Blu-ray Highlights: Week of August 31st, 2014 – Anybody Else Feel a Draft in Here??

With the long holiday weekend now sadly over, it’s time to get back to laboring. However, it seems that the home video studios prefer to ease back into the work cycle slowly. This week’s new Blu-ray releases offer mostly slim pickings.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (9/2/14)?

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New Releases

Draft Day‘ – Kevin Costner keeps struggling to get his career comeback underway, but has had a pretty terrible run of luck at it. In his latest box office disappointment, Costner teams with director Ivan Reitman (also in need of a comeback) for this behind-the-curtain sports drama about the NFL draft. I can hardly think of any subject matter I’d care less to see in a movie. (I should probably be more open-minded, because I thought ‘The Damned United‘ somehow made professional sports management very dramatic and compelling.) Most critics and audiences called the movie tepid and dull.

Night Moves‘ – The latest film from director Kelly Reichardt (‘Meek’s Cutoff’, ‘Wendy and Lucy’) is a thriller about crazy environmentalists who try to blow up a hydroelectric dam. Despite the title, the movie has nothing to do with the famous Gene Hackman detective mystery from the ’70s (which could really use its own Blu-ray release).

They Came Together‘ – Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd star in director David Wain’s parody of dumb rom-com movies. (The title is intended to be a really groan-worthy pun.) Wain’s brand of humor can be an acquired taste. Personally, I’ve never understood the cult following for ‘Wet Hot American Summer’. On the other hand, I did enjoy ‘Role Models’. Even fans of his other movies didn’t seem too impressed by this one, though our reviewer Phil liked it.

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero‘ – When a horror franchise is so crappy that even Eli Roth steps away from it, that should really give anyone pause. Proceed at your own risk.

Moms’ Night Out‘ – Does the world really need a family-friendly, PG-rated, Christian-values-espousing remake of ‘Superbad’ substituting middle-aged mothers instead of foul-mouthed high school kids? No, the world really doesn’t. This is an unnecessary and unwanted thing.

Catalog Titles

Halloween may still be nearly two months away, but Universal has decided that early September is a great time to start dropping a lot of horror titles on the market. The studio gets the ball rolling with individual reissues of the classics ‘The Mummy‘ and ‘The Wolf Man‘ – now finally broken out from 2012’s ‘Classic Monsters Essential Collection‘ box set – plus the 1979 remake of ‘Dracula‘ with Frank Langella. Far less prestigious (though possibly with some cult following) are the crummy Stephen King adaptation ‘Firestarter‘ and Wes Craven’s goofy ‘The People Under the Stairs‘. I suppose I wouldn’t call ‘Casper‘ a horror movie, but it has a ghost in it, and that’s close enough, right? Also available are some throwaway titles like ‘The Watcher‘, ‘The Return‘ and ‘White Noise‘.

[Note: It appears that individual copies of ‘Dracula’ (1931), ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’, ‘The Invisible Man’ and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (1943) are also available this week, but were not reflected in our listings at the time I prepared this poll.]

How have I never heard of (much less seen) the cheapie 1983 kiddie sci-fi flick ‘Space Raiders‘ until now? The plot synopsis calls it: “A futuristic, sensitive tale of adventure and confrontation when a 10-year-old boy is accidentally kidnapped by a spaceship filled with a motley crew of space pirates.” And Dick Miller is in it! Sold!

When MGM released Oscar-winner ‘Rain Man‘ on Blu-ray back in 2011, the disc received some criticism for a middling video transfer. Apparently, the studio took those complaints to heart and is now offering a remastered version.


If you’re in the mood for some TV binge viewing, possibilities this week include the ninth season of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘, the third season of ‘Person of Interest‘ and the first season of the ‘Vampire Diaries’ spin-off ‘The Originals‘.

As much as I want to check out that ‘Space Raiders’ movie, my wallet is demanding that I take a break this week. Does anything draw your attention?


  1. I would love to get the Frank Langella fluffy haired Dracula, but I’ll wait for a blu review or screen grabs to post in case there’s no considerable upgrade in picture quality. We watched this at my great uncle’s house when we were kids and the scene where the daughter of one of the characters comes back to life all creepy looking and speaking Italian or something put my sister in a catatonic state… Good times! Firestarter would be good at the right price. There’s too many good things coming next week so im trying to hold my load this week.

