Blu-ray Highlights: Week of April 6th, 2014 – Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold

Hobbitses, hobbitses, hobbitses… If you’re a fan of hobbits, or ghosts, or douchebag pop singers, this could be a great Blu-ray week for you!

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (4/8/14)?

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New Releases

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug‘ – Do you think Peter Jackson regrets his decision to expand his adaptation of one short book into three epic movies, given the reception that his first chapter of ‘The Hobbit’ received? For better or worse, he’s committed to it now. Despite its weird-sounding title, word-of-mouth has it that ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ is an improvement over its predecessor. Even so, it seems like even the biggest ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans have lost their enthusiasm for the prequel movies. Regardless, the theatrical cut of ‘Smaug’ is available on Blu-ray in both 2D and 3D versions (but no 48 fps, because Blu-ray doesn’t support that). By now, fans should be well aware that an extended edition re-release will follow later this year.

August: Osage County‘ – Speaking of movies with stupid titles, what a random assemblage of words this one has. I feel like there’s no point in watching it if I haven’t already seen “January: Tulsa” through “July: Chickasaw National Recreation Area” first. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts chew scenery furiously in the Oscar bait drama (apparently based on a popular stage play) about a gaggle of unpleasant women screeching at one another for two hours. Our Blu-ray reviewer David was kinder to the movie than pretty much any other published review I read of it.

A Field in England‘ – British cult filmmaker Ben Wheatley (‘Kill List’, ‘Sightseers’) delivers his strangest movie yet with this black-and-white tale about 17th Century military deserters scouring an overgrown field for buried treasure while high on mushrooms. A friend of mine is a huge Wheatley fan who has defended the film, but the general consensus seems to be that it’s a pretentious exercise in style over substance.

Grudge Match‘ –It’s Rocky versus Raging Bull as two over-the-hill, elderly boxers (Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro) stage a comeback fight. Nobody gave a crap when the supposed comedy was released to theaters. I doubt it will do much better on video.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones‘ – Reportedly, this Latino-flavored spin-off of the found-footage horror franchise is funnier than the previous four entries. Is that a good thing? If you don’t feel that this series has played itself out yet, a ‘Paranormal Activity 5’ is coming later this year.

Justin Bieber’s Believe‘ – BWAAA-HAAA-HAAA-HAAA-HAAA!!! Oh dear. What unfortunate timing that the latest promotional documentary about the former teen idol was released smack-dab in the middle of the little twat’s public meltdown. Go away, kid. Lock yourself away in one of your mansions with several million dollars worth of cocaine and stay out of sight for the next twenty years or so. That would really be best for everyone.

Best Night Ever‘ – Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, purveyors of numerous witless parodies (‘Date Movie’, ‘Epic Movie’, ‘Meet the Spartans’, ‘Vampires Suck’, etc.) try to broaden their artistic horizons with their first movie that isn’t just a scattershot spoof. Instead, it’s a straightforward ‘Bridesmaids’ knockoff. Reviews were no kinder for this than any of the other crap they’ve shoveled out. I read an interview with the directing duo last year, and what really saddens me is that they actually appear to be pretty smart guys. (One has a college degree in art and the other in history.) They’re just so incredibly cynical that they don’t care how terrible the movies they make are, because they know that they’re churning out a product to a market with very low standards. They’ve found a successful formula for making a lot of money while exerting an absolutely minimal amount of effort, and why would they want to screw that up?

Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses‘ – Do you remember that Danny Trejo exploitation flick about an elderly veteran who turns vigilante? No? Oh, well then, does the prospect of Danny Glover joining him in the sequel have any appeal for you? Still no? OK, moving on…

Nurse 3D‘ – If you’re putting down money to watch a movie called ‘Nurse 3D’, chances are that you already know what you’re in for. Paz de la Huerta from ‘Boardwalk Empire’ dons a slutty nurse’s uniform, which she frequently strips off, and also murders a lot of people – all in gratuitous 3D, of course. While you’d think that should be a recipe for grindhouse genius, the audience for the film was mostly unimpressed, largely due to the fact that de la Huerta never learned how to act. Even in a movie like this, that’s surprisingly more important than you’d expect.

Catalog Titles

This should be a pretty huge week for Twilight Time, assuming that all of its new discs are released on schedule. (The Screen Archives web site still says “The tentative street date is April 8th” at the time of this writing.) New titles available as limited edition discs are: Woody Allen’s ‘Broadway Danny Rose‘, David Lynch’s ‘Wild at Heart‘, Robert Zemeckis’ early comedy ‘Used Cars‘, the James Stewart vehicle ‘Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation‘, and the British sex farce ‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too!‘.

Are you creeped out by those recent Dove Chocolate commercials with the CGI Audrey Hepburn? I sure am. Perhaps the best remedy for that is to watch the real thing in her classics ‘Funny Face‘ or ‘Sabrina‘. I watched ‘Funny Face’ on streaming the year before last and the video quality wasn’t great, so I hope the Blu-ray for that one has been remastered.

Finally, if just one musical isn’t enough for you, Olive Films offers up Doris Day and Frank Sinatra in ‘Young at Heart‘.

To be frank, the new day-and-date titles don’t do much for me this week. On the other hand, I already have ‘Wild at Heart’ and ‘Broadway Danny Rose’ on preorder. ‘Sabrina’, ‘Funny Face’, ‘Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation’ and ‘Used Cars’ will go on my wish list for later.

As always, be sure to tell me in the Comments about what noteworthy titles I’ve overlooked.


  1. Back in January, the Belgian branch of Warner Bros had the brilliant idea to promote ‘Grudge Match’ via social media. The person in charge of their Facebook profile had the brilliant idea to promote the movie with the improvised tagline “Don’t miss Stallone’s return to the ring after a 30-year absence!”. Apparently, Rocky IV, V and VI didn’t count.

  2. William Henley

    Just Hobbit 3D for me, but I will probably buy it again when the extended edition comes out, and buy it again when the next format that supports 48fps comes out.

    Do any of the streaming services support 48fps? Probably not Amazon, but does Netflix or Vudu? I thought I read something somewhere that one either supported it or was working on support for it.

  3. I use my vote ‘loosely’ – Earthflight. Looks interesting, but the price needs to be right.

    As a LOTR fan I have not bought either Hobbit movie so I did not check that one off. I may come around, maybe not.

    Next Week: Nut Job 3D & Angry Birds for sure. Möbius and Ride Along if the prices are right.

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