Blu-ray Highlights: Week of August 3rd, 2014 – Take the Road Less Traveled By

One of the biggest blockbuster hits of the year comes to Blu-ray this week, but unless you’re of an age that ends with “-teen,” you probably don’t care.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (8/5/14)?

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New Releases

Divergent‘ – What I said above in the intro paragraph to this post is probably not fair, as the target demographic for the latest YA adaptation could skew as young as 11 or 12. Is it fair to call this a ‘Hunger Games’ knockoff? ‘Divergent’ was a book series before ‘The Hunger Games’ was made into a movie, but we wouldn’t be seeing this as a film if the ‘Hunger Games’ movie hadn’t been a hit. In any case, Shailene Woodley headlines the dystopian sci-fi tale about a world where children are segregated at birth into “factions” that they’re never allowed to break out of. Then they have to fight, or something. In other words, it’s ‘The Hunger Games’ with the ‘Harry Potter’ sorting hat tossed in. If you have kids of an appropriate age, they probably think it’s really deep.

Oculus‘ – Karen Gillan from ‘Doctor Who’ gets possessed by an evil mirror. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? It sounds kind of dumb, but the horror flick got some surprisingly decent reviews.

Need for Speed‘ – After wrapping up ‘Breaking Bad’, it was only natural for Aaron Paul to want to transition to feature films. But couldn’t he find a better project than this inane videogame adaptation that looks like a subpar ‘Fast and Furious’ spin-off?

God’s Not Dead‘ – Are you confident about that? Because when I look at what’s happening in the Middle East right now, if God’s not dead, then at the very least he’s taking an extended vacation and forgot to assign a backup to cover his job responsibilities while he’s away. If I pulled a stunt like that, my company would fire me.

Ping Pong Summer‘ – This coming-of-age story was a huge hit at Sundance, and then went absolutely nowhere afterwards, as often tends to happen. Our reviewer Aaron was not impressed.

Tarzan: The Legend Lives‘ – Did this motion-capture animated version of the Tarzan story even get a theatrical release? Kellan Lutz from ‘Twilight’ does the voice and mo-cap stuff. Reviews tore the movie to shreds.

Catalog Titles

Early in his career, before he became an A-List filmmaker famous for his suspense thrillers and his tendency to rip-off“homage” his favorite directors, Brian De Palma made an off-the-wall glam-rock musical called ‘Phantom of the Paradise‘. Little seen in its day, the movie eventually grew into a cult item, which makes it an ideal candidate for a Collector’s Edition from Shout! Factory.

I could have sworn that ‘The Full Monty‘ was previously released on Blu-ray. I guess not, but here it is. Although the movie’s fairly entertaining, once you’ve seen the first ten thousand feel-good British comedies about the unlikely triumph of working class blokes, the next ten thousand start to feel a little samey, you know.

The only title that interests me this week is ‘Phantom of the Paradise’. How about you?

24 comments

  1. William Henley

    Divergant and Dragonball for me. I saw God’s Not Dead at the theater, and while it was enjoyable, its not a movie that I could see doing a repeat viewing of.

  2. Lord Bowler

    Only one I’ll consider buying is The Full Monty… I’ve seen this at least twice and it’s a very funny movie.

  3. Corey Keith

    I’m a huge fan of this blog along with HDD, and regardless of your reaction I’ll still visit this site on an hourly basis, but can we dial back the God bashing on this site? Whatever your preference for religion might be, it’s pretty offensive to read yours and other reviewers snide, disrespectful attitudes towards God. You may think it’s crazy to believe in a spiritual being, but others base their entire worldview on it, for better and for worse. I think it would be wise to not disrespect someone’s beliefs just as you wouldn’t their race, gender, sexual preference etc.

    • Chris Bennett

      Personally, I’d like to see some of the negativity in general be dialed back a bit. I absolutely love this site, and I think it has a bunch of very talented writers but geez, lately it seems like everyone is in the worst mood ever and can’t resist bashing the shit out of damn near every movie/filmmaker possible. Hell, even the last roundtable topic was “You’re dead to me”! LOL. I appreciate some well placed sarcasm from time to time but it seems like the balanced has been tipped. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need fuzzy bunnies sliding down rainbows everyday, but reading and talking about blu-ray/video games etc. is supposed to be FUN. It seems like some of us aren’t having much these days…Maybe I’m alone in this, just my two cents…

    • Timcharger

      “I think it would be wise to not disrespect someone’s beliefs just as you wouldn’t their race, gender, sexual preference etc.”

