Baywatch

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of August 27th, 2017 – I Won’t Let You Out of My Sight

Hollywood is learning a hard lesson this year that not every corny old TV series can be successfully rebooted as an R-rated comedy spoof. If you didn’t bother to see the latest attempt in theaters, will the prospect of slo-mo T&A jiggling in 4k be enough to entice you to watch it at home?

I feel like there are better outlets for that sort of thing, personally.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (8/29/17)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Baywatch‘ – Let’s not pretend that the original ‘Baywatch’ was ever some sort of pinnacle of television artistry. It was a dumb, lowbrow show, and seems ripe for parodying in the ‘Jump Street’ vein. I can also get behind casting Dwayne Johnson, a star with a good-natured approach to winking through goofy material, in the David Hasselhoff role. Unfortunately, it seems that director Seth Gordon (of the middling ‘Horrible Bosses’ and poor ‘Identity Thief’) didn’t have the chops to pull it off. Reviews and viewer word-of-mouth were scathing, and the movie flopped at the box office. (Much like the original ‘Baywatch’, it was a bigger hit overseas than at home, but probably not enough to justify sequels.) Paramount offers the movie on Blu-ray and UHD, with an allegedly collectible SteelBook at Target. Strangely, the filmmakers neglected to shoot the picture in 3D or convert it, despite the obvious benefit that might serve this material.

Born in China‘ – Awwwww, baby pandas are so CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE!!! DisneyNature continues its ongoing mission to compile beauty shots of adorable animals being adorably adorable in the most adorable ways. My boys are 3-years-old. That’s probably the right age for this.

My Cousin Rachel‘ – You’ll have to remain patient for that ‘My Cousin Vinny’ sequel you’ve been waiting for. Instead, Rachel Weisz (no doubt cast largely because her name matches the title) stars in a Daphne Du Maurier story that had previously been adapted with Olivia de Havilland in 1952 and Geraldine Chaplin in 1983. In the period piece mystery, Sam Claflin plays a young Englishman who plots revenge against the new wife he believes murdered his cousin, only to develop feelings for her instead. Critics were mostly supportive, though many criticized the plotting as too transparent.

UHD

The buxom beauties of ‘Baywatch‘ bound up the beach in the brilliant clarity of 4k resolution.

The minimalist animation style in the continuing series of DC Comics animated features hardly seems detailed enough to benefit from Ultra HD, but Warner Bros. tries out ‘Batman and Harley Quinn‘ on the format anyway.

Catalog Titles

Did you miss owning ‘The Lion King‘ the last time it was released on Blu-ray in 2011? Hakuna Matata! (It means no worries!) Disney is pulling Simba and friends out of the vault for a Signature Collection reissue. Exclusives include a SteelBook at Best Buy or a Digibook at Target. Sadly, none of them has the 3D version of the movie. The film’s two direct-to-video sequels are available again as well.

If Amazon’s release dates are accurate, Arrow Video is having an uncharacteristically busy week with four new titles. John Frankenheimer’s crime thriller classic ‘Ronin‘ was in dire need of a do-over given how poor the old MGM Blu-ray was. Alongside that are Mario Bava’s 1962 Viking swashbuckler ‘Erik the Conqueror‘, the 1982 slasher ‘The Slayer‘, and a box set of Kinji Fukasaku’s ‘New Battles without Honor and Humanity‘ trilogy.

Legendary filmmaker John Huston’s second-to-last feature, the Oscar nominated 1985 hitman comedy ‘Prizzi’s Honor‘, arrives on Blu-ray in what is unfortunately reported to be a pretty lousy disc from Kino.

Following last week’s release of ‘My Blue Heaven’, the Warner Archive serves up another middling Steve Martin comedy in the form of ‘The Man with Two Brains‘.

Olive Films caters to fans of Ang Lee with the director’s early comedy ‘The Wedding Banquet‘.

