Logan Noir

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of May 21st, 2017 – Paint It Black (and White)

Can you believe we’re expected to pay full price for a Blu-ray that leaves out all the movie’s colors? These Hollywood studios are getting to be real penny-pinchers. What’s next, are they going to forget the sound too?

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (5/23/17)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Logan‘ – Despite having neither ‘X-Men’ nor ‘Wolverine’ in the title, Hugh Jackman’s third solo outing as the indestructible mutant struck gold with both critics and audiences, becoming one of the biggest box office hits of the year. It’s also reportedly Jackman’s final appearance as the character (and Patrick Stewart’s as Professor Xavier as well). On disc, you have a choice of Blu-ray, UHD, and a host of retailer exclusives, including SteelBooks for both formats at Best Buy. (Sadly, the cover is ugly Pop Art garbage.) All of them include ‘Logan Noir’, a special black-and-white version of the movie that director James Mangold created because he saw George Miller do it for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and wanted to jump on that bandwagon early. Yes, don’t worry, the original color version is there too.

Get Out‘ – Perhaps the most surprising success story of the year comes from comedian Jordan Peele, who made his directorial debut with a legit horror movie that is not a spoof. A mixture of ‘Stepford Wives’ and ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ laced with race relations satire, the film was beloved by critics and, with a gross of almost $175 million against a tiny budget of just $5 million, is easily one of the most profitable pictures of the year.

The Great Wall‘ – Do you remember when Zhang Yimou was known primarily for delicate, humanist dramas like ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ and ‘Ju Dou’? Now he’s responsible for a bloated fantasy epic in which white savior Matt Damon protects medieval China from dragons. This seems like a terrible idea on many levels. Audiences in most parts of the world agreed, leaving it a terrible flop. On the other hand, the movie was a pretty big hit in China itself, where viewers were apparently less bothered by the accusations of whitewashing. In any case, it still lost a lot of money for the multiple studios that co-produced it. Universal is stuck distributing it on home video, and offers it on Blu-ray and UHD, but decided to skip 3D even though it played that way theatrically.

My Life as a Zucchini‘ – The whimsical title and cute stop-motion animation mask a dark story about a young boy who accidentally kills his drunken mother and winds up in an orphanage. But it’s also a comedy. The Swiss film was very acclaimed and even made the Oscar shortlist for Best Animated Feature this year. It doesn’t sound like it’s meant for kids, though.

XX‘ – A quartet of women directors contribute short films to an anthology horror picture with a female slant. I support the idea of this, but the execution is said to be a mixed bag.

Rock Dog‘ – He’s a dog. He plays rock music. The animated kids’ movie was produced by a couple of Chinese studios trying to break into the English-speaking market. Nobody was buying. It tanked in both in its home country and abroad. Do you really need to know any more about this?

I Am Heath Ledger‘ – The latest in a series of morbid TV documentaries profiling dead celebrities integrates extensive video footage the ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and ‘Dark Knight’ star shot of himself. The piece already aired on the Spike network, but also had a brief theatrical run and now a video release. Reviews called it poignant but superficial.

UHD

As mentioned above, ‘Logan‘ and ‘The Great Wall‘ premiere in 4k simultaneously with regular Blu-ray.

It turns out that Amazon listed a wrong date for the Ultra HD copy of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar winner ‘Unforgiven‘ last week. That disc actually comes out this week.

Catalog Titles

The Criterion Collection’s latest acquisition is ‘Dheepan‘, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The drama from French filmmaker Jacques Audiard (‘A Prophet’, ‘Rust and Bone’) explores themes of race, culture clash, and PTSD as a former child soldier from Sri Lanka seeks refuge in a Paris suburb, only to land in the middle of a different kind of war involving gangs and drugs.

Arrow Video describes the horror/action cult oddity ‘Wolf Guy‘ thusly: “Wolf Guy truly is one-of-a-kind, with [Sonny] Chiba in full effect as the part-man, part-wolf, all-karate action hero.” Umm… awesome? After that, Arrow stays in 1975 Japan for Kinji Fukasaku’s yakuza thriller ‘Cops vs. Thugs‘.

The Arrow Academy label is where Arrow delivers its more high-minded offerings. This week brings us the 6-disc ‘The Jacques Rivette Collection‘, containing several films from the French auteur. The contest listing is a little unclear on exactly how many or which movies are included, but the American edition seems to be pared down from a 16-disc (8 Blu-rays and 8 DVDs) copy released in the UK last year.

Members of the Disney Movie Club get exclusive access to ‘The Mighty Ducks‘ and its two sequels. Somehow, this doesn’t inspire me to join.

If you’ve got a hankerin’ to watch some old-fashioned dance hall girls kick their heels out over your head, the 3-D Film Archive has restored the 1953 musical Western ‘Those Redheads from Seattle‘ to its original three-dimensional glory.

My $.02

I would be very inclined to buy a SteelBook copy of ‘Logan’ if only the artwork on the SteelBooks wasn’t so hideous. As it is, I think I’ll wait until the title gets reissued in a better-looking SteelBook at some point in the future, even if it has to come from overseas. That will happen eventually, I guarantee it. In the meantime, I can suffice with a streaming rental. I’m also pretty eager to rent ‘Get Out’.

Are you more tolerant of this endless Pop Art fad than I am? What other titles will you get out to a store to buy this week?

