Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of August 4th, 2019 – Catch and Release

A pretty big selection of Blu-rays and 4k Ultra HD discs run loose this week. Do you really gotta catch ’em all, though? That seems expensive.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (8/6/19)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu – The popularity of the Pokémon Go mobile game breathed life back into the property. Even so, the prospect of a live-action Pokémovie still seemed like an eye-rollingly bad idea until Ryan Reynolds signed on to voice the adorable yellow rodent called Pikachu. His involvement brought a lot of attention to the project and even some early positive buzz that propelled it to become the highest-grossing movie (and also one of the best reviewed) based on a video game. All that said, most of the reaction to it was along the lines of “surprisingly not bad” while still acknowledging flaws such as a derivative plot. Now it’s on disc in all available formats, even 3D.

The Curse of La Llorona – For some reason, I can’t read the title of the latest spinoff from the Conjuring Cinematic Universe (the Conjurverse?) without hearing the music for “My Sharona” in my head. Anyway, this one is set in 1973 as a social worker played by Linda Cardellini investigates the famous Mexican legend of the weeping ghost woman who kills children. Like most installments in this franchise, poor reviews couldn’t stop the low-budget movie from making a huge profit at the box office.

Tolkien – Nicholas Hoult stars in a bio-pic about J.R.R. Tolkien which suggests that the author’s real-life experiences in World War I directly translated to the plot of The Lord of the Rings in a literal 1:1 fashion. This affords the film plenty of excuses to stage elaborate VFX fantasy sequences, but sounds terribly reductive to me. Critics were mixed on the picture and audiences didn’t notice it at all

Poms – Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, and some other friends form a cheerleading squad at their retirement home to prove that they can still Bring It On despite getting older. The consensus seems to be that the comedy is cute and innocuous, but also very clichéd and a waste of all the talent involved.

Girls of the Sun – A more serious form of feminism is examined in a war drama about female freedom fighters in Kurdistan. Deirdre liked the film for the most part, with some reservations.

The Outsider – Country music star Trace Adkins headlines a Western revenge thriller that Deirdre had no kind words for.

Donnybrook – Jason was equally disenchanted with an indie sports drama starring a bulked-up Jamie Bell as a former Marine turned bare-knuckle boxer. The film fizzled on the festival circuit and went nowhere afterwards.

What We Left Behind – Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – CBS Films spent a lot of money and effort restoring Star Trek: The Next Generation into lovely high-definition, but disappointing sales stopped short any plans to do the same for follow-on series Deep Space Nine or Voyager, which are equally in need. Failing a full commitment, selected scenes from DS9 have been remastered for inclusion in a crowdfunded documentary that celebrates the series. Some of the show’s original writers imagine how a hypothetical eighth season might go.


Pokémon: Detective Pikachu arrives on 4k Ultra HD alongside the latest DC animated feature, Batman: Hush. Best Buy has an exclusive SteelBook for Pikachu and a gift set with action figure for Batman.

Catalog Titles

Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table joins her earlier Sweetie as part of the Criterion Collection. The 1990 film is a bio-pic of Kiwi author Janet Frame (played by three actresses at different ages), who was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, institutionalized, and nearly lobotomized before finding her voice.

Kino investigates A Foreign Affair, Billy Wilder’s cynical 1948 comedy starring Jean Arthur and Marlene Dietrich, as well as his 1974 remake of The Front Page with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

Also rediscovered by Kino is the 1992 Penelope Ann Miller comedy flop The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag.

Viggo Mortensen and Lindsay Duncan star in director Philip Ridley’s 1990 cult horror drama The Reflecting Skin, about a disturbed young Midwestern boy in the 1950s who becomes convinced that his neighbor is a vampire. The Blu-ray comes from Film Movement.

Arrow Video goes through the looking glass to find Alice, Sweet Alice, the 1976 slasher featuring a young Brooke Shields.

My $.02

I’m probably not going to run out and buy anything right away, but An Angel at My Table and The Reflecting Skin will go on my wish list. That should do it for me. Does anything pique your interest this week?


