Blu-ray Highlights: Week of August 14th, 2016 – No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

This is a good week to be a fan of cult movies from the 1980s. It’s also a good week to be a fan of terrible animated movies based on videogames, but I assume that fewer of you will want to admit that.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (8/16/16)?

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New Releases

The Angry Birds Movie‘ – We’ve really come to this? We’ve run out of superhero comics to adapt or old popular movies to remake, and all we’re left with that can be turned into new movies are “freemium” mobile games that people download to their phones when they need to kill time while waiting in line or riding the subway. The lack of anything resembling characters or a story didn’t stop Sony from spending $73 million to churn this out. Nor did the scathing reviews stop the movie from winning the box office its opening weekend and turning a tidy profit. As far as the home video releases go, what’s interesting here is that Sony has chosen to bundle the UHD version (which is 2D) with the 3D Blu-ray. If you want either of those, you’ll have to buy them together. There’s no separate 3D Blu-ray release.

Ratchet & Clank‘ – Apparently, the market could only sustain one animated feature based on a videogame this year. This attempt, based on an old PlayStation franchise that stopped being relevant quite a while ago, cost $20 million to make and topped out with an $8.5 million box office gross. Reviews were also damning (though bad reviews couldn’t stop ‘Angry Birds’). The trailer looks less like a movie than like all the cut-scenes from a game strung together in order.

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made‘ – In the early 1980s, a group of enthusiastic kids tried to mount their own fan film remake of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. It took seven years, and the kids grew up on camera from scene-to-scene, but the project eventually became the stuff of legend. Now there’s a documentary celebrating it, in which the budding filmmakers (all now adults) reunite to shoot the one scene they never completed. This sounds like great fun.

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words‘ – This biographical documentary about the legendary actress is going straight to the Criterion Collection, where it will no doubt make a good pairing with the ‘3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman‘ box set from a few years ago.

God’s Not Dead 2‘ – Huh. We really need two of these embarrassingly amateurish faith-based films to reassure us that God’s not dead? You’d think, being omnipotent and everything, He could find a better outlet to convey that message. At least this one upgrades the cast from Kevin Sorbo to Melissa Joan Hart. That’s got to be some sort of small improvement, doesn’t it?

Catalog Titles

Attention all Hong Kong Cavaliers. Shout! Factory finally brings the bizarro 1984 sci-fi extravaganza ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension‘ to high-definition. Featuring Peter Weller as the world’s greatest physicist/neurosurgeon/test pilot/rock star while he saves the world from interdimensional aliens from Planet 10 (all of whom are named John), the film doesn’t quite work, but it’s jam-packed with fun ideas is so immensely weird on every level that it begs to be rewatched again and again.

In addition to that, Shout! also continues its love affair with John Carpenter by releasing his 1979 bio-pic TV movie ‘Elvis‘, starring Kurt Russell as the King of Rock ‘n Roll. This marked the first collaboration between Carpenter and Russell.

Meanwhile, the Scream Factory division scares up ‘Session 9‘, director Brad Anderson’s spooky horror thriller about a cleaning crew working at an abandoned mental hospital.

For more horror (though of the cheesier variety), Arrow heats up the 1983 ‘Microwave Massacre‘. Ding! You’re dead!

Olive Films celebrates the awesomeness that was ’80s action star Michael Dudikoff with Blu-ray editions of the first four ‘American Ninja‘ flicks. (Note that Dudikoff sat out Part 3 but returns in Part 4.) There was also a Dudikoff-less ‘American Ninja V’, but I guess Olive decided to ignore that one.

New limited editions from Twilight Time include a reissue of Sam Peckinpah’s gritty thriller ‘Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia‘, the Peckinpah-scripted Western ‘The Glory Guys‘, the blackly comical Vincent Price horror film ‘Theatre of Blood‘, the 1970 Italian crime drama ‘La Mogli Piu’ Bella‘, director Paul Schrader’s harrowing ‘Hardcore‘, and a double feature of Frank Sinatra’s two ‘Tony Rome‘ detective pictures.

Now available from the Warner Archive, the 1971 Western survival drama ‘Man in the Wilderness‘ is based on the same true historical story as last year’s ‘The Revenant’. Star Richard Harris didn’t get an Oscar out of it, though. Perhaps he didn’t grunt enough?

Universal dumps a whole bunch of catalog titles on the market this week. Some of these were previously Best Buy exclusives now expanding to general retail, such as ‘The ‘Burbs‘, ‘The Dream Team‘, ‘The Great Outdoors‘ and ‘The Money Pit‘. As far as I’m aware, this is the first appearance on the format for ‘Beethoven‘ or ‘Patch Adams‘.

Television

The week’s big TV box sets include the second season of ‘Gotham‘, the fifth season of ‘Once Upon a Time‘, the seventh season of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘, and the first half of the final season of ‘Hell on Wheels‘.