Orson Welles’ 1946 noir thriller ‘The Stranger‘ was released on Blu-ray twice before – once in 2011 by Virgil Films and then in 2013 by Kino, neither of which was said to be entirely satisfying. This time, Olive gives it a go. Whether the new copy provides any improvement remains to be seen.

Television

We have another onslaught of TV releases this week as all the studios want to prime you for the upcoming new seasons. We get the third seasons of ‘Gotham‘ and ‘Star Wars Rebels‘, the fourth seasons of ‘Black Sails‘ and ‘The Originals‘, and the fifth season of BBC’s ‘Ripper Street‘. Additionally, Lionsgate delivers ‘The White Princess‘ (the miniseries follow-up to ‘The White Queen’), while Olive goes swimming with the first two seasons of the classic family drama ‘Flipper‘.

My $.02

I’m eager to replace the cruddy old Blu-ray of ‘Ronin’. I might also put ‘The Wedding Banquet’ on my wish list.

This may be a slow week, but does anything have your attention?

31 comments

  1. Bolo

    I only ever had ‘Ronin’ on standard def, so I am excited to see this film given quality presentation on blu ray. I’ve read that this edition is very good. Looking forward to this one.

    I’ll also pick ‘Hell Up In Harlem’ at some point. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I remember it being a good Blaxploitation flick.

    I enjoyed ‘My Cousin Rachel’ in cinemas, but don’t feel the need to buy it.

    ‘Born in China’ and ‘Baywatch’ might get rentals from me.

  2. Csm101

    Amsterdamned is of very high interest, but I keep reading there are compression issues and may get recalled. Maybe I’ll hold out. Batman and Harley Quinn might be fun. Ronin will be a wishlist item. How could one not be interested in a movie with a title like Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties??!! The Slayer will go as a wish list item as well. I didn’t know Erik the Conqueror was Mario Bava, so now I’m kind of interested.

    • Lou Bitgood

      Yup……that panties movie got my vote for title alone. I hated Baywatch the show but I’m still gonna check out the movie. Preview made me smirk.

    • ‘Amsterdamned’ is a hilarious movie!! It’s a so-bad-it’s-good movie in the best tradition. My favorite line is: ‘They were taking water ‘monsters’. Looks like the water ‘monsters’ took them.’ (The Dutch word ‘monster’ means ‘monster’, as in English, but also means ‘sample’, which explains the joke) I laughed out loud during that part, and I hope the English subtitles will do it justice. It’s a Dutch 80’s movie from Dick Maas (who also made ‘The Lift’, ‘Flodder’ and the acclaimed video clip to Golden Earring’s ‘Twilight Zone’). Check it out, HDD readers!

      Oh, and, the entire cast is Dutch (because it’s a movie from the Netherlands), but the monster is played by the only Belgian in the cast. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

  3. Chris B

    I’ll pick up The Slayer at some point in the future. I’ve had the old Ronin disc sitting on my shelf unopened for years so I don’t really feel the need to upgrade right away….one day though.

      • Actually surprised with how little the companies may actually make off of catalogue releases. Take Twilight Time. 3,000 copies at $25 each equals $75,000. It will take time to sell their entire stock, if they ever do. Then you have the costs of production (packaging, shipping, pressing discs, 2k or 4k scanning and restoration, cleaning up the audio, subtitles, disc authoring). Then they have to secure licensing for the movie itself. Very little profit is made. The profit probably comes from selling the HD remasters to television and cable operators.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          Twilight Time doesn’t do any film scanning or restoration. The original studio does all that and licenses the a/v master out. Twilight Time also does not get streaming or TV rights to the titles they release on Blu-ray. Disc only. The studio keeps distribution rights on other media.

          Your ultimate point about how little profit there is in catalog titles is entirely correct, though.

  4. Deaditelord

    Definitely going to pick up Ronin if it comes out this week. I just gave away my old blu-ray of the Lion King (and most of my other Disney blu-rays too) to my niece now that she is old enough to enjoy them, but I plan on holding off repurchasing any of them until they come out on UHD. I’ll probably rent Batman and Harley Quinn and (against my better judgment) Baywatch at some point too.

