Blu-ray Highlights: Week of August 7th, 2016 – Careful, Your Claws Are Showing

Despite appearances, new Blu-ray discs will indeed be released this week. You’d be forgiven for not noticing.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (8/9/16)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

A Hologram for the King‘ – This must surely be a contender for the short-list of worst movie titles of all time. Based on a book by Dave Eggers that I have no doubt is exceedingly precious, Tom Hanks stars as a failed American businessman who has fish-out-of-water adventures in Saudi Arabia. Tom Tykwer, of ‘Run Lola Run’ and one-third of ‘Cloud Atlas’, directed. Most reviews were polite but unenthusiastic, with a consensus that the movie is sweet and amiable but rather bland and tonally inconsistent. It made virtually no money at all at the box office. I’m sure it will turn up on cable soon enough.

Baskin‘ – The title of this one is Turkish for “police raid,” but when I hear it all I can think of are 31 flavors of ice cream. That doesn’t seem to be the intention. It’s actually a grisly horror thriller about a group of cops lured to an abandoned building that turns out to be a gate to Hell. When he saw this at TIFF last year, Phil was impressed by its craziness and depravity.

UHD

Making the upgrade to 4k Ultra High-Def this week are the sci-fi action flicks ‘Oblivion‘ and ‘Lucy‘, as well as Peter Berg’s “Rah Rah! ‘Murica!!” military action drama ‘Lone Survivor‘.

Catalog Titles

The Warner Archive has perhaps the best title of the week, with Richard Brooks’ adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof‘ starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman at the heights of their respective movie star power.

Assuming that Amazon has its release dates correct (which is never a guarantee), Arrow Video is having a very busy week. In addition to a new box set of the Japanese exploitation series ‘Female Prisoner Scorpion‘, the label is also breaking out all five individual movies in Kinji Fukasaku’s ‘Battles without Honor and Humanity’ gangster saga (released as a box set in 2015) into standalone editions. The titles are: ‘Battles without Honor and Humanity‘, ‘Hiroshima Death Match‘, ‘Proxy War‘, ‘Police Tactics‘ and ‘Final Episode‘.

Frank Henenlotter’s gory horror comedy ‘Basket Case‘ was released on Blu-ray back in 2011. If you’re a fan and have been awaiting the two sequels, ‘Basket Case 2‘ and ‘Basket Case 3: The Progeny‘, Synapse has you covered.

Television

The box set release of ‘Supergirl: The Complete First Season‘ could just as easily be called “The Complete CBS Season.” After one year of disappointing ratings, CBS has shifted the show off to The CW, where its second season will air with a significant budget cut. The series is simultaneously a lot more fun than it might have been and never quite as good as it needed to be.

If you don’t subscribe to HULU but had an interest in its original drama series ‘11.22.63‘, adapted from the Stephen King novel about a man who goes back in time to stop the JFK assassination, now’s your chance to catch up.

My $.02

If I were on-board the UHD train, I think I’d be very interested to watch ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Lucy’ in 4k HDR with Dolby Atmos. Since I’m not yet, I can wait.

Of more immediate interest to me is ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’. That will go on my growing wish list of Warner Archive titles I need to save up some money for.

Will you open your wallet for anything this week?

38 comments

  1. Chris B

    Baskin and The The Tiger both look pretty
    cool. Korea seems to turning out the most interesting films in Asian cinema these days, and Baskin sounds a bit like a supernatural version of that Spanish zombie movie REC that I really dig.

    Question for you guys: which movie rental service do you find tombe the best? I currently use ShawonDemand and it’s dogshit. I’m looking to sign up with a new one. Suggestions?

    • Bolo

      I use the Microsoft Movies app on my Xbox. It’s a pay-per-rental type of deal, which suits me.

      The movie selection is pretty good, and the prices are fair (cheaper than what I used to pay at a videostore). The picture and sound quality have been pretty good, too.

      They recently redesigned it, and it is less user friendly than it was before. For some reason they removed the wishlist function that I really liked having. You also have to do a lot of clicking and scrolling before you get to the search function now. I think they’re trying to push people to rent the new releases. Hopefully, they’ll rework the interface again to be more like it was a few weeks ago.

    • William Henley

      This may be a tough question, Chris. It may be helpful to point out to people that you are in Canada.

      For physical discs, I use Redbox, mainly because, other than Netflix, its about the only choice there still is (I have heard of one place that stocks 3D discs, but I don’t remember who it was). I stopped using Netflix mainly because the discs I was interested in renting, Netflix for the most part stopped stocking. I figured for the ocassional one off, it was cheaper to drive down to REdBox and spend $1.50 rather than a monthly fee to Netflix that I will only use a couple of times a year.

