Blu-ray Highlights: Week of June 5th, 2016 – Animal Magnetism

A couple of exceptions aside, this May wasn’t the most exciting month for Blu-ray releases. June attempts to make up for that right away with a huge slate of new discs that should have at least a few really good ones in there.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (6/7/16)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Zootopia‘ – Disney Animation continues its resurgence with another huge blockbuster hit that was also the studio’s best-reviewed title in years. (Yes, even more so than ‘Frozen’ or ‘Wreck-It Ralph’.) The tale of a world run by zoo animals grossed just shy of $1 billion worldwide and looks like a shoo-in for next year’s animation Oscar. Remarkably, Disney has even finally broken its “No 3D on Blu-ray” policy for this one. If you’re a collector and can hold out for another month or so, a SteelBook edition will be released in the UK at the end of July.

Hail, Caesar!‘ – For as much as the Coen brothers love making weird, idiosyncratic comedies loaded with in-jokes and meta references to classic movies from Old Hollywood, they should know by now that audiences don’t pay to see them. As soon as I saw the trailer for this star-studded mystery spoof, I knew it would flop. Critics were mostly supportive, but other viewers were left confounded and largely hated it. Of course, that’s pretty much the same reaction that ‘The Big Lebowski’ got back in the day. Will this prove to be a cult classic like that, or will it slip into obscurity like ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’? If I have to guess, probably the latter. (For the record, I love ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’.)

Anomalisa‘ – For his second directorial effort (following the underrated ‘Synecdoche, New York‘), Charlie Kaufman, the eccentric screenwriter behind ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, continues to defy expectations and push the bounds of cinema conventions. The film is a touching yet surreal love story between two broken people, depicted entirely in stop-motion animation. To be clear, despite the medium, this is not a children’s movie on any level. In fact, it even features a graphic sex scene. Greeted to rave reviews and an Oscar nomination, naturally the film didn’t make a dime at the box office. I expect it will have staying power as the right audiences discover it over time.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi‘ – Michael Bay gets political. This does not sound like a good idea. Nor does the improbable casting of John Krasinski from ‘The Office’ as a badass action hero. The prospect of Bay turning another real-life tragedy into rah-rah jingoistic claptrap (which he’d already done with ‘Pearl Harbor’, but at least had 60 years of distance from that one) fills me with dread. Apparently, a lot of people felt the same way, as the movie was a box office dud that literally only made 5% of the gross of his last ‘Transformers’ flick. If you’re a Bay fanatic, Best Buy has a SteelBook exclusive.

99 Homes‘ – I could have sworn this was released back in February. I guess it got delayed. You can read my summary in that post.

A War‘ – The Danish director of the acclaimed ‘A Hijacking‘ turns his attention to the conflict in Afghanistan and the toll that military service takes on other aspects of a man’s life. The picture was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar last year.

Every Thing Will Be Fine‘ – Apparently, the typo in the title is intentional for some reason. Although his recent documentary work still receives plenty of acclaim, Wim Wenders hasn’t made a fiction narrative feature of any significance in more than two decades. His latest underwhelming effort is a mopey drama in which James Franco accidentally hits a child with his car and feels very bad about it for two hours. Reviews and viewer word-of-mouth were both brutal.

Kill Your Friends‘ – Nicholas Hoult goes ‘American Psycho’ with a British accent as a successful yuppie music producer who’s also a vicious serial killer. So that it doesn’t look like too much of a rip-off, the film moves the setting up from the 1980s to the 1990s. Nobody was fooled.

Mr. Right‘ – Anna Kendrick’s new boyfriend (Sam Rockwell) turns out to be a hitman on the run from his former employers. Once she discovers this, she finds herself drawn into his crazy lifestyle. I enjoyed this action comedy when it was called ‘Grosse Point Blank’. I also enjoyed the bromance spin on it in ‘The Matador‘. I’m not sure that I need a third version, though I hear that Kendrick and Rockwell have good chemistry together.

The Other Side of the Door‘ – Sarah Wayne Callies from ‘The Walking Dead’ trades zombies for ghosts in a schlocky horror thriller about a mother desperate to bring her dead son back to her. At a certain point, there’s a door, and everybody tells her not to open it. Why do I suspect that she might not listen to them?

