Blu-ray Highlights: Week of November 13th, 2016 – Call Me Fishmael

Prepare to get wet. In this very busy week for new Blu-ray releases, Pixar returns to the ocean to hunt for past glory. Meanwhile, the infamous Capt. Ahab may finally catch that whale he’s been after. Also available: jungle animals and spaceships in 3D, evil twins, time travelers, rock legends and more.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (11/15/16)?

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New Releases

Finding Dory‘ – After the failure of his live-action ‘John Carter’, director Andrew Stanton returned to the safety of Pixar and churned out a much-belated sequel to his biggest success, 2003’s ‘Finding Nemo’. While it’s true that Pixar’s increasing reliance on sequels and franchises is a disappointment for the studio that once prided itself on originality, most viewers and critics agreed that this one was, if not quite an equal to the original, at least a worthy follow-up. Unsurprisingly, it also made a ton of money at the box office this summer. In fact, it only trails ‘Toy Story 3’ as Pixar’s biggest hit. (Looking only at domestic totals, it actually leads the pack.) The movie’s available on Blu-ray in either 2D or 3D. Target has a SteelBook edition (2D only). If you got a preorder in before it sold out, the UK SteelBook from Zavvi has 3D and is essentially the same case, minus any text in the artwork. That one will be released at the end of the month.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years‘ – Ron Howard’s latest ‘Da Vinci Code’ sequel may have been a total bust this year, but his rock-doc about the early days of Beatlemania did pretty well in limited release and scored some decent reviews. The movie has been available for streaming on Hulu for the past month, but if you don’t subscribe to that (or are a dedicated Beatle fan and need a permanent hard copy), the Blu-ray comes out this Friday.

Catalog Titles

Perhaps the most interesting title in Twilight Time’s latest wave is John Huston’s 1956 adaptation of ‘Moby Dick‘, starring Gregory Peck as the obsessed sea captain. The movie’s Technicolor photography is famously difficult to capture on home video, but I believe I’ve read that MGM (the rights holder that licensed it out) put some work into doing it right on Blu-ray.

Twilight Time’s other new limited editions include: Robin Williams as a as a Russian defector trying to adapt to a new life in New York in ‘Moscow on the Hudson‘ (1984); Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld as murderous lovers on the run in ‘Pretty Poison‘ (1968); Susan Hayward as a woman on Death Row in Robert Wise’s true-crime drama ‘I Want to Live!‘ (1958); Tony Curtis as the notorious serial killer known as ‘The Boston Strangler‘ (1968); and Shelly Winters as a psychotically overprotective momma in the Italian giallo thriller ‘Gran Bollito‘ (1977).

After releasing their initial Blu-rays only in 2D earlier this year, Disney finally follows through with 3D Collector’s Edition double-dips for both ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ and ‘The Jungle Book‘. Interestingly, I’ve heard a lot of praise for the ‘Force Awakens’ 3D disc even though the theatrical 3D release was widely criticized for not making much use of the extra dimension.

The Criterion Collection last worked with Paul Thomas Anderson on a Laserdisc release of ‘Boogie Nights’ back in 1998. They finally collaborate again to bring his very underrated ‘Punch-Drunk Love‘ to Blu-ray. This is one of the few instances where Adam Sandler has made a serious effort to act, and actually proved to be pretty good at it. The movie is smartly tailored to exploit his usual comedic persona as a guy prone to serious rage issues. Unfortunately, when it didn’t make any money, Sandler retreated back to the goofy comedy and has only rarely attempted drama since.

Criterion’s other major release this week is the 1990 fantasy film ‘Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams‘, one of the final works from that legendary artist. And just in case you didn’t buy it either of the previous two times it was released, Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Breathless‘ gets another reissue. (It’s the same Blu-ray as before, just without a DVD in the package.)

Back in the Laserdisc days, Criterion had the rights to David Cronenberg’s ‘Dead Ringers‘, but the new Blu-ray comes from Scream Factory. The very creepy drama stars Jeremy Irons in a dual performance as identical twins who share a little too much. Although not explicitly horror, it’s very unnerving and is one of Cronenberg’s best films.

Meanwhile, Shout! Factory gives us Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich in the 1985 television adaptation of Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman‘, scripted by the playwright himself.

Warner reissues ‘Citizen Kane‘ for its 75th Anniversary, but don’t expect anything new if you already own it on Blu-ray. If that’s not enough of a masterpiece for you, the ‘Space Jam‘ 20th Anniversary SteelBook will surely be the slam dunk you’re looking for.

Newly extracted from the Warner Archive is ‘Time After Time‘, Nicholas Meyers’ ingenious mash-up of H.G. Wells, time travel, and Jack the Ripper.

Among the titles Olive Films has licensed this week, a few that caught my eye are the Powell & Pressburger WWII adventure thriller ‘One of Our Aircraft Is Missing‘, the 1995 period drama ‘Carrington‘ (which stars Emma Thompson and Jonathan Pryce and marked the directing debut of ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ screenwriter Christopher Hampton), and Jim Jarmusch’s 2003 ensemble comedy ‘Coffee and Cigarettes‘. As part of the standard Olive line, expect those to be sourced from dated video masters.

