Blu-ray Highlights: Week of December 13th, 2015 – Trip the Light Fantastic

One exception aside, this week’s new selection of Blu-rays is decidedly less than fantastic. Your mission, which will certainly not be impossible, is to sort through the duds and find what may be the last major disc release of the year.

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

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New Releases

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation‘ – When all else fails in his career, Tom Cruise can always rely on the ‘M:I’ franchise to perform dependably. Our theatrical reviewer Phil wasn’t a big fan of this fifth entry, but he seems to be in a minority. The film was generally well received by critics and fans. Its box office receipts were also about on par with the franchise-high ‘Ghost Protocol’. The Blu-ray has a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, and Best Buy offers an exclusive SteelBook edition.

Fantastic Four‘ – Also known as ‘Fant4stic’. (Yeah, really.) On the other end of the spectrum, it’s about time for Fox to stick a pin in its weakest superhero series and let the rights revert back to Marvel. After two really bad movies starring Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis, the studio rebooted the whole thing with a younger cast and somehow made it even worse. This project was clearly doomed from early on. The film was plagued by production troubles, and the “dark and gritty” tone of the trailers turned off fans of the characters. By the time Fox dumped it in theaters, everybody knew it would be a bomb. Sure enough, it tanked.

Ted 2‘ – Lightning did not strike twice for Seth MacFarlane. The sequel to his surprise blockbuster about a foul-mouthed teddy bear fizzled out upon release. I think the problem is that the first movie played the joke out about as far as it could go, and the trailers for this one just looked like more of the same.

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials‘ – The first of these Young Adult, dystopian future ‘Hunger Games’ knockoffs was produced for a low budget and did well enough for the studio to churn out a sequel just one year later. The follow-up cost twice as much to make and grossed less at the box office, but was still solidly profitable. I have no doubt that a third will come along shortly to complete the epic trilogy, because everything has to be an epic trilogy these days.

Catalog Titles

To appease the contingent of collectors who despised Criterion’s brief foray into dual-format releases that bundled Blu-rays with DVDs in the same package, Criterion is reissuing Michael Mann’s 1982 heist caper ‘Thief‘ this week as a single-disc edition with just the Blu-ray. Meanwhile, new to the Collection is the 1983 documentary ‘Burroughs: The Movie‘, about author William S. Burroughs. This should make an interesting pairing with ‘Naked Lunch‘.

In the mood for some ’70s cheese? Shout! Factory takes the B-movie classic ‘The Car‘ for a spin in high definition.

With the assistance of acclaimed film restoration expert Robert A. Harris, Synapse attempts to put one of the most controversial and yet influential movies ever made, Leni Riefenstahl’s infamous Nazi propaganda documentary ‘Triumph of the Will‘, into its proper historical context.


TV offerings are pretty sparse this week. All we get are the second season of CBS’s dopey ‘Extant‘ and the first season of Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo‘.

My $.02

I preordered the ‘Rogue Nation’ SteelBook and expect to receive that soon. Strictly for its historical value, I might consider buying ‘Triumph of the Will’, but that’s the sort of movie I’d have a really hard time justifying if a friend or family member ever spotted it on my shelf.

Beyond that, there’s not much to see this week. What interests you?


  1. William Henley

    Well, nothing preordered, and nothing that is a Must Own, but…

    I actually REALLY liked this summer’f Fantastic Four. I may end up picking it up.

    I missed both at the theater, but some rentals for me are The Maze Runner 2 and Ted 2.

  2. NJScorpio

    I preordered the Best Buy Steelbook of Mission Impossible: RN, so I could watch the CinemaNow version early. I don’t get why my UV titles show up in my CinemaNow app, but my CN titles don’t appear in my VuDu app. Maybe it’s not synched right, I dunno, but it’s annoying.

    Considering I already saw it, I’m less excited about the credit card charge for the purchase (which alerted me this morning), but I did very much enjoy the movie, and the Steelbook would make a nice addition to my collection.

    Or….I can do what I did with Furious 7. I preordered it, got the digital copy and reserved the BB steelbook. I then sold the Steelbook, sealed, on Amazon for a good chunk more than I paid…resulting in a digital copy and profit in pocket. I just might do that again here, as cash is tight, and I could probably pick up the “regular book” one in a year for $5.

  3. Bolo

    I’ll wait for the reviews of the ‘Toxic Avenger’ box set, and if all is well, I’ll pick up that up. I do not own those films on any other format.

    Might buy ‘The Car’ at some point if I have money burning a hole in my pocket or if I get a craving to see it again.

