THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 (Sony) 91% (Blu-ray), 78% (Film)
It's obscene to me that this third-rate remake of the original classic 70s nail-biter is on Blu-ray, but the Robert Shaw/Walter Matthau is MIA. Regrettably, the remake of Pelham seemed on paper to be a great idea. Tony Scott, a stylish and reliable director with a strong commercial sensibility, directing Denzel Washington and John Travolta seemed like a can't-miss notion. But unfortunately, like a poor marksmen, he keeps on missing the target. The new film is as bad as the original is good. The only thing it has going for it is the tech credits for the new BD are all excellent with near demo quality video and audio and the supplements are terrific, including a nice package on filming in the New York Subway System. But where the first film is a tight, clever, pressure-cooker with a memorable David Shire score, the remake is just big and dumb adding a ludicrous new twist to Travolta's caper that is absolutely absurd along with an over-the-top performance from the former Barbarino that is the opposite of the seething, silent menace of Robert Shaw in the original.
The Aughts are Over! Can I hear a chorus of halleluiah! And while few may miss the passing of this somewhat disdained decade, it's hard for fans of home entertainment to quibble that it was the best ten years yet for the medium. So here's a final look at back at the triumphs in the audio/video world from way back in January 2000 to the end of 2009. These are not necessarily the best movies of the decade, in fact, few of them actually are from the recent decade past, but they are the best of the formats from the dying days of laserdisc to the decade of DVD to the short-lived HD-DVD to the dawn of Blu-ray. If your library doesn't include any of these titles, run, don't walk to pick them up today (or, in this wired age, surf your way to Amazon) to add these to your sadly deficient collection. And while the list is top-heavy with genre titles, it's only because these films lend themselves to the video and audio strengths of the format and have tended to receive the most tender loving care from the studios due to their strong commercial appeal.