I hope the Easter Bunny brought you a lot of good candy over the holiday weekend, because he didn’t bring many new movies on Blu-ray. Thankfully, some of the week’s catalog titles and 4k upgrades look promising.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Destroyer – Nicole Kidman demonstrates her range as an actress by playing someone who is… gasp!… ugly. This required her to slather on a mountain of latex prosthetics. The rogue cop thriller from director Karyn Kusama received some praise for Kidman’s performance, but less for the plot built around it. Audiences decided that they had no interest in seeing Nicole Kidman play ugly and skipped the movie.
Escape Room – Thinking it’ll be a fun game, a bunch of idiots get locked into a maze that’s really trying to kill them. Now they must work together and solve the clues to survive. Of course, most of them are going to die anyway. The biggest names in the horror flick’s cast are Deborah Ann Woll from True Blood and Tyler Labine. The movie was made on the cheap and easily turned a healthy profit despite negative reviews that its target audience was never going to read anyway.
Hal – I mentioned this documentary about late film director Hal Ashby earlier this month, but the release was pushed back a few weeks.
The Blu-ray edition of Alien first released in 2009 was pretty excellent aside from two issues: a teal-and-orange color makeover and some cropping on all four sides of the frame. Early reports claim that at least one of these (the zoom-in) and possibly both have been corrected on the Ultra HD remaster. Best Buy has a SteelBook.
Marvel continues to upgrade its catalog with new 4k editions of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. These also get SteelBooks at Best Buy.
Finally, The Witch (or The VVitch, as the posters and other artwork insist on spelling it) casts its spell on UHD. No metal case for this one, unfortunately.
The Criterion Collection finds A Face in the Crowd this week. I just can’t imagine why the label thought Elia Kazan’s 1957 drama about a con man’s rise to political power might resonate with today’s audience. It’s quite a mystery…
Allllll righty, then. Sony reissues Jim Carrey’s 1994 big-screen breakthrough Ace Ventura: Pet Detective for its 25th anniversary, and does the same for its quick-turnaround sequel Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls even though that one’s only 24-years-old.
Albert Brooks’ 1981 charmer Modern Romance is a very different style of comedy entirely from rubber-faced Jim Carrey, but also comes to Blu-ray from Sony.
I saw the Willem Dafoe/Mickey Rourke suspense thriller White Sands in the theater back in 1994, but the only thing I can remember about it is that I’m pretty sure the entire movie was shot with a Stedicam. That’s not much of an endorsement, I’m afraid.
Also from 1994 is the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee Farinelli, a Belgian period drama about an 18th Century castrato opera singer. Although officially classified as a bio-pic, the film’s historical authenticity regarding its real-life subject was called into much question. Cool costumes, though.
Kino offers a Vincent Price two-fer with 1940’s The House of the Seven Gables and 1970’s Scream and Scream Again. The latter was formerly a Twilight Time title.
The ninth season of Showtime’s Shameless marks the exit of stars Emmy Rossum and Cameron Monaghan. However, William H. Macy will be back for Season 10. He and his wife have a lot of legal bills to pay.
I’m interested in the 4k edition of Alien, but I’m going to try to hold out for a box set down the road. The third and fourth movies in the series need remastering more than the first two, anyway.
A Face in the Crowd goes on my Criterion wish list.
Does anything look good to you this week?
I pre-ordered the new Alien disc since the price was so low and it’s one of my all-time favorite movies.
I’ve recently upgraded tp the UHD format and since big superhero movies aren’t my thing I’ve been busy grabbing up any catalog titles that pique my interest in 4k.
I’m interested in picking up The Witch as well although I already have the standard blu-ray. Will wait for reviews to decide if it’s worth it. Will E be getting a chance to review that one for the site Josh?
I’m not in charge of disc reviews and I don’t know whether Lionsgate sent a screener, but E. is on the calendar as having requested it.
I have Alien 4k on the way and I’ll try to hunt down Winter Soldier and Civil War uhds tomorrow after work. I’m looking forward to checking out the Atmos tracks on those. I’ve never owned the Ace Ventura movies so I’m definitely interested in picking them up.
I’m very curious whether Civil War has a variable aspect ratio like the 3D Blu-ray or is constant 2.35:1 like the 2D Blu-ray.
The early word is that the aspect ratio is fixed, unfortunately.
Not “unfortunate” for me. 🙂
At first I thought I’d wait for a whole ‘Alien’ box set, but the series is well past the tipping point as far as the ratio of good movies to movies I will never watch again goes. I actually didn’t even bother seeing the last one at all.
Good point. All I want is a box set of the first four, but Fox would probably insist on cramming Prometheus and Covenant in with them.
My money says you’ll cave before that happens lol. Seriously though, I think the disc is what? $14 on Amazon? We know you too well Josh, resistance at that price is futile.
Aliens 3 and 4 I will never watch again.
Prometheus was at least interesting and worked as a sci-fi flick, Let’s put it this way – it was better than I was expecting, given how bad the previous couple of movies in the franchise were. That said, it wasn’t great, and I doubt I will ever watch it again.