  4. Csm101

    I’m not sure if I’ll buy any movies this week, but if I did, Mission Impossible is probably the one of highest interest. Wolf Totem for it’s 3Dness will very likely be a future purchase. The Car has always been a curiosity for me, so it will be a wish list item. F4nt4stic Fo4r or whatever the hell they’re calling it might be a redbox and/or a bargain bin purchase.

  5. Chris B

    I can’t believe that people hated those dual format editions so much that Criterion is actually taking the time reissue them as blus only. Are people who already own the dual-format really going to rebuy the issue just so everything on their shelf matches? Are people that OCD? I personally loved the dual-formats, big beefy cardboard-sleeves that look and feel more substantial than the regular Criterions…

    As for purchases this week I don’t really care for anything being released. I still don’t get the love for Rogue Nation. It’s one of the dullest action movies I’ve ever watched. It’s too bad McQuarrie has been announced to direct the new one cuz it’ll most likely just be more if the same.

    I’ll probably being buying a lot less blus from now on as I was able to pick up an Xbox One this past week. I’m knee-deep in Destiny at the moment and soon; Star Wars:Battlefront. Don’t have time to watch as many movies as I used to.

  6. Deaditelord

    Rogue Nation was one of the few highlights in a very lackluster summer (Mad Max: Fury Road being the other exception) so I’ll be picking this up tomorrow. I suspect I’ll end up buying Ted 2 since I enjoyed the first one, but I’ll rent it first before deciding.

  7. Lord Bowler

    I’ll be picking up Rogue Nation and maybe The Car! I love B-Movies.

    When I think of possessed killer cars though, I can’t help but think of The Wraith (which I already own on DVD) first! But, The Car is still an entertaining horror movie.

    Extant’s season two was a vast improvement over season 1. Although, still not enough to get me to pick up either season. Jeffery Dean Morgan was a great addition to the cast. Plus it included David Morrissey. Too bad, we didn’t get many scenes with Morrissey and Morgan facing off.

    I still have to check out Marco Polo.

    I own all of the Marvel Superhero films, so I’ll probably eventually pick up Fantastic Four, but the movie was really terrible. I actually liked the original two FOX films well enough. I may wait until I find this in the bargain bin, though.

    Thankfully, Fantastic Four saved us all from a Josh Trank Star Wars film. Although past failures don’t always predict future failures, so we’ll never know…

  8. Chris B

    It’s not really fair to pin the failure of Fantastic Four entirely on Josh Trank. apparently there was constant studio meddling and he wasn’t allowed to make the movie he wanted. There’s countless examples of the studio executives trying to run the show and fucking up the final product in the process.

      • Chris B

        Very possibly…have they announced who’s directing the second film of the new trilogy? I thought I heard that Rian Johnson was attached to it at one point but I may be misremembering.

        • Josh Zyber

          You’re talking about Star Wars? Yes, Rian Johnson is directing Episode VIII. Gareth Edwards is directing the ‘Rogue One’ spinoff movie. A director for Episode IX hasn’t been announced yet.

          • Chris B

            I don’t get how Gareth Edwards landed that gig. He’s only made like 2 movies, Monsters (way over-hyped) and Godzilla (pretty underwhelming). How does the process of selecting a director for a blockbuster film in Hollywood typically work? Do candidates have to present a full-blown pitch as to what they want to do if they get to direct? Or is it just a quick chat with some studio executive and Boom! You’re hired.

          • Josh Zyber

            I assume that a pitch is part of the process.

            The recent trend in Hollywood is for the major studios to hire relatively inexperienced directors (either from the indie scene or television) to helm their big tentpole movies. This allows them to maintain a tighter leash than they’d have over a powerful auteur. That’s how you wind up with the likes of Colin Trevorrow directing Jurassic World or Alan Taylor doing both Marvel and Terminator sequels. Even Joss Whedon’s only previous feature film had been a flop before he landed the first Avengers gig.

            The Spielbergs and Camerons of the industry can still develop their own projects, but you rarely see them stepping into the middle of an established franchise anymore, even if they helped start it. Can you imagine the fit Cameron would have had if he’d been asked to do Age of Ultron and Marvel forced him to shoehorn in a bunch of random nonsensical scenes setting up other movies?

        • Shannon Nutt

          Trank was originally going to direct the Boba Fett spinoff movie. When he got fired, they delayed that idea and bumped up the Young Han Solo movie, which was to come later on. Directors for both films have yet to be announced.

  9. William Henley

    So I actually did end up picking up a Blu-Ray this week. I am not sure what the actual release date was, but I picked up AVGN X

    The first 100 episodes of AVGN, in glorious standard def, on two Blu-Ray discs! Hey, don’t laugh, I’ve gotten 23 hours of Standard Def material on a Blu-Ray before!

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