Blu-ray Highlights: Week of May 1st, 2016 – Wave of Regret

Sad to say, the most appealing Blu-ray release this week is a catalog title I mistakenly listed as available a few weeks ago. I suppose that’s good news for those of us who’d like to save our cash.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (5/3/16)?

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New Releases

The Fifth Wave‘ – Hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley, Chloë Moretz headlines the latest attempt to launch a YA franchise adapted from a moderately popular book series. This one’s about an alien invasion. It’s also reportedly terrible beyond description. Fortunately, the film’s disastrous box office performance will spare us from a string of sequels capped off by needlessly splitting the final book into two movies, as is the annoying trend today and was undoubtedly the studio’s plan. In addition to the standard Blu-ray, a UHD release is also available, the better to see all the flaws in its shoddy CGI effects.

Joy‘ – Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro once again reteam with director David O. Russell, and will presumably continue to do so for as long as he lands them Oscar nominations. Even though the film was not particularly well received by critics and was a box office flop, Lawrence indeed did somehow score a nom for the bio-pic about a woman who invents a fancy mop. Yeah, that’s really what the movie is about. You probably didn’t realize that because, like most people, you probably didn’t pay much attention to the movie at all. Also available in UHD, as if this were likely to entice you to adopt that format.

The Choice‘ – I choose not to watch movies based on garbage Nicholas Sparks novels. You would be wise to do the same. Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker were less wise to star in this one. The choice in question: Hunky boyfriend must decide whether to pull the plug on his comatose Barbie doll girlfriend. This will involve much praying.

Remember‘ – Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan has struggled unsuccessfully over the past two decades to live up to his early successes with ‘Exotica’ and ‘The Sweet Hereafter’. The director tries to pull a ‘Mememto’ here with a thriller about an elderly Holocaust survivor (Christopher Plummer) whose quest for vengeance against the Nazi guard that murdered his family is complicated by his worsening dementia and unreliable memories. That certainly sounds like an intriguing premise, but the movie was strongly criticized for some implausible and poorly thought-out plotting.

Emelie‘ – Sarah Bolger is the Babysitter from Hell in a horror thriller that has some surprisingly decent critics’ reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but a much poorer audience score both there and among IMDb voters. Color me skeptical.

Anesthesia‘ – Actor and occasional director Tim Blake Nelson charts a trajectory direct from film festival to Redbox with an intersecting-lives ensemble drama in the vein of ‘Crash’. Reviews were unkind.

Janis: Little Girl Blue‘ – The tragically short life of Janis Joplin is profiled in a documentary directed by Amy Berg (‘West of Memphis’) and narrated by musician Cat Power.

Catalog Titles

I’m not sure whether the disc was pushed back or we simply had the date wrong on our site’s release calendar, but Amazon currently says that Mike Nichols’ adaptation of Edward Albee’s searing marital drama ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?‘ is actually scheduled for May 3rd. (I previously announced it for April 12th.) It’s a great movie and worth waiting for.

I already had some uneasiness with the way that ‘American Sniper‘ lionized a man whose real life wasn’t as black-and-white as the Hollywood bio-pic depicted it. That problem is compounded by the Chris Kyle Commemorative Edition double-dip, which shamelessly exploits the man’s death by throwing some of his home movies into the supplement package. I’m sure that this is all the work of the studio marketing department and that Clint Eastwood had nothing to do with the new release, but the whole thing feels distasteful to me.

As if to tie-in with that, Warner Bros. has also dug up two of Eastwood’s lesser movies, ‘City Heat‘ from 1984 and ‘True Crime‘ from 1999.

In time to promote this summer’s much-belated sequel, Fox has given ‘Independence Day‘ a new 4k remaster for the 20th Anniversary Edition. If you want to go all-out, the lamely-titled Attacker Edition gift set comes with a toy spaceship. (Do the aliens in this series really not even have a name, and “Attackers” is the best anyone has come up with to call them?) Be aware that a UHD Blu-ray is scheduled for release next month, in case you’re inclined to wait for that.

Also from Fox is an unwanted Extended Edition double-dip for the inane Friedberg/Seltzer spoof ‘Vampires Suck‘. In what way would adding more footage to this cinematic travesty be desirable to anyone?

Kino has licensed the classic noir ‘A Kiss Before Dying‘ (the 1956 version with Robert Wagner, not the inferior 1991 remake with Matt Dillon) and the late-career Charles Bronson action flick ‘Assassination‘. The latter is really only memorable as the last movie Bronson made with his wife Jill Ireland before she passed away.

Repackagings

Criterion’s standalone edition of ‘Easy Rider‘ is a breakout from the 2010 ‘America Lost and Found: The BBS Story‘ box set. The movie had also previously been released on Blu-ray by Sony, from which Criterion licensed the same video master.

Unfortunately, Paramount’s new 30th Anniversary Limited Edition SteelBook for ‘Top Gun‘ is the same disc first released in 2008 with a crummy, overly-processed video transfer. The SteelBook doesn’t even bother to throw in the 3D conversion from 2013.

Universal has a new bundle of all seven ‘Fast & Furious‘ movies, as well as a peculiar collection called ‘Ted vs. Flash Gordon‘, which pairs up both of Seth MacFarlane’s talking-teddy-bear comedies with the goofy space epic that’s referenced as a running gag in them.

