Blu-ray Highlights: Week of August 17th, 2014 – Catches Thieves Just Like Flies!

Are we really so far into the summer that the season’s big tentpole releases are already hitting Blu-ray? This week brings us a huge blockbuster that made tons of money a few months ago, even though hardly anyone who saw it would claim to actually like it.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (8/19/14)?

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New Releases

The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘ – In order to maintain film rights to the character, Sony is contractually obligated to crank out a new ‘Spider-Man’ movie every few years. At this point, the studio has apparently stopped caring how well they turn out so long as something gets projected onto theater screens on schedule. I’ll give the sequel-to-the-reboot this much: Its trailers certainly looked very comic book-y. Unfortunately, they reminded me why I never cared for superhero comics as a kid. Also, when will movie producers learn that shoving dozens of villains into a sequel rarely works?

The Quiet Ones‘ – Despite an appealing 1970s setting and a talented cast, this British haunted house horror flick was widely excoriated by critics for its nonsensical and incoherent script.

The Sacrament‘ – Better received was director Ti West’s thinly-veiled telling of the Jonestown cult story, staged as a Found-Footage thriller.

Only Lovers Left Alive‘ – Jim Jarmusch puts his own peculiar spin on the vampire genre with this tale of ennui-stricken immortal hipsters who’d rather hang out and listen to carefully-selected classic rock albums than hunt humans or drink blood.

Fading Gigolo‘ – In one of his rare appearances strictly as an actor in someone else’s project, Woody Allen plays an inadvertent pimp for aging male escort John Turturro (who wrote and directed). From what I understand, the low-key comedy’s script explicitly pokes fun at how inappropriate both characters are for their respective jobs.

Jarhead 2: Field of Fire‘ – The original ‘Jarhead’ wasn’t a particularly great movie, but it benefited from Sam Mendes’ artful direction and a strong cast. Naturally, the belated in-name-only DTV sequel jettisons all of that. I suspect that this was filmed as an unrelated military drama, and someone at the studio decided to foist the ‘Jarhead’ title on it after-the-fact.

Catalog Titles

Are you ready to brush up on your Spanish? The Criterion Collection offers Pedro Almodovar’s sexy black comedy ‘Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!‘ and Alfonso Cuaron’s sensual road trip ‘Y tu mamá también‘. Conveniently coinciding with these, Lionsgate has Alfonso Arau’s passionate food drama ‘Like Water for Chocolate‘.

Perhaps you’d rather go silent? Flicker Alley compiles ‘Chaplin’s Mutual Comedies‘ and the first volume of ‘The Mack Sennett Collection‘.

From the darkest depths of the Guilty Pleasure Zone comes the “Alien under water” knock-off ‘Leviathan‘. It’s been years since I’ve seen this, but I remember being entertained by it.

Sad fact: The atrocious 1994 live-action version of ‘The Flintstones‘ was the last feature film appearance for the legendary Elizabeth Taylor. Despite that, and the pretty much ideal casting of John Goodman as Fred, I can’t imagine that too many people really have any nostalgia for this crapfest.


With just enough time to gear up for the show’s upcoming final season, HBO rolls out the fourth season of ‘Boardwalk Empire‘ on Blu-ray.

Other big TV offerings include the second (and final) season of NBC’s dopey ‘Revolution‘, the third season of ABC’s inexplicably popular ‘Once Upon a Time‘, the pointless miniseries remake of ‘Rosemary’s Baby‘, and Pixar’s Halloween special ‘Toy Story of Terror!

Rental possibilities for me might include ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ and ‘The Sacrament’. The two Criterions will go on my wish list for some future Barnes & Noble sale. (I really do enjoy the Almodovar flick, but I’m not feeling a need to rush out and buy it right away.)

¿Y usted? ¿Qué vas a comprar?


  1. William Henley

    The Flintstones and possibly Spiderman for me. Spiderman I will probably wait about a year until it goes into the bargain bin. The Flintstones I will pick up if its below $13 – I have nostalgia for it, but not enough for really anything more than bargain-bin prices

  2. Lord Bowler

    Leviathan is a must for me, and Amazing Spider-Man 2.

    I love the movie Leviathan and can’t wait to see it in all it’s High-Def glory!

    I’m also a huge Peter Weller fan, I’ll watch anything he is in, no matter what it is.

