If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Make no bones about it, as a director, John Landis had a spectacular run of films from 1977 until 1988 (things fell off quite a bit after that) but he'll always be most distinguished in my mind for making two of the best comedies ever set to celluloid (and the only two films you really need to watch from John Belushi's hit-and-miss short film career), "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers". Both are still on my 'can re-watch ANYtime and be perfectly happy' list, so, I'm enormously pleased to add both of them to my blu-ray collection. That being said, let the quibbling begin... "Animal House" isn't all it could be; a somewhat messy video transfer is disappointing but the audio remastering does the job. "The Blues Brothers" gets it much better, and although neither video nor audio is as good as technology permits, you'll never notice as you're dancing around your living room to the songs, which have never sounded better. Neither disc comes with any new bonus features, but they both port over the good stuff from previous DVD releases in SD, and "The Blues Brothers" has the original 133 minute theatrical cut and the 148 minute extended cut, so there's that. Let's face it: these are the progenitors of the modern day R-rated college party film and the musical comedy road trip movie...and they're still both better than almost any of their imitators. You're buying them on Blu-Ray. Yes, you are. Don't argue with me young man or I'll make you watch the "Van Wilder" sequels again instead.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY National Lampoon's Animal House [Blu-ray]
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Blues Brothers [Blu-ray]
THE CLONE RETURNS HOME (DVD)
Sometimes it doesn't matter how much praise a movie has gotten, how much it delves into the genre stuff I love, it can still leave me cold. Such is the case with the 2008 Japanese film, "The Clone Returns Home" that has won multiple festival awards but had me pounding Diet Dr. Peppers just to make it through to the end. I'm not saying I require my sci-fi to be ball-busting action; far from it, actually, as there are plenty of examples of contemplative works in the genre that I adore. In fact, nothing's really wrong with "The Clone Returns Home" either, per say. I mainly found myself largely in disagreement with its premise from the get-go, a slow burning, sub-textual, argument about the existence of the soul in the context of a plausible near-future cloning story which brings up questions that, for my part, aren't questions at all. A relatively simple story is nestled into a complicated sounding premise: an astronaut is killed in a space accident, but he'd already signed an agreement with the company to launch their new cloning program with him if something went wrong. The clone is made, theoretically an exact copy of the man from right before he left for space, memories and all, but something has gone wrong. He's mentally from a time when he was a child when his twin brother died in an accident. The clone wanders off, heading through the backwoods of Japan to find his childhood home, carrying a spacesuit that, when he's carrying it, seems to contain the body of his the real man who died so far away. Meanwhile, a second clone attempt works better, but he's tormented by the philosophical implications of his, and his defective clone's, existences. Much was made of the film's admittedly lovely cinematography, all blues and greens, as the clones ethereally make their way across the foggy countryside, but I lost interest with that aspect early on; there's certainly not much to see in the way of variety. I'm not going to criticize anyone for finding something of value to them in this, but "The Clone Returns Home" was never made for me in the first place.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Clone Returns Home