Jaws (Universal 100th Anniversary) (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES A
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 10
(OUT OF 10)
This is still my all-time-favorite film, and it will probably remain so until my dying day.
Getting this on Blu-ray equates to one of the greatest joys I've ever achieved via a TV set. The completely restored film looks and sounds gorgeous, reminding viewers that this was an expertly shot and crafted film by the then-little-known Steven Spielberg. Producers thought they were getting a B-movie horror show with this, and they wound up getting one of the greatest, most-pioneering films ever made.
The underwater shots really show the beauty and wonders of the high-definition transfer. The shark-cage sequence has never looked better, and that shot of the raft boy being pulled down to his bubbly death is strangely beautiful. The shark itself remains one of the best-looking practical-special-effects monsters ever created.
The late Roy Scheider, who embodied the everyman in the role of Chief Brody, brought a true sense of grace to that role; he was the anchor in between Richard Dreyfuss' Hooper and Robert Shaw's Quint. They were the perfect film trio.
Richard Zanuck passed away last month, a few years after the death of co-producer David Brown. I owe a lot to these two men. They are the guys who put together the package that ignited my passion for film at a young age. They certainly knew the makings of movie greatness.
This movie wouldn't be what it is without the work of editor Verna Fields, who, by some accounts, was a saving force on this picture. This was the last film she edited, and what she does here is masterful. Her other credits include American Graffiti and Paper Moon. The woman knew how to cut.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Jaws fanatics know of the existence of The Shark Is Still Working, the ultimate documentary on the making of the film that has played in festivals, but has never gotten a theatrical release. We finally get it here (albeit in a shortened version), with none other than Scheider narrating. Most of the principal players are involved, including Spielberg, Dreyfuss and both producers. You also get deleted scenes and outtakes, and the terrific documentary that appeared on prior DVD releases. All in all, there are nearly four hours of documentaries on this disc. This is a sure contender for Blu-ray of the year. It would be a lock if they could've coaxed Spielberg into doing a commentary; the man refuses.
SPECIAL FEATURES B
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6
(OUT OF 10)
This goofy yet entertaining NBC show has a great name and a pretty-good premise.
David Giuntoli plays a cop who finds out he is one of the last Grimms, and that the Grimms' fairy tales were real. The monsters from the fables still exist, and are living among us. Some of them even practice Pilates.
This is a good anthology series. It's a bit clunky at times, but it's usually engaging. The special effects can be distractingly sloppy, but it's all endurable due to the show's campy feel.
I especially like Silas Weir Mitchell as a reformed wolf man looking to control his evil ways in favor of a quiet life and good coffee. He gets the show's biggest laughs.
Season 2 premieres on Monday, Aug. 13, on NBC.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted and extended scenes, audition tapes and behind-the-scenes peeks make this a decent package.
Hatfields and McCoys (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6
(OUT OF 10)
Kevin Reynolds, the man who directed Waterworld and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, directs Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton in this decent miniseries about the legendary feud between the titular families.
Costner plays "Devil" Anse Hatfield, and Paxton is Randall McCoy, two former friends and Confederate soldiers who turn on each other after a series of mishaps and misunderstandings. The results were an all-out war that resonates to this day.
The supporting cast includes Tom Berenger doing some good work as a crazy guy, and Jena Malone as an all-out bitch. You also get Powers Boothe as a biased judge; it's always nice to have Boothe around.
Costner is quite good here, while Paxton gets a little too melodramatic at times. (He does score some points for growing his own super-scraggly beard.) Still, much of this movie is based on true events, and it's pretty amazing what these guys did to each other. Reynolds keeps things entertaining throughout the three-part series.
The show scored big ratings when it aired on the History Channel in May. Given where things end in the series finale, I'm thinking there is little chance for a sequel.
I must say: The beards in this movie, both fake and real, are quite impressive. Major props to the beard-makers!
SPECIAL FEATURES: A good behind-the-scenes documentary.