My $.02

I have ‘Buckaroo Banzai’ on DVD and am eager to upgrade the movie to Blu-ray. I’ll add ‘Hardcore’, ‘Theatre of Blood’ and ‘Tony Rome’ to my Twilight Time wish list. The ‘Raiders!’ documentary sounds like a good rental, but I’m sure it will be on Netflix or Amazon Prime streaming soon enough.

Does this week look any better for you than the last few have?

23 comments

  1. Chris B

    Being a completist for the director, I’ll no doubt pick up “Elvis” in the next few weeks. Never seen it, hope it’s good.

    “Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia” will go on my TT wishlist for the company’s next sale. Being that this is an encore edition, I’m hoping it doesn’t sell out like the last one…at least not right away.

    Will pick up “The ‘Burbs” this week most likely.

  2. Lord Bowler

    I pre-ordered ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension’ (Shout!) and already received it. Big fan of Peter Weller and this movie gets better with repeated viewings.

    For TV, I’ll pick up the first half of the final season: ‘Hell on Wheels: Season 5 Volume 1’

    I most likely pick up these catalog titles:
    ‘The ‘Burbs’ (Universal)
    ‘The Great Outdoors’ (Universal)

    I may pick up some of these catalog titles:
    ‘The Money Pit’ (Universal)
    ‘Beethoven’ (Universal)
    ‘The Dream Team’ (Universal)

    I may pick up ‘Gotham: The Complete Second Season’ if it goes on sale.

    I’ll try to see if I can rent ‘The Glory Guys’ (Twilight Time) on DVD or on demand first, then decide to buy. Sounds interesting and it stars James Caan.

  3. Csm101

    I’ve already picked up The Money Pit and The Great Outdoors when they were Best Buy exclusives. I’ll pick up Angry Birds in 3D this week. Interested in Microwave Massacre, the American Ninja movies, Theatre of Blood, and also hope that Alfredo Garcia’s head doesn’t sell out too quickly. Buckaroo Bonzai, and Elvis are also of interest along with Man In the Wilderness although I forgot to vote for them in the checklist. This is actually a pretty enticing week.

  4. William Henley

    The only “disc” I am interested in is Sailor Moon Crystal, but it will probably be several months before I pick it up. Viz charges too much for their animes, IMHO. I’ll just wait a few months for all the fanboys and fangirls to make it through the series, then I will be able to pick it up for half the price. I think I go the original series as well as Ranma for $25 a season off of deep discount, and sometimes you can pick them up used for even less (although Deep Discount is amazing if you don’t mind waiting a few weeks / months to pick stuff up).

    I didn’t check it, but I am interested in Raiders. I just can’t see myself buying it – it will most likely be a Netflix watch for me.

    I am kind of doubting that I will ever finish Once Upon A Time. I loved season 1, season 2 was okay, season 3 was, yeah, that’s when I stopped watching. It’s like the show was written to be a one season event, and ABC keeps renewing it, and they don’t know where they are going to take the show next. So yeah, I will probably never make it all the way to season 5.

    Hell on Wheels I will proabably binge watch some weekend on Hulu or Netflix. Surprised to hear that it made it to five seasons – I liked the show, but only saw the first few episodes because I canceled cable shortly after for about a year, and forgot about it. So I need to go watch it now.

    Also need to get around to starting on Gotham. Once again, VOD for me on that.

    Surprised to hear that God’s Not Dead 2 is already out on Blu – I must have missed the theatrical release. I am just not sure how they have material for a second – the first was not that good and felt stretched out. That’s the problem with a lot of Christian movies – its like they have enough content for a 45 minute show and have it be good, but they have to pad it to make it feature length. On many movies, it is so obvious where the original polished script is, versus the “get a writer in here, the initial cut is way too short! You got 2 days to double the length of this script!”

  5. EM

    I plan on seeing Raiders! this weekend during a local Raiders of the Lost Ark fest (35 years old this year!). Not only will the documentary be shown, so will the fan film that inspired it, and so will the 1981 original that inspired it. I’m excited—I haven’t seen the original in a theater since the first time back in 1981! (And I’m going twice!)

    • I’ve seen ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ in 2012 in New York thanks to Josh (who purchased tickets for me). It was a two-week engagement in anticipation of the Blu-ray release, and it was the best movie I saw in 2012. A must-see on the big screen.

          • William Henley

            Eh, its only what, about a 4 hour trip for you (about 90 minutes by train?) That’s not bad – I have friends who make a drive about that far every week. I’ve actually driven that far, done an event, and driven back in the same day, and for a lot less than a 5-movie showing.

            Then again, 4 hours here in Texas is how far it is from one major city to the next, so I am used to driving distances like that.

          • EM

            It might be overkill for Indy…but merde, it wouldn’t be overkill for Paris. Well, I suppose it’s a matter of perspective, with you being constantly surrounded by environs that are somewhat Paris-like anyway (or perhaps you think of Paris as somewhat Antwerp-like). I learned of the Grand Rex showings a couple of months back when researching for an autumn trip that has since fizzled; I thought it might be interesting to catch a movie at the Rex or the Cinémathèque Française or wherever. (There’s a Star Trek concert at the Palais des Congrès this fall, too…) But if I were going, I would think the marathon was overkill…probably at most I would catch les Aventuriers de l’arche perdue, skipping the follow-ups in favor of spending the time seeing Paris (or other sites in and around Île-de-France).

