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Blu-ray Highlights for October 23rd, 2012 – Four Score and Seven Vamps Ago

In this week’s Blu-ray releases, we learn that not all politicians are blood-sucking monsters – even if most of them are. Also, Tyler Perry puts on a dress (again) while Channing Tatum rips all his clothes off.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (10/23/12)?

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New Releases

With a title like ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter‘, you should know what you’re getting into. Nonetheless, the movie proved to be fairly divisive during its summer theatrical release. Here at HDD, Aaron thought it was a blast, while Luke thought it was a piece of crap. I haven’t seen it, but I know that director Timur Bekmambetov’s movies often ride a fine line between good dumb fun and just plain dumb. Still, Abraham Lincoln killing vampires… in 3D! There’s got to be something there.

You can’t accuse Steven Soderbergh of being predictable. He’ll try just about anything. For his second new release of the year (after the action flick ‘Haywire’), the director turned his camera to the world of male strippers in ‘Magic Mike‘. Why would he want to do this? I supect that Soderbergh’s answer would be: “Why not?” The movie leaves me very conflicted. For most of his career, star Channing Tatum proved himself to be one of the worst young actors of his generation. Yet I genuinely liked him in the ’21 Jump Street’ movie, and I’d like to trust Soderbergh. This one’s a conundrum.

My feelings are much more clear about ‘Madea’s Witness Protection‘. I want nothing to do with Tyler Perry, least of all when he cross-dresses. I’ll pass, thank you.

From the indie world, Steve Carell and Keira Knightley bond in the apocalyptic rom-com ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World‘, which Luke raved about earlier this year. Also, Michelle Williams contemplates infidelity with a handsome stranger in ‘Take This Waltz‘, the second directorial effort from talented actress Sarah Polley.

Catalog Titles

In one of the most frustrating Blu-ray releases of the year, Warner Bros. has re-released ‘Blade Runner‘ in a new 30th Anniversary Edition that appears to be nearly identical to its earlier Ultimate Collector’s Edition, aside from new packaging and an additional photo gallery. Some of the contents that were previously contained on single-layer discs have been consolidated onto dual-layer discs instead, but are otherwise the same encodes as before. I suppose that those who missed-out on the older 5-disc set may find this more interesting than I do. As much as I love a good box set or Digibook (and this comes in both options), I’ll stand pat with the older set.

[Update: I'm now hearing that the "Workprint" cut of the movie has been re-encoded with AVC MPEG-4 compression and now has lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound, while the original theatrical cut and the "Director's Cut" are the same encodes as before with only lossy Dolby Digital audio. The "Final Cut" is also the exact same disc as before, with VC-1 compression and lossless Dolby TrueHD audio.]

Also a reissue is Alex Proyas’ dopey but entertaining Will Smith vehicle ‘I, Robot‘, which gets a 3D conversion because that’s apparently the thing to do these days. Our reviewer E. wasn’t much impressed with the results. He says that not only is the 3D unnecessary, the movie’s aspect ratio has also been compromised. That stinks.

On the arty side of things, the Criterion Collection brings us director John Schlesinger’s ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday‘ (his follow-up to Oscar winner ‘Midnight Cowboy’), and Kino unveils Stanley Kubrick’s little-seen first feature film, ‘Fear and Desire‘. That’s the one that Kubrick was embarrassed about and tried to suppress, but should provide some fascinating insight into the development of his early career.

Mill Creek continues to churn out cheapie double-feature discs, a few of which contain some interesting curiosities. This week brings us Dustin Hoffman’s flop gangster epic ‘Billy Bathgate‘ and Bruce Willis’ awesomely terrible erotic thriller ‘Color of Night‘. Too bad they’re not paired up together, but at least the co-features ‘Blaze’ and ‘Playing God’ aren’t too objectionable. I certainly wouldn’t waste a lot of money on any of these. Fortunately, because they’re from Mill Creek, that isn’t an issue.

Finally, MGM rolls out the remainder of its James Bond standalone discs, for those of you who didn’t want to shell out for the entire ‘Bond 50‘ box set.

Television

Honestly, I didn’t even realize that ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘ was still on the air. Is the cross-dressing, effeminate Hutt still in it? I have no patience for anything ‘Star Wars’ anymore. Warner rolls out the fourth season of that this week, and FUNimation delivers the first season of the cheesy Canadian ‘Buffy’ knock-off called ‘Lost Girl‘.

I’m very interested to take a look at the Kubrick title, but nothing else strikes me as a must-buy. What’s your take on the week’s release slate?

8 comments

  1. Alex

    You know, for how few releases Blade Runner got on DVD, it’s getting an awful lot of them on Blu-Ray. Is Warner Bros. trying to make up for lost time?

  2. HuskerGuy

    Nada for me this week. I’m playing catch-up on Halloween appropriate catalog titles that have been cheap lately – Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Beetlejuice, and Hocus Pocus. Last one is for the wife, I swear :)

  3. EM

    No purchases for me as yet. I’m interested in seeing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but it’ll likely be a little while before my name floats to the top of the loan waitlist. And I like The Penalty—a fun if convoluted melodrama starring gamut-running Lon Chaney (Sr.) as a criminal mastermind seeking revenge against the physician who amputated both his legs—but I wanted to read a review of the Blu before buying it.

  4. hurin

    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter must be the worst teal/orange offender ever. It would surprise me if there is a single shot in the movie without these two colors.

  5. Barsoom Bob

    I’m picking up the Doors Live. Their star is fading into memory somewhat now but they were one of the best groups. I will still go see Dr. Ray Manzarck to this day when ever he plays around. Mr. Mojo Risin’ (anagram) R.I.P.

    The one I’m curious about is Athena. This was the South Korean sequel mini series to the mini series Iris. Iris was just terrific. A 16 episode, hi-tech, action modern spy drama. This was up there with 24 and Homeland. One of the two male stars was Byung Lee from I Saw the Devil and G.I. Joe rise of the cobra. And two smokin’ hot female actress’

    Athenea was not as good, but was alright, but how do you condense 16 hours down to a two hour feature film ?

  6. William Henley

    Lincoln for me in 3D! Saw it at the theaters in 2D, and LOVED it! I went in there expecting a cheesefest, and was actually treated to a very well written, very well thought out, well directed and well acted action movie! I highly recomment it.

    I plan to pick up Tinker Bell in 3D soon. Is it wrong for a single male in his 30s to like Tinker Bell? I picked up the first when it first came out because I was hurting for HD discs, and fell in love with the series. It is like each one is better than the previous! I have been very pleased with these movies.

    Also will probably pick up Bond.

  7. JM

    ‘Take This Waltz‘ is the Sarah Silverman full-frontal movie?!?

    It kind of looks like a ‘Certified Copy.’

    I don’t know if I can take it.

    ‘Lost Girl’ is on the Q!