Blu-ray Highlights for 8/31/10. This Week’s for the Dogs.

As far as Blu-ray releases go, August draws to a close with another slow, dreary week. The biggest day-and-date title is a total dog. Get it, a “dog”? If you think that pun is funny, then you’re probably 5-years-old and the movie in question will be right up your alley. The rest of us with developed brain cells will have to scrounge among the catalog titles and TV releases to find anything interesting. Even then, things don’t look so great.

Here’s what we’re looking at:

So… Yeah, there’s ‘Marmaduke‘. Listen, I don’t really care that you have kids. That’s not an excuse. Allowing them to watch brain-deadening movies like this is tantamount to child abuse. You should raise your children better than that.

Oh hey, look, Tyler Perry has another one of those movies that’s exactly like all of his other movies. I bet he dresses in drag again, because that is hi-lar-i-ous. Needless to say, I’m not in the target audience for this. Let’s move on.

Remember when Will Ferrell used to be funny? Now you can relive those glorious times on Blu-ray with the catalog release of ‘Anchorman,’ which is still his best comedy. Unfortunately, when UniversalDreamWorks released the movie on HD DVD a few years ago, the high-def transfer was a mushy DNR travesty. I expect the Blu-ray to be a port of that transfer, perhaps with a little extra DNR spackled on for good measure. On the plus side, the Blu-ray will include ‘Wake Up, Ron Burgundy’, the sequel/spin-off from the DVD that was stupidly dropped from the HD DVD. Best Buy has an exclusive window on this release for a few months, so don’t go trying to order it from Amazon.

Best Buy also has an exclusive release of ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ coming out this week. (It goes wide to general retail on October 5th.) I happen to think that the movie is a hilarious on-the-nose parody of film student arrogance, but I know that there’s been a huge backlash against it over the years from people who actually expected it to be scary or something. In any case, the movie was shot with a mix of standard-def camcorder video and grainy 16mm film at night with next to no lighting, so I’m sure that it’s going to look fab-u-lous on Blu-ray.

The Evil Dead‘ is out now too! Yes, another zero-budget horror movie shot on crap film stock at night with no lighting. And the Blu-ray’s from Starz, which doesn’t exactly have a great track record for the quality of its high-def releases in even the best of circumstances. This means that, officially, the entire ‘Evil Dead’ trilogy is now available on Blu-ray, all in garbage quality. Awesome.

I’ve got one more for horror fans while we’re at it. Do you remember ‘Deep Blue Sea‘ fondly for this scene? (Ummm, the rest of you, like, spoiler alert or something.) Well look, there you go, you can watch it on YouTube. I just spared you from having to sit through the rest of the movie again. Because I think we all know that the rest of the movie sucks pretty badly. Except perhaps a good friend of mine who is probably reading this and shall remain nameless. He no doubt put in a preorder as soon as the title was announced and will be watching it tonight.

The Score‘… That’s the tepid heist thriller starring Robert De Niro and Edward Norton, right? The only thing memorable about this movie is the behind-the-scenes story about how the 850-pound Marlon Brando forced director Frank Oz (yes, he of the Muppets) to walk off the set, and made De Niro direct his scenes instead. That’s pretty fascinating. The movie that resulted… much less so.

Are you a ‘tweenage girl obsessed with ‘Twilight’ who wishes she could watch a new episode of it every week on TV? Great news! Now you can own the first season of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘ on Blu-ray! Let’s be honest, though. You already have every episode archived on your DVR, don’t you?

Season Six of ‘House‘ brings us 21 brand new episodes that are exactly like each and every one of the previous 110 episodes. Patient has a weird disease. House and the team misdiagnose him/her four times, one for each between-commercials act. Treatments all make the patient worse until House brilliantly deduces the cure in the last two minutes. Wash, rinse, repeat. You’d think that, by now, the team would learn that the first four diagnoses are always going to be wrong. They’ve certainly had this happen enough times… Oh, I kid. This isn’t a bad show. I’ll watch it if I stumble across it. The repetitive nature just prohibits me from wanting to own it, personally.

I’m told that a lot of people watch ‘NCIS’, and that a lot of them watch ‘NCIS Los Angeles‘ too. I just can’t fathom why. I blame our country’s faltering educational system. Viewers see a show title with an acronym prominently featuring the letters C, I, and S in it and assume that it’s yet another spin-off of ‘CSI’, even though the letters are jumbled up. Of course, that just makes me wonder why they would want to watch another ‘CSI’ spin-off in the first place.

And finally, we have ‘Sons of Anarchy‘, the only drama series on FX that I don’t watch. I’ve actually heard that it’s good, but… I don’t know. It’s about a biker gang who solve crimes and right the wrongs of the world like ‘The A-Team’ or something, isn’t it? Am I completely off base in that description? I have a really hard time being interested in anything to do with biker gangs. ‘Stone Cold‘ was the definitive dramatic depiction of that subculture, and that’s all there is to be said about that in my book.

I think I’m sitting this week out. How about the rest of you?


  1. Alex

    I would give Sons of Anarchy a try. I’ve deeply enjoyed it over the last two seasons. The description is a little off. While the biker gang is certainly protective of their hometown of Charming, CA, they’re far from do-gooders. A good deal of the time they’re gun-running, getting into gun fights with rival gangs, and displaying rampant misogyny that would make the “Mad Men” blush. However, the show has at its core a family drama that’s loosely based on Hamlet, which makes for a very interesting dynamic. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

    • Josh Zyber

      I see that E gave it pretty good marks. His review was published after I’d finished writing this post. I’m glad to hear that Starz didn’t screw it up after all. I’m generally skeptical of them.

  2. Joe B

    And yet another week in which my overused credit cards avoid another hit. I suppose I should be happy. The Criterion sales nearly wiped me out.

  3. that1guypictures

    Anchorman and Stardust are the last two holdover titles from Paramount/Dreamworks, not Universal. The new version of Anchorman has markedly improved the picture quality, and features the original theatrical version, the extended version and a third version of the film made from entirely alternate takes. All in 1080p, with DTS HD MA, and about 3-4 hours of bonus material that wasn’t on the previous HD-DVD. It also has collectible packaging, trading cards and a very funny Ron Burgandy journal. It’s also only $20 at Best Buy this week. It’s an extremely well done disc.