Blu-Ray Round Up: ‘Into the Wild,’ ‘Old School,’ ‘Tommy Boy,’ More

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CHICAGO – Paramount Home Video has scheduled two waves of catalog titles making their debut on Blu-Ray for the holiday season and the first set hits this week, just in time for you to finish up your Christmas shopping.

There are some recent comedy hits, a highly lauded drama from last year, and a forgotten Samuel L. Jackson movie. It’s hard to imagine anyone out there looking to buy all six of these titles and schedule a Blu-Ray marathon in their own home, but it’s also easy to see someone in your family having one on their holiday wish list. All films are presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen and feature English 5.1 Dolby True HD audio tracks.

Coach Carter is available on Blu-Ray from Paramount on December 16, 2008.

“Coach Carter”

2005’s “Coach Carter” stars Samuel L. Jackson as Ken Carter, the controversial basketball coach who locked out his entire undefeated team due to their poor academic performance. The players, parents, and the community fought against the inspirational leader, trying to get their kids back on the court to play the big game. Carter stands strong and teaches his young men that there is life beyond the court, gangs, drugs, and prison. “Coach Carter” is a pretty generic sports movie grounded a bit by yet another solid performance from Jackson.

On Blu-Ray, “Coach Carter” includes four featurettes - “Coach Carter: The Man Behind the Movie”, “Fast Break at Richmond High”, “Writing Coach Carter: The Two Man Game”, “Coach Carter: Making the Cut” - six deleted scenes, a music video with Twista featuring Faith Evans for “Hope”, and the trailer in HD.

The Heartbreak Kid is available on Blu-Ray from Paramount on December 16, 2008.

“The Heartbreak Kid”

In the critically reviled remake of the Neil Simon classic, Ben Stiller stars as Eddie, a 40-year-old bachelor who finally says “I do” to the beautiful but crazy Lila (Malin Akerman). When Eddie and Lila get to Mexico for their honeymoon, our poor hero learns that his dream of marital bliss has turned into a total nightmare. While he’s down in Mexico, Eddie falls for a lovely girl played by Michelle Monaghan and supposed hilarity ensues. With its grating, unlikable characters, only Monaghan makes it out of this Farrelly Brothers’ misstep unscathed. Stiller has never been worse and Akerman is the definition of annoying, but hardcore fans of Ben and the boys who made “There’s Something About Mary” will want to include “The Heartbreak Kid” in their collection. Good luck.

On Blu-Ray, “The Heartbreak Kid” includes a commentary by The Farrelly Brothers, deleted scenes, a gag reel, “The Farrelly Brothers in the French Tradition”, “Ben & Jerry”, “Heartbreak Halloween”, “The Egg Toss”, and the trailer in HD.

Hot Rod is available on Blu-Ray from Paramount on December 16, 2008.

“Hot Rod”

“Hot Rod” had “cult comedy” written all over it from day one. Just as Andy Samberg’s digital shorts on “Saturday Night Live” are wildly hit-and-miss, his debut movie as a star has its own highs and lows, but weird movies always gain cult followings. If you missed the cult of “Rod”, Samberg stars as Rod Kimble, a stuntman with a fake mustache and a dream. Rod is really only a stuntman in his head and with his dumb friends. To save the life of his abusive father (Ian McShane) and win the heart of his lady love (Isla Fisher), Rod plans the biggest stunt of his life. With just as many jokes that hit the floor as that hit the funny bone, “Hot Rod” is so-so at best but Samberg fans will be happy to have their cult favorite on Blu-Ray.

On Blu-Ray, “Hot Rod” includes a commentary by Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone, “Ancestors Protect Me: Behind the Scenes of Hot Rod”, deleted & extended scenes, outtakes, and the trailer in HD.

Into the Wild is available on Blu-Ray from Paramount on December 16, 2008.

“Into the Wild”

Easily the most stunningly photographed film in this wave of Blu-Ray from Paramount, “Into the Wild” looks fantastic on the next-gen format. If you’re looking to show off the potential of HD this holiday season, you can’t do much better than Sean Penn’s epic tale of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), a young man who abandoned his life of comfort to pursue life on the road. McCandless was eventually found dead in a bus in Alaska. Jon Krakauer’s amazing book detailed the days in between Christopher’s departure from civilization and the discovery of his body and Penn made the true story into the most acclaimed film of his career. Written and directed by Penn, “Into the Wild” co-stars Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, and Hal Holbrook.

On Blu-Ray, “Into the Wild” includes a shocking dearth of special features with just two featurettes, “Into the Wild: The Story, The Characters” & “Into the Wild: The Experience”, and the trailer in HD.

Old School: Unrated and Out of Control! is available on Blu-Ray from Paramount on December 16, 2008.

“Old School: Unrated and Out of Control!”

2003’s “Old School” really launched Will Ferrell from TV star to movie star and provided Vince Vaughn with his best part since “Swingers”. The two starred with Luke Wilson in the Todd Phillips comedy about three guys unwilling to give up on their raucous college days. As their “grown-up” lives fall apart, they find it easy to be the most popular guys on campus. Everyone who longed for the simple days of keggers and frat partying, could identify with Beanie, Mitch, and Frank “The Tank”. “Old School” has held up surprisingly well over the years, certainly more than many of the films its stars have made since. Maybe they should all make up and get that long-rumored “Old School” sequel into production soon.

On Blu-Ray, “Old School: Unrated and Out of Control!” includes a feature commentary, several scenes from the cutting room floor, “Old School Orientation”, a must-see spoof of “Inside the Actor’s Studio”, TV spots, outtakes & bloopers, and the trailer in HD.

Tommy Boy: Holy Schnike Edition is available on Blu-Ray from Paramount on December 16, 2008.

“Tommy Boy: Holy Schnike Edition”

One of my personal favorite comedies of the ’90s, “Tommy Boy” is a must-own. The comedy features Chris Farley and David Spade doing the best work of their careers and a likable, easy-going comedic sensibility that simply works from start to finish. I’m not going to argue that the script for “Tommy Boy” is anything remarkable, although it is better than most critics would give it credit for, but the film works because Farley & Spade had perfect chemistry. “Tommy Boy” is a road comedy about two salesmen trying to save the family business but its really just a showcase for two Saturday Night Live actors who looked like they were on the verge of superstardom. If you haven’t seen “Tommy Boy” in the thirteen years since it came out or have forgotten the film that played in college dorm rooms on a non-stop loop in the late ’90s, check it out on Blu-Ray HD.

On Blu-Ray, “Tommy Boy: Holy Schnike Edition” includes a commentary by director Peter Segal, 4 featurettes, “Tommy Boy: Behind the Laughter”, “Stories From the Side of the Road”, “Just the Two of Us”, “Growing Up Farley”, 6 deleted scenes, 6 alternate takes, 15 extended scenes, 7 storyboard comparisons, 19 TV spots, a gag reel, a photo gallery, and the trailer in HD. content director Brian Tallerico

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