Blu-ray Highlights for 2/7/12 – Love Means Never Having to Watch ‘Twilight’

It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly. Love and romance are in the air. Oddly, the Blu-ray release schedule is loaded up with lovey-dovey movies this week, and basically none on Valentine’s Day itself. I suppose that’s intended to give us time to buy and watch them in advance. As if we’d really do that.

Here’s the full release slate:


OMG! Bella and Edward finally get married in ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1‘! ‘Tween girls everywhere will squeal with delight! They might be a little turned off by the part where Edward has to chew through Bella’s abdomen to tear his evil demon baby out of her womb, however. (Yeah, really. You should know what you’re getting into with this.) Then again, what do I know? I recently had the strange experience of watching ‘Jackass Number Two’ with my 13-year-old goddaughter, who howled with laughter from start to finish. Kids can be twisted.

In other romantic news, same-sex life partners Harold and Kumar, along with sex-fiend pal Neil Patrick Harris (who died in their last movie, but whatever) are back for more drug-addled shenanigans in ‘A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas‘. This one is also available in 2D, but what’s the point of watching it that way?

Roland Emmerich, esteemed director of such literary-minded art house fare as ‘The Day After Tomorrow‘ and ‘2012‘, has apparently had his fill of destroying the world. In his latest disaster movie, ‘Anonymous‘, Emmerich sets his sights on destroying William Shakespeare and exposing him as a despicable, pathetic fraud. This is exactly the sort of material that the man who gave us ‘10,000 B.C.‘ is perfectly suited for.


You want real romance on Valentine’s Day? Disney’s animated masterpiece ‘Lady and the Tramp‘ is the way to go. Our reviewer Michael Palmer calls the Diamond Edition Blu-ray “absolutely stunning” and a must-own disc.

Perhaps you’d prefer a little back-stabbing, deceit and betrayal to counter-balance all this love stuff? Stephen Frears’ masterful adaptation of the stage play ‘Dangerous Liaisons‘ is a wicked delight.

The story of ‘A Star is Born‘ has been told on film three times so far, with another remake (directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Beyoncé!) currently in development. Warner Bros. previously released the most famous version, the 1954 film with Judy Garland, on Blu-ray a couple of years ago. This week, Kino takes us back to the 1937 original, with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March.

In more experimental fare, the Criterion Collection gives us a double-bill of Chris Marker’s avant garde art films ‘La Jetée‘ and ‘Sans Soleil‘. The former is perhaps most famous for inspiring the plot of Terry Gilliam’s ’12 Monkeys’.


It had to happen eventually, so we might as well just get it out of the way. The most nauseating romantic movie of all time, 1970’s ‘Love Story‘, is now available on Blu-ray. The film is of course infamous for inflicting the phrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” on the world – a sentence which, if you think about it, makes no sense at all. Much like the rest of the movie. Will high definition enhance our ability to scoff at this?

James Bond completists may be interested in picking up the 1967 spy spoof ‘Casino Royale‘ (not to be confused with the later straight adaptation starring Daniel Craig), which finally expands to general retail after a few months of Best Buy exclusivity. The movie isn’t very good, or even particularly funny, but it marks an interesting footnote in the franchise’s history.


On the TV front, we get the second season of the acclaimed ‘Downton Abbey‘ (Mrs. Z is a big fan) and the first season of the dopey ‘Hawaii Five-0‘ reboot. I tried to enjoy the latter for a few episodes, but it turned boring and stupid early on.

Paramount also offers up a single (two-hour) episode from the fifth season of ‘CSI‘. You may ask what the point of doing this is. It’s the episode that Quentin Tarantino directed, of course. This show has had a very spotty release history on Blu-ray. I suppose that fans will have to stick this between their copies of the complete first and complete ninth seasons.


The award for most pointless Blu-ray release of the week goes to Warner’s new Ultimate Collector’s Edition of ‘The Town‘. The movie is OK, I guess. Ben Affleck’s heist thriller is reasonably entertaining, but certainly nothing special. And the previous Blu-ray release was as adequate as it needed to be. Does this movie really have fans eager to buy it again in a deluxe box set? I can’t imagine.

Which discs are on your radar this week?


  1. paramedic0112

    I preordered Dangerous Liasons from Amazon, and it should get here today. It’s very good and I’m excited to see it in high def!

  2. Alex

    So, what’s the deal with Ben-Hur? It looks like Amazon has an absurdly limited quantity, and while they’re fulfilling the orders, they’re not actually the sellers. Is it still a Best Buy exclusive? Is it going wider? Is the price ($49.99, really?) going to come down?

  3. I am looking at Phantom of the Opera. I will probably pick that up here in a couple of weeks.

    Lady and the Tramp is a must-have for me.

    I have never seen Ben Hur, so I may see if I can find someone renting it before I pop all that money into a gift-set. I blind-bought a few box sets last year, but finances are significantly worse right now, and I just cannot justify blind buys. Actually, can’t really justify gift sets either.

    • paramedic0112

      I firmly believe that Ben Hur is one of the greatest films ever made. It’s totally worth it if you can spring for it.

        • paramedic0112

          The crazy epic chariot fight/race alone is worth watching it. It’s pretty hard hitting and realistic, especially for 1959. No CGI here! It also features one of the most spiritual moments ever captured on film, when Ben Hur meets Jesus Christ.

          • JM

            I love Charlton Heston!

            I didn’t know Charlton Heston was in ‘Ben-Hur’!?!

            HDD says it’s the greatest 8K transfer of any 70mm film ever made!

            Fucking netflix cheapass bullshit conjob doesn’t have the blu-ray!

            Is there an emoticon for a little shaking fist?

            Is this part of Warner Brothers secret plan to make me hate them?!?

          • Josh Zyber

            You can do VUDU’s 2-minute preview for free and see how the opening credits look. Of course, opening credits on old movies like this tend to be optical composites which may have issues not found in the rest of the movie.

  4. JM

    ‘Downton Abbey’ is the shit.

    ‘Dangerous Liaisons‘ I need a review of the transfer before I triple dip.

    It’s too bad they never let Quentin Tarantino remake ‘Casino Royale.‘

    ‘The Piano’ arrives tonight…

  5. August Lehe

    Ben-Hur is a flat-out masterpiece, JM, Lady and the Tramp is second-tier Disney (a classic, no Snow White or Pinochio), but still worth twice the price! I did not consider Spartacus a bore, but it is no Ben Hur or Lawrence of Arabia, either.

    • JM

      I’ve never seen a “masterpiece” that wasn’t boring.

      If ‘Ben-Hur’ had a half-decent story we would already have two remakes and a reboot.

      Mostly it looks four hours long, and I have the attention span of a firefly.