  2. C.C. 95

    Go easy on Costner and Reitman. We are in a really weird cycle in film right now, where everything is BRAND driven-LEGO.MARVEL.HASBRO. Directors and stars have Zero pull to the box office right now.
    I mean, the director of THE BOURNE IDENTITY has TOM CRUISE starring in an über-smart Sci-Fi extravaganza and it gets beat by Lego people, and a copy of a copy of a copy of a crappy giant Mattel robot toy movie! I would have laughed at you if you told me five years ago that’s how things would up for summer 2014. Movie stars aren’t movie stars anymore. Name One Actor or Actress that can open a movie. Now it’s more like, “Marvel owned the summer, but Hasbro was really strong with Transformers and Nickelodeon’s Ninja Turtles were there. Strong debut for Lego though. And remember, Pixar and DC Weren’t there for summer….”
    Not directors. Not actors. BRANDS.
    Maybe the cycle will start to end when Marvel’s Ant Man fails (seriously, how can they pull THAT one out of such a spectacular nose-dive?).
    Just my humble opinion.
    (And I LIKE having Costner back. Really TIRED of deep feeling, bikini waxed,metrosexual 25 year old man-children in movies!)

    • Chris B

      Good points, agree with a lot
      of what you said. I think the most sure-fire name for success at the box-office these days would actually be Christopher Nolan….can’t really think of any actors or actresses that are bulletproof anymore.

      As for Costner, I grew up watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Untouchables. He’s made some good
      movies and some crap for sure. The thing about his acting “style” is it sometimes can seem non-existant, like he’s just reading the lines without emoting etc. People used to accuse Steve McQueen of the same thing, they said he was “under-acting”. Some people claim that’s a testament to how natural some actors are. I’m not sure I buy into that notion, but I believe both were/are capable of making good movies if given the right project. To be honest, I’m kind of pulling for Costner and hoping he scores a hit, he’s never come off like a collossal prick or batshit crazy like a lot of other actors from his generation…

      • C.C. 95

        Good points. I think Nolan, Spielberg, and Cameron will draw on name recognition. I too would like to see Costner score a solid film again. How about a re-teaming of Kasdan/Costner? Other than Ep 7, Kasdan has been persona non grata for a lonnnnggg time. Hey! Ron Shelton! Phil Alden Robinson! Roger Donaldson! You guys aren’t really up to anything right now, are you?!
        I still never really understood the extreme Costner backlash. Go watch OPEN RANGE again. Such a talented guy. I’d be a happy man if he just made westerns for the rest of his days. He’s got that down.
        (By the by, NO U.S. Blu ray for OPEN RANGE. What’ s up with THAT Disney? Yeah, It’s Region free on Import…for almost $50.) Sheesh.

        • Josh Zyber

          Roger Donaldson directed The November Man, which just opened in theaters. So, no, he’s not doing much. 🙂

          Kasdan was ostracized from Hollywood after Dreamcatcher flopped.

          • Just for ‘Dreamcatcher’? How can some directors make a slew of flops, and still receive work? Did Kasdan do something else that made him persona non grata? Did he pull a Von Trier-esque Cannes stunt?

            Oh, and let’s not forget Costner at least went a little crazy on the set of ‘Waterworld’. Costly reshoots, taking up director’s duties himself, creating expensive atols and water bassins (even when shooting in a real ocean!). I actually like ‘Waterworld’ (and Kevin Costner), but I think Hollywood didn’t like Costner after that. ‘The Postman’ was very (needlessly) expensive too.

  3. William Henley

    Casper should arrive today. Godzilla once I make a larger dent on the unopened pile (got a couple of Godzilla discs in there). I’ve never seen the 1979 Dracula, so I will wait for a review (or see if its on Netflix) before buying.

    • C.C. 95

      Dracula ’79 is actually really good. I remember when it came out. Had no interest, because I couldn’t see beyond that thick layer of cheeze that was it’s marketeting campaign. They made it look awful. The one sheet. BOOOOORRRINNNGG. I only finally saw it because it was the only Widescreen Laserdisc I HADN’T seen! (I was geeking HARD on my discovery of reclaiming 40% of a film image and Digital! Wee!)
      Frank Langella is good, and the production design is good. John Williams music is good (one of the last ones before he got PROPERTY OF LUCAS/SPIELBERG stamped on his ass!!). O.k. Olivier is way over the top….but in a GOOD WAY! And you’ve got the 7th Doctor Who in there (Sylvester McCoy)…..
      Maybe I’ll watch that again!

      • William Henley

        Ah, my favorite Doctor (probably because he was Doctor when I started watching the show). I’ll check it out – but it will be a while – I am leaving the country in a few hours for a couple of weeks.

  4. A ton of “interest” titles but nothing shouting must-buy.

    I did order Creature From the Black Lagoon 3D/2D Steelbook UK. This title is getting a USA release minus the steel. UK version is out a month later. Looks like Uni has broken up all of their Monsters collection, not all of em are listed here, which is no loss.

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