Movies fortunate enough to land in the Olive Signature collection should receive more care and attention. This week’s new inductees are Orson Welles’ 1948 adaption of ‘Macbeth‘ and the 1971 Western revenge thriller ‘Hannie Caulder‘.

Kino’s very expensive 14-disc ‘Buster Keaton Collection‘ bundles together 12 features and a collection of the silent comedy legend’s short films. More reasonably priced is the 2014 indie comedy ‘Fort Tilden‘, of which I’ve heard good things.

Looking for some straight-up horror? Arrow Video unearths ‘C.H.U.D.‘, the schlocktastic tale of Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.

Television

CBS Films may not want to spend the money to restore ‘Deep Space Nine’ or ‘Voyager’ to Blu-ray standards, but the studio offers Trekkies some small salve for that wound with the complete 1.5 season run of the 1973 ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series‘. As cheap and limited as the animation may be, the episodes are very nicely cleaned up. Fans of The Original Series should enjoy this.

Other new TV box sets include ‘Better Call Saul‘ Season 2, ‘Doctor Who‘ Season 3, ‘Game of Thrones‘ Season 6, ‘Red vs. Blue‘ Season 14, and the complete series of HBO’s ‘Looking‘.

Also, that ‘Nash Bridges‘ complete series box set I mentioned a few weeks ago got pushed back to this week. At least, Amazon currently claims that it will be released this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s delayed again.

My $.02

I’m currently working on review for ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series’. I also have the UK SteelBook edition of ‘Finding Dory’ on preorder.

Sadly, there’s simply no way I can afford all the other discs I covet this week. Among my most wanted are ‘Dead Ringers’, ‘Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams’ and ‘Punch-Drunk Love’. I’m torn on whether I really want to double dip on ‘The Force Awakens’ to get it in 3D.

A few others that will go on my wish list include ‘Moby Dick’, ‘Time After Time’ and ‘Macbeth’.

Is this as crazy a week for you as it is for me?

25 comments

  1. Csm101

    HOLY CRAP THIS WEEK IS EXPENSIVE!!! I’m picking up Star Wars 3D, Jungle Book 3D (glad I held out), and Finding Dory 3D. I really want Moby Dick from TT, but I’m waiting for a review or some screen caps. Hey Josh, I believe Synapse Films is also releasing Phenomena this week for 46 dollars, limited steelbook. I think they’ve started shipping. Deadite, let me know if you’ve received yours or at least shipping notice. I still need to order mine. I also want Dead Ringers and maybe one or two more B&N Criterion titles. Also, I think C.H.U.D. Isn’t out until next week. Maybe it got pushed back, but I think I saw most websites for an 11/22 release.

    • Bolo

      I ordered that ‘Phenomena’ blu. I got an email saying it would be shipped on November 15th when I ordered it, but nothing since.

      • Csm101

        Thanks Bolo, I’m hoping to put my order in before weeks end. I know sometimes they leave for the holidays and I’d like to get mine in before that.

      • Csm101

        You’re right. For some reason the link on bluray.com lists it at next week, but Amazon says it’ll be available tomorrow. Best Buy also has it listed as 11/25 which is a strange date. Anyways, good to know because I really want this.

    • Deaditelord

      I have not received a notice from Synapse that Phenomena shipped. I seem to recall Synapse missing their release date for Tenebrae so I’m starting to wonder if that’s going to happen here. Hoping I’m wrong.

      Outside of Phenomena, I’m in for The Force Awakens and The Jungle Book in 3D. Star Trek: The Animated Series is a likely buy too, but I’ll wait for Josh’s review before deciding. Dead Ringers I’ll grab when it goes on sale. I’m also curious about C.H.U.D., but I’d like to be able to stream it somewhere first since I’ve not seen it or the sequel.

      • Csm101

        Deadite,
        I forgot that Synapse doesn’t send shipping notices. I called and placed my order yesterday and according to the forums, customers are receiving copies already. If you have a usps account you can track your order.

        • Deaditelord

          That’s right, I forgot that Synapse doesn’t send shipping notices. Doesn’t matter now though since my copy showed up in the mail today! I haven’t seen Phenomena since Anchor Bay first released the movie on DVD many years ago so I’m looking forward to giving it a watch later tonight.

  2. Bolo

    Adam Sandler’s attempts at higher (or even middle) brow fare have not been well-received. I think ‘Spanglish’ did the best. But stuff like ‘Reign Over Me’ and ‘Funny People’ were shot dead in the water. I can’t really blame the guy for thinking nobody wants to see him stretch his legs.

  3. Chris B

    Punch-Drunk Love is my second favorite P.T.A. movie and I’ve been waiting for a blu ray release of it for a long time. However, given my current budget I’ll probably have to until the July B & N sale to pick it up.

