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James Bond Blu-Ray: Volume Three





(OUT OF 10)

MGM has released a bunch of James Bond Blu-Ray packages, but this is the first one I got my hands on. The package includes Goldfinger, Moonraker and The World Is Not Enough, offering a sample of three different Bond men.

Sean Connery, of course, anchored Goldfinger, the best film in this collection. This one sent 007 into battle against an evil gold collector (Gert Frobe) who has an unusual plan involving Fort Knox and an evil death ray. This movie also features Pussy Galore, perhaps the best-named Bond vixen. After seeing the guy hitting people with shoes in Austin Powers, the man in this film who kills people with his hat is pretty funny.

Then there's Moonraker, perhaps the silliest Bond film ever made. This one is schizoid, taking Bond (Roger Moore) to Venice, Rio (where he fights a big snake) and a space shuttle into outer space. The opening skydiving sequence is a classic, but the ensuing science-fiction nonsense drags things down.

Finally, there is Pierce Brosnan in The World Is Not Enough. While this is nothing but an average Bond adventure (007 battles a nuclear terrorist played by Robert Carlyle), Brosnan brought a nice level of grace to the role. He got a raw deal when they dumped him for Daniel Craig. I'll review the new Blu-Ray for Quantum of Solace soon; there are a lot of James Bond offerings at stores these days.

Movie grades: Goldfinger (B), Moonraker (C-), The World Is Not Enough (B-).

SPECIAL FEATURES: While Moonraker is not the greatest film, hearing Moore's commentary is actually quite cool. Each movie comes with an assortment of interviews, commentaries and whatnot, some better than others. Special-feature grades: Goldfinger (B+), Moonraker (B), The World Is Not Enough (B+).

The Princess Bride






(OUT OF 10)

This sweetheart of a movie comes to Blu-Ray with lush greens and blues, and beautiful sound for Mark Knopfler's enchanting music. The story of Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) and her Westley (Cary Elwes) is as precious as anything that has ever come out of Hollywood. It's hard to believe this film is 22 years old.

This comes from the era when Rob Reiner could still direct a movie. In fact, if I was debating which Reiner film is best (which would be kind of sad, if you really think about it), I'd have to pick this one over This Is Spinal Tap. It's a perfect movie: It took the classic fairytale and delivered it on human terms, with a biting sense of humor and real people. The framing device—Peter Falk playing a granddad reading to his sick grandson (Fred Savage)—was brilliant. The whole movie was brilliant.

SPECIAL FEATURES: This carries over the features from the latest standard-DVD release, including a Reiner commentary.

No Country for Old Men: 3-Disc Collector's Edition





(OUT OF 10)

Yes, this film already got a standard release and a Blu-ray release—but here comes the super-mega edition! Available in both Blu-Ray and standard formats, the package comes with an extra disc of features and a digital copy for your computer.

I've probably watched this film five times, and Tommy Lee Jones jumped out at me a little more in recent viewings. The man really did deliver one of his best performances as a tired and dry-mannered sheriff, worn out by the garbage he has witnessed over the years. Javier Bardem provided one of cinema history's best villains, for sure. Plus, there's the incredible visual work of the Coen brothers, who have never made a bad movie. I doubt they ever will.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Along with the features from the original release, you get a ton of TV appearances by the Coens and the stars, and an "unauthorized" behind-the-scenes featurette from Josh Brolin. This is not a necessary purchase if you own the original release, but it's quite nice if the film isn't in your library yet.

The Fast and the Furious Trilogy (Blu-Ray)





(OUT OF 10)

To coincide with the release of the lousy new sequel (reviewed in this week's paper), the first three films in the series get the Blu-Ray treatment. The first film was a blast, showcasing Vin Diesel at his early best, and featuring dazzling car races that benefit in terms of sight and sound from this format.

You can keep the other two films, although they do benefit from home viewing—because you can fast-forward to the racing stuff. All of the films look and sound great. Movie Grades: The Fast and the Furious (B+), 2 Fast 2 Furious (D-), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (D).

SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentaries, deleted scenes and more accompany each film.

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