Blu-ray Today: Book of Life, Spying on Sasha Grey and Playing in Hell


The Book of Life – For whatever reason, Fox was gung-ho about inviting me to various pre-release events to hype this uniquely Mexican-American animated feature, but less interested in making it easy to see the full movie, or even push it for the Animated Feature Oscar. I wouldn’t necessarily put that down to its quality – more likely, they simply didn’t know what to do with a film that uses CG to make its characters look like they’re literally made of wood, then has the main hero actually die and become a skeletal form of himself quite early on. Not to mention that there’s a soundtrack which includes Latin-style takes on the likes of Biz Markie, and Ice Cube plays God (I know they don’t actually call him that, but c’mon).

I’m curious to see it some day – maybe it’ll get a theatrical rerelease when Pixar puts out their Dia de los Muertos movie.

The Remaining – The producer of Amityville: The Awakening tries his hand at a found-footage horror movie about the Rapture. It probably needed more Nicolas Cage to get my attention.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? – A Japanese gangster hires a failed filmmaking troupe called The Fuck Bombers to make a movie starring his daughter; they find themselves shooting a full-on, blood-soaked gang war for real when a rival gangster obsessed with the lead actress makes his move. Has been compared by its own director to Kill Bill, but he may not be the most reliable witness.

Open Windows – Elijah Wood inadvertently ends up cyber-stalking his favorite movie star (Sasha Grey) when a mysterious stranger with an agenda gives him access to all the camera feeds in her house. Directed by Fantastic Fest fave Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, V/H/S: Viral).

Maid Sama! – A hardass, boy-hating student council president at a newly co-ed school secretly works in a maid cafe to make ends meet. Naturally, a boy finds out her secret. All 27 episodes of this anime come collected on three discs with a new English dub.

Henry V – The director of Thor does some movie about an English king. It’s pretty good.

The Usual Suspects: 20th Anniversary Edition – The director of X-Men does some movie about crime or something. It’s pretty good too.

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis – Animated feature that’s presumably designed to prepare the general public for the idea that Aquaman is not lame and is in fact worthy to be played by Khal Drogo.

Slow week this week. What are you picking up?