          • Haha, correct, William, I drove to Paris (4 hours by car) and that was the longest drive of my life (so far). We are quite spoiled by how close everything is (you can go from the north of Belgium to the far south in a mere 3 hours).

            @EM: True, true, (check out Antwerp’s Central Station via Google, it’s a beaut) but Paris is still magical to my jaded eyes. Your translation of ‘Raiders’ triggered a fear that the marathon might be dubbed. Imagine that – driving four hours for a French Indy. Thanks, but no thanks.

          • EM

            I don’t have time to look right now, but I believe there are at least two showings, and at least one is version originale. I wouldn’t have gone to the dub either. (I did see the French dub of The Little Mermaid once theatrically, after I’d seen it in English, but that was a special case. It turned out that the song “Les Poissons” was a little less amusing within an all-French movie.)

          • EM

            The tetralogy showing Saturday the 17th is in the original language(s) with French subtitles. The Sunday showing is dubbed into French.

            I used the traditional French title for Raiders of the Lost Ark mostly for variety (note my first post, where I was studiously avoiding using the word Raiders a third time), a little for context-appropriate color, a little more because I enjoy exercising my French-language muscles, and—to a degree which I will leave open to question—because I am prétentieux.

            Yes, that Antwerpen-Centraal looks quite lovely. It would fit very nicely in Paris, but I think there it would be a church.

            By the way, the scuttlebutt is that Disneyland Paris’ Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril will be closed for refurbishment in mid through late September. No time for a coaster and a movie, Dr. Jones.

          • William Henley

            Haha, Julian, yeah. I lived in Salzburg a while. it was my first time to Europe, and before then, the smallest state I had ever been to was South Carolina. They took us on a week long trip of Germany first, and to my surprise, they picked up up in… Brussels. I don’t know what shocked me more, that we started our descent over the western coast of Ireland (but we are two countries away!), or that I filmed us driving across the entire country of Belgium, through Luxemburg, into Trier on a single 8mm video tape, and still had room left over!

            A couple of weeks later, we rented a bus to take us to carnival in Venice. It was a 4 hour drive from Salzburg to Venice. I was all like “that is how long it takes me to drive from Dallas to Austin!” I kid you not, it is four hours from Dallas to Austin, 5 hours from Dallas to San Antonio, four hours from Dallas to Houston, 5 hours from Dallas to Midland, 11 hours from Dallas to El Paso!”

            Longest drive I ever made by myself was from Dallas, Texas to Tucson, Arizona, only two states over. It took 16 hours without stops! For comparison, it takes 15 hours to get from Dallas to Dayton, Ohio. It may look futher, but that is because northern states appear larger on a map than they actually are because of distortion caused by the curve of the Earth.

            And people wonder why trains in the US cost so much more to get from one city to the next than they do in Europe!

          • William Henley

            @EM The only movies I think I have watched all the way through DUBBED INTO French (I have no issues with watching subtitled movies) was South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and Team America (I have also watched South Park dubbed into German and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dubbed into German). Watching something like South Park and Team America dubbed is hillarious, since the movies actually both have “fake” French in them, and it is funny watching how it gets handled

  6. Timcharger

    Josh: “what’s interesting here is that Sony has chosen to bundle the UHD version (which is 2D) with the 3D Blu-ray. If you want either of those, you’ll have to buy them together. There’s no separate 3D Blu-ray release.”

    I’m all for a “premium” package that contains the
    most amount of material: UHD, 3D blu-ray, and
    blu-ray. Further Sony didn’t add a premium price
    to this package. So the “you’ll have to buy them
    together” complaint really isn’t an issue if you
    didn’t have to pay extra. It’s priced like a
    standalone UHD or 3D blu-ray release.

    • William Henley

      Truthfully, I hope this becomes the norm and not the exception. I don’t want to have to buy two releases to get both the 3D and the UHD version

  7. ‘Saved!’ is an excellent movie. I love it. Proof that adult Macaulay Culkin can act.

    ‘Ratchet & Clank’ was quite horrible. And, indeed, it’s mostly made up of the game’s cut-scenes.

  8. Doug

    Maybe it’s just me, but I remember seeing The Money Pit 20 years ago and it absolutely put me on the floor. Being a remake of Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House, Tom Hanks makes a strange Cary Grant in the lead part, but it works. Any of you who have ever rebuilt/remodeled a home will absolutely love this film. Funny, funny funny!

    • Chris B

      i’m willing to bet Amazon won’t honor the price. They’ll email everyone who pre-oredered and inform them there was an error and they will not be selling the box-set for 39.99. They’d take too big of a loss on it otherwise.

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