Blu-ray Highlights + MYSTERY CONTEST: Week of January 25th, 2015 – Hell Hath None of This Stuff

It’s a new week with a new batch of Blu-ray releases to look at. We even have a free copy of one of them to give away. There’s just one catch: We’re not going to tell you which one. Confused? Read on…

The Mystery Contest!

Here’s the deal: We have a spare, slightly used copy of one of this week’s new Blu-ray releases listed below, and we want to put it in your hands. Which title is it? I’m not telling. You’ll just have to guess.

It could be a new day-and-date release. It could be a catalog title or a TV box set. Maybe it’s the movie shown in the banner image above, or maybe not. It could be anything. I’m not giving you any hints.

So how do you win it?

  1. You must vote in the poll for the title you think it might be. This is not optional. I will check IP addresses to confirm that you voted. Because the poll only gives you one opportunity to vote, think about what you want to guess before you submit. Of course, you can vote for multiple titles at once, and I encourage you to do so. Vote for as many discs as you’re actually interested to own. Vote for all of them if you want to. (Though it seems pretty fruitless to me to vote for crappy titles you don’t actually care about winning.)
  2. Next, post in the Comments section below explaining why you’d like to win the disc. It’s really that simple. Maybe you saw the movie in theaters and loved it. (Do not take this as confirmation that the prize is actually a theatrical film. It might be, or it might be something else.) Maybe it’s a longtime favorite you’ve been waiting to upgrade to Blu-ray. Maybe you haven’t seen it at all but thought it looked interesting. (Please elaborate on why.) Maybe you really like one of the actors in it. Maybe you’re a completist collector for the director. Maybe you just think the cover art looks cool. Whatever the case may be, just tell me why I should give you a free Blu-ray.

This doesn’t seem so hard, does it? I’m not even going to put a limit on how many times you can guess. There are 28 new titles available this week, so go right ahead and enter 28 separate times if you’d like to. The key here is that you have to actually want the disc. Because if you don’t want it, why bother competing for it?

The deadline for entry is end-of-day Tuesday, January 27th. Once all the votes are in, I will sort through the correct guesses and choose a winner based on which comment gives the most compelling reason for wanting to win. If nobody guesses correctly, that must mean that none of you actually want it, and we’ll just keep it ourselves.

The usual disclaimers apply. This contest is only open to entrants from the domestic United States. We will not ship internationally (whether you’re a U.S. citizen or not). Employees of High-Def Digest or Internet Brands and their families are not eligible.

People who have won any of our previous contests within the past one month (yes, I’ve shortened the time frame) are also not eligible to win, but may get Honorable Mentions.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (1/27/15)?

View Results

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New Releases

Fury‘ – Brad Pitt, having made one of the bigger hits of his career with ‘Inglourious Basterds’, returns to duty in WWII, this time as a tank commander in a war drama by David Ayer, a writer/director better known for cop movies like ‘Training Day’ and ‘End of Watch’. From what I hear, the tank combat scenes are pretty compelling, but the drama scenes between them much less so. Still, the Blu-ray should make dandy home theater eye and ear candy.

The Book of Life‘ – Guillermo del Toro produced this Dia de los Muertos-themed animated musical about a puppet love triangle and the afterlife and some other weird stuff. I can’t decide whether the visual design looks dazzling or wearyingly gaudy. The movie underperformed at the box office with a lot of criticism about its formulaic storytelling and reliance on racial stereotypes for cheap gags.

The Judge‘ – Robert Downey, Jr. stars as an arrogant big city attorney with major daddy issues who returns home to his small Indiana town to defend his father (Robert Duvall), a once respected judge, from a murder charge. The problem: Daddy thinks his son is an asshole and would rather go to prison. Uh oh! The heartstring-pulling Oscar bait drama only managed to secure one of its desired Oscar nominations (for Duvall), but all of the performances are supposed to be pretty good.

Before I Go to Sleep‘ – With headlining names like Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, a movie must be pretty bad to vanish into obscurity so quickly. Do you even remember this coming out in theaters? The gist of it is that the stars remake ’50 First Dates’ as a thriller, with Kidman’s amnesia victim having a total memory reset and waking up every morning thinking that she’s still 20-years-old, and learning something more sinister about her husband every time she does. Honestly, it’s not a terrible pitch for a thriller. Sadly, the movie got savage reviews and flopped.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?‘ – The latest project from Japanese cult director Sion Sono (‘Cold Fish’, ‘Suicide Club’) is a revenge thriller about amateur filmmakers trying to make a low-budget Yakuza action movie, only to get caught up with the real thing. I’m told that the film has a hell of an exciting sword battle climax, but takes a really, really long time to get to it.