Touched with Fire‘ – It’s “The Fault in Our Brains”! Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby are mental patients who fall in love at the hospital and then get all angsty about it. You already lost interest as soon as I said “Katie Holmes” so I’m not going to bother writing any more about this.

Double Dips

Just released on Blu-ray five months ago, Ridley Scott’s sci-fi survival drama ‘The Martian‘ is already being reissued in a new Extended Edition. The theatrical cut was highly acclaimed, a box office hit, and nominated for a bunch of Oscars. What needed to be added to it?

The labeling of Lionsgate’s so-called “Triple Feature” of ‘Apocalypse Now‘ is highly misleading. No, nobody ever made any sequels to the movie. The Blu-ray actually contains the theatrical cut, the extended ‘Redux’ cut, and the ‘Hearts of Darkness’ documentary. In other words, it’s a straight-up repackaging of the Full Disclosure Edition from 2010.

Ever since Paramount released all of the ‘Star Trek’ original crew movies on Blu-ray in 2009, fans have clamored for the Director’s Edition versions of the first two films. We’re still going to have to wait a while for ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’, because the visual effects for its added scenes were only rendered in standard definition at the time of its DVD release. However, you can finally get the longer cut of ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan‘ now. Despite its labeling, I hesitate to call this a “Director’s Cut” when it was originally created to pad out the length of TV airings and the director has said that the theatrical version was his actual director’s cut. Nonetheless, the added footage is interesting and doesn’t harm the film any. If the absolutely hideous package art puts you off, a better-looking SteelBook copy will be released in the UK next month.

UHD

This week sees the biggest push for the Ultra HD Blu-ray format to date. Available titles include ‘The Martian – Extended Edition‘ (with Dolby Atmos this time), ‘Creed‘, ‘In the Heart of the Sea‘, ‘Independence Day‘, ‘Ghostbusters‘ (the 1984 original), ‘Ghostbusters II‘, that garbage ‘Point Break‘ remake, and the IMAX documentary ‘Journey to Space‘.

Catalog Titles

Saddle up, Pardner. Warner Brothers is in a John Wayne frame of mind. Between the main Warner label and the Warner Archive Collection, the studio offers the Westerns ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon‘ and ‘Chisum‘, the cop thriller ‘McQ‘, and the WWII drama ‘They Were Expendable‘ – all starring The Duke.

Criterion adds to its growing collection of Michelangelo Antonioni works with his 1955 drama ‘Le amiche‘.

Mill Creek gets its hands on the surreal Dr. Seuss musical ‘The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T‘.

FUNimation celebrates anime filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda by releasing his acclaimed features ‘The Boy and the Beast‘ and ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time‘. The latter comes in your choice of a standard edition or a more elaborate “Hosoda Collection” package.

Television

HBO finally follows through with the SteelBook (plus Dolby Atmos) reissues of the third and fourth seasons of ‘Game of Thrones‘, as well as spinning up the first season of ‘Vinyl‘.

Paramount bundles all seven remastered seasons of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation‘ into a Complete Series box set.

In time to promote the new cable TV remake, Warner has restored the original 1977 landmark miniseries ‘Roots‘ in high definition.

Also available is the second season of Dan Harmon’s zany animated series ‘Rick and Morty‘.

My $.02

I wish I had enough money to buy everything that interests me this week, but sadly that’s not the case.

I have next month’s UK SteelBook edition of ‘Zootopia’ on preorder right now. I definitely also need to get the Director’s Cut of ‘The Wrath of Khan’, but I’ll probably wait for the UK SteelBook of that as well.

I currently have the first two season SteelBooks for ‘Game of Thrones’ and need to complete that set.

I never got around to buying the previous edition of ‘The Martian’, so the extended cut will go on my wish list.

I’ll start with rentals on ‘Hail, Caesar!’ and ‘Anomalisa’.

Whew! That’s a lot! What’s on your list this week?

40 comments

  1. I’m interested in seeing Hail Ceasar! And Anomalisa as rentals. Star Trek: TNG is probably my favorite tv series of all time so I’d love that box set. It’s a pretty big purcgase though so maybe I’ll ask for it as a Christmas gift…

  2. William Henley

    Well, June is gearing up to be expensive for me. I think in preorders alone, I have $150 in discs coming this week, and I want to pick up a couple of others.

