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It's time to romp and stomp on Blu-ray, now that the "Bourne" movies and Peter Jackson's "King Kong" have finally made it to that format.
Before the now-obsolete HD DVD lost its battle with Blu-ray for high-def supremacy, one early advantage it had was a handful of blockbuster films from primary backer Universal Studios. Key among them were the three high-octane thrillers starring Matt Damon as a secret agent and Jackson's remake of the classic giant-ape film.
They were big sellers on HD DVD, and now they're hits on Blu-ray, too. "King Kong" ($30; $20 on sale), which came out last week, and "The Bourne Trilogy" ($120; $75 on sale), which arrives Tuesday, are among Amazon's top 10 Blu-ray titles and -- remarkably -- among the online retailer's top 40 sellers among all discs.
Both releases offer demonstration-quality video and sound.
"King Kong" skimped on the extras on HD DVD, so commentary by Jackson on the new version is welcome (even if it's dry), along with picture-in-picture production segments that can be accessed during the film. Not all of the material from the separately released "Peter Jackson's King Kong Production Diaries" DVD shows up, so it's hard not to expect that a deluxe Blu-ray set will be released eventually for completists.
The "Bourne" films were already larded with supplements, and they're reproduced on the three-disc Blu-ray set, including directors' commentary and loads of making-of featurettes. It also adds picture-in-picture access for behind-the-scenes footage. A cool new exclusive allows viewers with BD Live-capable players to watch the film and chat about it live with other fans who have the same setup.
HD DVD owners might find few reasons to upgrade, other than conforming to the Blu-ray standard. After all, their discs didn't stop working just because the format was a commercial failure. But now the overwhelming majority of high-def viewers can have these exciting action films in their chosen format.Coming to America
The European mob comedy "In Bruges," starring Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes, flew under the radar when it came out on DVD way back in June. But credit three recent Golden Globe nominations (and a win for Farrell as best actor) as the driving force behind Amazon's move to offer an imported Blu-ray version as a new release Tuesday. The European origins also explain why it retails for $50 ($38 after discount).Collected works
Warner Home Video is issuing two themed four-disc sets Tuesday that collect several classic films, all but one available on DVD for the first time. "The Sidney Poitier Collection" ($40) contains four films from the 1950s to '70s that star the Oscar-winning actor: "Edge of the City," "Something of Value," "A Patch of Blue" (previously released) and "A Warm December" (which he also directed).
"Warner Bros. Romance Classics Collection" ($40) collects four romantic films from the 1960s: "Palm Springs Weekend," "Parrish," "Rome Adventure" and "Susan Slade." They are complemented by Tuesday's DVD debut of several other romance classics from Warner ($20 each): "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (1969), "Far From the Madding Crowd," "The Yellow Rolls-Royce," "Waterloo Bridge" and "Cannery Row."
Randy A. Salas • 612-673-4542