Catalog Titles

The Criterion Collection’s sole title this week is the Argentine family drama ‘La Ciénaga‘, about which I know nothing at all.

Surprisingly, Shout! Factory has a higher-profile selection of famous art films. Namely: Kenneth Branagh’s brawny adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V‘ and a double-feature of Claude Berri’s French period dramas ‘Jean de Florette‘ and its sequel ‘Manon of the Spring‘.

Olive Films is all over the map this week, from the Frank Capra comedy ‘A Hole in the Head‘ to the Korean War epic ‘Pork Chop Hill‘.

Fox has a new 20th Anniversary Edition of Bryan Singer’s exemplary thriller ‘The Usual Suspects‘. Will this copy finally have a decent video transfer, or is it just a repackaging of the dated master first released on Blu-ray back in 2006? I’d need clarification on that before I’d consider buying this.


Can’t get enough uptight British condescension or conveniently overheard conversations? ‘Downton Abbey‘ is still going strong after five seasons.

Personally, the only must-have disc for me this week is Branagh’s ‘Henry V’, but I also have some interest in the ‘Jean de Florette’ two-fer and would rent ‘Fury’.

I’ve told you our contest rules above. Winning is simple. Just tell me what disc you want and why I should give it to you. If you guess the right title, it could be yours. Good luck!


  1. Kashtarreaper

    I love “The Replacements”. It’s the first movie I remember seeing at the drive-in, paired with “Space Cowboys”. It’s wn underrated Classic filled with those Clichés we all know and love. Plus it’s soundtrack is all Rolling Stones song off my favorite album (by them). Based on that description you might think that Scorsesse directed it.

    • C.C. 95

      “I will Survive” murders the ending. That song HAS to be taken to the woodshed. Shot, killed, drawn & quartered- with each part buried on the farthest ends of the Earth.

  2. Bill McClain

    ‘Jean de Florette‘ and ‘Manon of the Spring’ for me. Beautiful film making.

    I don’t see them for rent through my usual sources, which is why I should be awarded a prize copy.


  3. HuskerGuy

    Went with The Replacements only for contest purposes. It’s the only movie I’d care for off that list.

    Hackman, Reeves, and football. What more could you possibly want?

  4. NJScorpio

    Fury – I’m certainly interested in this one, but the lack of reception enthusiasm has tempered my expectations. At least it sounds better than ‘Monuments Men’…still haven’t seen that one.

    Downton Abby Season 5 – I’ve seen the other seasons, and enjoyed them…so might as well, right?

    The Judge – I like the subject matter, the actors, and that it seems like a movie my whole family can watch.

    • Chris B

      You’re right on the money to temper your expectations. David Ayer is seeming more and more like a one-trick-pony, his answer on how to to make a better movie than his last one is simply: more violence, more vulagrity, more gore. And repeat.

  5. I would most be interested in Fury. If I wasn’t saving up for something else, this would be a blind buy for me. I enjoy David Ayer’s movies for the most part and this one is a bit different from his corrupt cops type films. I’m sure it will be eye and ear candy as you stated above. I will be redboxing this one come midnight tonight. Plus, Phil’s rave review of it has made me even more curious. : )

    Book Of Life 3D- This one would also be on my radar, as I love 3D films. The animation looks beautiful and I might break down and pick this one up. It was hard not to get 3D Boxtrolls last week, and I’m not sure I can resist another week without some 3D.

    The Replacements- It’s been many years since I’ve seen this one, but I remember really enjoying it. I love Reeves and Hackman. This one is priced pretty cheap, so if I couldn’t win it, it wouldn’t set me back too much.
    My strongest feeling is that Fury is the prize, with Book of Life (probably 2d) being my second guess.

  6. ariel rodriguez

    The Book of Life seems like a movie literally full of life. My wife and I have been wanting to see this one. I am sure the video is stunning on BD. Fury because the surround sound I am sure is out of this world plus the movie looks good. The Remaining for a good suspense along with The Jude.

  7. Matt

    The Book of Life (both regular and 3d)
    Looks like a fun movie. I love Day of the Dead stuff.