    Zootopia 3D has shipped. Looking forward to watching that one this week.

    Rick and Morty has also shipped. For some reason, my DVR has only recorded like two or three episodes in season 2 – I am sure I have a schedule conflict somewhere. But in any case, the seasons are cheap, and they look fantastic, so no bother

    I am getting the Journey to Space 4k/3D set. Looks like they dropped the price to $30, which was a relief – up until a couple of days ago, it was sitting at $40

    Star Trek 2 The Directors Cut has also shipped

    On my to do list:

    Game of Thrones. Yes, you guys may remember me dishing the show several months ago. It is because, before then, all I had seen was the first episode, which was a freebee from Vudu, and the first episode had tons of nudity and sex, and I felt that was going to be the standard for the entire series. But then I read the books, and went back and finally watched Season 1, and am hooked. I got my parents hooked too. So I got the first four seasons, 3 and 4 are unopened, then I got the steelbooks of 1 and 2 used. I don’t have Atmos, but the 7.1 core track sounds much more immersive than the 5.1, so I am giving my original releases to my parents (who just have a soundbar). The sad thing about the steelbooks (at least seasons 1 and 2) is that you lost the companion books, but I am okay with that – a lot of that information is available in the coffee table books that I have.

    Also on my To Do list – Independance Day UltraHD, Ghostbusters 1 and 2 UltraHD, and The Martian Extended Edition (both 3D and UltraHD). Those are not day 1 buys for me though – I still haven’t watched The Martian (so might be able to get by with selling it as a new copy on Amazon as its still in its shrink wrap), and as for UltraHD, I don’t have a display yet or a player, but I intend to get one within the next year, and usually I start building a collection before I buy into a new format (started when I was 7. I bought my first NES game about 6 months before I got a Nintendo, bought my two SNES games a couple of months before I got the system, bought my first several DVDs almost a year before I got my first player, had my first Playstation games almost a year and a half before I got my first Playstation (well it was a 2). The only two formats I didn’t do that with was Blu-Ray and HD-DVD – my Blu-Ray came with 3 free discs, my HD-DVD came with eight free discs.

  3. -An American Disney 3D title, no less! 🙂 This movie crossed the 1 billion goalpost this weekend, by the way.
    -I loved ‘Hail, Caesar!’. A definite watch for those on the fence.
    -4K Ultra HD ‘Creed’ has been out for two weeks in Belgium (I bought it last week). Weird that its American release was apparently delayed or later than expected – especially since the movie’s theatrical release over here came more than three months after Creed’s American debut.

  4. Lord Bowler

    I’ll be picking up:
    ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Best Buy SteelBook)’
    ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Director’s Cut (Remastered in 4K)’
    ‘The Martian: Extended Edition’ I held off buying until this came out.

    And of the course the John Wayne on Blu-Ray entries at some point if not this week:
    ‘They Were Expendable’
    ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’
    ‘McQ’
    ‘Chisum’

    Eventually, I’ll upgrade my DVD seasons with: ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Series’ on Blu-Ray.

  5. Csm101

    Zootopia 3d for sure. I really dislike the regular cover for 13 Hours, which looks a lot like American Sniper, so I might actually pick up the steelbook from Best Buy. i’m very interested in Hail Caesar and Jouney to Space UHD/ 3D. I’ve always wanted to see the Hearts of Darkness documentary, but I don’t want to double dip my Apocalypse Now blu. Anomalisa is also a curiousty. I’ll either rent it or blind buy at a good price. 99 Homes has been out for a while, at least at Best Buy it has.
    If I were UHD ready, I’d want Ghostbusters, The Martian, and Independence Day.

  6. Deaditelord

    Zootopia 3D and Khan for sure, but likely nothing else this week since I’ll be preordering Scream Factory’s bluray release of The Thing and Twilight Time’s bluray release of Hound of the Baskervilles (the Hammer Films version with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee).

      • Deaditelord

        Sometimes they do which is why I check their website first before pre-ordering on Amazon. There isn’t a detailed list on what all is going to be included on the two disc Collector’s Edition, but Scream Factory did confirm that there would be new extras to go with the new transfer. I’m holding out hope for a comprehensive documentary.