      Other than that, it depends on a lot of stuff. Vudu has been my goto choice for a while, because of quality, but right now, I only have two devices that support it (I have authorization issues on my TiVo, which I have had for two years, with Tivo blaming Vudu and Vudu blaiming Tivo). The area of town I moved to doesn’t have as reliable of internet as I had at my old address (if I had of known it was going to be this bad, I would have looked at another area, but I just looked at speeds and thought it was fine), so this brings it down to my PS3 being the only device that reliably does Vudu as I can download before playing. My XBox 360 is not fast enough to handle 1080P streams from Vudu or Plex.

      More and more, I am starting to use iTunes. While audio is usually encoded in AAC or AC3 at 384kbps for 5.1, 128kbps for stereo, the video is usually good, and once again, you can download the file before playing. The annoyance with iTunes is that downloads usually bomb out and fail on retry, so you have to go and delete the temp file, delete the plist, and try again. But once you get the file, it plays fine. I’m willing to discuss more why I like iTunes so much outside of this forum.

      I have used Amazon a couple of times, because they run on everything, and are so easy, and have almost everything I could want. The reason I don’t use Amazon more is because of dropouts on my internet, and because the quality is not as good as Vudu and iTunes.

      I have used Google Play once. It pretty much only works on Android devices, but it does have the advantage of allowing you to download for offline viewing. Really handy if I want to throw something on my tablet before a long flight, although I usually just pull a couple of my Ultraviolet movies off of Vudu. Even on long flights, watching a movie on a tablet is not how I like to pass time.

      I have also used Youtube and Vimeo rentals once each. Neither is user friendly, and neither have that great of a selection, and truthfully, I don’t remember how to even find Rentals (not that I have really looked)

      I have also used the Playstation Store a couple of times. Its been a while, but I THINK they allow you to either stream or download as well. The quality is… okay. It may be fine for most people. I find the audio quality to be kinda flat, and picture quality to be on the soft side for my taste, and I don’t care much for the interface to the Playstation Store.

      I used the Xbox store exactly once, and that was for an anime. Looked great, sound quality was fine. I just was not a fan of the interface, plus the IR sensor on the 360 for the media remote SUCKS.

      I’m willing to talk about any of these options more with you if you have any quesitons.

  2. Bolo

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen the ‘Female Convict Scorpion’ series. I remember that at least the first two were good, the second one being the best. I remember the last one definitely being really bad and just feeling like it was assembled out of unused footage from the earlier installments. I forget whether the third one was also bad, I tend to think it was.

  3. Csm101

    I’m a fan of Basket Case and have always been curious about the sequels, so they should be arriving at my doorstep sometime tomorrow. Someday I would also like to check out Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Such a catchy title and an interesting premise. I’m wondering if Baskin will make it to Netflix streaming in the not too distant future. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that one.
    As far as the movie rental service, are these streaming services your talking about Chris, or do they send blus to your home? My nephews have Hulu and Amazon, and they seem to be really happy with those. I believe one of them has a Criterion catalogue.

    • Chris B

      Yeah sorry I should have been more specific, I was referring to streaming services only. I don’t believe Hilu is available in Canada. Is therr a monthly fee for the Amazon service, or is it pay-per-rental?

      • Csm101

        I’m not sure about Canada, but here if you buy it with AmazonPrime, which is about 100 bucks a year, it is included along with 2 day shipping on tons of items. They also offer it as standalone monthly service which I think price wise, is compatible with Netflix. I’m not totally sure, but I think they may have pay per rental options, but don’t hold me to that.

    • Deaditelord

      Hulu has the Criterion films. They also offer a commercial free subscription option now which is nice.

      CSM, I’m in the same boat with the Basket Case sequels and would be interested in knowing what you thought of the sequels once your watch them. Trying to decide if they are worth buying.

  4. ‘Oblivion’ is an excellent movie. I dig Joseph Kosinski’s visual flair. I wish Disney would just give him a substantial (but not extremely big) budget for ‘Tron 3’. Come on, Disney, you are bound to have some disposable income with the massive profits from ‘Zootopia’, ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Captain America: Civil War’.

    • Bolo

      I want a sequel to ‘Oblivion’! I want to see what happens on a planet with a thousand of Tom Cruises, an almost equal number of Andrea Riseboroughs, and one Olga Kurlyenko.

      I also would like a ‘Tron 3’, but I don’t think it will happen. I think Disney was trying to make ‘Tron’ (and ‘John Carter’) into their own ‘Star Wars’ type brand, but neither of those series took off and they realized it was easier to just buy the rights to ‘Star Wars’.

      • I agree, but still, Disney could easily afford a third ‘Tron’. The company’s not in dire straits. They can make both ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Tron’ movies. ‘Tron Legacy’ actually made a profit (as opposed to ‘John Carter’).

