Battlestar Galactica – The Definitive Collection – Despite the modern graphics on the cover, Edward James Olmos is nowhere to be found in this set; we’re talking old school! Remastered in high-definition widescreen for the first time, you get every episode of the original series, every episode of Galactica 1980 and the theatrical cut of the original pilot, which featured alternate scenes in movie form. Should you prefer, there’s a slightly cheaper “Remastered Collection” that does not include the theatrical version, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice to skip it – purely as a movie, it holds up surprisingly well. (In Europe we got theatrical versions of every pilot, forming a trilogy of sorts with the sequels titled Galactica 2: The Cylon Attack and Mission to Earth. Not that I was allowed to see them – my parents saw them for the cash-grabs they were.)
Some episodes of the original show were a lot better than others, certainly, and some of the look has dated, but I think people forget what a good job the show did of building a rich and developed mythology while still having fun with things. Yes, the Starbuck-Apollo dynamic was pretty blatantly based on Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, but it worked, much more so than similar attempts to copy that chemistry (without them, the show suffered greatly in its 1980 iteration). I never made it very far into the remake series, but I suspect I’ll be watching all these again. Yes, even the 1980 ones.
Blackhat – Presumably hoping to snap up some Avengers spin-off dollars, this really, really boring (yet visually stylish, if that helps) thriller features Chris Hemsworth as the world’s greatest and most handsome hacker. The mistake director Michael Mann makes is taking that concept in any way seriously.
Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts – This is the cartoon based on the toy line where Batman rides a robot dinosaur, right? I think it is.
Mortdecai – Johnny Depp put on a silly mustache. Nobody cared. Based on a series of books that are probably a lot better.
Jurassic Park Collection – There already was a Blu-ray set, but this one now includes the 3D conversion of the first film, and a slot for the inevitable Jurassic World 2D and 3D discs. Not the worst idea in the history of bad ideas, but you know the drill: just because they COULD do it…
Wet Hot American Summer – A spoof of ’80s summer camp comedies featuring members of The State/Reno 911, which became inexplicably popular…though in hindsight, it looks pretty brilliant for having cast the likes of Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks back when they were affordable. A sequel series is coming to Netflix, so this is the chance to bone up…if you must.
Vampyros Lesbos – I assume this ’70s cult flick’s title is reasonably self-explanatory.
She Killed in Ecstacy – Director Jess Franco’s follow-up to Vampyros Lesbos, with an equally evocative title.
Satan’s Blade: 30th Anniversary – Never heard of this ’80s supernatural slasher before, but again, I’m going to assume the title is fairly clear.
X – The Man With the X-Ray Eyes – Ray Milland learns that having X-ray vision kinda sucks when you can’t turn it off, and it keeps getting stronger and stronger.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osborne – in this 1981 take on the classic, Udo Kier plays Jekyll/Hyde as a rapist who stabs people to death from the inside with his transformed monster schlong. You don’t see that every day.
Extraterrestrial – A group of teens stumble upon a crashed UFO and uncover a conspiracy…with the help of marijuana farmer Michael Ironside, who makes every movie better (and gave us a great interview about it).
Orgazmo – Early Trey Parker movie about a Mormon missionary who accidentally finds himself in the porn industry. It’s not as funny as it sounds, in large part because Parker is easily amused by directorial choices that are deliberately bad. It’s more of a curiosity for fans, like looking at several drafts of a great comic’s material from before he fully developed the jokes that really killed (Matt Stone steals the show with a character who’s clearly spoofing Philip Seymour Hoffman in Boogie Nights). Rated NC-17 for showing a bunch of dildos – the sex toys, not the people who make South Park – but the Blu-ray also includes an unrated cut, which seems pointless when you’re already at the highest one there is.
Those are my main picks for this week. What, if any, will you be looking at?