Blu-ray Today: Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Pryor, and Doctor Who on Film

By Luke Y. Thompson in DVDs, Puppets, TV
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 8:00 am

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Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space - As a kid who had no TV and only knew Doctor Who from the novelizations - something tomorrow's children will never, ever say - I knew this story as "Terror of the Autons," (or "The Auton Invasion," even - one of the two) and figured from the book cover that giant squid were involved somehow. Nowadays I know more, and better, and can tell you that one big reason this is worth owning in Blu is not just that it was the first Who in color, but also that it was shot on film rather than video.

If the fact that it's Jon Pertwee's first episode didn't already win you over, I'll take what I can get.

The Muppet Movie: The Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition - Any time somebody complains about Snoop Dogg or whatever supposedly family unfriendly celebrity working with the Muppets, I remind them that Richard Pryor was in this first big-screen outing, and worked just fine. If you're playing 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Orson Welles being in this is far more significant anyhow.

I'll add only that as a guy who had his first husband/wife dance this weekend to "Rainbow Connection," I cannot possibly be objective about this.

Olympus Has Fallen - The better, by far, of this year's two "Die Hard in the White House" action flicks due in large part to its absurd levels of violence, Antoine Fuqua's take sees Gerard Butler save America from evil North Koreans. Except maybe we should worry that with this and the Red Dawn remake, we're giving Kim Jong Number Un a major ego trip that he can't help but act on.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec - I'm going to defer to hardcore fangirl Melissa Molina when it comes to this fine lady of comicdom: "She's tough as nails, able to tango with the men throughout the period of her story's timeline (1911-1920s) and manages to solve capers through her own wit. If you aren't familiar with the French comic, you should become so, now. Adèle in some ways is like a female Dylan Dog mixed together with the sharp mind of a character like Batman, along with her own unique tenacity. You think that's impressive? Then you should hear about some of the strange people she's had to deal with through her comic run. She's faced a pterodactyl, seen demons and the Pithecanthrope (who kind of looks like an intelligent talking ape). She may not always come out of a battle or chase unscathed, but that doesn't stop her from trying to save the day. Long story short: she's an absolute badass."

And Luc Besson produced a movie about her. Want to see it? Today is your chance.

Shaft - I'm not a big fan of the Samuel L. Jackson update, and it pains me to say so, because this should be utterly perfect. Alas, Jackson's Shaft is a sadistic jerk and not even much of a ladies' man; Jeffrey Wright's villainous Peoples, who proves his toughness by staying mean even while on the toilet, is the scene-stealer.

Those are my picks this week. What are yours?

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