        • Deaditelord

          I just checked and the pre-order page for The Thing isn’t up yet, but it is supposed to come out in September. One other thing I forgot to mention is that Shout/Scream Factory will often offer to ship pre-orders 2 – 4 weeks before street date if purchased through their website.

          • Deaditelord

            Hey CSM and Chris B, just thought I’d mention that the pre-order for The Thing is up on Scream Factory:

            https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-horror/the-thing-collector-s-edition

            Annoyingly, Scream Factory didn’t place a limit on the number of copies a single person could buy of the deluxe limited edition so they were all snapped up to be sold at triple the cost on ebay… err by collectors and fans. The regular collector’s edition is pretty nice though.

          • Csm101

            I appreciate the heads up but I’m just going to get it through Amazon. I AM VERY excited for this release, but I don’t need the extra slipcover or posters. With Scream and Shout titles I usually turn the bluray case artwork to reveal the original onesheet art (except for Pumpkinhead which I really like the new art). It’s not like I can’t watch my Universal The Thing until this new one gets here. I am very looking forward to how the new transfer will look and the bonus features. So did you preorder from Shout? Have you ever ordered directly from them before?

          • Deaditelord

            I normally use Amazon, but to my surprise I did end up pre-ordering the standard edition from Scream Factory since I like the poster. I actually would have pre-ordered the limited edition for the same reason which is unusual since I don’t normally like posters as extras. I’m not sure if this is my first time pre-ordering from Scream Factory or not. I may have pre-ordered Army of Darkness directly from them, but I don’t remember. In any case, I have bought a couple of Mystery Science Theater 3000 box sets directly from Shout Factory and had no problems.

      • Csm101

        A lot of times they include a free poster replicating the newly commissioned cover art. I think they come in limited quantities. Plus what Deadite said. I’m kind of getting excited for The Thing. I would love to know what the hell Rob Bottin is up to these days if they do a new documentary.

        • Yeah, I’m really stoked for The Thing TBH. I’ll keep an eye on the Scream website to see if they announce any pre-order exclusives. More studios should make a habit out of it, a lot of my friends who collect video games make a point of pre-ordering just for the exclusive editions thay are available to them.

          Speaking of Carpenter, did you hear that Shout! Is releasing his Elvis movie starting Kurt Russell on BD in August?

          • Csm101

            Yes I have. I’ve never seen it, but more than likely it will be a blind buy. It looks like Shout! is determined to release his entire filmography out. I don’t think it would’ve be too unrealistic to assume that Memoirs could get a release from them in the not too distant future. Did you see Midnight Run is getting a Shout! release in August as well? I thought I remembered you saying you really wanted this on blu.

          • Hell yeah, I’ll be grabbing Midnight Run on Day 1. One of my favorite movies of all time. I’ll be blind-buying Elvis as well, and I sure hope you’re right about Memoirs in the near future….

          • Deaditelord

            That would be okay by me. I’ve always wanted the deluxe treatment given to Big Trouble in Little China. I’ve actually never seen Carpenter’s Memoirs (that’s the one with Chevy Chase right?) or his Elvis film but have been meaning too. I missed hearing about Midnight Run. Love that movie. Add that to my growing number of pre-orders.

          • Yeah Id be cool with a CE of Big Trouble to. The transfer on the last disc looked great but the audio was lacking, it needed more bass for sure.

            Yeah, Memoirs is the one with Chevy Chase. Haven’t seen it in years but I remember really liking it as a kid, hopefully an announcement isn’t too far off.
            I wouldn’t be surprised if they even released an old TV movie he directed called “Someone’s Watching Me!” since Elvis was made for tv and they’ve already released Body Bags.

  7. Al

    Josh, I can confirm that ‘The Martian: Extended Edition’ 4K UHD does have an Atmos track. You said something a long the lines of “…supposedly, this time with a Dolby Atmos track.” I thought I would let you know that you can drop the “supposedly”, it’s true. 😀

      • Al

        You’re welcome. I was still dubious, right up until my copy arrived, earlier today. It was initially reported that it wouldn’t have Atmos, then reported that it would, but there never seemed to be an official confirmation either way. I was pleasantly satisfied, and after watching about half of the movie, and doing A/B comparisons with the original audio mix, I can happily tell you that it’s a substantial upgrade.