      • Chris B

        I saw that to but I’m holding out for a standard release next year. I want to own the movie but 49.99 USD is a bit much. Oh the cult of steelbooks strikes again!

        • Csm101

          For me it’s not about the steelbooks, although I really like the new artwork. I just want the whole package. I’m worried the standard might omit some of the extra goodies. Plus I hate waiting. I don’t blame you for holding out though, those Canada shipping charges are pretty brutal!

          • Deaditelord

            No I didn’t know that Suspiria was up for preorde. Going to put my order in right now. Thank you for mentioning that Csm. Suspiria is one movie where I want all the extras.

  5. Really excited to see The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I remember this as a child being shown as a television special (as an adult, I am assuming they took 4-6 episodes and strung them together for a prime time show), but I haven’t seen it since I was 6.

    Star Wars Rebels is a maybe for me. I am way behind in disc viewings, so I may end up picking it up in a couple of years used.

    Nothing else interests me this week.

  6. photogdave

    Hoping you guys will be able to review Ronin. I’ve had to make do with my DVD for too long. Nothing beats the combo of Frankenheimer and cars! Hopefully they’ve kept his excellent commentary from the DVD.

  7. Lord Bowler

    I’ve pre-ordered ‘Batman and Harley Quinn (Best Buy Exclusive)’ (Warner Bros.) already, but I’ll also be picking up:

    Ronin: Special Edition’ (Arrow) – I own this on DVD, but an eagerly looking forward to this release.

    ‘Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three’ (Disney/Buena Vista)
    ‘Black Sails: The Complete Fourth Season’ (Lionsgate) – Looking forward to completing the Black Sails series.

    At some point, I may start to pick up the Bob Hope Blu-ray releases including ‘Son of Paleface’ (Kino), I’ve not seen them in years and loved Bob Hope’s Road movies and the recently released Abbott & Costello films.

  8. JudasCradle

    I’d watch MAN WITH TWO BRAINS a million times more than the hugely overrated RONIN.
    Actually, I think RONIN is crap.

  9. Deaditelord

    Discotek mentioned last year that they were going to switch to SD-blu-rays for older, niche TV shows since the extra space on blu-ray would allow them to release these shows at a much cheaper price point than a multi-DVD box set. While I have mixed feeling about this, Discotek has been very up front about which shows will be in SD-Blu-ray by mentioning it in their press releases and on their website. They also charge a lot less for SD-Blu-rays too. For example, their Lupin the Third Part II: Collection 1 DVDs costs $65 on their website and it only contain episodes 1 – 40. Wonderful Wizard of Oz is all 52 episodes at $35 (less on Amazon).

    I’ve generally been happy with the quality of Discotek’s releases on DVD and blu-ray. I also don’t remember hearing complaints about the video quality on their SD-blu-ray release of Samurai Pizza Cats which was also 50+ episodes so I would be surprised if the Wonderful Wizard of Oz didn’t look better than previous releases… assuming there were any other releases.

    • Deaditelord

      I do agree that 50 episodes on one blu-ray does seem to be a bit much. I would think 30 – 40 episodes would be the limit. That’s what they are going to do with their Fist of the North Star SD-blu-ray releases.

    • William Henley

      I will check it out when I get home tonight. You are right, the price is pretty good, and it is a smart move on their part, as it allows them to release entire niche series at a low price. I just did not realize that when I bought the disc. The only other “SD on Blu-Ray” disc I have is Angry Video Game X, which has his first 100 episodes, all in SD, on a single disc (which, as most of his episodes are under 10 minutes, makes sense).

      I have put up to 25 hours of SD material on a single Blu-Ray disc myself. Its a great way to archive old home movies.

    • ‘SD on Blu’ has been a thing for quite some time now. There are concert films (Freddie Mercury Tribute, Rolling Stones) and a lot of older TV shows, too. Especially Germany loves to press ‘SD on Blu’. I have bought the complete Back to the Future cartoon series from Germany. All episodes on one disc! The American release was on 3 DVD discs.

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