Blu-ray Highlights: Week of September 1st, 2013 – Is That Tornado Full of Sharks?!

We welcome you back from the long weekend with good news. The dog days of August are finally over. For better or worse, we have now officially entered… the shark days of September!

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (9/3/13)?

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New Releases

I don’t generally go for the deliberately crappy “mockbusters” that production house The Asylum makes for the Syfy Channel, but ‘Sharknado‘ is just so sublimely ridiculous on every level that my defenses were powerless to resist it. I offer no excuses for this. I watched the Syfy broadcast and cackled with glee the whole time. My favorite bit: When one dipshit character explains the “science” behind his plan to blow up the shark-filled tornadoes by tossing pipe bombs into them from a helicopter. Oh, you goofballs, you got me this time. You got me. Would I buy the movie on Blu-ray? Probably not, although if you’re so tempted, you might want to hold out for this German import scheduled for November that will feature a half-assed, quickie 2D-to-3D conversion. If you’re gonna do this thing, you gotta go all in.

If you’re looking for something a little more mainstream that was presumably produced with somewhat competent production values, the biggest release of the week is ‘Now You See Me‘, the action comedy in which a group of stage magicians pull off big crime heists. Reviews for this were all over the map. Shannon makes a case for it in his Blu-ray review (linked above).

From Up on Poppy Hill‘ is the latest animated film from Japan’s Studio Ghibli. This one is scripted by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his son Goro Miyazaki. The latter’s ‘Tales from Earthsea’ was not particularly well received, not even by his father, who was very critical of his son. Presumably, they patched up their differences in the meantime. Critical response for ‘Poppy Hill’ was more favorable, with a consensus that it’s worthy of the Ghibli label even if it’s not one of the studio’s great classics.

Does anyone actually like Rob Zombie’s movies? He keeps making them, so I guess people must keep paying to see them. His latest is ‘The Lords of Salem‘, about which I could not give even a single damn.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has starred in no fewer than five movies this year, mostly of middling to poor quality. The fact that I’d never even heard of the crime drama ‘Empire State‘ probably doesn’t bode well for it.

The indie scene brings us a host of recent film festival titles. In ‘Arthur Newman‘, Colin Firth has a mid-life crisis and fakes his own death, only to fall in love with Emily Blunt. (Who wouldn’t?) I have trouble buying Julianne Moore as a small town spinster. Apparently, so did everyone else, because her comedy ‘The English Teacher‘ received mainly negative reviews and did no business. Michael Shannon plays a 1980s hit man in the true story bio-pic ‘The Iceman‘. Finally, the documentary ‘Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie‘ delves deep into the history of the controversial loudmouth tabloid TV host.

Catalog Titles

The Fugitive‘ was one of the earliest releases on the Blu-ray format, and suffered a pretty crappy video transfer at the time. Warner Bros. finally rights that wrong with a newly remastered 20th Anniversary Edition. I’m sure that a lot of people are more excited about this than I am, but I’ve never understood the fanaticism for the movie. While it’s an adequately competent suspense thriller, I’ve never found it anything special. Its 1994 Best Picture Oscar nomination baffles me.

When Warner released the 1946 noir classic ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice‘ on Blu-ray last year, the studio originally announced that the 1981 remake with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange would come out at the same time. Apparently, that disc was postponed and is only now hitting the format. The remake, which was scripted by David Mamet and directed by Bob Rafelson, was excoriated by critics back in the day, but has some admirers.

If you didn’t buy the so-called Limited Edition Gift Set of Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical epic ‘The Ten Commandments‘ when it was released in 2011, you have another chance now with the Ultimate Collector’s Edition re-release.

Universal continues to break out titles from last year’s massive (and expensive) ‘Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection’ to standalone releases. The latest is ‘Marnie‘.

It seems to me that Jim Carrey’s goofy ‘Ace Ventura‘ comedies would make a perfect candidate for a value-priced double feature disc. Instead, Warner wants to bilk fans with separate releases, mistakenly assuming that there will actually be some demand for ‘When Nature Calls’. Expect to find both of these in Best Buy bargain bins shortly.