  3. Chris B

    For some reason or another, upon until yesterday I had never even heard of Leviathan before. Upon readingup on it discovered it’s an underwater monster
    movie sort of like a mash-up of Alien/The Thing/The Abyss?! With a score by Jerry Goldsmith?! From one of the screenwriters who penned Blade Runner?! With creature effects by Stan Winston?! How the hell have I not seen this yet?! Plus in a Scream Factory release?! That’s a blind buy for me! I’m doin it! Pullin the pin! Nobody try and stop me! Monster movie night this Saturday! Done and done!….*ahem* So as you can tell I’m excited to pick it up this weekend.

    Y Tu Mama Tambien is going on my criterion wishlist, kind of on the fence about Tie me up! Tie me down!

    Probably rent Spider-Man and Only Lovers Left Alive down the road at some point.

    • Lord Bowler

      Leviathan is essentially a rip-off of Alien underwater.

      That being said, it is an exceedingly good rip-off with a few twists and an excellent supporting cast. Daniel Stern does an excellent job in this movie as well as everyone else.

      This was followed by the Direct-to-Video rip-off DeepStar Rising, which I enjoyed (starring Greg Evigan) a lot.

      Leviathan is as good as Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Has some great scares, and creepiness that makes you enjoy it every time you watch it.

      • Josh Zyber

        Deepstar Six was not direct-to-video. It played theatrically in January of 1989. However, it flopped pretty hard, which may be why you assumed it was DTV.

        1989 was a big year for underwater thrillers: The Abyss, Leviathan, Deepstar Six and Lords of the Deep were all released that year. The Abyss was the only one of them to make any money.

        • Of the four water movies, which one was the one they developed a deep water breathing suit in which you were breathing an actual liquid instead of a gas (air)?
          I also remember texting going on. The one that went down did so to save a lifeform (???) and knew it was a one way trip after much talking. The girl was sad by the fact she would not see the guy come back, I remember one of the texts was a “Don’t get your panties in a bunch” or something to that effect. Then the one way trip ended up not as he was saved by the entity at the bottom.

          • Chris B

            I think Ed Harris goes down super deep to the ocean floor to actually deactivate a nuclear weapon. I remember it being super tense because he’s trying to cut the proper colored wire and he only has a yellow light…

            I’m with you on The Abyss Blu Ray being way overdue, same goes for True Lies.

      • I saw Deepstar Six in theatres and also Leviathan. Its funny that you said Deep Star Rising as it seems like you might be thinking about Deep Rising mixed with Deepstar Six which is a 90’s water monster movie (Deep Rising). Terrible cgi! All of these great monster flicks make for a themed movie night of nostalgic and brainless fun.

        • Chris B

          Haha wow…I’m just stoked to find out I’m not the only one who REMEMBERS deep star six. Anytime I’ve brought it up to anyone over the last 20 years they have no idea what I’m talking about. I used to watch it all the time in the early 90’s and remember loving it. I haven’t seen it since I was a kid though. After reading about Leviathan yesterday I was thinking how great it would be if Scream Factory did a release of DSS. Although I’m not sure what I’d think of it today, it would still be fun to revisit. Hopefully Leviathan is a good seller for them and prompts them into releasing similar stuff.

          • I actually have a pan & scan dvd for Deepstar, It’s kinda cool how Robocop is the star of Leviathan and Bob Morton is the a-hole baddie in Deepstar Six. I’m optimistic that Deepstar will get a blu in the near future. Mas far as rhe Abyss goes, when the fuck is the blu coming out for that?! I thought it was supposed to be this year along with True Lies! I keep looking but see no signs of it.

          • Chris B

            Apparently Deep Star Six is coming out on Blu-Ray in Japan on November 5th. Not sure if it’s region free though.

          • Chris B

            Hmmmm I always thought Japan as region C… I have Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 on Dvd from there and I remember they wouldn’t play on my xbox 360. Did they change the region coding for Blu Ray? At any rate that’s great news…I may just have to import some Japanese discs in the future…

          • Chris B

            My brother in law went on a trip to Tokyo several years back and I asked him to pick me up the Japanese releases because I had read that the entire fight sequence in the house of blue leaves was in colour and had several gory shots the North American release didn’t. I was bummed when they wouldnt play on my xbox but fortunately he was able to convert both movies to a video format that I could play and yes…the whole thing is in color and it’s goddamned awesome.