I had completely forgotten about Covenant – I haven’t seen it yet.
Truthfully, I am good with having just the first two movies. The only ones I have on Blu-Ray were Alien, Aliens and Prometheus 3D, and before that, I just had the first two on DVD, and the first two on VHS before that.
So yeah, as long as they release Aliens as a stand alone as well, I am good.
The only new release I’m buying this week is Alien (4K). I’d prefer a box set, but I’m assuming the others — or, at least, Aliens — aren’t coming any time soon.
I’m planning on re-purchasing all the MCU titles, although I’m not in an enormous rush since I’d prefer to re-watch them in release order.
I also have Justice League vs. the Fatal Five coming on Ultra HD Blu-ray today.
I am torn on the MCU – I actually really like Captain America, but I am so burned out on superhero movies / television shows. I did watch Deadpool and Logan, because they were so different, and quite enjoyed them (actually have all 3 of those on 4k). But then I look at my Wonder Woman 4k and Batman v Superman and Man of Steel discs and am like “is today the day I am going to watch these?” and reluctantly say “nah, not in the mood”.
But I do REALLY like the Captain America movies. I might give in and pick them up.
Really doubt there is an Alien box set in 4k anytime soon with Disney taking over the Fox catalog and James Cameron having to approve disc releases.
You’re absolutely right. There’s no chance that an Alien box set is coming, any time soon. Prometheus and Covenant are already on 4K, and with the whole Disney/Fox/Cameron obstacle that you alluded to, it’s simply not in the works.
In for Alien 4K, The VVitch 4K. Other titles of interest… The Land Unknown, Scream & Scream Again, Tito and the Birds, Rottentail.
I believe Disney has said that they would continue to use the 20th Century Fox for R rated releases like they did for Touchstone Pictures. On the other hand, Disney has pretty much mothballed Touchstone Pictures as far as R rated films are concerned (I can’t recall the last R rated movie they’ve released) so I am a little worried that they will do the same thing to Fox.
Anyway, since I don’t see a box set coming any time soon, I went ahead and bought Alien in 4K. May buy the first Ace Ventura movie once it hits the bargain bin.
Even if they continue to make R rated Fox movies they still barely support catalog remasters at all. A few slip through here and there but they are very stingy about it. It’s not even a disc thing as they don’t remaster them much for streaming either. Disney just don’t care about catalog stuff unless it’s a super classic. Even then they sometimes don’t, like 20,000 Leagues.
If they let Fox Home Video continue with some autonomy for a while we might see some stuff, but I still wouldn’t be on Aliens since Cameron would have to work on it and he puts that stuff off forever.
This is a high profile series that has always brought in the bucks on home video. There are going to be more new entries in this series under Disney; and Cameron has expressed enthusiasm for returning to the series in some capacity (like he’s doing with ‘Terminator’). So if Disney is going forward with this series and Cameron is trying to rebuild enthusiasm for it, I don’t think there will be a lot of holdups on getting Cameron’s old film out on 4K. Disney might not be the most interested in home video and 4K restorations, but I think this one represents an obvious return on investment.
According to another review site, the 2016 Blu-Ray was mastered from a 4k scan. I am sure the color timing was done in 4:4:4 at that time. As Cameron has already approved the 2016 version, I see no reason why that could not be released in 4k HDR without needing further input from Cameron as the master and teal color timing is already there.
I guess you missed Elia Kazan’s subtext about a Southern Huey Long-style populist DEMOCRAT in A FACE IN THE CROWD.
But, TDS people gonna TDS.
A con man is a con man under any name or pretend allegiance, and the gullible fool who buys what he’s selling is always a gullible fool.
Knowledge of Elia Kazan, knowledge of Huey Long, and you must know very well that Southern Democrats at that time were pre-Civil Rights Act shifting that political landscape for generations. But with all this knowledge, yet you would buy what he’s selling and attend his university. I guess the best con jobs need targets with some knowledge.
But, I do think you got the acronym slightly mixed up. T with pornstars gonna have STDs.
“Also from 1994 is the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee Farinelli, a Belgian period drama about an 18th Century castrato opera singer. Although officially classified as a bio-pic, the film’s historical authenticity regarding its real-life subject was called into much question. Cool costumes, though.”
Haha, so very true. Apologies for that.
“Apologies for that.”
Because Julian wrote and directed it! 😉
Haha. I like to share the blame 😉
Alien 4K for me this week…will pick up the Captain America titles once they hit $15 or lower.
They never will, Shannon. Disney doesn’t drop prices. E V E R! It’s not happening. The lowest you’ll ever see the Cap titles is $20 – $25.
They’re not too tough to find on eBay for cheap, even a couple weeks after release.
For instance, you can get Mary Poppins Returns on Ultra HD Blu-ray — sealed, with slipcover, digital copy code, and all the discs — for $15-$16 shipped (and likely with no tax) from a bunch of reputable sellers.
Disney Movie Rewards has carried Thor: Ragnarok and The Avengers on UHD BD — so you could get ’em for free if you have enough points! — and hopefully they’ll expand that to other MCU 4K titles soon enough.