    Henry V
    Great film. I’m a sucker for Shakespeare + Branagh.

    • C.C. 95

      I LOVE that Branagh’s magnificent HENRY V is finally on Blu. I just wish it got the red carpet treatment afforded lesser movies on Shout! factory’s roster.
      We few…we happy few..we band of brothers… : )

      • C.C. 95

        P.s.- I guess I should be grateful they didn’t make a ridiculous cover art to cash in on Christian Bale being in it….
        Hey! It has a PERFECT 100% on Rotten Tomatoes! (Don’t think I’ve ever seen that before….)

  8. William Henley

    Nothing I am going to run out and buy, as I havent seen any of the movies I voted for, but I am interested in seeing Book of Life (either 2D or 3D)

    Also voted for Henry V, The Usual Suspects and Justice League. Once again, I haven’t seen any of these, but the titles sound intriguing. I love Historical-based movies for the most part, and of course who doesn’t love super-heros. I THINK The Usual Suspects is about the mob, so I have been wanting to see it as well, but just never got around to it.

  9. benjamin workman

    Well first off I would like to say thanks for giving me the chance to win these great titles. I’ve actually been on hemodialysis for the past year and I’m pretty much bed ridden. I also have to wear a Foley catheter and have been wearing the catheter for 3 years. I have so much going on medically and my lawyer is working on my disability so I have not been to the theater in some time. I would love to see Fury because I’ve heard great things and I’m curious to see what David Ayer can bring to the table for Suicide Squad, seeing how Fury has an ensemble cast.

  10. benjamin workman

    I would love to see The Book of Life 3d simply because Guillermo Del Toro is a visionary and from what I’ve seen him direct I’m sure its original and I’m positive the 3d is incredible. I read he took 42 weeks on the post conversion 3d for Pacific Rim so I can only imagine how good it will look.

  11. benjamin workman

    Lastly I would absolutely love to own Justice League: Throne of Atlantis just because its Justice League and Justice League kicks ass.

  12. Warner

    I will pick up “Pork Chop Hill” for sure. I grew up watching old VHS copies of classic war movies and this was one of my favorite. I am hoping that the transfer is a good one, as nothing looks better on blu ray than old B&W movies.

  13. Lord Bowler

    I’m a big fan of Gregory Peck and saw ‘Pork Chop Hill’ years ago about “The Forgotten War” that is Korea.

    This movie is a much under-appreciated War Drama about a hard-fought battle in that Forgotten War. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but I look forward to seeing this in HD. I love the classics and good War classics particularly!

    ‘Fury’: I saw this in theater and this was great film. I love WWII history, particularly Tank Movies. This was a great depiction of the hardship that American Tanks had to overcome against the better German Tanks.

    • Lord Bowler

      Other movies I’d like to pickup are:

      I just really want to see ‘The Judge’, missed it in theater, but it looked great.

      I’m a big fan of the DCAU titles and ‘Justice League: Throne of Atlantis’ looks interesting and a movie where Aquaman finally headlines? Awesome!

      I have ‘The Replacements’ on DVD and want to upgrade this to BLU.

      I may consider ‘The Usual Suspects: 20th Anniversary Edition’ if the supplements differ greatly from the version I already own.

  14. Chapz Kilud

    I voted for “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” because I own all the Best Buy DC Comics Blu-ray figurine sets. Personally I’d like to get Book of Life 3D. But beggars can’t be choosers.

  15. ElegantTobacco

    jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring- These are two of the greatest films I have ever seen. I’d love to own them on Blu-ray.

    Fury – I’ve heard great reviews of this, and the cast is great, too. War has always been one of my favorite genres.

    The Book of Life – I loved this one in theaters. Oh, and I’m a Mexican-American.

  16. mattymaclellan

    Open Windows – Missed it at Toronto After Dark and it looks interesting. I’ve definitely been wanting to see it (plus Elijah Wood has been really solid for a long time).

    The Judge – It’s a big movie that I missed in theatres and I like RDJ.

    Book of Life 3D – I’m still building my 3D collection (I’m a big fan of the medium) and this would be a nice addition. I’ve been intrigued by the reviews.

    Why Don’t You Play In Hell – This looks crazy and I can’t wait to see it. Missed it at TIFF and would love to win a copy!

  17. Kenneth

    The Judge – A couple of great actors and I’ve heard great things. Sounds like a shoe in to add to my collection.