          • Deep Star Six blu November 5th huh? My birthday’s November 6th… Anyone know if the DVD for Deep Star Six is edited? I was watching it today and when Miguel Ferrer’s character escapes in the pod without decompressing, he starts to bleed out and rupture from within. The DVD just shows the pod ascending after the guy bleeds out. I could’ve sworn when I saw it in theaters, the pod flies out of the water and explodes after we see the guy bleeding out. It’s been many years but that’s one of the scenes that I vividly remember, unless there’s a scene like that in Leviathan or Abyss and I’m getting them crossed.

          • Chris B

            Well it’s been years since I’ve seen the movie but I thought they showed a shot of the guy getting a nosebleed and then cut to the outside of the pod and showed te plexiglass painted red as if to simulate a grisly explosion of blood and guts…like I said though it’s been years (maybe as many as twenty) since I’ve seen it.

        • Lord Bowler

          Thank you,

          I meant DeepStar Six. I did not know it did hit theaters, because I know Greg Evigan mostly as a TV Star, which is why I enjoyed this movie.

          It still surprises me that Leviathan, Abyss and DeepStar Six all came out the same year… It always seems that Leviathan and Abyss was separated by a few years.

          The awesome thing about Leviathan and The Abyss is that the technology and effects used still hold up mostly today.

    • William Henley

      I’ve never heard of this movie either, but with those credits behind it, I may just have to look into it. This wouldn’t be the first movie I have discovered because HDD talked about it on their release page

  4. Mike Kick

    Spider man 2 wasn’t the greatest superhero movie but it also wasn’t the worst and it’s going to look stunning on bluray . I’d say a must own for collectors

  5. Hey Josh, when you write “I can’t imagine that too many people really have any nostalgia for this crapfest.”, did you forget your own 2011 comment “The Flintstones, really? You’re alone on that one. :)” during the “Worst Spielberg film” roundtable (

    I love ‘The Flintstones’! It’s my ‘Dune’! I have all the action figures! The trading cards! The pins! Very excited about the Blu-ray release (completely unknown to me, until 5 minutes ago).

  6. I forgot to mark down for Sorceress. If you like movies like Deathstalker, Beastmaster, or the one with the Barbarian twins, this might be a good one to check out. I don’t remember much about it, but I’m sure i saw it and I’m ready to revisit it. Too bad my budget doesn’t allow for this one this week. I love these low budget sword and sorcery 80’s flicks.

  7. Drew

    I was shocked when my copy of ‘Y tu Mama Tambien’ was delivered, last Monday. What a pleasant surprise! The Criterion transfer is breathtaking.

  8. EM

    Voy absolutamente a comprar Toy Story del Terror, pero no sé si lo voy a comprar esta semana. Todavía estoy considerando los discos Charlot y Mack Sennett. Y gracias a la conversación aquí, me empiezo de interesar por Leviatán

  9. I have more votes that what I am actually getting release week. So the ones I do not get end up on my ever so long wish list.

    Once Upon a Time Season 3 – Ordered via DMC-$22 shipped
    Tiesto in Concert (maybe) – will wait for a review
    Leviathan – like the movie, Scream Factory scares me- awaiting review
    Amazon Spiderman 2 (3D) – if the price is right. Have not gotten into this reboot yet. Might wait for the inevitable complete box set.
    Toy Story of Terror – Price might scare me away
    Sorceress – Price has scared me, waiting for a better deal
    Jarhead 2 – why do I punish myself? Somehow I think this is going to end up in my collection later than sooner, maybe as a 5 pack Echo Bridge collection or something

    • William Henley

      Thats not a bad price for a TV series – I’ve been watching this show on Netflix and Hulu. With this being a television show, is the video and sound quality that big of an upgrade from broadcast / Netflix / Hulu? I’ve been underwhelmed with previous television shows I’ve picked up on Blu-Ray (that is, shows shot in HD, not stuff that has been remasterd from film) – most tend to be the same transfer that goes to broadcast / streaming, and sound rarely gets an upgrade as sound tends to be mixed for Dolby Digital 5.1 broadcast, so the lossless rarely seems to be an upgrade.

      I would love to hear what you think of the season. $22 is a great price, and if it offers something different than what I already get in my subscriptions, I may pick it up.

  10. NJScorpio

    I blind bought The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3D, as I’m in the mood for some 3D fun. Fingers crossed that it’s good enough…

    I also blind bought Fading Gigolo, which is on it’s way. I’m looking forward to that one more.

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