Blu-ray Highlights: Week of November 29th, 2015 – You Know I’m No Good

Welcome back, everybody! As we return from the long holiday weekend, I wish I had more exciting news to bring you about the first new Blu-ray releases of December. Unfortunately, this is an especially slow week.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (12/1/15)?

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New Releases

Amy‘ – Sad as it may be to say, I doubt that anyone was too surprised when the news first broke in 2011 that Amy Winehouse had died of a drug overdose. Like other immensely talented but self-destructive personalities before her – from John Belushi to Kurt Cobain – the singer’s life trajectory seemed to be plotted out in advance for everyone to see but no one to stop. Now that a few years have passed, her tragically short life is profiled in a documentary comprised of tons of candid footage from both on-stage and off.

Mistress America‘ – With two features in theaters this year (the other being ‘While We’re Young’), this is a surprisingly fertile time in director Noah Baumbach’s career. He also has a documentary about Brian De Palma currently touring film festivals. This particular effort also marks his second screen pairing (after ‘Frances Ha’) with his real-life love interest and muse Greta Gerwig. Here, she plays a flighty New York social butterfly who makes a terrible role model for her younger soon-to-be sister-in-law. Reviews were mostly positive, though many described the movie as slight.

Goodnight Mommy‘ – After their mother returns home following face-changing plastic surgery, her young twin boys find themselves questioning whether she’s really the person she claims to be. The Austrian horror thriller is said to be very unnerving for most of its run time until ultimately dropping the ball in the final act. Don’t most horror movies do that anyway, though?

Mississippi Grind‘ – Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, the filmmaking team behind ‘Half Nelson’ and ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’, deliver their latest low-key character study. Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn play a pair of degenerate gamblers trying to dig themselves out of the holes they’ve dug. Movies about gambling are often a tough sell for audiences, and this one fizzled in general release despite some positive buzz on the festival circuit.

90 Minutes in Heaven‘ – How sad for once promising indie filmmaker Michael Polish (‘Twin Falls Idaho’, ‘Northfork’) to be reduced to churning out a piece of “faith-based” pap starring Hayden Christensen. While I’m fairly confident that this is probably a subtler and better movie than last year’s extremely similar ‘Heaven Is for Real’, the target audience didn’t warm up to it as much as that one and general viewers wouldn’t touch either with a ten-foot holy cross.

Yakuza Apocalypse‘ – Japanese madman Takashi Miike serves up his latest slice of cinematic insanity. This one’s about a war between rival clans of vampire yakuza gangsters. Anyone who knows Miike will understand that things really spiral out of control from there.

Catalog Titles

Criterion’s sole release this week is director Michael Ritchie’s feature film debut, the 1969 competitive skiing drama ‘Downhill Racer‘ starring Robert Redford. (Ritchie and Redford would later re-team for the deeply cynical political satire ‘The Candidate’.)

Is it really possible that Ben Stiller’s dopey male-model comedy ‘Zoolander‘ is getting a sequel next year, or did I hallucinate that? It must be real, because what else would explain why Warner is reissuing the original in a new “Blue SteelBook” edition (har har) exclusive to Walmart?

Do you think it was intentional that Warner chose to release the two sequels to ‘The Naked Gun‘ just a couple months in advance of FX’s upcoming ‘American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson’ TV series? How perverse. Neither of the ‘Naked Gun’ sequels is nearly as funny as the original, but they each have their moments.

Finally from Warner is a 25th Anniversary reissue of ‘Christmas Vacation‘ which appears to include a brand new video remaster. That’s much needed, because the old Blu-ray from 2006 was a pretty poor-looking affair.


It’s pirates vs. zombies in TV land, as Starz bundles together the first two seasons of ‘Black Sails‘ while also reissuing the fifth season of ‘The Walking Dead‘ in a new Limited Edition and debuting the first season of that show’s disappointing spin-off ‘Fear the Walking Dead‘.

I can hardly believe that the astoundingly idiotic ‘Zoo‘ actually aired on network TV. It’s a new low even for the network that broadcasts ‘Scorpion’ and ‘Under the Dome’, and is so bad it’s not even worth hate-watching. Who would buy this crap on Blu-ray?

My $.02

Not a lot here is calling to me. I’ll put the remaster of ‘Christmas Vacation’ on my wish list, but beyond that, I’m sitting this week out.

Are you more excited for anything this week than I am?


  1. Bolo

    ‘Mistress America’ brought a big smile to my face when I saw it in cinemas. I can see popping it on from time to time at home, but I won’t rush out to buy it. If I see a used copy for a couple bucks a few months down the road, I’ll pick it up then.

    I saw ‘Yakuza Apocalypse’ and ‘Amy’ in cinemas, but wouldn’t revisit either of them.

  2. Lord Bowler

    I’ll be picking up Fear The Walking Dead of course.

    Rentals would be: Mississippi Grind, Lost in The Sun, and Return to Sender.

