Blu-ray Highlights: Week of April 2nd, 2017 – Lovable Rogue

When you shop for Blu-rays this week, what are the odds you’ll go rogue and not buy ‘Star Wars’? Pretty low, eh? Believe it or not, some other stuff is available too.

Not much, though. Most studios were wise enough to move the hell out of the way of the blockbuster behemoth.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (4/4/17)?

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New Releases

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story‘ – The first of the ‘Star Wars’ spinoff movies that take place outside the main Episodes stars Felicity Jones as the leader of a squad of rebels tasked with stealing the Death Star plans that will kick off the events of ‘A New Hope’. Despite some widely-publicized production troubles and reshoots that suggested Disney had lost confidence in director Gareth Edwards, the movie was mostly embraced by both fans and critics, and went on to be the second highest-grossing ‘Star Wars’ film, lagging behind only ‘The Force Awakens’. This bodes well for Disney’s future plans to bombard theaters with new ‘Star Wars’ movies every year from now until the end of time. As is common for a box office hit of this magnitude, the Blu-ray comes in your choice of several retailer exclusives. If you want to watch it in 3D, you should look at either the Target 5-disc set or the Best Buy SteelBook. If you want to watch it in Ultra HD or with Atmos sound, you’re SOL. Disney still doesn’t support those on home video.

Paterson‘ – If gargantuan space epics aren’t your thing, Jim Jarmusch offers some counterprogramming with a micro-scale drama about a hipster bus driver who writes poetry. Yeah, that description sounds kind of insufferable, but the movie is supposedly pretty good. Jarmusch has been doing this sort of thing for a long time and has carved out a niche. In between his own ‘Star Wars’ work, Adam Driver stars, and it only occurs to me now that having a guy named Driver play a bus driver is perhaps a little on-the-nose.

Office Christmas Party‘ – From the directors of middling comedies such as ‘Blades of Glory’ and ‘The Switch’ comes another middling comedy, this time with a holiday theme. The big ensemble cast includes a number of funny people, including Jason Bateman, Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Aniston, T.J. Miller, Olivia Munn and Rob Corrdry – all apparently wasting their talents.

Three‘ – The latest project from prolific Hong Kong action maestro Johnnie To finds a gangster, a cop and a surgeon stuck together in the middle of a stand-off at a hospital. Phil called this a minor effort from To, but praised the movie’s “astounding and downright insane climax.”

Catalog Titles

The week’s assortment of catalog titles is pretty slim. The best movie of the bunch is probably Frank Capra’s 1936 classic ‘Mr. Deeds Goes to Town‘, which was released in a Digibook last year and now gets repackaged in a standard keepcase.

Mill Creek gets stuck in the year 1988 with River Phoenix and Sidney Poitier in the spy thriller ‘Little Nikita‘, followed by Tom Hanks and Sally Field in the standup comic dramedy ‘Punchline‘. The latter puts Hanks and Field in a romantic relationship. Six years later, Fields would play Hanks’ mother in ‘Forrest Gump’. How’s that for a twisted Oedipal Complex?

I’d never heard of the 1973 ‘Invasion of the Bee Girls‘ before, but check out the IMDb plot description: “A powerful cosmic force is turning Earth women into queen bees who kill men by wearing them out sexually.” That sounds like bonkers fun. The Blu-ray is from Scream Factory.

Television

Visual Entertainment Group, the label that insistently keeps trying to convince people that ‘Nash Bridges’ is worth buying on Blu-ray, moves on to another forgettable TV relic with ‘Diagnosis Murder‘. Yeah, this is the one where elderly Dick Van Dyke played a doctor who for some reason investigated murders. The show ran for eight years, all of which are compiled in one box set.

I’m not much into anime anymore, but I recall being fond of the sci-fi comedy ‘Martian Successor Nadesico‘ when I caught it on DVD. The show is a spoof of big anime space epics like ‘Super Dimension Fortress Macross’, featuring a cast of nerdy misfits, some of whom are actually anime fans. The Blu-ray contains all 26 TV episodes, the ‘Prince of Darkness’ movie, and even the ‘Gekiganger 3’ show-within-the-show.

My $.02

I have the ‘Rogue One’ SteelBook on preorder. I also wouldn’t mind upgrading ‘Martian Successor Nadesico’ to high-def. Because pretty much anything by Johnnie To is worth watching, I’ll try to give ‘Three’ a look at some point. ‘Paterson’ might be a rental for me.

It’s fair to assume that ‘Rogue One’ will lead our poll this week. Does anything else in addition to that interest you?