      When did one’s race, gender, or sexual orientation become one’s belief?

      Just saying…
      Christianity does pride itself that man has the free will to decide to accept
      Jesus as his/her personal savior.

      I haven’t heard of anyone deciding on their race, gender, or sexual orientation.
      Of course they are those who disagree with me.

      I do not advocate disrespecting religions, but I find it disturbing that many
      disrespect (or do worse) another’s race, gender, sexual orientation, under the
      guise of religious beliefs.

      • Timcharger

        Josh, I don’t think your commentary on God’s Not Dead is “God bashing” or particularly offensive at all.

        I do think your comments are misguided in this sense:

        The target audience of God’s Not Dead has no interest in the Middle East conflicts. I bet a good number of them think Hamas is a condiment spread to dip Pita bread into.

        Why should God be concerned and involved in the matters between Jews and Muslims? They aren’t Christians.

        God’s Not Dead and is alive, so that college students can pass their philosophy class.

        That’s what is important, Josh.

      • Timcharger

        I know nothing about the film except HDD’s webpage:
        “Plot Synopsis: A devout student must prove the existence of God or he will will fail his college philosophy course.”

        • William Henley

          Truthfully, I was disappointed with the movie. The script was pretty weak. Sadly, this seems to be the norm with Christian films – weak scripts, weak acting, weak directing. They are well meaning people and are trying to make a statement with safe family-friendly films, but the filmmakers inexperience is is usually pretty obvious.

          If I had to look at the past 20 years and pull out a good faith-based film, the only one that really comes to mind is The Prince of Egypt. I can list several okay films (God’s Not Dead is one of them), and a few bad films (Fireproof was just awful).

          As for Josh’s statement, it is a fair statement coming from a non-believer, but his statement has absolutely nothing to do with the movie other than it’s name, and this is a movie-themed site, not a religious-discussion site.

  4. Is it wrong to show such reluctance to buy a movie published by the same company that did the Twilight movies?
    Will get Divergent for sure. A few others are on the maybe now, maybe later list.

  5. Kevin D

    Seems most in the press won’t touch disparaging films dealing with sexual orientation, minorities or other populations, but its open season on Christianity. Its not an issue of HDD not being the best forum for spiritual discussions, just that their appears to be a subtle hostility to those who believe in God. If the comments were not meant to incite spirited debate, they at least show the authors bias.

    I doubt either one of us will convince the other to change their tune, just noticing what appears to be a trend is all.

    • Timcharger

      “its open season on Christianity”?!

      Even though Christianity (in this nation) has become the most dominant religion,
      it never seems to have moved on from its roots as a persecuted, minority
      religion. Christians often act like they are still with the lions in the Colosseum.

      For something so dominant, it is often jealous of the truly persecuted minorities
      like the gays. Why do so many Christians act like they were the ones hiding in
      the closet for decades? There exists closet Christian kids who often consider
      suicide rather than coming public with their religious affiliation?!

      For every Brokeback Mountain, we get a dozen or twenty God’s Not Dead, Passion,
      Heaven is For Real, Son of God.

      So much whining from the dominant majority today. Imagine when the Christian
      White male really does become a minority. How much whining would that be like?

  6. Kevin D

    Wow where have you been – you must not watch much TV or film. The liberal same sex agenda of Hollywood is pervasive in every other film that comes out. Since when did making an argument become whining – the anonymous curtain of the internet really allows people to be much nastier than they would be in person.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I’ve been very lenient in not moderating this thread, but the last few posts have butted up against the line, and I had to remove one. I’m going to ask nicely for everyone to cool down. Thank you.

  7. Chris B

    I have to agree with Kevin to a certain extent. Although I’m not sure I’d use the word “persecuted” christians are no doubt the butt of a lot of jokes these days by left-leaning liberals and super smug atheists who believe they have it all figured out. It’s painted as uncool to be a christian by a lot of the media and i believe that’s what he’s referring to. I think the idea that someone could believe they know 100% there isn’t a god is just as ridiculous as someone believeing they know 100% there is…

  8. Corey Keith

    Yikes. Sorry Josh, didn’t mean to get a religious debate going. Those are the worst, and I’m a Seminary student!

    God’s Not Dead is a truly awful film. If the filmmakers seriously thought that anyone would believe Hercules could play a professor, they should be banned from making movies. It’s unfortunate that every movie with a Christian message not directed by Mel Gibson is box office poison. I would like to point out though, Christian filmmakers make great horror films.

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