CHICAGO – The stage play that Harry Lennix is in town to direct – “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red” – is in its last weekend, and is giving the actor/director the best notices of the theater part in his long and successful career. For more information about the play, and ticket availability, click here.
Blu-Ray Review: ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Ultimate Collector’s Edition’
CHICAGO – Does the fact that “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is receiving a lavish 20th anniversary edition Blu-Ray release make anyone else feel old? Just me? Whether you’re old enough to remember the first “Vacation” or young enough to know Chevy Chase as “that old guy on Community,” this is a lavish collector’s set for a great holiday film timed for holiday shopping.
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Warner Home Video has begun an interesting trend of making Blu-Ray sets for their most beloved films that almost feel more about the collectibles than the movie itself. In some cases (“Blade Runner: The Final Cut,” “The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Edition”), the disc itself includes enough bonus material and a lovingly remastered picture that the collectibles appropriately feel like a companion instead of the main draw. Such is not the case with the set for “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” as the film itself practically feels like an afterthought.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Ultimate Collector’s Edition was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 3rd, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video
The standard package for the Blu-Ray of “Christmas Vacation” comes housed in a very-not-standard collectible gift tin, which I suppose you could fill with Christmas cookies this holiday season if you wanted to look truly dorky.
Within the tin, fans will find a replica of Clark Griswold’s holiday Santa hat, a set of holiday themed drink coasters with memorable quotes from the film, a box of faux snow, an “I Survived a Griswold Family Christmas” button,” and a collectible Moose figurine (which is exclusive to Blu-Ray). Oh, and the actual movie.
If you haven’t seen “Christmas Vacation,” it basically centers around patriarch Clark Griswold’s (Chase) desperate attempts to constantly keep his family happy around a holiday instead of a trip to Wally World (as in “Vacation”) or a trip overseas (as in “European Vacation”). More of a family film than the first two Griswold adventures, “Christmas Vacation” has become a modern comedy classic of the genre that plays on cable every season and basically stands as Chase’s last good movie.
The Blu-Ray for “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is presented in 1080p High Definition with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and, surprisingly, accompanied by only a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The special features are shockingly light with just a theatrical trailer and a commentary track by Randy Quaid, Beverly D’Angelo, Johnny Galecki, Miriam Flynn, Director Jeremiah Chechik, and Producer Matty Simmons. Where’s Chase? Where’s the retrospective look back at the film 20 years later? Maybe those will be on the 25th super-duper-mega-ultimate collector’s edition. Save space on your shelf.