29 comments

  1. Csm101

    I’m torn between the Target and Best Buy exclusives for Rogue One, but it’ll be one of those. The Bee Girls movie seems pretty cool, but I’ll just add it to my long wish list for Shout! titles. The Three movie sounds pretty cool as well.

  2. Chris B

    Rogue One BB Steelbook for me since it’s the only retailer exclusive in Canada. Have the extras been detailed yet? What are the odds they’ll include the original ending as a deleted scene? Slim to none right?

  3. My yearly trip to Walmart is now because of exclusive retailer version of Star Wars. Then Target and Best Buy to round it all out. Wish Disney would start putting these out in 4K and Atmos. I am sure this all part of their double and triple dip plans for us later.

    • Barsoom Bob

      Dang. I only checked Amazon and didn’t see a USA 3D release so I ordered from Zavi. Anybody know the lag time between the US release date and when Zavi ordered titles arrive ?

      • Zavvi titles tend to arrive 7-10 business days after they ship, for me, living in a major city. You may want to add a couple of days if you are in a rural area.

        Ordering 3D Disney titles from the UK is usually a safe bet, so I don’t blame you.

  4. Todd

    I refuse to buy any Disney titles until they get released in 4k. I don’t even own a 4k TV yet, but I want to future-proof with the blu/4k combos. They are not making me double dip. I’m still waiting for Civil War and Force Awakens. How long do you think I will be holding my breath?

    • Deaditelord

      While I’ve enjoyed the UHD blu-rays I’ve watched in HDR, I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that they are selling poorly. Setting aside the lack of compelling releases at the moment, I’ve always felt that UHD was destined to be laserdisc 2.0: a format whose benefits are overshadowed by expensive hardware costs and a consumer-base that is satisfied with the previous movie format. I mean HDR is arguably UHD’s biggest selling point, but it’s ridiculous to expect consumers to drop a $1,000 or more on a new HDTV and UHD player. Even when prices eventually fall to more reasonable levels, I still can’t envision non-home theater enthusiasts seeing a big enough difference in picture quality to get them to repurchase their movie library.

      • I did repurchase a couple of movies in 4k, mainly as comparrison. For me, yes, there is a visible difference, but on many things, the HDR was not a big enough selling point to justify rebuying an entire movie collection. One of my pet peeves with HDR is that they are promoting the super bright whites, and to be honest, I find it annoying. I don’t think it is really the format, I blame it on the people grading the movies. Shoot, stuff like Rocky Mountain Express look incredible in HDR, as do games like The Last Of Us Remastered, but then you switch over to Final Fantasy 15, and I am like “Okay, that is so bright, it washes out the color – I am changing this back”.

        Then you have companies like Universal who is slapping old 4K scans on a disc (no surprise there, it is Universal, after all) with NO HDR grading.

        Then you just have some things that, because of the style the director shot the film in, just don’t really benefit from either the HDR color space or the uped Resolution.

        I think I have determined that I will probably make my new purchases in 4k, but it is very doubtful that I will go back and repurchase anything else I already have, with maybe a few exceptions

  5. Ian P

    I would prefer to get points at Best Buy, but I’m not a steelbook collector, and their package design is really unappealing to me. The Target version says it has a few bonus features along with the 3d disc, so I have to go there.

  6. Deaditelord

    I’ll be picking up Rogue one in 3D for sure and maybe Mobile Suit Gundam if it goes on sale. I don’t remember Martian Successor Nadesico well enough to decide if I would want to own it, but I see it’s on YouTube to stream so I’ll check out a couple episodes to refresh my memory.

  7. Ami Verred

    I wrote this comment for the 3D forum and I think it is also applicable here.
    So Star Wars rouge 1 is finally out, I tried to purchase the Steel Book Best Buy on line in my area, to no avail, all copies were pre- sold. Waited until this morning and went to my local Best Buy at 10:15 AM (15 minutes after the doors opened}, all 25 Steel Books copies were already gone. finally manage to reserve a copy in Aurora {30 KM north of Toronto} and got my copy.
    So why am I telling all this story, the steel Book version is the only 3D version available in Canada and people would not fork extra money to get a fancy steel casing, it has to be because this version contain a 3D BD.
    So you tell me that 3D is dying, its that all this idiot bean counter in the electronic industry decided that we don’t need it anymore,
    So Bean counters read our 3D lips, keep 3D going, most of the early adapters and movie aficionados love it and if you fail us as you did so many times and as you are doing right now with the lack of 3D support on the 4K format you will find yourself counting pebbles on the beach somewhere,

  8. I’m waiting for your review of Rogue One 3D…as I’m waiting for the 3D review for Fantastic Beasts before buying. Yes, I know the format is dying but as long as it’s still available and I have equipment that does a good job with it, I’m not ready to give up the ghost. Hope you aren’t giving up reviews on 3d versions!