        • Lord Bowler

          I would love to see a ‘Tron 3’, and I also enjoyed ‘John Carter’. I purchased the books for my Kindle, but haven’t started into them yet. I wish it was successful enough to warrant a sequel.

          I’d rather see a Tron 3 than a reboot/sequel of Rocketeer they’re planning.

          I would also love to see a reboot/sequel to ‘The Black Hole’. It came out within a year of ‘Tron’, and I loved it back then. It still holds up, mostly, if a bit long in the middle. With today’s technology, it could be really good. There was news that it might be rebooted, but then went into development hell.

  5. William Henley

    Nothing for me this week. For the most part, I am slowing WAY down on purchases. Most catalogue movies and shows I wanted have now been released and I have them, so when I am buying stuff, it is usually either new releases or an oddity here and there. I also look at my stack of unopened discs, and contemplate how much I have spent over the years. Debating on selling some off and paying off a student loan or something (yeah, I have that many unopened discs)

      • William Henley

        Not sure why, but for some reason, my comment kept being thrown out by the spam filter. Not sure why – no links, no weird punctuation, no cussing, so I don’t know what the issue was.

        As for unopened disc, I estimate I have anywhere from three hundred to five hundred discs, if you factor in all the discs from television shows and multi disc sets. If I sold on Amazon as new, unopened, I could probably pay off my small student loan (sadly, it would only put a dent in my large two loans).

        • Wow, 300 to 500 discs? Indeed, stop buying new discs, and sell the ones you never intend to watch πŸ™‚ You’ll make a small fortune! I only have 2 or 3 unopened discs, mostly because I only buy what I actually want to watch.

          • William Henley

            Oh, don’t get me wrong, I “intend” to watch it all. πŸ™‚ In fact, I won’t usually buy something unless I intend to watch it enough times to justify buying over renting.

            However, with work, school and volunteer work, my current trend television watching is about 6-10 hours a week. That gets divided between movies, television, and video games. You pick up something like a season of Little House on the Prairie or Star Trek, and that is 2-3 weeks of watching if I watch just that.

            I am making a dent in stuff this summer as I actually had a summer break from school, and volunteer schedule is much lighter, but school starts back up on the 22nd, and the Olympics is going on right now. Also my dent has been mostly on tv shows and video games! My goal is, after 25 years, to finally beat Final Fantasy 4! I am already much futher than I have ever made it in the game, so I have hope.

            So yeah, that’s a lot of the trouble – there is always the INTENT to watch the discs, probably even the week they come in, and to rewatch them, but it rarely actually happens.

            I finally watched The Martian two weeks ago, and also watched Divergent 2 and 3. i am thinking about opening up Airport and Jaws 3 this weekend.

    • Deaditelord

      William, I periodically sell off my blu-rays to help fund my new purchases (I also keep a change jar.) I follow a one year rule: If I don’t watch the blu-ray again within one year (which I keep track of via an excel spreadsheet), it’s gone. The only exceptions to that rule are for 3D movies, anime, and limited editions.

      • William Henley

        That is probably a good rule. I will have to say on average, I watch about 2-3 discs a week, so about 100 a year. However, there are hundreds of discs on the shelf. My thought is that at this rate, it may take me 5 or more years to get thorough my current backlog.

        I should probably bite the bullet and go with a similar rule. As a collector, the thought of parting with any of them is scary, as is the thought of the price that I paid for many of them versus what I will get for them used. But I should probably go ahead and start reducing stock while Blu-Ray still will get a halfway decent price

  6. Patient O.T.

    No need to be a dick about Peter Berg’s LONE SURVIVOR. It’s about people who make it possible for you to enjoy freedom that you have. If you hate ‘murica – get out and stop being a hypocrite.

  7. Lord Bowler

    I thought Lone Survivor was a pretty good film. As with any factual event based movie, it could have been better, but it could also have been far, far, far worse. It’s one of the better war movies.

    Black Hawk Down was one of the best Book-to-film movies in recent history, but Lone Survivor, American Sniper, and 13 Hours were good but did not exceed Black Hawk Down. I can’t think of another film that was better than that, and It was very close to the book as I recall. I’ve also read the books that Lone Survivor, American Sniper and 13 Hours were based upon, and they were all reasonably close to their sources.

    Lucy was a terrible film. If I were on the 4K band-wagon I would definitely pick up Oblivion in 4K. I just got a 4K TV, so I may pick up that one to see if I notice any difference. I don’t own it on Blu-Ray yet, so that’s an added plus.

    For this week, I’ll only likely pick up 11-22-63.

  8. Ordered Supergirl Season one, other interests that will sit on a wishlist? Basket Case 2, Basket Case 3, Baskin, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Violent Shit the Movie and a couple of UHD upgrades.

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