Blu-ray Highlights: Week of November 6th, 2016 – Cubbie Fever

New Blu-rays this week bring us some classic samurai action, foul-mouthed grocery foods, a blind superhero, and an elderly Elvis battling a mummy. One of these has got to speak to you, right?

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (11/8/16)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Sausage Party‘ – Seth Rogen and his crew bring their filthy R-rated shtick to animated form with a raunchy parody of family-friendly kiddie cartoons. The trailer for this was hilarious, though it looked perhaps like a one-joke kind of movie. Nevertheless, it got strong reviews and made a nice chunk of change at the box office. (Reports that the animation studio underpaid its employees and treated them like garbage are disappointing, but it’s unclear whether Rogen himself was aware of it.) Target has an exclusive SteelBook for the Blu-ray. A 4k UHD version is also available.

Morris from America‘ – A 13-year-old American boy who dreams of becoming a rapper experiences culture shock when his father (Craig Robinson) moves them to Germany for a job. In many ways a standard issue Sundance crowd-pleaser, the coming-of-age tale was largely praised for its performances and heart, even if it was criticized for following familiar beats.

Indignation‘ – Ang Lee’s frequent screenwriting and producing collaborator James Schamus makes his directing debut with a period piece about a young man struggling at a Christian college in the 1950s. Along with Ewan McGregor’s ‘American Pastoral’, this is the second Philip Roth adaptation of the year. It was generally better received than that one, though our Phil wasn’t quite alone in loathing it.

Phantom Boy‘ – The French animators behind the Oscar-nominated ‘A Cat in Paris‘ deliver a weird genre mash-up about a hospitalized young boy whose spirit can leave his body and fly around the city, an ability that he uses to help an injured police detective break up a crime ring. The film is part supernatural fantasy, part film noir, and entirely whimsical in a way that’s distinctively French. This might prove a refreshing change of pace if you’re getting tired of the usual DreamWorks and Pixar animated offerings, but don’t care for the crass humor of the aforementioned ‘Sausage Party’.

UHD

Sony throws its ‘Sausage Party‘ in 4k, as the only day-and-date Ultra HD release this week. However, Lionsgate also upgrades all four ‘Hunger Games‘ movies to the new format in an attempt to squeeze a few extra bucks out of the recently-concluded franchise.

Catalog Titles

The famed ‘Lone Wolf and Cub‘ samurai series, which comprises six films made between 1972 and 1974, was previously released on Blu-ray by AnimEigo back in 2012. Criterion justifies its reissue by promising new restorations of all six movies plus improved subtitle translations and new bonus features. The Criterion set also includes ‘Shogun Assassin’, the English-dubbed 1980 re-edit of the first two movies. When this collection was first announced back in August, Amazon erroneously listed it with a price of just $39.99 (60% off the $99.99 MSRP). The listing was quickly adjusted, but my pre-order has remained in place at the original price and I’m hopeful that Amazon will honor it. If you weren’t so fortunate (or if that doesn’t pan out after all), the Barnes & Noble 50% Off Criterion sale is active through the end of the month, so it’s still possible to get a pretty good deal on this.

Decades after having faked their deaths, Elvis (Bruce Campbell) and JFK (Ossie Davis) wind up at the same nursing home, where they must work together to fight off an evil Egyptian mummy dressed like a cowboy from stealing the other elderly patients’ souls. That is genuinely the premise of ‘Bubba Ho-Tep‘, a bizarre and hilarious horror comedy from ‘Phantasm’ director Don Coscarelli. Scream Factory finally brings this cult gem to Blu-ray

Warner Bros. is reissuing the three ‘Rush Hour‘ movies into a “Trilogy” bundle packaged with an ugly Pop Art cover. Is this really something anyone needs to own? I feel like this is a trick to con fans of the first two movies into buying the third one that nobody likes.

Meanwhile, the Warner Archive unearths the 1977 film adaptation of Neil Simon’s ‘The Goodbye Girl‘, featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Richard Dreyfuss.

