Blu-ray Highlights for 8/30/11 – Look in Your Heart!

Fans of Joel and Ethan Coen sure are receiving a bounty of riches on the Blu-ray format these days. Hot off the heels of Universal’s release of ‘The Big Lebowski’ a couple weeks ago, Fox rolls out three more of the brothers’ early classics today. If that’s not enough to drain your wallet, Criterion also has three new discs, and Tim Burton’s stop-motion masterpiece gets a 3D upgrade.

Here’s the full list of everything that’s coming out:

As mentioned, Fox is offering up the first three features by the Coen brothers: the blackmail thriller ‘Blood Simple‘, the screwball comedy ‘Raising Arizona‘, and the gangster drama ‘Miller’s Crossing‘. All three are excellent movies. In fact, for my money, ‘Miller’s Crossing’ is still the brothers’ best film. You can buy these discs individually, or all together in the ‘Coen Brothers Collection‘ box set. I’m a little confused as to why Fox didn’t release ‘Barton Fink’ with these as well. That seems like a strange omission. (Coen fans, take note: Disney will also give us ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?‘ on September 13th.)

Although Tim Burton’s stop-motion musical ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas‘ was not originally photographed in 3D, the movie was (I believe) the first film to be converted from 2D to 3D digitally when it was re-released to theaters in 2006. For a few years, Disney then made an annual tradition of bringing the 3D version back to theaters for the holidays. Now we’re getting it on Blu-ray. My review of this one went up yesterday (yes, my first disc review in quite a while!). It’s a good set, but the 3D effect is pretty moderate. I also have to say that I’m perplexed by Disney’s insistence on releasing this movie about Halloween and Christmas on Blu-ray in August. This is the second time the studio has done that for this title.

As a Boston resident, I often find it hilarious just how badly most movies set in this city get everything about it wrong. ‘Good Will Hunting‘ is one of the few exceptions that (Robin Williams’ atrocious accent notwithstanding) has genuine Bostonian atmosphere. This is of course also the film that won Williams his Oscar, as well as put Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the map. They even won Oscars too… for screenwriting. (Please, no arguments about William Goldman. He denies all those rumors about having ghost-written the script.) It’s a pretty decent little movie, though I find it kind of formulaic for something that won a writing Oscar.

Let’s move on to the TV front, where Warner Bros. gives us the complete first season of ‘Nikita‘, which is the second TV series spun off from Luc Besson’s 1990 action thriller ‘La Femme Nikita‘. Despite airing on the CW network, I’ve heard that the show isn’t half bad. I haven’t ever watched more than five minutes of it personally, though. The Blu-ray release will probably sell a million copies based on that YOWZAH!!! cover art image of star Maggie Q alone. Gulp!

OK then, let’s finish things off with some classic cinema. Kino has Russian master Sergei Eisenstein’s first feature-length silent film ‘Strike‘ on deck. Meanwhile, Criterion brings us Jean Cocteau’s ‘Orpheus‘, Lindsay Anderson’s ‘If…‘, and a box set of ‘The Complete Jean Vigo‘. All of these are important works of the filmmaking art form that deserve attention and study.

I don’t know about you, but this is an expensive week for me.


  1. August Lehe

    HELP! How do we pre-order METROPOLIS????? I KNOW, I KNOW, H.G. WELLS called it “quite the silliest film!” But I still want to pre-order it ASAP! THEY’RE ALREADY TAKING ORDERS FOR BIRTH OF A NATION….

  2. Tim

    One nice thing worth mentioning regarding Warner’s upcoming TV releases (Fringe, Vampire Diaries, etc.), is that the studio has finally heard the lossless audio call of all of us audiophiles. It seems like they’ve finally moved to lossless audio for all of their TV releases. Let’s hope there’s a re-release of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles soon…

  3. Super-VHS

    ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)‘ (Universal)

    That isn’t getting released today. Not on blu-ray. It is being released on DVD though.

  4. August Lehe

    THANKS, JOSH….Sorry to be a Sci-Fi worry wart. I did not realize it was already out there, just waiting…a (restored version). I could care less about a rock track …Maybe a Richard Rodgers, Alex North, or Dimitri Tiomkin version!

  5. paramedic0112

    Miller’s Crossing is a must for me. Yes, I agree with Josh that it is the Coens best film. I like Raising Arizona too, but I have the damn thing memorized so I might be able to wait a bit on that one.

  6. never been a good will hunting fan. that should of went to Scorsese for kundun. granted he didn’t write the movie but still he had a movie out that year and he should of won damn it. 🙂

  7. I have Nightmare and Wonders of the Universe coming today. I am so excited about the later – I LOVED Wonders of the Universe. I keep checking the mail – they usually are here by noon, yet its after 4 and mail still hasn’t arrived. Going to stick in Wonders right after I check out a few scenes of Nightmare. Gotta dig out my 3D glasses – I don’t have a 3D set yet, but my computer will play BluRay 3D in anaglyph or however its spelled. I am stocking up on movies before I make my purchase of a new TV, probably early next year.