it. So when TV fails, it's nice to have a video collection to fall back on. But with the advent of streaming services and downloadable films, there is way more content available than ever. I spend more time browsing Netflix, Amazon, and the like, searching for something to watch than I do actually watching stuff. There is simply no need to have a home-video collection solely to have something to watch anymore.
I’m still a collector but now my collection is becoming more collectible. I no longer buy cheap, no-thrills releases. I mentioned having space on my Criterion shelf a moment ago. That’s exactly the sort of space that will now be filled. My collection is now dedicated to high-end releases, filled with either excellent restorations, super deluxe editions, large quantities of extras, and/or really cool-looking art.
Which brings me to this week’s pick(s). Shout/Scream Factory has been releasing some really interesting packages of really interesting films for five years now. To celebrate their anniversary, they are putting out three cool-looking SteelBooks of classic John Carpenter films.
Truth be told the films - They Live, The Fog, and Escape From New York - are simply being repackaged from previous Shout Factory releases. There is nothing new about their content (though it should be said the recycled content is pretty great as it includes numerous commentaries and documentaries). It's old stuff put in a shiny new package. Normally, I’m against this sort of thing but Shout Factory is being totally upfront about it, and the packaging is quite nice.
So if you are like me and you don’t already own these films on Blu-ray, these sets not only include great extras but they’ll look really cool on your shelves too. Which is exactly what collecting is about.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
The Circle: Davd Eggers wrote this thriller starring Tom Hanks, Karen Gillan, John Boyega, Bill Paxton, and Patton Oswalt about a Google-like company and its mysterious, possibly nefarious ways. That’s a lot of star power but the reviews have been pretty tepid.
Obit.: Documentary about the people who write the New York Times obituaries.
Big Little Lies: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Zoë Kravitz, and Laura Dern star in this limited series from HBO about a small town murder mystery and the lies it uncovers.
Crashing: The Complete First Season: HBO series starring Pete Holmes about a man struggling to be a stand-up comic. [Read Davy's review.]
Hired Gun: Documentary about session and touring musicians who have backed up some of the famous names rock and roll.
Slither: Fun little horror comedy from James Gunn starring Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks gets a cool-looking collector’s set from Shout Factory.
Going in Style: Old guys plan a bank heist film starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin. Directed by Zach Braff.
Colossal: Anne Hathaway, Dan Stevens, and Jason Sudeikis star in this drama about a woman who discovers that several catastrophic events are connected to her own personal mental breakdown.
Shin Godzilla: Japanese reboot of the old Godzilla franchise. Won lots of awards in Japan.