What to Watch: Aug. 13-19, 2013

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CHICAGO – Welcome to the new world of Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming coverage on HollywoodChicago.com. With so many options from iTunes to Video On Demand to Hulu to Blu-ray, what should you be watching this week? Every week, we’ll highlight some of the most interesting new releases, link to our full review coverage when applicable, tell you what’s special about the Blu-ray releases, and point you in the right direction to watch them. We will still do some full-length Blu-ray and DVD reviews of special editions or particularly notable releases, but we know that you’re watching movies and TV shows in new ways in 2013 and we want to be as helpful as possible. Welcome to the future.

What to Watch: August 13-19th, 2013

The Muppet Movie
The Muppet Movie
Photo credit: Disney

“The Muppet Movie”

There may be some irony in starting a new feature with a “Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition” but the most exciting release of the week is also the oldest, a new version of the timeless Kermit classic on Blu-ray. The Jim Henson classic has never been on Blu-ray before and includes a digital copy along with “Muppetastic” bonus features like “Disney Intermission,” “Frog-E-Oke Sing-along,” “Jim Frawley’s Extended Camera Test,” and more. This G-rated gem has lost none of its staying power, from the very first pluck of Kermit’s banjo. There may be youngsters out there who have become familiar with “The Muppet Movie” through Jason Segel’s reboot and it’s time to take them back to the source.

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Netflix

The Damned
The Damned
Photo credit: Cohen Media Group

“The Damned”

Again, in the way back machine for a film that predates all of the technology highlighted in this new feature but wouldn’t be coming home to you without it. Rene Clement’s “The Damned” has been largely unknown for decades, remastered and available now for the first time ever on a Blu-ray from Cohen Media Group. Viewers unsure of a film that they probably hadn’t heard of before today can rent via iTunes or Amazon. The film is accompanied by notable special features like a feature-length commentary and a documentary about the legendary Clement (“Purple Noon,” “Is Paris Burning?”).

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
Photo credit: Shout Factory

“The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec”

Luc Besson’s “The Family” marks his first major multiplex release as a director in 14 years but he’s been making family films (and the underrated “Angel-A”) in France since then, producing three “Arthur” films and this adaptation of the internationally beloved young adult/children’s book that plays like “Amelie meets Indiana Jones” according to the quote from Empire magazine on the new Blu-ray. The film is a bit haphazard for my tastes but features Besson’s striking sense of visual confidence. It’s also nice that while the Blu-ray defaults to the English dub given its young audience, older viewers can switch to the original French track and watch the film subtitles. Deleted scenes and a making-of featurette round out the set.

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, Amazon Instant Video

The Mindy Project: Season One
The Mindy Project: Season One
Photo credit: Universal

“The Mindy Project: Season One”

FOX’s “The Mindy Project” was a surprising renewal ealry in its first season given lackluster ratings that never really improved. It makes sense that it’s one of the first 2012-13 TV programs to hit the home market as the producers really need to build buzz for a comedy that became something of a critical darling but never found an audience. Will it in season two? I think the show really improved when it spread its focus from Mindy to its talented ensemble but the writing still needs some work. It’s also a pretty lackluster home release with no commentaries or featurettes, just deleted scenes, and no HD release. Check it out on Hulu if you have a Plus account and decide if the DVD season set is for you. Or maybe you’ll fall in love with the show in season two and come back to this one. FOX & Universal are sure hoping that you do.

Where to Watch: DVD, On Demand, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Hulu Plus

Hatchet III
Hatchet III
Photo credit: Dark Sky Films

“Hatchet III

There’s a third “Hatchet” movie?!?! I know. Disbelief. However, the key players are involved, including Adam Green (although he doesn’t direct here, just produces and writers) and stars Danielle Harris & Kane Hodder. The “Hatchet” movies have a loyal following of genre fans who believe horror flicks don’t provide the gore and bang for the buck that they once did. Whatever one says about them, they’re certainly over-the-top in their own unique, bloody way. The Blu-ray is unrated and pretty stacked with special features, including two commentary tracks and 3 featurettes. The cast commentary even includes Hodder. Jason Voorhees himself on an audio track? That alone is worth the pick-up for hardcore horror junkies.

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes

Once Upon a Time: Season Two
Once Upon a Time: Season Two
Photo credit: ABC Studios

“Once Upon a Time: Season Two”

I was with “Once Upon a Time” for parts of the first season but lost interest in the program over time. So why include it in our first “What to Watch” column? Because the program has loyal fans out there and Disney treats them well with a set that’s filled with special features and beautifully transferred HD video. The show looks great and it’s more important that a program’s fans are satisfied with a set this expensive as whatever a critic may think of the ABC show. Audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and, exclusively to Blu-ray, “A Fractured Family Tree, Narrated by Sarah Hyland.” I may not be sold on the world of “Once Upon a Time” (but I am curious about the spin-off, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” airing this Fall) but those are should love this release. Sample it via Hulu or On Demand and then pick it up on Blu-ray if you fall under its spell.

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Hulu Plus

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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