Ready for more new to Blu-ray for those with a finer visual palate?  We’ve got you covered with reviews of four films hitting Blu-ray this week – from spider fun to spells undone.  Courtesy of Touchstone/Buena Vista Home Entertainment here’s a look at "Arachnophobia," (out Sept. 25th)  "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle," "Cold Creek Manor" and "Hocus Pocus."




   Title: "Arachnophobia" (Out Sept. 25th)

   Grade: 4

   Cast: Jeff Daniels, Harley Jane Kozak, John Goodman

   Director: Frank Marshall

   Rating: PG-13

   Runtime: 105 minutes

   Release Company: Touchstone/Buena Vista Home Entertainment





The Flick: More snobbish and refined movie folks may shun bug flick "Arachnophobia," but for a true movie fan it’s just as creepy, funny and ruckus as it was when it first hit theaters.  Director Frank Marshall does an excellent job of balancing fear (Jeff Daniels in full anti-spider mode!) and fun (love John Goodman’s dim-witted exterminator!), which makes for an old-fashioned summer movie good time.  (Though seeing it on a glorious Blu-ray will have to do!)     

Best Hidden Gem: You get some normal Julian Sands (no "Warlock" here!) as a spider expert!

Worth the Moola: Scares and laughs – a well weaved movie web indeed.




   Title: "The Hand that Rocks The Cradle"

   Grade: 3

   Cast: Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay, Matt McCoy

   Director: Curtis Hanson

   Rating: R

   Runtime: 110 minutes

   Release Company: Touchstone/Buena Vista Home Entertainment





The Flick: There’s some seriously formulaic and cheese ridden plot devices within this early work from Curtis “L.A. Confidential” Hanson (I always preferred the tasty "Bad Influence" myself!), but what holds the predictable, cookie-cutter, sanitized revenge flick together is a singular performance by one Rebecca “Risky Business” DeMornay as a window scorned.  Her ability to be comforting and pleasant one minute and vicious and crazed the next is inspiring work indeed.  (And adds spice to Ernie Hudson's sappy role!)  Much like Terry O’Quinn’s standout work in "The Stepfather," DeMornay is the hand that holds this flimsy cradle together.  (Plus see her strut her bad side more in the recent release "Mother’s Day!")

Best Hidden Gem: You get to see a pre-I'm a thespian and have normal hair Julianne Moore as a bitchy and nosey best friend.

Worth the Moola: DeMornay in evil mode – priceless.




   Title: "Cold Creek Manor"

   Grade: 2

   Cast: Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Stephen Dorff

   Director: Mike Figgis

   Rating: R

   Runtime: 119 minutes

   Release Company: Touchstone/Buena Vista Home Entertainment





The Flick: Did Mike Figgis, the man behind such work as "Internal Affairs" and "Leaving Las Vegas," really helm this fluff fest?  As formulaic as thrillers go, it’s baddie Stephen Dorff against Dennis Quaid and wife Sharon Stone who bought his house while he was in prison.  (Is Dorff really someone to fear?!)  It’s a paint by numbers flick with an ending so trite, gamey and unbelievable (what the hell is Juliette Lewis putting flowers on THAT grave for?!) that you can see everyone cashing their paychecks in on screen. 

Best Hidden Gem: Some may be inspired by that fact that this one features a young Kristen Stewart as the moody daughter, but not me.  I say look out for the seriously underappreciated Peter Outerbridge who plays a small role as Stone’s suave boss.  ("Kissed" still rules man!)

Worth the Moola: Even the Walmart bargain bin would bury this one deep.




   Title: "Hocus Pocus"

   Grade: 1

   Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy

   Director: Kenny Ortega

   Rating: PG

   Runtime: 96 minutes

   Release Company: Touchstone/Buena Vista Home Entertainment





The Flick: I actually avoided this one when it came out – after watching it I know why.  What you see is what you get with this horrible tale of three uncharismatic witches out to regain youth and it’s all bad.  Bette Midler sporting a horrible wig, Sarah Jessica Parker as a brainless imbecile and Kathy Najimy as...well Kathy Najimy.  (Nuff said!)  When both Marshall’s (that would be Garry and Penny!) can't make this one funny, there’s something serious wrong.

Best Hidden Gem: A tie!  You get great beauty in the form of a young Vinessa Shaw and great physical comedy in the form of "Hellboy’s" Doug Jones as a recent undead – one star added!

Worth the Moola: Except for my hidden gems, this one casts a spell of crappy movie.