Shout! Factory offers up the cult favorite ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie‘.

Horror fans have a lot to look forward to this week, including Hammer Films’ ‘Dracula: Prince of Darkness‘ (starring Christopher Lee), Mario Bava’s ‘A Bay of Blood‘, and the Stephen King short film omnibus collection ‘Creepshow 2‘.


As if all of that weren’t enough, the TV-on-Blu slate is bursting with new box sets, including the final season of ‘The Office‘, the fourth season of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘, the third season of Syfy’s ‘Haven‘, ‘Spartacus: War of the Damned‘ (which is the third season of the Starz network’s ‘Spartacus’), the second season of ‘Person of Interest‘, and the first seasons respectively of ‘Revolution‘, ‘Da Vinci’s Demons‘ and ‘Sinbad‘.

Whew! That is a whole lot of new Blu-ray releases. And yet, honestly, nothing on that list really compels me to an immediate purchase. Are you more excited for something this week than I am?


  1. T.J. Kats

    Picked Now You See Me at redbox a few minutes ago. Not picking up anything now but I’m a sucker for Idle Hands so I might pick it up some time for under $10.

  2. William Henley

    We, Without Wings sounds interesting. I will have to look and see if its on the Funimation channel – if I can get it working. Opened my Roku last night and half my channels were not working, and some disappeared all together. Boo!

    Ace Ventura is a maybe. If I can find it at the bargain bin at Wally World under $10, i will go for it.

    Any one have any details on the 4 Movie collection of The Matrix? There is no details on the Amazon page. If it includes Animatrix in HD, I will jump on it. Otherwise, my 3 movie HD-DVD version is just fine.

    No surprise, but Yellowstone has been delayed AGAIN! October first. This makes, what, the fourth time? This company’s other releases have never hit a release date either. In fact, I think this company has only had one actual release come out – they had like half a dozen lined up, but all the others keep getting postponed.

  3. Freakyguy666

    When is Ace Ventura going to be reviewed? I suspect the video quality will be no better than the recent Liar, Liar release. If they did a better job then maybe it’s a buy.

    • Josh Zyber

      I don’t know who’s scheduled to review this, or if the studio has even bothered to send a screener, but I will point out that Liar Liar was a Universal release while the Ace Ventura movies are Warner. Universal’s catalog titles suffer bad DNR issues, but Warner doesn’t usually have that problem. (Warner’s issue is typically sloppy compression.)

  4. Lord Bowler

    Mostly TV this week:
    Person of Interest Season 2
    Spartacus: War of the Damned (final season)
    Haven Season 3

    And depending on what’s included, 4 Film Favorites: DC Comics Collection’ (Warner Brothers). I’m assuming this is from the WB Animation as the Batman set has already come out. If it’s Daredevil/Electra/etc. I’m not picking it up.

  5. Creepshow 2 yes. Sharknado as well- sorry, I just have to! Am considering though getting the German release as it also has the 3D version. Will see how the real reviews come though on PQ and whether it is just an on-the-fly conversion.
    Labor Day was a crap on tv day but somehow I watched, “Super Shark,” “Ghost Shark,” “2-Headed Shark Attack” and Sharknado. The effects and acting are so bad that it’s great entertainment!

    • Josh Zyber

      Most of these German conversions are shoddy affairs, about the quality of watching the movie with real-time 3D conversion turned on in your television. However, given the movie we’re talking about, that may not be inappropriate.

  6. Bryan

    I love “Haven” (and they’ve put out great sets for the previous seasons – lots of commentaries/extras/etc). I know a lot of people tuned out, but I thought “Revolution” got better and better as the season went on. Had to pick that one up too.

  7. August Lehe

    VERY impressed with Criterion’s To Be or Not to Be, which arrived this week.
    As usual, Criterion did an excellent job! I hope the Innocents (1961) and Lonely Are the Brave are in the works and coming SOON!

    • EM

      The Innocents would be quite cool. In the meantime, would you settle for The Haunting (1963), due October 15?