Blade Runner 2049

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of January 14th, 2018 – The Edge of Human

After the box office disappointments of ‘Tron: Legacy’ and 2011’s ‘The Thing’, you’d think Hollywood would learn better than to make another long-delayed sequel to a famous cult sci-fi movie from 1982.

Now we’ll never get a ‘MegaForce 2’. Bummer!

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (1/16/18)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Blade Runner 2049‘ – After threatening to do to ‘Blade Runner’ what he did to the ‘Alien’ franchise, Ridley Scott eventually stepped away and left the belated sequel in the hands of director Denis Villeneuve (‘Sicario’, ‘Arrival’). This was a wise decision and a great relief to many. Despite punishing expectations for how it could possibly live up to a classic, the film proved (at least on an artistic level) to be a very worthy extension of the original. It may not reinvent science fiction cinema the way the first one did (how could it?), but it progresses the story in a logical direction and expands nicely on its themes. Unfortunately, it also follows its predecessor’s footsteps in being a box office dud. That’s particularly problematic for co-producers Warner Bros. and Sony, who spent nearly $200 million making it and likely almost as much promoting it. Audiences may have been turned off by the 163-minute running time, or perhaps were confused at how they missed 2,047 installments in between. Whatever the case, now they have another chance to watch on video. Disc options include Blu-ray and Ultra HD, with SteelBooks for each (different art, strangely) at Best Buy. For some unknown reason, Amazon has pulled the listing for the 3D edition, but it’s still listed at other retailers including Best Buy, Walmart and DVD Empire.

Beyond Skyline‘ – The 2010 alien invasion flick ‘Skyline’ was a very, very dumb movie. But it was made for peanuts and easily turned a profit. I’m surprised it took this long for someone to crank out a sequel. Now that it’s here, none of the original cast or creative team returned with it. Perhaps that’s a good thing?

Happy Death Day‘ – A young college hottie (Jessica Rothe) gets murdered, but experiences a ‘Groundhog Day’ time loop and has to relive the last day of her life over and over again until she can find the killer. Or become a better person. Or both, maybe? The premise, if derivative, could have some potential, but Phil says the movie is an incoherent mess.

The Snowman‘ – What were Michael Fassbender and director Tomas Alfredson (‘Let the Right One In’, ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’) thinking with this silly thriller about a serial killer with a fetish for placing his victims’ body parts into snowmen? That sounds like a DTV ‘Silence of the Lambs’ knockoff that should’ve been produced in the mid-1990s. Further, Fassbender plays an alcoholic detective with the laughable name Harry Hole. Although based on a perplexingly popular book series by author Jo Nesbø, everything about the premise sounds utterly inane. It must read better in the original Norwegian. Alfredson spent most of his press tour complaining about a rushed editing schedule and apologizing for the story not making any sense.

I, Daniel Blake‘ – British social dramaturgist Ken Loach has threatened to retire almost as many times as Hayao Miyazaki. His latest alleged swan song follows an older man and a young single mother, both unable to work but neither financially secure enough not to, fighting the bureacracy of the UK welfare system. The subject matter doesn’t exactly sound cheery, and Loach has never shied away from applying a heavy hand with his political sermonizing, but the film won the top prize at Cannes.

Loving Vincent‘ – In a first of its kind feat, this bio-pic about Vincent van Gogh was animated from tens of thousands of hand-painted oil-on-canvas images created in the artist’s style. Reviews praised the audacity of the experiment, but were less enthused about the dramatic eleements.

UHD

The only 4k release this week is ‘Blade Runner 2049‘.

Catalog Titles

Shout! Factory serves up a Collector’s Edition of Joe Dante’s underappreciated 1993 ‘Matinee‘, starring John Goodman as a William Castle-like schlock filmmaker premiering his new cheeseball monster movie during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The new batch of Studio Ghibli titles from GKIDS includes ‘My Neighbors the Yamadas‘, ‘The Cat Returns‘ and ‘Whisper of the Heart‘.

ClassicFlix offers a ‘Raw Deal‘, in the form of the 1948 film noir directed by Anthony Mann.

Exploiting the connection to the new TV reboot, Mill Creek delivers a Special Edition double-dip for the kind-of crappy 2003 ‘S.W.A.T.‘ movie with Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson.

Also from Mill Creek is ‘Yor, the Hunter from the Future‘, which Tom recently extolled the virtues for in our Guilty Pleasures Roundtable.