  8. itjustWoRX

    Wow…12 titles caught my interest this week. And while I’m a big proponent of skipping the theater and blind-buying, I couldn’t do 12 movies. So I did 5:

    Zootopia, Anomalisa, Hail Caesar!, The Martian Ext., and Mr. Right.

    “Kill Your Friends” and “99 Homes” are available to watch for free on Amazon Prime right now. And Josh—“99 Homes” was released earlier this year as a Best Buy exclusive.

    “A War” and “The Other Side of the Door” are on my watch-list, along with “A Confirmation,” “Touched With Fire.” and “The Funhouse Massacre.”

  9. “http://ultrahd.highdefdigest.com/32344/ghostbusters24k.html”

    Funny. When I read it like that, I thought it said ‘Ghostbusters 24k’. Some sort of golden anniversary disc.

  10. Csm101

    I have Someone’s Watching Me on DVD And wouldn’t mind a bluray upgrade. It came in a Twisted Terror collection which included Dr.Giggles, Deadly Friend, The Hand (I think Oliver Stone), Eyes of a Stranger and maybe another flick. Hey Deadite, do you own the Fox bluray for BTILC? I thought it had a pretty decent assortment of extras.

    • CSM and Deadite:
      I have the disc but I can’t remeber all the extras…didn’t it have a Carpenter/Russell commentary? Those are usually the highlight of the extras when those two are together. I loved their commentary for EFNY and The Thing one was pretty great to, a lot of the movie was actually shot in British Columbia where I’m originally from so that’s a thing.

      To be honest, BTILC is one of the lesser Carpenter’s IMHO. The narrative kind of drags in the middle, Dennis Dun isn’t a very good actor, and having Samantha from Sex and the City kind of takes me out of the movie a bit. I still like it though, the score is fucking great as always, which is why it needed more bass, the music is one of the highlights of the movie.

      • Deaditelord

        No CSM, but I just bought myself a copy on Amazon. Thanks! 🙂

        Chris, I have a soft spot for BTILC. Aside from horror, I really enjoy martial arts action films from Van Damme, Seagal, Jackie Chan, etc. and BTILC was my introduction to the genre when I was a kid. Come to think of it, BTILC was also my first John Carpenter film since I wasn’t allowed to see R rated movies back then and I wasn’t interested in Starman.

  11. Csm101 and Deadite,

    Scream factory just released details on The Thing Collector’s edition. Looks like if you pre-order from their site you can get a deluxe edition with 2 posters and an extra slipcover, plus you get it 3 weeks early before it’s street date. Just FYI

  12. Zootopia 3D has been purchased this week. I do plan on the double dip for the Steelbook. Why do such a thing? The steelbook is a collectible, or so I tell myself. Therefore the standard 3D set can be opened, viewed, DMR code redeemed and such.
    This week has a huge wish list, a few more important than others but nothing to rush right out and get.
    Star Trek II – The hideous artwork reminds me of the newest fad, adult coloring books. The cover is just dying to have the colored pencil set dug out. Will I get a Steelbook or hold out for the eventual UHD release? The few extra minutes probably doesn’t do much for the movie anyway. FWIW I did see this in person at Walmart on their new release End Cap, which is very odd for a catalog release. It is as hideous in person as it is online.
    Remaining wishlist items: 13 Hours – will I opt for regular or Steelbook? The Abandoned, Berserk Golden Arc Collection, Funhouse Massacre, Hail Caesar, Roots, Vinyl Season 1. UHD Combos – Ghostbusters 1 & 2, The Martian, Creed, Independence Day, In the Heart of the Sea.

    • William Henley

      Speaking of DMR, has anyone figured out how to redeem movie rewards from other territories? I buy most of my Disney movies from the UK now. I honestly don’t see why Disney cares – its not like its another company distributing the movies in the UK – if I bought it, why can’t I redeem them? I probably have more Disney discs from the UK than from the US.

  13. Csm101

    I picked up Hail, Caesar at Best Buy for 12.99. Not bad for a brand new release. Of course 13 Hours is on sale for 12.99, but not the steelbook which I got. I had a feeling that would happen, just not this soon.

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