    I love B-Movies and Shark movies, so I’ll be renting Shark Lake and War Pigs.

  3. William Henley

    The only title I am picking up this week is Jerusalem 3D. I picked up Zoolander two weeks ago for $3.75 (not the Steelbook). I had never seen it, but $3.75 was cheap enough for a blind buy. The Naked Gun movies were okay, I remember seeing 33 1/3 at the theater, and I THINK I have the first one on laserdisc, but none of the movies are really anything I feel I need to own.

    I have no interest in 90 Minutes in Heaven. I actually did not know it was a faith based film – I think many assumed it was probably a teenage coming-of-age film with a name like that.

      • William Henley

        Well, add some pillow talk and some fooling around…. and then make your actors 50+ and in need of viagra… yeah, you could probably get 90 minutes. 🙂

        In any event, it was a very poor shot at a joke, but at least you picked up on it.

  4. Csm101

    I’m still recovering from Black Friday spending. I’m also trying to figure out how I’m going to scrounge up $$$ for next week’s releases and the Screen Archives sale, so I’m definitely sitting this week out. There’s a couple of things of minor interest this week, but I’m glad it’s a slow one. They can wait.

  5. Chris B

    Goodnight Mommy and Mississippi Grind sound interesting, may rent them down the line.

    I’ve loved “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” since I was a kid, it’s one if the most quotable comedies of all time. It also holds the dubious distinction of being probably the shittiest looking blu-ray I own, (honorable mentions go to Ichi the Killer and The Long Goodbye). I’ll be picking up a copy just before the holidays to watch on Christmas eve. Really looking forward to seeeing it with good Pq/Aq…finally.

  6. Deaditelord

    Probably pick up the Naked Gun movies when they hit the $5 – $7.50 price point. Other than than that, I’ll be sitting this week out since I’m contemplating buying a Nvidia Shield to use as a media streamer.

  7. Al

    Update: The 25th Anniversary ‘Christmas Vacation’ has been delayed indefinitely. It’s unavailable at Amazon, or any other retailer.

    • Csm101

      I’m pretty sure the Best Buys in my area have carried this version for about a month now, it has a new cover with more of a closeup on Chevy’s face. If you go to their website it’s on sale for 7.99. It’s been 14.99 all month. Are you referring to another version?

        • Csm101

          It looks like it was a Best Buy exclusive until tomorrow, so you can pick it up there. My mistake about it being on sale for 7.99. It’s 13.99. When I clicked on it to see what stores are carrying it, it also showed the other version with a red 7.99 and I mistakenly thought it was for that one. I believe it’s a steelbook.

  8. Barsoom Bob

    Well, Roger Waters’ The Wall came in second for the most wanted movie in the voting list. I’m impressed and pleasantly surprised. I have seen it in a theater and it is quite good. Not a full on documentary type movie like the excellent Amy, it is a slightly personalized, straight up concert recording of the EPIC production he was touring around the world the last few years. It is a very personal work, a trip through a damaged soul’s psyche on a journey through a life bruised by war and other modern forces, to a personal breakthrough / redemption. It is deep and heavy, but also fun, very entertaining and facinating to watch. Roger “no shortage of ego here” Waters manages to insert himself a few times into the film, in small little pieces, that compliment the flow of the story and vary from moving to slightly surrealistic. Doesn’t hurt the film and in a couple of places it is actually very moving.

    Even if The Wall isn’t particularly your favorite piece of music, the audio and visual presentation is eye and ear candy heaven. This will be an excellent music demo disc visually, i believe it was shot in 4K, and should give all your multi channel systems, and super sub woofers, a work out. Pink Floyd were performing live in surround sound back in the late sixties. I was at a show in the early 70’s where they wired stately Carnegie Hall with rear stacks of speakers, orchestra and balcony, for the surround effects of their shows. The current Wall shows were multi channeled surround with helicoptors and jets flying overhead. There was a varied soundscape tape that was played before the shows began and it ended with “I am Sparticus” ringing out from all different locations around the arena. Very cool. If you are even slightly inclined, pick it up, you won’t be disappointed. In a world that is hell bent on building spurious walls right now out of fear, a piece of work that ends with tearing one down might be worth considering.

  9. All catalog titles and seconds. So here’s what interests me, but will most likely end up on a list to be considered an impulse buy.
    Goodnight Mommy, Lost in the Sun, Mutilator, Naked Gun 2 & 3, Return to Sender, War Pigs, Zoo Season 1.
    Already bought last month Christmas Vacation.

  10. itjustWoRX

    Bought “Cooties” and “Goodnight Mommy,” but I had to pass on my first Walking Dead LE. I’m sorry, but I got the (much cooler) S3 Aquarium for something like $80. Same goes for the S4 tree-walker. I don’t recall what I paid for the S2 screwdriver but it wasn’t near the $135 Amazon wants for a small piece of plastic that literally does nothing. I kept thinking there was no way Amazon would leave it at that price…and I was wrong. I won’t be buying any more LEs in the future.

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