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Published on April 16th, 2011 | by Greg

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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 Apple’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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