    I remember watching Time after Time as a kid and loving it. I’m not really sure if it holds up today, but I’ll pick it up if the price is reasonable.

    I’m a bit of a fair-weather Cronenberg fan, some of his stuff is great while some of it
    is pretty overrated IMHO. I’ve never seen Dead Ringers though, and heard good things for years.

    All in all I can’t really spend any more money on movies this week. I just dropped 200 at B&N and I have a lot of Christmas ahopping for others still to do. Hopefully some of the many discs I want I’ll wind up getting as gifts on Dec. 25…

  4. William Henley

    This week was EXPENSIVE for me – I am glad I had the foresight to put all my preorders on the credit card rather than the Debit card.

    I got the Steelbook of Game of Thrones seasons 5 and 6. I think the Steelbook of 5 had a release date of Tuesday – I had ordered both months ago, and both arrived on my doorstep on Saturday, and both were shipped in seperate packages, so I can only assume Season 5 steelbook had a release of this week as well. If I remember correctly, people were complaining when season 5 came out that even though it had an Atmos soundtrack, there was no steelbook. So anyways, between the two, that was $100

    Then I had preordered Star Trek. so there is $37. BTW, Kudos to CBS for finally releasing a Star Trek series at a great price.

    I was one of those who was holding out for the 3D release of The Force Awakens, so that got shipped.

    And I have the 3D version of Finding Dorey coming in.

    So roughly about $200 in preorders.

    In addition, I will pick up Sailor Moon eventually (S was my favorite series). I also have interest in the Brahms and the Beethoven disc, but, good grief! Classical music blu-rays usually sell at a premium, but that is ridiculously high even for that. The reason for this is that the studios will sell exclusively through Amazon, and Amazon has no control over the prices, so you pretty much pay MSRP.

    The Jungle Book 3D I already have the UK version of.

    The Complete Bible Stories look tempting, but I am broke. I will hold out a few months, and maybe someone will sell them used for cheap

  5. Just a thought to anyone sort of on the fence about buying Finding Dory, it is $15 at Walmart this week.
    Anyway, I have the Steelbook coming from Target and of course in a Disney loves me fashion bought the 3D edition as well. I will likely just stow away the Steelbook and use the 3D combo set. Also bought Game of Thrones – But am very disappointed by the uber-lame cover art this go round. I am really interested in the Star Trek Animated Series and will likely end up with that by the end of the week. Do not really want to double dip on Jungle Book or Star Wars Force Awakens – the cover art for JB is so much better than the 2D set but that’s not enough to make me cave in (or is it?) Interested but not necessarily going to buy any time soon: Army of One, Bachelor Games, CHUD, Man on Fire, Moscow on the Hudson, Space Jam Steelbook. Also bought a dvd this week – Shout Factory released NYPD: Blue Season 11. They’re doing an excellent job on this tv show, was one of my favorites of the time and even in low-def these look much better than the European releases from years ago. Wish it was in HD but oh well.

  6. Chris B

    Just a heads-up for anyone who might be interested, Screen Archives has started a sale on Twilight Time titles on their website. It runs until Dec. 6 or of course “while quantites last”. Some older movies are priced as much as 75% off of the MSRP. I logged on last night and managed to grab a copy of Sexy Beast and Philadelphia, both for 7.95 a piece. If you’ve been waiting to pick up some older titles especially, now would be the time…

      • Chris B

        Yeah me neither, like I was saying to someone yesterday whoever does the marketing at SAE doesn’t seem to know their customer base that well. Otherwise they’d realize that most serious movie collectors are probably tapped out from the CC B&N sale that’s running this month. I’m hoping TT hosts it’s own sale next spring just like they did this year. I believe it ran for most of April…

        Crazy good deals on older titles though, when’s the last time you’ve seen 7.95 for TT blus? They seem to be getting more agressive with their marketing.

        I was really close to grabbing a copy of “At Close Range” to but it’s still 14.95….maybe next time…

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          Only one title from my wish list was $7.95: The Other. It was never a high priority want for me, but I grabbed it for the hell of it. Most of my priority discs were $22.95. I bought a couple but am going to hope for deeper discounts on the rest at some later sale.

          TT sent out a Low Quantity Alert for The Mechanic the other day. That one’s currently $14.95.

          • chris b

            Yeah the 3 titles I want most are regular price unfortunately, hoping for that spring sale at TT.com Glad I grabbed a copy of Sexy Beast though, it has now sold out.

          • EM

            Lovely price for The Other. I’d snatch it up too, if I hadn’t already gotten it at some sale or other. I don’t know if you’ve already seen the movie; if not, I hope you’ll like it. It’s a slow-burn chiller.

            Flicker Alley is also having a sale. The discounts are not so deep as you’ll find in the Twilight Time and Criterion sales, but I went ahead and picked up the new Blu/DVD combo of The Best of Cinerama.

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