Like millions of other kids I grew up watching many of Jim Henson's creations including Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, the monsters of Labyrinth, and, of course, the Muppets. I have many fond memories of watching Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie the Bear, and all the rest having zany adventures and always making me laugh. When I heard they were coming out with a new movie, I was excited. When I heard it was going to star the always delightful Amy Adams, I was thrilled. When it started getting enthusiastic reviews that noted it didn't mess with the old formula like so many other reboots, I was beyond myself with joy.
Somehow I still didn't see it in the theatre because, well, I never see anything in the theatre anymore but now that its coming to DVD and Blu-ray how could it not be my pick of the week?
It comes in a variety of packages the biggest one being a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital copy collection with bonus features including audio commentary, the original soundtrack, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and several features (and you've got to love the silly names they've given their features like "The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History**) **We Think -- Includes Muppets! Stars! And One Ridiculously Long Chicken Joke! What More Do You Need?."
Other interesting titles coming out this week:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy): I tried to join the Dragon Tattoo bandwagon, but I must have gotten the wrong ticket. Having heard good things about the Swedish film version, me and the wife watched it several months ago, and while it made for a decent Saturday night thriller, I could hardly remember it the next day. Not one to be deterred from a cultural phenomenon, I plowed through the book but found it overly long and filled with excrutiatingly dull scenes of exposition. Still I like David Fincher a great deal as a director and I'm sure I'll find myself watching his remake one of these days. Extras include audio commentary from David Fincher, a whole bunch of features covering the characters, film production, and the Swedish setting. There's also TV ads and trailers.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) (2 Disk Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy): I'm right in the middle of reading the John LeCarre book upon which the film is based and while the plot is impenetrable, it is still a rollicking spy story. I'll likely watch the old British minisereis before I catch this new film adaptation, but it's received lots of good reviews and a few Oscar nominations so I'm sure I'll be watching it sometime soon too. Extras include audio commentary, interviews with the main players, a First Look featurette, and deleted scenes.
Battle Royale: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray): I've not read a word of the highly popular Hunger Games series, but out of curiosity I read the description on the back of the book and immediately thought it sounded like a Battle Royale rip-off. I'm guessing the makers of the film thought so too and that's why we're now seeing this new set hitting the store shelves. Highly controversial upon release, this Japanese film sets a bunch of misfit teenagers against each other in a battle to the death on a small island. It's loaded with social commentary and pretty graphic violence, making it a "not for everyone" type picture but for those who dig unpredictable Japanese cinema, this is a real treat. Extras include several features, a documentary on the film, rehearsals, and press conferences.
Carnage (2011) (Blu-ray): Roman Polanski is a director who continually receives enormous amounts of praise but whose work seems to elude me. I don't have a reason for that other than his films never seem to interest me enough to make me sit down and watch, though many of his movies have stayed on my to-watch list for years. I'd not heard of this one but it stars Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christopher Waltz, and John C. Reilley, which puts it a little farther up on that list than some of his others. Extras incllude trailers, a few small features and a lengthy Q&A session with Reilley and Waltz.
The War Room (Criterion Blu-ray): I recently started rewatching the excellent series The West Wing, which is very, very loosely based on the Clinton White House. It stars Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborne, who was very loosely based on real-life Clinton associate George Stephanopoulos. A little Wikipedia research later has made me want to watch this documentary all about Clinton's 1992 Presidential campaign. Extras include some features about making the documentary, interviews with some of the main players, and a booklet featuring an essay by Louis Menard.