20 comments

  1. Csm101

    I’ll most likely pick up Get Out this week. Logan is a strong second contender. I really want to see The Great Wall, but wonder if there are 3D options available overseas. I will look into that. Those Redheads From Seattle is also of high interest. I’m really falling behind on my vintage 3D titles. I hear the bluray that comes with the Unforgiven uhd is remastered, which makes me very interested. I will wait for a more reasonable price point. Wolf Guy sounds kind of fun. The description for XX seems cool, I’ll have to google a trailer.

    • Deaditelord

      CSM, there’s a listing for a 3D blu-ray release of Great Wall in the UK next month, but I couldn’t determine if it’s region-locked.

      • Csm101

        Yeah, I saw. Hopefully it isn’t region locked to B, but I’ll have to wait until someone who has it posts a little more about it.

  2. NJScorpio

    I’m interested in Get Out, but not as excited as I once was, because I feel like much of it has been spoiled for me (no matter how hard I tried to avoid it).

  3. Deaditelord

    I need to look at the differences between all the versions, but I’ll stop somewhere tomorrow for a copy of Logan . Hopefully, Unforgiven will show up tomorrow too, but I’m starting to wonder about that since I haven’t received a shipping notice yet. Great Wall and Get Out are definite rentals and I would be interested in streaming Wolf Guy if/when it becomes available.

  4. Lord bowler

    I’m picking up Logan (Steelbook) and Vixen (DCU).

    I will rent The Wall, just because I want to see it, no matter how bad the reviews were.

  5. Elizabeth

    The artwork for the Logan steelbook isn’t the “Pop Art” garbage. It was done by the artist who drew the “Old Man Logan” comic that this movie was based on.

      • Guy

        I like it…until you notice Logan’s head. It looks like there’s an original version that had him looking off to the left (his right), but someone rejected that because they wanted Old Man Jackman looking right at the buyer.

        • Ramzy

          I received the steelbook Logan today. Wasn’t a fan of the art in pictures, but it looks better to me in person. It helps that its a glossy steelbook.

  6. EM

    Ich bin ein Roboter! I preordered the Kraftwerk deluxe edition upon discovering it by chance yesterday. I usually would not buy so expensive a set (even if it does include a big book), but I had to—it’s as though I were programmed just to do…anything they want me to. I just hope the set includes both the international and German videos—I shudder to think about laying down the extra euros for an order from Amazon.de! (Business…numbers…money…people!)

  7. Guy

    I got the Wal-Mart exclusive for Logan this morning and it’s a little disappointing to me personally. The slipbox that the Blu-ray case and postcard envelope come in makes the standard artwork look really nice. That’s the positive. What I didn’t notice until opening the set is that the stills/promo art they used from Jackman’s nine appearances have been altered to be sepia-toned to varying degrees on the postcards.

    Looking online at articles the day the releases were detailed, the sepia was on the promo artwork the whole time. I just never noticed. It kills the coolness. Instead of celebrating Jackman’s run with the character with the aesthetic of each movie intact, they’ve Logan-ified them all. It’s a weird decision. But like I said, the slipbox looks nice and it was the same price as the standard Blu so no real harm.

  8. Barsoom Bob

    Need some clarification. Zavvi has Great Wall and future releases Skull Island and Ghost in the Shell in 3D specified as Region 2. Does that mean I am SOL and they won’t play here stateside ? Frozen and Rouge One were not a problem, why are we being denied these films in 3D ? Is there a way to get an existing Oppo 105 modified to region free ?

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Region 2 is a DVD designation. Blu-rays are either Region A, B or C. Unfortunately, retailers like Zavvi and Amazon frequently copy disc specs from the DVD edition. You should take them with a grain of salt.

      I can’t confirm the region status of these specific discs. Skull Island should be region-free. That’s a Warner Bros. title, and Warner almost never uses region locking on Blu-ray. I think it’s likely that the other two will be fine as well.

      OPPO Blu-ray players can be made region-free with an easy-to-install hardware hack that I wrote about here:

      http://www.highdefdigest.com/blog/oppo-region-mod/

      You can find that at JVB Digital or on eBay.

      http://www.jvbdigital.nl/jvb.asp

      Go for the D-I-Y option. There’s nothing to it. It only takes a few seconds to plug in.

  9. James Mckinnon

    I’ll go ahead and be the one that’s a sucker for the Logan Noir edition. I didn’t see the film in the theater, so, being a fan of B&W and having been underwhelmed by Mad Max Steel & Chrome or whatever, I decided to watch the Noir first, to let it be my first viewing of the film, to really give it a chance.

    It worked. I loved it in B&W, and watching it in color afterwards I was underwhelmed with the cinematography. I prefer it in black and white. But I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done about the advantage of “how I saw it first.” I watched Sling Blade in B&W the first time, years ago, on a malfunctioning tv and I play it with the color off to this day.

    Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of scoffing at the B&W trend kicked off by (wasn’t it?) Miller with Fury Road. I like it.

  10. James Mckinnon

    One other comment on the effects of seeing the film in B&W first. I watched it at 10:00 am yesterday in B&W and then in color at 7pm last night. Then as I was thinking about the movie (it’s such a heavy film) laying in bed, all the images in my head were in B&W, even though I’d just seen it in color and hour before.

    I dunno anything about how memory images work, but I thought it worth mentioning.

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