Blu-ray Highlights for December 11th, 2012 – Teddy Ruxpin’s Revenge

This week’s Blu-ray releases bring us an eclectic mix of content, from foul-mouthed teddy bears to deadly spy assassins and adorable prehistoric rodents. Which will you spend your money on?

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (12/11/12)?

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New Releases

Despite having long since run his animated sitcom ‘Family Guy’ into the ground, Seth MacFarlane scored a pretty big hit this summer with his feature film debut. The raunchy comedy ‘Ted‘ stars Mark Wahlberg as a delayed-adolescent whose teddy bear came to life years earlier and still hangs around with him, smoking dope and hitting on chicks. While the premise sounds uncomfortably similar to the FX sitcom ‘Wilfred‘ (which I’ve given up on, sad to say), the trailers looked funny and word-of-mouth from audiences was strong. I’d give this a rental.

You might think that Matt Damon retiring from his role as Jason Bourne would bring an end to the ‘Bourne Identity’ series. Not so much. Jeremy Renner (eager to worm his way into every significant movie franchise, it would seem) takes over as a related but decidedly not-Bourne spy in ‘The Bourne Legacy‘. I kind of like the idea that this is a side-story that takes place during the events of ‘The Bourne Ultimatum‘, but otherwise this seems like a desperate cash-in from a studio terrified to let go of one of its biggest properties. Audience and critical reaction was mixed. Our reviewer Nate (review linked above) thought it was decent enough. I suppose that I’ll try a rental on this one as well.

Comin’ at ya in 3D is ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift‘. I have little tolerance for this franchise. The first one was cute enough, but the sequels went downhill pretty quickly after that point. Since I don’t have any kids, I won’t be forced to suffer through this.

Catalog Titles

In the catalog realm, I’ll start things off with the Criterion Collection, which brings us Christopher Nolan’s little-seen directorial debut ‘Following‘ (no relation to the upcoming Fox TV series ‘The Following’) and Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Qatsi Trilogy‘. The latter contains all three non-narrative, dialogue-free tone poem travelogues, from the stunning ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ to the decreasingly effective sequels ‘Powaqqatsi’ and ‘Naqoyqatsi’. If you’re not familiar with these but have perhaps seen the spin-off ‘Baraka‘ (directed by the cinematographer of the first film), you should have a sense of what’s in store.

Disney reaches back to the early ’90s to dig up Warren Beatty’s outlandish comic strip adaptation ‘Dick Tracy‘ and Wayne Wang’s sprawling epic weepie ‘The Joy Luck Club‘. These are both interesting movies in their own ways, each flawed but worthy of revisiting. Going back a few decades earlier, the studio also offers the candy-colored musical ‘Babes in Toyland‘. That one doesn’t do as much for me, personally.

Of three limited-edition titles available from Twilight Time this week, the one likely to grab the most attention is the notoriously corny castaway romance ‘The Blue Lagoon‘, in which a young Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins discover their sexual awakening while stranded on a deserted island. Never a film to be taken seriously, I nonetheless can’t even think of the movie without picturing its hilarious parody in ‘Top Secret!’.

Jane Campion’s period piece drama ‘The Portrait of a Lady‘ seems like an odd choice for Shout! Factory to license, doesn’t it? I wasn’t much impressed with the film during its original theatrical release, but enough time has passed that it may be worth another look. If nothing else, its lovely cinematography should (hopefully) translate well to high definition.

Last week, I made the mistake of claiming that the 1998 adaptation of ‘Les Misérables‘ had been released. Looks like I was off a week. It actually comes out today.

Silent movie fans, have you held off from buying any of Kino’s Buster Keaton Blu-rays in hopes that they would eventually be bundled together into one (very expensive) box set? You’re in luck! For about $250, you can buy the 14-disc ‘Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection‘. Not that genuine classics like these aren’t worth spending some money on, but… yikes, that’s a lot of dough.

