Strap yourselves in, folks. I told you September looked like a good month for Blu-rays. From major new blockbusters to awesome cult movies, this week could be a wallet-buster.
‘Captain America: Civil War‘ – Superhero movie fans may not have cared for the Batman/Superman brawl this year, but they sure ate up the Cap vs. Iron Man dust-up. Featuring most of the ‘Avengers’ characters aside from Thor and Hulk, the film is the biggest box office smash of the year so far (worldwide) and scored great word-of-mouth from both critics and audiences. The Blu-ray is available in both 2D and 3D, plus a SteelBook (with both versions) exclusive to Best Buy.
‘The Conjuring 2‘ – After conquering the world with ‘Furious 7’ last year, director James Wan scales back a little with a sequel to his 2013 horror hit. Made for twice the budget of the original, the fact that the follow-up only did about the same amount of business may be seen as a disappointment. However, it was still solidly profitable enough to justify more sequels in the future.
‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping‘ – Andy Samberg’s spoof of Justin Bieber and similar vapid celebrities looked like good, goofy fun in the trailers. I’m surprised that it bombed so badly. Are people over Samberg, or have too many years of shitty Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell movies burned people out on these wacky ‘SNL’-style comedies? Perhaps everyone just agreed that it’s better to wait for this sort of thing to show up on Netflix.
‘De Palma‘ – Filmmakers Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow interview their idol, Brian De Palma, for a feature-length profile tracing the ups and downs of the director’s very prolific career. This is said to be a pretty fascinating and insightful look at the film industry and De Palma’s own mercurial personality, but it seems like a missed opportunity to shoot the whole thing as a simple talking-head interview when the movie’s subject is famous for being much more inventive than that.
You got the touch! You got the power! YEAH!! Forget that Michael Bay crap, ‘The Transformers: The Movie‘ – the gloriously silly 1986 animated feature – is finally available on Blu-ray in North America. (It was released overseas quite a while ago.) My review pretty thoroughly details why this is such a momentous event. You can really dare to be stupid and get a SteelBook copy.
Conveniently timed to coincide with the ‘De Palma’ documentary, Scream Factory pulls the director’s campy 1992 thriller ‘Raising Cain‘ out of obscurity. This has never been one of De Palma’s better movies (the plot is downright idiotic), but it has some fun and inventive set-pieces that only he could have staged. The Blu-ray gives us both the theatrical cut and a new Director’s Cut that rearranges the order of scenes to how they were originally written in the screenplay.
Fox is using the 30th anniversary of ‘Aliens‘ to repackage James Cameron’s sci-fi action classic in a new edition with some art cards and a comic book. Expect the video and audio quality to be the same as what we’ve had for years, but I believe the disc comes with one new featurette.
Also celebrating its 30th anniversary is Rob Reiner’s adaptation of ‘Stand by Me‘. (Remember when Rob Reiner made good movies like this? What happened to him?) I can’t find any details on how (or if) the new Blu-ray differs at all from the 25th Anniversary Edition, which makes me suspect it’s going to be the same thing with different cover art.
Four years after releasing an Essential Collection of its Classic Monster franchises, Universal finally follows through with complete runs for both the ‘Frankenstein‘ and ‘The Wolf Man‘ lines. Of course, this means that fans who already own the previous box set (or the breakout standalone editions from it) will wind up with duplicate copies of the first film in each series.
Remaining in a horror mood, Universal also has an 8-film ‘Hammer Horror Collection‘ box set that contains the titles ‘Brides of Dracula’, ‘The Curse of the Werewolf’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’ (1962), ‘Paranoiac’, ‘Kiss of the Vampire’, ‘Nightmare’, ‘Night Creatures’, and ‘The Evil of Frankenstein’.
Movies in the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise are notorious for being reissued time and again in countless home video editions. Lionsgate offers yet another new copy of ‘Evil Dead 2‘. Someone who’s a bigger fan of the franchise than I am will have to tell me what this one offers that earlier Blu-rays didn’t.
Synapse first unveiled a limited edition SteelBook of Dario Argento’s ‘Tenebrae‘ back in February. That version appears to be out of print, but a standard keepcase edition is now available.
Olive has more classic horror with scream queen Barbara Steele in 1962’s ‘The Horrible Dr. Hichcock‘. Shifting gears, Olive also tries to sort out ‘Yours, Mine and Ours‘ in the 1968 Lucille Ball comedy.
1980s B-movie icon Tim Thomerson gets a lot of love this week with ‘Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn‘ (restored to the original 3D) from Shout! Factory and ‘Trancers III‘ from Full Moon.
Kino makes a stop at the ‘Road House‘. No, not the Patrick Swayze macho cheesefest – the 1948 film noir with Richard Widmark and Ida Lupino. Also from Kino is Fritz Lang’s 1922 silent crime thriller ‘Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler‘.
New limited editions from Twilight Time include the Jane Fonda/Dolly Parton/Lily Tomlin working-girl comedy ‘9 to 5‘, Al Pacino in the racing drama ‘Bobby Deerfield‘, Donald Sutherland in the spy thriller ‘Eye of the Needle‘, Charles Bronson in both the cop thriller ‘Murphy’s Law‘ and the Western ‘From Noon Till Three‘, and Fred Ward in the corny action flop ‘Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins‘.
Criterion tells ‘The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum‘ in the classic Japanese drama from director Kenji Mizoguchi.
Criterion’s (Blu-ray only) reissue of the 25-film ‘Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman‘ saga is currently the same price on Amazon as the Blu-ray + DVD edition from 2013. That may mean that you get fewer discs for the same money, but it also means you get a streamlined package without the useless DVD clutter.
Finally, the Warner Archive digs up the Doris Day musical ‘Love Me or Leave Me‘.
TV releases this week include the fourth season of ‘Longmire‘ and the ninth season of ‘The Big Bang Theory‘.
No doubt, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ will burn up the sales charts this week. I have the SteelBook edition on preorder.
I’ve already reviewed a screener copy of ‘Transformers: The Movie’, but – as a fool unwise with his money – I’ve also ordered the SteelBook of that.
‘Raising Cain’ is a guilty pleasure of mine and I’m curious to see the Director’s Cut. I’m also interested in the ‘De Palma’ documentary, but may wait for that one on Netflix.
I never got around to buying the prior, very expensive ‘Zatoichi’ box set, so I fully expect the new one to sit on my wish list for a long time.
How many new Blu-rays will you buy this week?