  1. Csm101

    Although I know very little about the Pokémon world, I went ahead and ordered Detective Pikachu on 3d from Best Buy. Alice, Sweet Alice is also of interest. I’d like to rent Curse of La Llorona as well. The premise for The Reflectiing Skin sounds interesting. I’ll look up a little more about that title.

  2. Deaditelord

    Will probably end up buying Batman: Hush and Attack on Titan when they go on sale. I’ll wait for Detective Pikachu to show up for free on streaming.

  3. njscorpio

    They are still pumping out episodes of Strike Back? I very much enjoyed the first few seasons, involving the original cast, but I don’t recall digging Season 6. I’ll probably check out 7, but not blind-buy it like I had done with the first few seasons.

  4. At some point, I’ll be picking up:

    Alice, Sweet Alice
    Batman: Hush (UHD BD)
    Detective Pikachu (UHD BD)

    …but I won’t be getting any of ’em this week. As far as stuff I should be getting, I have one more title from the Criterion sale arriving today (finally upgrading Notorious!), and my UHD BD imports of They Live and Don’t Look Now will hopefully be here as well.

    • Josh Zyber

      I’m very curious about the Don’t Look Now remaster, but after the way Studio Canal botched The Man Who Fell to Earth, I suspect that the Criterion Blu-ray will remain the better presentation.

    • Josh Zyber

      I went through all of Amazon’s preorders for the week. Either I missed that one, or it was a late addition. Anyway, it’s too late to add it to this poll, but thanks for pointing it out.

      • EM

        So far it seems to be an Amazon no‐show—more resembling another Whale horror film, The Invisible Man! Barnes & Noble seems to have it.

        Thereʼs another omission thatʼs puzzling me—but donʼt worry, Josh: Itʼs definitely not your fault. This week the Aretha Franklin gospel concert film Amazing Grace came out on DVD but not on Blu‐ray—at least, not in America. I see a BDʼs available in France (itʼs listed on Amazon.fr, Cultura.com, and Fnac.com) and oneʼs slated for UK release on September 2 (Amazon.co.uk), but I donʼt find anything about a Blu release in the US. (Or Canada either—I tried Amazon.ca.) Is Aretha still obstructing from beyond the grave?

  5. Brian

    It’s good for me to not be interested in anything this week as next week is going to hurt…bad. With Endgame, all three Iron Man movies and the first two Thor movies all arriving on 4k, BestBuy is going to get me for nearly $200 all in. My inner child is insanely happy but my outer adult is trying to hide the wallet.

    • njscorpio

      While I’ve accumulated 4k digital copies, and UHD discs, over past few years, I’ve only recently begun seriously upgrading my collection. The problem I’ve run into, both digitally and physical, is what to do about collections. Right now, Alien is available on UHD, but I want to wait until there is a proper box set. Same thing with Die Hard.

      With the Marvel movies, while I’ve bought UHD digital copies, I wouldn’t want to invest in physical UHD discs at about $20 each, when there may be a Iron Man through Endgame UHD box set coming down the line. If a “complete” series already exists, I feel like there will eventually be a box set that could save me money.

      • Brian

        I think you are absolutely right but I am like Veruca Salt on Willy Wonka, “I want it now!”. I have been able to wait in some instances, like the recent releases of the old Batman movies on 4k, I was able to stop myself since I know there is a box set coming out in September, but frequently I double and triple dip. If I come on here and see some good reviews on new special features or a major upgrade in video, I go ahead and get it. Like the Alien you mentioned, I still have the anthology on blu but bought the original on 4k to see the improved everything. I usually end up giving my kids the old DVD or blurays since there is still something to be had there so the old ones don’t go to waste. I salute you for your willpower while I sell my pants to buy the next 4k release.

  6. Deaditelord

    I was planning to do the same thing with the Alien and Die Hard movies, but with recent merger I’m starting to wonder if Disney would even be willing to give Fox the go ahead to release the Alien and Die Hard series on UHD? Disney hasn’t even bothered to upgrade their Touchstone releases to UHD like The Rock, Enemy of the State, etc.

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