Blu-ray Highlights: Week of February 26th, 2017 – Strange Bedfellows

February ends with a touch of magic as Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme materializes on Blu-ray this week. Also available: last night’s Best Picture winner and a beloved art film trilogy.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (2/28/17)?

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New Releases

Doctor Strange‘ – I have very mixed feelings about the way Marvel has introduced magic and mysticism into the current phase of its Cinematic Universe. The studio barrels full-tilt in that direction with its latest blockbuster, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a brilliant surgeon who becomes a wizard. The movie was pretty well received by fans, though many found its standard-issue comic book origin story plot less interesting than its visually elaborate and inventive magic sequences. The Blu-ray is available in 2D or 3D, either of which can be gotten in SteelBook packaging at Best Buy. Sadly, Disney still does not support Ultra HD.

Moonlight‘ – I’m writing this post in advance of the Oscar ceremony, but my guess is that Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed drama about a boy growing up gay and black in Miami was probably passed over for Best Picture. [Update: Wow, was I wrong!] Nonetheless, the film received rapturous praise from critics.

Allied‘ – Robert Zemeckis’ WWII romantic thriller starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard was clearly designed as a throwback to the glossy Hollywood studio pictures of yore – most specifically, to ‘Casablanca’. Unfortunately, critics were mixed on it and audiences had no interest. The movie flopped pretty badly at the box office. The trailers looked just a little too artificial – the stars too pretty and perfect, the costumes too immaculately clean, and the sets (those not obviously digital) too stagey – all traits that may prove even more distracting in 4k UHD.

Rules Don’t Apply‘ – Warren Beatty hadn’t directed a movie since 1998’s ‘Bulworth’ and hadn’t even acted in one since 2001’s ‘Town & Country’. He returned in both capacities with a period piece romantic drama about a young actress (Lily Collins) and a chauffeur (Alden Ehrenreich) who fall in love while both employed by neurotic billionaire Howard Hughes (Beatty). By most accounts, Beatty should have stayed in retirement. Reviews were largely unfavorable and the film was box office poison.

Shut In‘ – I didn’t realize that Naomi Watts’ career was in such bad shape that she had to star in a no-budget horror flick about a child psychologist tormented by a ghost while trapped in her home during a winter storm. Surely, the actress deserves better than this?

Catalog Titles

Criterion continues its relationship with director Richard Linkater (whose ‘Slacker’, ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Boyhood’ are already in the Collection) by finally tackling his masterwork, ‘The Before Trilogy‘ – comprised of the delightful walking-and-talking romantic dramas ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Midnight’. This marks the first appearance of ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Sunset’ on Blu-ray. It’s also the first time all three movies have been bundled into one package, which entailed wrangling the rights from both Warner Bros. and Sony. I just wish the box art didn’t look like someone blew their nose into a salmon-colored hanky. (Seriously, what’s that about? It’s hideous.) The interior art on the individual cases for each movie is somehow even worse.

The Warner Archive remembers a time ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth‘, a sort of loose follow-up to ‘One Million Years B.C.’ produced by Hammer Films.

Kino goes ‘A*P*E‘ for the latest classic B-movie restoration from the 3-D Film Archive.

If you grew up in the VHS era, there’s a very good chance that the schlocky 1987 horror flick ‘The Gate‘ got a lot of play in your VCR. Lionsgate adds this gem to its Vestron Collector’s Series.

Meanwhile, Scream Factory resurrects ‘Deadtime Stories‘, a 1986 horror anthology film in the vein of ‘Creepshow’ or ‘Cat’s Eye’. Years ago, the director of this movie emailed me asking for help locating a copy of it on Laserdisc. I wonder if he ever found one?

My $.02

I have both the ‘Doctor Strange’ SteelBook and the ‘Before Trilogy’ on preorder. (I was very fortunate to get in on Amazon’s short-lived pricing error for the latter.) I’ll also try to find time to rent ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Allied’.

Where will your money go this week?

Watch Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download


  1. Bolo

    I saw ‘Moonlight’ in cinemas. The first third is ridiculous, but the second two thirds are really solid.

    I find Howard Hughes really fascinating, so I might check out ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ in spite of the negative press. It’s a shame that Scorsese somewhat missed the mark and now Beatty has apparently totally missed it, because I think a great Hughes biopic could be made. Certain aspects of ‘There Will Be Blood’ nailed what I would want from a Hughes biopic without actually being about Hughes.

    ‘Allied’ might be a renter or something I would watch on an airplane.

    • Matt

      Bolo, the first third of Moonlight is the best part. Juan (Mahershala Ali) is amazing. How could it possibly be “ridiculous”? Insane.

      • Bolo

        His acting is fine, but the character just feels like an absurd fantasy (the generous, loving, paternal, ghetto drug dealer who preaches self-acceptance in all the politically correct terminology you’d expect to find in a text book). His wife feels like an even more absurd fantasy (the ghetto drug dealer’s wife with model good looks who is also endlessly down-to-earth, maternal, patient, understanding, and does all the domestic stuff herself like cooking and making beds). The scenes where Chrion goes over to their interior decorator magazine home and they bake him homemade dinners and give him Dr. Phil sessions were just too much.

        • Csm101

          I kind of agree with you on this Bolo. Although performances were top notch, I had similar feelings about Juan. On the special features it did mention something about the guy who wrote the play had a drug dealer take him under his wing when he was a child, so I guess it could be possible. Part of me wonders if it was guilt for selling rocks to Chiron’s mom. He did seem a little too perfect when answering “the hard questions”, still just a minor quip. Anyways, the rest of the movie was pretty powerful and that scene with the knockdown game almost had me in tears. The Chiron musical score was also quite beautiful. Overall, I do feel this movie lived up to the hype.

  2. Csm101

    I have Ape 3d on order and definitely picking up up Doctor Strange 3D. I’d like to Redbox Moonlight tomorrow as well. The Gate, Slaughterhouse, and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth will be wish list items.

  3. Deaditelord

    Dr. Strange 3D for sure this week and likely The Gate when it goes on sale. Just out of curiosity, is there anything new with The Raid Collection? I’m assuming it’s just a repackaging of the two separate releases, but I wanted to make sure.

  4. EM

    I liked Before Sunrise, loved Before Sunset, and was disappointed by Before Midnight. I can’t justify the set’s pricing for only one “must” movie.

  5. Three different releases of ‘ ’21 Jump Street / 22 Jump Street’ (Sony)’ are mentioned. What’s the difference between these two-packs?

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