Sony takes Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver‘ for one more spin around the block with a 40th Anniversary Edition. Be aware that this title is also rumored for a possible Ultra HD Blu-ray release in 2017.

In case you didn’t get enough of a horror fix at Halloween, Arrow Video offers up the 1984 college sorority slasher ‘The Initiation‘, starring future ‘Melrose Place’ babe Daphne Zuniga.

Television

Marvel’s ‘Daredevil‘ series has already run two full seasons on Netflix, but Disney is just now getting around to issuing the first on Blu-ray. Other TV product this week includes the first season of Showtime’s ‘Billions‘, the first season of AMC’s awful ‘Into the Badlands‘ (is that really coming back for a second?), the third season of Starz’s ‘Black Sails‘, and the belated eleventh season of the British sci-fi parody ‘Red Dwarf ‘.

My $.02

I expect ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ to arrive from Amazon shortly. Even at the discount price, that’s enough money for me to spend this week. However, I’m also looking forward to picking up ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’ when I get a chance.

What do you have your sights on?

10 comments

  1. Chris B

    I plan on ordering about 9 CC titles tommorow night from the B&N sale so that’s kinda tied up my movie buying capital at the moment. I am interested in the Lone Wolf and Cub box set though, I may be able to scrounge some extra cash before the end of the sale and pick it up. If not, there’s always July.

    Sausage party looks hilarious, will rent it in the next few weeks most likely.

    I’ve never seen Bubba Ho-tep but the premise is undeniably amusing. I may blind-buy it in the future if it drops to a reasonable price.

    Brett Ratner?! Deal lord no! 😉

  2. Csm101

    I should be getting Lone Wolf and Cub this week or very near future. Sausage Party could be a rental or blind buy at a reasonable price. Daredevil, Bubba Ho-Tep, Kickboxer: Vengeance, at reasonable prices, wishlist. I’ll have to check out a trailer for Phantom Boy, as the premise sounds interesting.

  3. Scott David

    Taxi Driver 40th for me as I never picked up the first release and The CC Del Toro trilogy. I’v never seen Cronos but love the Devils Backbone and Pan’s Labrinth.

  4. William Henley

    Sausage Party sounds like a fun rental.

    As much as I love Red Dwarf, I am not popping down $40 for 6 episodes. I honestly don’t know what they were thinking.

  5. Barsoom Bob

    I don’t know why it was never spoken of much here on this forum, but Daredevil season 1 was top draw excellent and I am well over most of these super hero movies and shows. Gritty, tough, well acted and Vincent D’onofrio stole that show with his Wilson Fisk. One of the best things I thoroughly enjoyed last year.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      The way Netflix dumps entire seasons of its shows at once for binge-watching makes them difficult to cover in this blog. Our traditional episode-by-episode recaps don’t really work if readers might be several episodes ahead of the reviewer. And if we wait to watch the whole season before writing about it, the show will seem like old news by the time we publish anything.

      This is not just a challenge for us, either. Some studies have shown that the social media buzz for Netflix shows is much less sustained than for a traditional series that releases new episodes week-to-week.

      The Netflix binge-watch model obviously has its benefits, but it has some disadvantages as well.

      I only recently caught up with the first season of Daredevil, long after everyone else had finished it. I haven’t started the second season yet, much less Jessica Jones or Luke Cage.

  6. EM

    I’m in for seeing Phantom Boy. Thanks for writing it up, Josh. It piqued my interest a while back (summer?) when I caught trailerage online, but I lost track of it until this blog entry reminded me.

  7. Deaditelord

    It’s been years since I’ve seen the Lone Wolf and Cub films so I’m quite excited to get the new Criterion box set. I’ll probably end up buying Sword of the Stranger too. Sausage Party I want to rent first to see if it is worth owning.

  8. photogdave

    I’ll have to re-watch my Bubba Ho-Tep DVD to see if I want to upgrade. My memory says it was a bit dirty and had contrast problems.
    For anyone who hasn’t seen it, you have to watch it twice. Once normally and once with the the Bruce Campbell as “The King” commentary. Much like Tropic Thunder it might actually be funnier (if that’s possible) with the commentary!

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