For a brief moment in 1991, someone thought that TV’s ‘Wiseguy’ star Ken Wahl might make a viable action hero and packaged him with ‘Iron Eagle’ (and ‘Superman IV’) director Sidney J. Furie for the cheap ‘The Taking of Beverly Hills‘. It didn’t take and the movie largely fell into obscurity. Not long afterwards, Wahl’s acting career was brought to an abrupt end when he broke his neck in an accident. Kino has dug up the movie again for a Blu-ray.

Television

The third season of ‘Better Call Saul‘ is the most notable TV box set on tap this week.

My $.02

I preordered the (now sold out) 3D SteelBook edition of ‘Blade Runner 2049’ from the UK and am awaiting that release on February 5th. I also have my eye on ‘Matinee’.

What looks good to you this week?

25 comments

  1. Csm101

    I’m picking up Blade Runner 2049 3d from Best Buy later this morning. I’m kind of wanting to buy Happy Death Day, but I’m on the fence. It looks like a lot of fun. I’ve never seen Matinee but have it on my to do list. Yor, the Hunter From the Future should arrive at my doorstep sometime today.

  2. Lord Bowler

    I’ll be picking up the 4K Ultra HD Steelbook version of Blade Runner 2049 because of the artwork on the cover. Of all of the covers, I like this one the best.

    Also, a movie I’ve been looking for on DVD for years is ‘The Taking of Beverly Hills’, finally on Blu-ray. First time on any disc format.

    I’ll be renting ‘Beyond Skyline’. The original was a big disappointment, but this one looked better. Was expecting it to arrive in theaters.

  3. Deaditelord

    I’m picking up the UHD of Blade Runner 2049 today and will probably buy the 3D version at some point. (Would it kill manufacturers to make a UHD/3D combo option?) I’m also curious about Berserk, but will rent it first.

  4. I bought an UHD digital copy of Blade Runner 2049 a few weeks ago, but I’m tempted to buy the 3D Blu-Ray too. I have a feeling like if I don’t do so now, It will be way too pricey later.

  5. William Henley

    I am thinking I preordered the UK Steelbook of Blade Runner, but I was thinking… How much trouble would it be to include VOD releases on future polls? I am getting to the point where I am watching the digital copies more than the disc (Dolby Vision plus I don’t have to load the disc and worry about scratched discs – had to send a couple of WB 4K discs back), the VODs come out a couple of weeks before the discs, and are usually significantly cheaper than the discs, and the iTunes versions usually include all the bonus features.As the resale market for discs is quite low, I am thinking about buying less discs in the future and start picking up the VOD versions

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I have a hard enough time keeping up with disc releases every week. At least those are easy to cross-reference against what’s available for preorder at Amazon. Keeping up with VOD options across dozens of streaming platforms is something there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do.

      I did it with VUDU for a while a few years back, when VUDU’s PR agency sent me updates on new releases every week. But then they discontinued those updates, so I had to stop.

      • William Henley

        Makes sense. I was just thinking that since Blu-Ray, 3D, Stellbook, and 4k were all seperated, having a seperate VOD option made sense, however, I didn’t think about how much work that would require.

        I never thought I would get to the point where I would prefer streaming or DRMed files over a physical medium, but it is happening, especially with 4k releases. It protects me from theft and disasters, i don’t have to deal with forced trailers and the software remembers my audio and subtitle options so I don’t have to set it up on each movie.

        I guess in the future when I do opt for the VOD option, I will either select “other” or one of the HD / UHD options in the list and explain in the comments

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          Since these polls are really only about gauging reader interest in new movie releases, it would probably be better to vote for the HD or UHD option. “Interest” can mean many things, even if you’re just planning to do a streaming rental of the movie.

  6. Chris B

    The standard edition of Blade Runner 2049 should be in my mailbox today and I can’t wait.

    I have vague memories of Matinee from when I was a kid but I think the historical significance of the missilie crisis was kind of lost on me. I love Dante’s movie The Burbs so this is one I should definitely revisit.

    Happy Death Day looks like a fun slasher, will watch it with the wife on the weekend.

  7. Ryan

    I am so sick of them splitting the 4K and 3D version. since they are jerks, and are making me choose, I am going with the 4K version of Blade Runner

  8. EM

    MANT!

    …er, Matinee—though I think I’m looking forward to the Mant! presentation (never had LD, sorry) even more than to Matinee itself.

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