    The Usual Suspects – I’ve never seen it and my friends keep telling me it’s a must watch.

  18. Alex

    I’m really hoping it’s Henry V. I did my final report on Henry V in Senior English class back in High School, even channeling Derek Jacobi to recite the “O For a Muse of Fire” speech for my entire class. It’s inspiring, it’s brutal, it emotional, it’s the best Shakespeare on film, and I would love to add the high def version to my catalog.

    • Alex

      I’d also love to own The Usual Suspects. To this day, I remember the first time I saw it, thinking that it was a solid C+ of a thriller until the last 5 minutes when it suddenly shot up to an A. Remarkable story-telling, and who doesn’t love Kevin Spacey?

  19. Cliff Greenough

    I voted for “Nothing for me this week” as there is nothing I really have to have but thanks for the offer. I hope the winner gets what they want! I’m still hoping for either Lucy or Box Trolls from last week, either of those would be worth it to me, especially Lucy, fingers crossed. (unless the winner has already been chosen…) 🙂

  20. John Bieschke

    I would like to win La Cienaga. I lived in Rosario, Argentina for a couple of years; it would be nice to see things that remind me of a place I once called home.

  21. For sure title: Book of Life 3D- it’s not as bad as critics say it was.
    Maybes – Pork Chop Hill, because Gregory Peck. The Remaining as I like the genre. Maison Close – Caught an episode of this and was surprisingly intrigued to watch more of them. Maid Sama – Much Anime seen by this guy, this one falls into one of the categories I enjoy. The other category usually involves Demons or some other such shit.
    Maybe based on $$ – Fury. Brad Pitt yes, Josh’s review says no so not on the TOP of mylist.

  22. Nathan

    I’d love to own any of the films I voted for. Some because I missed in theaters (Book of Life). Some because I used to be an employee of Sony and don’t want to give them any money (Fury). Anything Criterion is on my radar! And not having to rebuy a catalog title would be nice (The Usual Suspects, The Replacements). Thanks!!

  23. eric

    Why Don’t You Play in Hell? I help run a film festival in Dallas (AFFD) where we show Asian and Asian-American films every year. We have shown well over 500 movies over the last 14 years and we have watched even more and its not every year we get a gem like this. It was a huge hit, most people bought tickets because they knew the directors name or loved the title… this movie was a huge hit at the festival. It definitely had the best audience reaction out of all the films, and people where laughing and talking about well after they saw it.

    This movie is best watched with friends. If you watch this movie by yourself you will wish you watched it with at least one other person. This movie is an experience… it will make you say “WTF?!” a lot. Everyone should see this film.

  24. Evan W.

    Fury: Brad Pitt is my favorite actor and thus I am a completionist. And yes, that means Johnny Suede is in my collection. Don’t judge me too much.

    The Judge: My wife and I are both attorneys and she wants to be a judge one day. Yes, some of the courtroom scenes are overly melodramatic and a good amount of the courtroom testimony in the movie would not happen in real life (because of certain procedural/evidentiary rules…I won’t bore you with details). However, we both enjoyed the performances by Duvall and Downey so much that we overlooked some of the film’s deficiencies. Which is hard for attorneys to do when it comes to legal dramas. Chalk this one up to our hearts outweighing our head.

    The Usual Suspects: You only get one chance to see a movie for the first time. The Usual Suspects is one of the few movies that I wish I could watch over and over again with no prior memory of how it ends. Also, I am convinced that Keyser Soze later changed his name, got elected to the 5th Judicial District of South Carolina, and will once again reveal his true identity during the House of Cards series finale.

  25. Mical

    I voted for ‘Justice League: Throne of Atlantis’ because I haven’t had the chance to see it yet and it looks awesome. I’ve seen some other DC animated movies and they are all fantastic, they do such a great job on these.

  26. Timcharger

    Fury is my guess. You mentioned that it is slightly used, so I’m guessing it was title that was reviewed. I was going to guess Judge, too. But I’m not too interested in that title.

    As for why me? Because I’m saying, please? Pretty please?

    How about this reason? Angelina Jolie was going to marry me and have my children, but Brad stole her from me. No? You don’t buy that.

    This reason is even more true; it really is. Shia LaBeouf with help, ruined my childhood. Ruin my childhood parts related to Transformers, that is. So Shia owes me. I hear he did a decent job acting on this film. So that might provide some redemption to his crimes against children(‘s dreams).

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