MGM tosses ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Quantum of Solace’, ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Spectre’ into a box for the ‘007: The Daniel Craig 4-Film Collection‘.

Television

Mill Creek’s Complete Series box set for the dopey 1980s action drama ‘Airwolf‘ claims to have “All 79 Episodes in High-Definition.” That would include even the lamentable fourth season, which transitioned the show from CBS to the USA network with a complete overhaul of the cast and a drastic reduction in budget. If I’m not mistaken, that season was shot on standard-def video and will have to be upconverted, whereas the first three could be remastered from film elements. I watched this show religiously when I was 12 and its ear-worm theme music still pops into my head randomly even to this day, but I can’t imagine revisiting it now.

I wouldn’t be surprised if TNT’s ‘The Last Ship‘ winds up being for the kids of today what ‘Airwolf’ was for my generation. It’s kind of dumb, is what I’m saying. At its best (including the penultimate episode of Season 2), the show is rousingly fun anyway. At its worst (including the finale of Season 2), it’s kind of dreadful.

My $.02

I had intended to buy ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ when I thought it was released last month, but a lack of funds curbed my purchases. That disc is still on my wish list. Beyond that, this week is kind of a bust for me. (I already have ‘Easy Rider’ in the ‘BBS Story’ box set.)

Do you see anything to your liking?

15 comments

  1. Tom

    What was Airwolf’s top speed? I didn’t think anything of it as a kid, but now I wonder how a helicopter could get to any part of the planet in less than a commercial break?

      • Deaditelord

        I feel like you are asking questions that the makers of Airwolf never intended a person should ask. It’s kind of like wondering how David Banner had an endless supply of clothing and shoes considering that all he carries around is that tiny gym bag (or was it a backpack?).

      • Airwolf was easily Mach 1.9 from what I remember with rewatching these on Netflix. The camera broke away as the needle passed that point. Refueling – Well, we have seen mid air refueling on several episodes. Laughably the refueler told the guys on the plane he just refueled a chopper and they all thought he was on drugs or something. But as we can speculate, Santini probably set up a fuel depot in the cave afterwards anyway.

    • William Henley

      Well, if the Enterprise can get from Earth to Vulcan in 20 seconds, and Earth to Kronos in a few minutes, and if the Millennium Falcon can get from one star system to another in just a couple of hours with a top speed of 1.5x light speed, Than surely a helecopter with a top speed of 1.9x the speed of sound can get around the planet in 5 minutes!

    • EM

      Having been to Disneyland many times, I think I have the answer:

      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small, small world

      • Timcharger

        I wasn’t certain you were commenting on how
        Airwolf got around so quickly, or adding to Josh’s line about:
        “its ear-worm theme music still pops into my head randomly
        even to this day.” Small World and Airwolf themes, that’s a
        lethal combination.

  2. Csm101

    I feel like I beat the system for once by holding out for the extended version of Independence Day for only 9.96 at Amazon. I don’t even like the movie very much, but maybe watching it on blu after all these years will bring out more positive feelings. Maybe it’ll look and sound good. I would also like to purchase a little slice of low budget 80’s cheese in the form of Steele Justice in the near future.

  3. Deaditelord

    Yet another poor release of a catalog title from Paramount with Top Gun. Is it just me or does Paramount not do any work on their catalog releases? It seems like they have almost zero interest in releasing catalog titles unless they contains the words “Star Trek” and when they do, they almost never take the time to do things like improve the transfer, offering compelling extras, etc.

    • Bolo

      Back when my local videostore was around, the guy who owned it hated Paramount because he felt they just didn’t care about the home video market. Even with standard def DVD (when home video was at its commercial peak) they were incredibly slow to get many of their beloved classics available, and when they would it was in the barest of bones editions.

  4. Lord Bowler

    I’ll be picking up:
    ‘Independence Day: 20th Anniversary Attacker Edition Gift Set’ (20th Century Fox) & ‘American Sniper: The Chris Kyle Commemorative Edition’ (Warner Brothers)

    I don’t have Top Gun on Blu-ray yet, so I may grab the ‘Top Gun: 30th Anniversary Edition (Limited Edition SteelBook)’

    For TV, I may pick up ‘The Last Ship: The Complete Second Season’ (Warner Brothers) and for pure nostalgia ‘Airwolf: The Complete Series’.

  5. Well, not on the top of my list but 5th Wave didn’t look all that bad to me. It’s a wishlist item I suppose, as UHD would be my future, why not the combo pack?
    Independence Day – coming via Zavvi Steelbook. Will Fox get my $$ though with the 4K release?
    Wishlist: City Heat, Easy Rider, The Messenger, Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (will certainly watch it somehow first, no repeat of buying another Birdemic!!!) Trailer Trauma 2, True Crime, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, and lastly, having not seen the original release am considering Vampires Suck. I generally like the parody/spoof movies that come along.
    In reality the wish list has a bunch of weak items so this week will not cost me much at all.

  6. William Henley

    I wonder if Airwolf got delayed, or if they just did not press enough copies. I’ve had it preordered for months, and my estimated delivery date with Amazon Prime is between May 23th and June 8th

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