Blu-ray Highlights: Week of December 18th, 2016 – It Will Tear Your Soul Apart

It may be the last shopping week before Christmas, but (as happens most years) the Blu-ray release schedule has slowed down dramatically. This is a pretty light week in terms of volume. However, a few notable titles slip out in time for the holiday.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (12/20/16)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

The Magnificent Seven‘ – As far as remakes of classic movies go, Antoine Fuqua’s reworking of the famous Western (which was itself a remake of ‘Seven Samurai’) looked a lot less offensive than the recent ‘Ben-Hur’ debacle. In fact, the trailers seemed kind of fun. Reuniting with Fuqua for the umpteenth time, Denzel Washington leads an all-star cast including Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Peter Sarsgaard. Unfortunately, once it opened, reviews and word-of-mouth were lukewarm and the movie underperformed at the box office. Like most things Fuqua makes, the film was criticized for copying someone else’s established formula, dumbing it down for modern audiences, and heaping on lots of gruesome violence in an attempt to be edgy.

Sully‘ – Following up the success of ‘American Sniper’, 86-year-old Clint Eastwood continues his latest career resurgence with another true story bio-pic. Tom Hanks plays Chesley Sullenberger, the U.S. Airways pilot who was forced to ditch his passenger jet into the Hudson River with 155 people aboard. Despite deep skepticism about how Eastwood could possibly stretch a real event that lasted all of six minutes into a 96-minute feature film, the movie was well received by most critics and audiences, and became a pretty big box office hit. Eastwood shot almost the entire thing with the new IMAX digital cameras, and the Blu-ray has a Dolby Atmos soundtrack too, so it should make for some nice home theater eye and ear candy. (Just be aware that this is mostly a talky courtroom drama, not an action movie.)

Storks‘ – As if we didn’t have enough animated comedies about talking animals this year, here’s one that plays on the old childhood myth about storks delivering babies to parents. You might think that with an actual comedy filmmaker in charge (Nicholas Stoller, of ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ and ‘Neighbors’) and a cast that includes Andy Samberg and both Key & Peele, perhaps this one might be better than average. Apparently not.

31‘ – Rob Zombie is back with another gross-out Rob Zombie horror flick starring his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie. The insanity this time centers around evil clowns and carneys. Anyone who voluntarily chooses to watch this should already know what to expect.

Oasis: Supersonic‘ – Do/did you like the band Oasis? The Gallagher brothers have a reputation for being a couple of assholes. Here’s a documentary that tries to spin that as a good thing.

Hitchcock/Truffaut‘ – In 1962, François Truffaut spent a week interviewing one of his idols, Alfred Hitchcock, for a book about his career. A new documentary interviews modern filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson and David Fincher about how both of those men and the book influenced them.


Also arriving in 4k this week are ‘Sully‘, ‘The Magnificent Seven‘ and ‘Storks‘.

Catalog Titles

Arrow Video has remastered the first three ‘Hellraiser‘ movies and bundled them, along with a bounty of new bonus features, into a limited edition collection called “The Scarlet Box.” The same set was released in the UK in 2015 and sold out quickly. However, most of the contents were later reissued in a slightly less elaborate package that can still be imported for less than half the price of this one. (Be advised that the UK copies are locked to Region B.)

My $.02

I’m a big fan of Clive Barker’s original ‘Hellraiser’, but the second movie is nowhere near as good and the third is a total dog. (The less said about the later sequels, the better.) I’m inclined to wait for either a standalone copy of the first film, or at least a lower-priced repackage comparable to the one still available in the UK.

‘Sully’ looks like good rental material, and I’ll try to make a point of watching the ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’ documentary if I run across it on Netflix some day.

Will you make any last-minute purchases before Christmas this year?


  1. Chris B

    I pre-ordered the Hellraiser box set a few months ago, should be at my door tommorow or wednesday. I actually haven’t watched the movies aince I was a teenager but from what I can remember I actually enjoyed the second one a bit more than the first and even though the third isn’t nearly as good as the first two it’s still trashy fun. Really looking forward to revisiting the series. I’ll probably pick up Bloodline eventually as that’s the only other one I’ve seen and actually liked…..

  2. William Henley

    Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors is on preorder for my mom for Christmas (as well as Coat of Many Colors – those seem to be pressed-to-order movies, so I hope they arrive before Christmas).

    Hillsong Let Hope Arise was an interesting movie. It’s us theatrical release was pretty much butchered cause it was distributed by PureFlix, who does zero marketing for their products, but I expect it will do marginally better on home video. it wasn’t quite what I was expecting – I was expecting a documentary on the church, and it is really more of a documentary on one of their worship teams. It is still good, and very interesting. I am on the fence though if I would rewatch it enough times to justify the cost.

    Other than those, nothing catches my eye this week.

    • Deaditelord

      I don’t think $67 is that outrageous for three films plus lots of extras. Especially when considering what Synapse and Twilight Time charge for a single blu-ray release.

      • Chris B

        I’m still fucking waiting for mine to show up. I preordered the fucking thing three fucking months ago and they can’t even get it to me on release day. Fucking Amazon…

        • Deaditelord

          Wow that sucks Chris. I hope your copy has shown up by now. Mine showed up on Tuesday and I just started in on the extras for Hellraiser. So far, I’m very happy with the box set.

  3. Csm101

    Magnificent Seven looks to be a good rental and future purchase if I enjoy it. Sully and 31 will also be good for rentals. I would like to be able to buy the Hellraiser movies separate. I enjoy the first two quite a bit. For my 3D collection I’ll be getting Storks some time in the future as well.

  4. John Smith

    Josh, I saw Sully at a theater and was very impressed with the Atmos sound. Yes there are a lot of talking in the movie but there are many sequences that took advantage of Atmos sound. Everything comes together nicely in the film’s climatic sequence, I can’t wait to watch it on my Atmos home theater.

  5. Deaditelord

    I preordered the Hellraiser box set so I should be getting that tomorrow. I’m also curious about Sully and will give it a rent over the holiday weekend. Maybe The Magnificent Seven remake too, although that means breaking my rule of not watching movies that star Chris Pratt. (His popularity mystifies me.)

  6. EM

    I saw Hitchcock/Truffaut theatrically and enjoyed it…but I prefer to curl up with the English- and French-language editions of the book that inspired it.

    “You probably know the story of the two goats who are eating up cans containing the reels of a film taken from a best seller. And one goat says to the other, ‘Personally, I prefer the book!’” — Alfred Hitchcock, in the book

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