Other notable titles this week include the fashion photography documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York‘ (Mrs. Z has been asking about this one), Michael Caine’s 1980 pirate adventure ‘The Island‘, and the all-star 1978 action flick ‘The Wild Geese‘. The latter could be considered a sort of precursor to ‘The Expendables’.


On the TV front, Fox has the latest volume of ‘Futurama‘ while HBO bares the first season of Lena Dunham’s Gen-Y slacker dramedy ‘Girls‘ in all its awkward, uncomfortable glory.

I have a review copy of the ‘Qatsi Trilogy’ sitting here on my desk. I’ll probably eventually pick up ‘Dick Tracy’ and rent some of the others.

What grabs your attention this week?


  1. Bob

    Well, “TED” revolts me. It’s a flick designed to look like a movie for little kids (to suck them into its low culture), but is vulgar and distasteful. For the crowd that like’s that kind of #%%&&@, go for it. I’m an “Ice Age” person, myself.

    • Ian Whitcombe

      Bob, the same argument could be made for the “Ice Age” films (which, incidentally, aren’t R-rated).

    • The Norwegian film rating board had this to say about Ted:

      The movie has a few violent scenes, and includes sexualised dialogue and drug use that can be disturbing for children. Therefore, the movie is rated suitable for people aged 11 and up

    • William Henley

      You know, there is a reason this movie is rated R. Any idiot who lets little kids watch an R rated movie really should get investigated by CPS.

      As an adult, though, the movie is everything I expected from Seth McFarland.

      Reminds me of people who complained about Team America. That movie was rated R, and made by the guys who make South Park. What did they expect, The Wizard of Oz?

      No, I 100% agree that TED is not a movie for little kids, but its freaking RATED R, you shouldn’t be showing it to kids anyways!

      • William, I think you’re going a tad bit overboard. An “R” rating means children CAN view it if accompanied by an adult. Therefore, if a parent so chooses to let their children (be it 6 or 16) see it, that’s their right. I’m personally on board with a near-zero censorship parenthood (with porno and films featuring non-simulated intercourse like 9 Songs being the exceptions).

        If a parent lets a kid see White Girls Love Black C*** #32, then yeah, CPS, I get it. But a film whose rating ALLOWS for people to decide for themselves? If someone tried that shit on me I’d be sure to give them reason to call authorities on me afterwards.

        One should not assume or pretend they know what’s best for others. unnamed mini-Boss will be seeing entire horror franchises by the age of 5, without a doubt.

  2. William Henley

    I think Blue Lagoon has been delayed. At least as of yesterday, the Amazon page did not show a release date.

    TED I had preordered since before the movie came out, but the price never did seem to drop on Amazon. I am not going to pay Best Buy prices on Amazon, so a few days ago, I finally canceled my order. It’s a funny movie, just not $28 funny. This is like a $19 funny for me. I never thought I would see the day when a Disney Blu-Ray would be cheaper than a Universal Blu-Ray, but that is this week’s lineup.

    Speaking of Disney, looking REALLY forward to Babes In Toyland. This is one of my favorite childhood movies – I wore out TWO copies of the tape as a kid.

    I am disappointed after reading the review of Dick Tracy. I’ve held out for years buying it on DVD hoping for an eventual Blu-Ray release (the DVD version I saw was a mess), hoping for a movie that would be demo-worthy material for the format. Sigh. I would hold out waiting for a rerelease with a better transfer, but knowing how Disney “Vaults” their movies, I doubt we will see this movie rereleased again until the next great format comes out.

    Finally, really looking forward to Les Miserables. I LOVE this movie! I had it preordered (along with all the others), but had to do a massive cancelation on Amazon this week – I didn’t realize all these movies came out the week AFTER STTNG Season 2 came out. Also, I JUST picked up the DVD of Les Mis a couple of months ago, thinking that the movie would never be released on Blu. Sigh. Anyways, Friday, I will probably at least pick up Babes and possibly Les Mis, and possibly Tracy. As for Ted, not until it comes down in price. I’ll just go home and watch Flash Gordon instead, while cracking up remembering the jokes in Ted.