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Disney didn’t send a Blu-ray screener for Rogue One. I believe Shannon bought a disc on street date and is currently working on that review. I don’t know whether he’s doing the 3D version or just 2D.

    • I must say, I find your comment a bit amusing. The reason is that you state that you love 3D, yet you are waiting on a review before buying. Rogue One is Disney and Star Wars – I haven’t had a chance to open up my package yet, but I am sure it will be awesome. I have been watching Fantastic Beasts in 4k and haven’t opened my 3D version yet either, but I will probably open both this weekend.

      Point I am trying to make is, if you have the equipment, love the format, and want the movies, why are you waiting on the review?

      • There are the occasional dogs, and now with 4K available which I can choose, I would go that route if that 3D came in with issues. Occasionally, it doesn’t translate well. Sadly…they have me at their mercy. I’d purchase a 4K/3D combo if available, but I can’t afford to do both. Additionally I am Dolby Atmos capable, and different editions will and won’t include it. I’m not sure I suggested that I “love” 3D, but rather I have those options to consider.

  9. So I went to three different Best Buys in NYC (yes, bitches, I`m in the US!) and could not locate a single copy of the ROGUE ONE Steelbook. Also had a lot of trouble browsing the store. The discs are anything but alphabetically,. but rather erratically. DVDs mixed up with Blus, genres with genres (according to one store, ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is a “family favorite”). They had a few copies of the Steelbook in the Bronx, so I asked if they could send it over to the store in Manhattan, but they couldn’t 🙁

    Did find ‘The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under’ for the low price of $9, and got a $60 Sony Blu-ray player as a gift from my girlfriend. Finally. I will be able to watch Region A Blus and Region 1 DVDs! Criterion Collection/Shout Factory, here I come!!

      • Yes, but I did rent a car today and drove to Freehold and Asbury Park, New Jersey to find iconic Springsteen locations. Even wound up finding the last studio album I needed on vinyl in a Jersey record store, so that was a nice find. AND lo and behold, found Rogue One in a Jersey Target!

        Also scared myself shitless while driving. First time on an American road, in an American car (I only know how to drive (gear) stick).

        • LOL, in a month, I will be driving in Europe for the first time. Had to make sure to request an automatic. I am not scared about driving in Switzerland, Austria or Germany, but Italy, France and Monoco are already scaring me. Not sure what roads are like in Czech Republic, Slovenia or Croatia (yes, we are hitting a lot of areas)

          So yeah, I guess I will be going through the same thing you did, but in reverse!

        • Thulsadoom

          I’m lucky, in that I’ve got a 3D Toshiba Blu Ray player that can be swapped to A or B from the remote. Not even sure they make any players that can do that anymore!

          I’ve never driven in America, but I would imagine the width of the roads is a big plus. Having been to NY a couple of times, the traffic looked a lot crazier/scarier than other places!

          I’d find it weird driving an automatic. Heck, my new car has a button instead of a handbreak, and even just that feels strange (I keep trying to pull the handbreak up, where there isn’t one).

          Off-topic, but how do Americans who holiday in the UK and/or rest of Europe find the smaller roads? 😉

          • EM

            With a magnifying glass. ba-dump-BUMP

            I don’t often drive in the US and have never driven in Europe, but even to a pedestrian the differences can be striking. Once I spent a week with relatives in the Azores. Their house was on a nicely asphalted street with no sidewalks. My first day there, we were walking down the street into the center of town when cars came zipping by. The closeness was disconcerting, and I joked about it for a moment by pressing my back against a wall and inching sideways, as though I were on a narrow ledge. But well before the week was out, I got over it, and I would walk up and down the street like the lifelong residents.

            A similar culture shock occurred when I lived in Strasbourg, France for six months. I remember my early experiences walking along the (ironically named, it seemed) Grand’ Rue and feeling a strange claustrophobia, for the rows of buildings on each side seemed so close to one another, as though they threatened to collapse onto the street and sidewalks in between. Again, I quickly got used to it. Then when I returned stateside, I would walk around in my hometown and marvel at just how wide open it was!—but I quickly got reacclimated to that, too.

  10. Visited my first Target ever today (hard to find the store, no name on any of the windows, just a big logo of a bull’s eye). No Rogue One either 🙁 They don’t want my money, I guess. Asked the guy behind the counter where the Blu-ray section was, but they only had a handful of titles. not even a rack for Blu-ray. Very disappointed, I am.

  11. Ross

    I enjoyed the movie but they just can’t capture what the original trilogy has. However the PQ was incredible. The audio was good but could have been better.

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