Arts resident

Published on April 16th, 2011 | by Greg


New on Blu-Ray: Secret of NIMH, Teen Wolf, And The Resident

We have three movies for your consideration today- one good, one great, and one utterly forgettable. Can you guess which is which? All of them are new on Blu-ray, and two of them are simply re-releases of old classic 1980′s flicks, while the other is a recent movie starring Hillary Swank and Christopher Lee that you probably have not heard of.

Michael J. Fox had a pretty fantastic, if too-brief, career where most things he touched were golden. Best known for his role in “Back to the Future”, he made several other movies that must have seemed a bit of a stretch- the plot for Teen Wolf screams B-movie. We hadn’t seen the flick in years, and were surprised- while cheesy, the idea of “teenager realizes that he is a werewolf” was pretty well-formed here and it’s easy to see where shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” were influenced by the comedy/supernatural take. The rest of the cast is largely forgettable, but the soundtrack is fun, and it’s an easy to like film. On Blu-ray, though, we gained little- the video transfer is surprisingly weak with muted colors and only slightly better than DVD. The special features are equally minimal, with only a trailer for the film and a trailer for an upcoming MTV show. Sound is also only so-so despite being DTS, with some synch oddities and a clear lack of polish. Rated PG, $15 available now.

The Resident is from studio Hammer Films- which tells you something. This formerly-acclaimed maker of horror and suspense manages to grab a good cast but coasts on starpower alone. The script is shambles- predictable to a fault. And the premise had promise, along the lines of “Single White Female”, showing the tricky world of a woman trying to rent in the big city. Of course, there are plenty of questionable decisions by the characters, but if you can suspend your disbelief, there are some fun scenes. It’s not a terrible movie- just inessential and forgettable. At least it’s fairly good-looking, though, if only be comparison to the 80′s flicks reviewed above and below. Video is sharp and clear, even when paused, and audio is full 5.1 and uses it quite well. Both bass and dialogue are well-served, and the blacks are pretty crisp. The only bonus is the trailer, but frankly, anything else would have been unnecessary- except, perhaps, for a version where Cinematic Titanic has their way with it. At least it is short, at 91 minutes. Rated R, $16 available now

Best for last- The Secret of NIMH is a childhood classic for several of our writers, from the era when Disney was failing to produce a strong level of animated films. Like “All Dogs Go To Heaven”, this is a Don Bluth film and offers, in retrospect, a fairly gloomy tale. Based on the book, the story of Mrs. Brisby (or Frisby in the original), a mouse who is forced to seek help from the secretive and super-intelligent rats that have escaped from the National Institutes of Mental Health. A crow, voiced by Dom Deluise, is unforgettable. And adults will find plenty to like, while kids are sure to be entertained. The score is powerful, and we liked the inclusion of the audio commentary track. But the transfer here is abysmal- colors weak and muddy, often grainy, with scratches visible on the screen and even some weird focus issues. The Blu-ray feels like a DVD, sadly, with no restoration. The audio fares a bit better, but is still only offers two channels and can feel a bit uneven. Overall, though, it’s a great movie and most people might not notice- but we’d still suggest sticking with the DVD version until a truly high-definition restored edition is available. Rated G, $15 available now.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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