Spider-Man and Vampires Lead Week’s New Blu-Ray Releases

Spider-Man and Vampires Lead Week’s New Blu-Ray Releases

Spider-Man and horror films are among the notable Blu-Ray releases for the week of August 18.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) suits up as his web-slinging alter ego to take on Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) in this sequel, which is available in both 2D and 3D formats.

Despite great visuals and some nice chemistry between Garfield and leading lady Emma Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is plagued by bad choices. Electro is the corniest-looking comic book movie villain since Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze in the much-maligned Batman & Robin, and Foxx’s attempts to make him menacing therefore come off weakly. Also, the story’s attempts to insert wacky humor are grating. All in all, this Spider-Man isn’t so amazing.

Special features on the disc are audio commentary from the writers and producers, twenty-three minutes of deleted/extended scenes, a feature-length making-of documentary that runs a whopping 104 minutes, a look at the orchestral score, and a music video for the Alicia Keys/Kendrick Lamar theme song, “It’s On Again.”

Only Lovers Left Alive – Noted minimalist filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise, Broken Flowers) takes on vampires with his most recent production. But, in typically Jarmusch-ian fashion, this is not your average bloodsucker story. Tom Hiddleston plays a depressed vampire musician who is reunited with his lover of many centuries, only to have his younger sister throw a monkey wrench into things. Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, and Jeffrey Wright co-star in this critically acclaimed film.

Bonus goodies are a look at Jarmusch on set, some deleted and extended scenes, and a music video.

The Quiet Ones – A university professor and his team of students carry out experiments on a young woman thought to have paranormal connections. Jared Harris and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) are the most recognizable names in the cast. Critics were largely unimpressed by The Quiet Ones, which currently has a low 36% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Blu-Ray contains a making-of documentary, a feature on the visual effects, audio commentary from the director and producer, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.

The Sacrament – The latest horror film from writer/director Ti West (House of the Devil) is about two journalists documenting their friend’s search for his missing sister in the jungles of a distant country. They stumble upon a strange religious community and its disturbing leader, and terror awaits. Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanberg, and AJ Bowen star.

The Sacrament was generally well-reviewed, and the Blu-Ray contains two making-of features, plus the original theatrical trailer.

Also notable this week are the comedy Fading Gigolo, starring John Turturro and Woody Allen; the Criterion Collection release of Spanish-language favorites Y Tu Mama Tambien (from Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron) and Pedro Almadovar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!; plus Scream Factory’s edition of the 1989 Peter Weller Alien knock-off Leviathan.

Which of this week’s new Blu-Releases do you plan to buy? Let us know your picks in the comments section.

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Mike McGranaghan is the film critic for The Aisle Seat. His film writing can also be found at Film Racket and Daily Grindhouse, and his reviews are heard weekly on the radio stations of Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society, as well as the author of two books, "Straight-Up Blatant" and "My Year of Chevy."