Blu-Ray Round Up, Aug. 12, 2009: ‘The Last Starfighter,’ ‘Sling Blade,’ ‘The Waterboy’

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CHICAGO – You won’t find the kind of diversity that exists in’s Blu-Ray Round-Up too many places online. Where else can modern sci-fi mingle with quarter-century-old genre product and hang out with Oscar winners and slapstick comedies? Nowhere.

The Round-Up is our regular informational column about titles that may have slipped under your radar just because they haven’t been on the cover of Entertainment Weekly or in the point-of-purchase slot at your local Blu-Ray store. Today’s edition of the Round-Up is particularly impressive with a massive comedy hit from Adam Sandler, a sci-fi cult classic, a great new TV show, and the film that made Billy Bob Thornton a star.

“Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” was released on July 28th, 2009.

“Sling Blade,” and “The Waterboy” were released on August 4th, 2009.

“The Last Starfighter” will be released on August 18th, 2009.

“Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead”

Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead
Photo credit: BBC/WB

Synopsis: “When a London bus travels through a worm-hole to an alien world, the Doctor must join forces with the mysterious, aristocratic Lady Christina to help the unfortunate passengers, and themselves, get back home. But the mysterious planet holds terrifying secrets, hidden in the sand. And time is running out, as the deadly swarm gets closer…”

“Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” stars David Tennant, Michelle Ryan, Lee Evans, Noma Dumezweni, Adam James, and Glenn Doherty. It was written by Russell T. Davies & Gareth Roberts and directed by James Strong. It is presented in High Definition 1080i with a 16:9 enhanced picture and includes a DTS HD audio track. It is not rated.

Special features include “Extra: Doctor Who Confidential,” a 60-minute special that brings you behind the scenes of “Planet of the Dead.

“The Last Starfighter: 25th Anniversary Edition”

The Last Starfighter
Photo credit: Universal

Synopsis: “Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada.” So begins an adventure of galactic proportions in The Last Starfighter. After Earthling Alex (Lance Guest) conquers the Starfighter video game, he is recruited by alien Centauri (Robert Preston) to be part of an elite legion of fighters. Leaving behind his trailer park home for the outer regions of space, Alex becomes the last hope for the beleaguered Star League and hundreds of worlds – including Earth. Loaded with out-of-this-world bonus features and digitally remastered for optimum picture quality, The Last Starfighter 25th Anniversary Edition is the ultimate video game fantasy come true!”

“The Last Starfighter” stars Lance Guest, Dan O’Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, and Robert Preston. It was written by Jonathan Betuel and directed by Nick Castle. It is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. It is rated PG.

Special features include “Heroes of the Screen,” an all-new retrospective documentary with the cast and crew as they revisit the scripting, casting, and ground-breaking computer effects, “Crossing the Frontier: Making of The Last Starfighter,” image gallery, and a feature commentary with director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb.

“Sling Blade”

Sling Blade
Photo credit: Buena Vista Home Video

Synopsis: “25 years after committing an unthinkable crime, a quiet man named Karl (Billy Bob Thornton) finally returns home. Once there, he’s befriended by a fatherless boy and his mother. But when his newfound peace is shattered by the mother’s abusive boyfriend (Grammy winner Dwight Yoakam), Karl is suddenly placed on a collision course with his past! Also starring Robert Duvall, John Ritter, and J.T. Walsh, this emotional powerhouse is an unforgettable experience for the eyes and ears as well as the heart. Feel the stirring power of Sling Blade as never before in Blu-Ray High Definition.”

“Sling Blade” stars Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday, and Robert Duvall. It was written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton. It is presented in 1080p High-Definition with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. It is rated R.

Special features include Audio Commentary by Writer/Director/Actor Billy Bob Thornton, “Mr. Thornton Goes To Hollywood,” “Bravo Profiles: Billy Bob Thornton,” “A Roundtable Discussion with Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, Mickey Jones, and Producer David Bushell,” “A Conversation with Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Duvall,” “A Conversation with Robert Duvall,” “A Conversation with Billy Bob Thornton and Composer Daniel Lanois,” “The Return of Karl,” “On the Set: Billy Bob at Work,” “On the Set: Doyle’s Band: The Johnsons,” “On the Set: Doyle Gets Pummeled,” and “Doyle’s Dead” with Introduction by Billy Bob Thornton.

“The Waterboy”

The Waterboy
Photo credit: Buena Vista Home Video

Synopsis: “Bobby Boucher (Sandler) never wanted anything more than to quench the thirst of the dehydrated athletes who treat him like dirt! But when Coach Klein (Henry Winkler – Holes, TV’s “Happy Days”) makes the call that allows Bobby to finally stand up for himself, it unleashes a torrent of bottled-up frustration and exposes a talent for tackling that transforms him from a meek “water distribution engineer” to the hardest hitter ever to roam the gridiron! The Waterboy is a crowd pleasing favorite featuring an all-star supporting cast that includes acclaimed actress Kathy Bates (About Schmidt, Titanic, Misery), zany comic actor Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Hot Chick) and the sexy Fairuza Balk (Almost Famous, Return To Oz). This
July, quench your thirst for riotous comedy as The Waterboy makes a refreshing new splash on Blu-ray Hi-Def!”

“The Waterboy” stars Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Jerry Reed, and Henry Winkler. It was written by Tim Herlihy & Adam Sandler and directed by Frank Coraci. It is presented in 1080p High Definition with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. It is rated PG-13.

The Blu-Ray for “The Waterboy” includes not one special feature. Shameful. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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