Considering how frequently we hear dire news about the market for physical media dying, it sure doesn’t seem like the volume of new Blu-ray and Ultra HD releases has slowed down at all. Quite the opposite, actually. This week brings another huge batch of discs to sort through.
Admittedly, not many of this week’s releases are standouts, in my opinion. Frankly, the recent theatrical titles don’t have much of interest for me. However, there’s some appealing stuff in the catalog selection. In particular, fans of schlocky horror get quite a bounty this week.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
The Equalizer 2 – Both star Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua return for a sequel that bears even less resemblance to the old TV show this series is allegedly based on. Not that the first movie was exactly a beloved classic, but the reviews for this one were especially caustic. It still made good money, though. Expect at least one more to make a trilogy out of it.
Peppermint – After a decade or so playing wives and mothers, Jennifer Garner hopes to remind fans that, once upon a time, she used to be an action star. Unfortunately, the revenge thriller from Taken director Pierre Morel was roundly lambasted by critics and didn’t quite eke out a profit.
Smallfoot – Channing Tatum voices a friendly yeti in an animated comedy that didn’t make a whole lot of traction in theaters but will probably keep your kids entertained when you run out of better Disney or Pixar or even DreamWorks options. Best Buy and WBShop list a 3D version, but I’m not entirely certain that it’s really coming out.
Lizzie – Chloë Sevigny portrays notorious axe murderer Lizzie Borden in a sympathetic bio-pic that paints her as a victim of abuse. Kristen Stewart plays the family maid and forbidden love interest. Reviews were mixed, and it seems that most audiences got enough of the subject from the Lifetime network’s recent The Lizzie Borden Chronicles TV series with Christina Ricci.
The Equalizer 2 dishes out justice in 4k HDR. Best Buy has a Pop Art SteelBook, if you’re into that.
Also debuting day-and-date are a couple of indie thrillers I’d never heard of, called Galveston (directed by actress Mélanie Laurent) and River Runs Red.
The Studio Canal 4k upgrade for Sam Raimi’s cult classic Evil Dead 2 makes it way to America by way of distributor Lionsgate.
Also arriving are a trio of IMAX documentaries: A Beautiful Planet, Journey to the South Pacific, and We, the Marines. None of these is even an hour long. In fact, the Marines piece is barely 38 minutes.
New to the Criterion Collection are the 1989 Apartheid drama A Dry White Season and Samuel Fuller’s 1957 feminist Western Forty Guns.
Did you miss out on Arrow Video’s Limited Edition release of Billy Wilder’s Oscar winning The Apartment last year? You get another chance with a lower-priced Special Edition that should be the same Blu-ray minus the fancy packaging or hardcover book.
Long before they re-teamed for 1987’s The Untouchables, star Robert De Niro and director Brian De Palma started their careers together with the trio of comedies Greetings (1968), The Wedding Party (1969), and Hi, Mom! (1970). Arrow collects them together for a box set called De Niro & De Palma: The Early Films.
Also from Arrow is a double feature of the Franco Nero Spaghetti Westerns Django and Texas Adios, available as a Limited Edition or a SteelBook. (The latter appears to be sold out already.) [Update: This release may have been pulled entirely. See Chris B’s comment below.]
Shout! Factory inducts the Clint Eastwood Western Hang ‘Em High into its Shout Select line for the film’s 50th anniversary.
GKIDS celebrates Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved anime classic My Neighbor Totoro with a 30th anniversary re-release that includes a soundtrack CD and a book.
In 1994, future Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Renée Zellweger starred in the decidedly not Oscar-worthy Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. Scream Factory brings it to Blu-ray, along with Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 and The Mangler.
You might say that Blue Underground CEO William Lustig has a vested interest in continually releasing and re-releasing the 1980 slasher Maniac, given that he directed the film. The new 3-disc Limited Edition promises a 4k restoration and lots of extras. (Note: This Maniac has no relation to the recent Netflix series of the same title.)
If you still haven’t had enough gore after all those, Vinegar Syndrome serves up 1995’s Ice Cream Man, starring Clint Howard as the deranged owner of an ice cream factory who grinds up his murder victims and mixes them into his recipes. Perhaps if the disc sells well enough, Howard might finally get the planned sequel, called Sundae Bloody Sundae, off the ground. One can dream.
Both Amazon and wbshop indicate that the 1973 TV miniseries The Blue Knight is part of the Warner Archive Collection. Unlike other Warner Archive releases, however, the Blu-ray’s packaging (at least the front cover) makes no mention of that. Regardless, the cop drama starring William Holden and adapted from a novel by Joseph Wambaugh won a bunch of Emmys back in the day.
That De Niro & De Palma box set has me very intrigued. Forty Guns also sounds fun.
If I hadn’t been fortunate enough to nab last year’s Limited Edition, I’d be all over The Apartment. I also think I’ll hold tight with my older Blu-ray copy of My Neighbor Totoro.
Does anything tempt you this week, or are you saving your money for other holiday expenses?