Blu-ray Highlights for 2/15/11: What Are You Buying?

This week’s Blu-ray list is pretty weak on brand new day-and-date releases, but much stronger on catalog titles, especially those with ties to the Oscars. Let’s see what’s cookin’, shall we?

Here’s the release slate:

With this year’s Oscars right around the corner, the studios are cranking out former honorees on Blu-ray. These include ‘Last Tango in Paris‘ (Best Actor nominee & Best Director nominee, 1974), ‘All the President’s Men‘ (Best Adapted Screenplay, 1977), ‘Network‘ (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress & Best Original Screenplay, 1977), ‘Chaplin‘ (Best Actor nominee, 1993), ‘Moonstruck‘ (Best Actress & Best Supporting Actress, 1988), and ‘Rain Man‘ (Best Picture, Best Director & Best Actor, 1989).

Of these, the wins (and further nominations in the Best Picture and Best Director categories) for ‘Moonstruck’ are major Oscar embarrassments. That movie is just a dreadful parade of cartoonish Italian-American stereotypes. ‘Chaplin’ is really only notable for Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance, and is otherwise a pretty conventional and formulaic biopic. However, ‘Rain Man’ is a solid movie, ‘Network’ and ‘All the President’s Men’ are terrific, and ‘Last Tango’ is a genuine masterpiece.

Let’s switch tracks to look at the day-and-date releases chugging onto store shelves. Tony Scott and Denzel Washington’s 80th collaboration together, ‘Unstoppable‘, proved to be stoppable after all. The runaway train thriller derailed at the box office last year. (All right, I’m done with the train puns. Sorry!)

Woody Allen continues to crank out his contractually-guaranteed movie a year. His latest is ‘You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger‘. Like most of the world, I didn’t pay much attention to it. I’ll have to rely on our site’s resident Woody fanatic Mike Attebery to fill me in.

On the TV front, we have the recent ‘Doctor Who‘ Christmas special, which Dick thought was pretty great. Image also gives us the third season of the classic ‘Twilight Zone‘.

Finally, I feel like I ought to share a little story about my personal experience with the atrocious live-action ‘Dungeons & Dragons‘ movie. (You know, the one starring Marlon Wayans.) Back in 2001, Mrs. Z and I went on a cruise to Bermuda. The first night, the ship hit extremely rough waters that left the two of us (and, from the sounds of it, pretty much everyone in our section of the boat) violently sea sick. We spent about a whole day doing nothing but moaning in bed and puking our guts out – over and over and over again. The television in the room was plugged into an on-ship entertainment network that only offered two channel choices. One was just advertisements and ship activities announcements. The other was a movie station with exactly two films in constant rotation: ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ and the first ‘Shrek’. Because there was literally nothing else to do (attempting to read just made us more ill), we watched both of these two movies back-to-back-to-back a dozen times each. I got to know every scene and every line of dialogue by heart. Now, even ten years later, the mere thought of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ instantly triggers my gag reflex. That movie is inextricably associated in my memory with endless hours of projectile vomiting. Fun times. It’s safe to say I won’t be buying this one on Blu-ray.


  1. Just ordered Doctor Who and Dungeon and Dragons. Good prices, and while I am not a HUGE fan of D&D, I enjoyed it, and $14 for two movies was a great deal! This is also the first Doctor Who I bought – I love the series, but this was at a price I could justify. That being said, I wonder if the others are now down to this price – I might pick up a few more.

  2. Alex

    I don’t think you need nauseating nautical memories for D&D to trigger your gag reflex.

    So friggin’ excited about “All the President’s Men”, though. Bob Woodward and I went to the same High School (albeit decades apart), and he’s got a special place of honor there to this day.

  3. HuskerGuy

    Nothing new for me this week, but I did catch up on some other releases this week with The Social Network, The Other Guys, and Dinner for Schmucks.

  4. Jane Morgan

    ‘Last Tango In Paris’ is the movie I’m most looking forward to a High-Def Digest blu-ray review of.

    Pair it up with ‘Apocalypse Now,’ and I’ve got myself a pretty fuck-ass (while-the-kids-are-at-school) Marlon Brando double feature afternoon.

      • Jane Morgan

        As soon as I saw the banner image, I instantly knew the movie of the week. 🙂

        My fear is that, since this is MGM releasing the blu-ray, I’m guessing they didn’t put any money or manpower into the video transfer, and we’ll be looking at 2.5-Star 1080p, just like they raped us on ‘Hannibal’ and ‘Ronin.’

        Netflix doesn’t have it on blu-ray, but they do have it on HD streaming.

  5. Mike Attebery

    My copy of ‘You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger’ just arrived. May stay up late to watch it tonight.

  6. Mike

    Well, I watched the new Woody Allen Movie last night. I had my expectations at zero and was rather pleasantly surprised. Nate, I think I enjoyed it more than you did. Nothing amazing, but I definitely liked moments of it. A low-key, lesser Allen movie, but better than the word of mouth had me prepared for. I sure liked it more than Whatever Works. Got me in the mood to go back and rewatch a few Allen movies I’d only seen once. His stuff almost always gets better with a second viewing. Gonna revisit Melinda and Melinda next week.

    Sorry for any typos. Phone is not behaving

  7. Nate Boss

    i kinda liked Melinda and Melinda. it had its moments. just wasn’t consistent, good or bad.

    considering how much you’ve been vocal about Whatever Works not quite doing it for you, to be polite, i’m not surprised you enjoyed YWMATDS (YWMATDS!!!!) more.

    not a bad film for adults who are patient with a twisting story, but DEFINITELY not one for teenagers. no asplosions, and the car chase was very underwhelming.