Blu-ray Highlights: Week of January 24th, 2016 – Duck, Duck…

The last few weeks each brought an exciting hit movie or two to Blu-ray. Wasn’t that nice? This week reminds us that we’re stuck in the January doldrums.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (1/26/16)?

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New Releases

Goosebumps‘ – Jack Black + kids’ movie generally equals “Stay far away,” especially one that comes from the director of his dreadful ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. If nothing else, this one has the moderately clever hook of making Black play author R.L. Stine himself, as the monsters and ghouls from his famous children’s books mysteriously come to life. Beyond that, the movie looks an awfully lot like a ‘Jumanji’ or ‘Night at the Museum’ clone. It’s probably inoffensive enough if your kids force you to watch it, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider that an endorsement.

Chi-Raq‘ – Fresh off its zero Oscar nominations, Spike Lee’s latest film is his most acclaimed in years. A loose contemporary retelling of the ancient Greek play ‘Lysistrata’ set in modern Chicago, it’s also the first musical comedy (albeit a politically topical one) he’s made since ‘School Daze’ in his early career.

The Assassin‘ – Like so many of his contemporaries in Asian cinema, Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien (‘Millennium Mambo’) eventually felt compelled to turn his lens from delicate character dramas to high-flying martial arts. In keeping with his usual aesthetic, however, the result is said to be very slow-moving and contemplative, if beautiful to look at. This has rubbed many viewers the wrong way. I supposed it’s better to look at this as more art film than kung-fu action flick.

Burnt‘ – Bradley Cooper has three Oscar nominations and is a fairly bankable star these days, but even his face on the poster couldn’t save this poorly-reviewed box office flop about a former chef trying to rehabilitate his life and career. The plot summary sounds more than a little similar to Jon Favreau’s 2014 comedy ‘Chef‘, just played for drama rather than laughs. It’s also reminiscent of Cooper’s own 2005 sitcom ‘Kitchen Confidential’, which didn’t last too long. Perhaps the actor should stay away from aprons after this.

Catalog Titles

The Warner Archive opens up for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 thriller ‘The Wrong Man‘, the director’s only collaboration with star Henry Fonda.

A label called HD Cinema Classics offers a film noir double bill featuring Edward G. Robinson in ‘The Red House‘ (1947) and Frank Sinatra in ‘Suddenly‘ (1954).

Scream Factory brings some schlocky scares with ‘Sssssss‘ (1973), ‘Jack’s Back‘ (1988) and ‘Sonny Boy‘ (1989).

3D enthusiasts may be amused by the very gimmicky Spaghetti Western ‘Comin’ at Ya!‘, the movie that kicked off the brief 3D revival of the early 1980s.

Television

With its sixth season, cultural phenomenon ‘Downton Abbey‘ draws its run to a close. Other TV titles this week include the third season of ‘Da Vinci’s Demons‘ and the back half of the ninth season of ‘Doctor Who‘.

My $.02

Nothing this week begs for immediately ownership, but ‘The Wrong Man’ will go on my wish list and I may rent ‘Chi-Raq’ and ‘The Assassin’.

Will anything convince you to part with some money this week?

11 comments

  1. Bolo

    I saw ‘The Assassin’ in cinemas. I liked it, but you better be in exactly the right mood for it or you’ll be climbing the walls. It is incredibly slow and stark, but it had enough suspense in its stillness that it held my attention. I can see how a lot of people might find it to be one of those “perfume commercial movies” where all engagement in plot or character is sacrificed for pretty pictures and mood, which is how I felt about that last version of ‘Macbeth’.

    I might rent ‘Chi-Raq’. Spike Lee is incredibly inconsistent in my opinion, but he occasionally strikes gold.

    I will also rent ‘Suddenly’ at some point. Always wanted to see that one.

  2. William Henley

    Nothing begs my attention, but “Comin At Ya” sounds like a curiosity, and Goosebumps may warrant a rental. May end up seeing if both are available in 3D on Vudu

    • Csm101

      Did it arrive yet? If you’ve had a chance to see it, how’s the 3d quality? I was able to watch a little of the movie on Netflix and liked what I saw. I’m very interested in this title.

  3. Deaditelord

    Not yet. I ordered it Friday and received an e-mail that it shipped today. Unfortunately, my temporary living arrangements are such that my 3DTV is stored in a closet (it’s too big for the small bedroom) so I won’t be able to watch it in 3D until I move out this summer. It sucks not being able to watch any of the 3D movies I’ve bought since I moved to Florida last October!

    I would also strongly suggest watching the entire movie on Netflix like I did before making a purchase. Without going into specific spoilers, I will say that there are two major events that have a significant impact on the story. I’m still not sure I completely buy into the second plot point (I’d love to discuss this with someone to compare theories on what happened), but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the movie and visually the CG animation, while not quite Pixar quality, is still pretty impressive. The way the shots are composed makes me thing that the 3D presentation should be solid and a review of the blu-ray on another website rated the 3D a 4 out of 5.

    • William Henley

      I am that way right now. My projector does 3D, but I just moved, and I JUST got the projector mounted, and trying to figure out now why I am not getting a signal unless I plug directly into the cable in the wall (coupler in the wall plate is my thought that is the issue), I don’t have the screen up yet (I would just show it on the wall, but there is a window on that wall that I need to cover and put the screen over), I don’t have sound system wired yet, and it looks like this weekend, instead of finishing up with A/V, it looks like I am going to be redoing electrical (not enough amprage per room, old wiring, the outlets that were added to house were added by an idiot who didn’t know what they were doing). So right now, all I have is my Tivo and my cheapy 47 inch television hooked up. I am using my free time in the evenings to catch up on The SImpsons, Doctor Who and The Expanse. So I got stuff like The Martian in 3D unopened. Actually, pretty much all Blu-Rays I have acquired in the past 3 months are unopened (painful story – the first bank screwed up my loan, after 60+ days dropped them and went with another lender, closed the day before I left the state for the holidays, so just got moved in two weeks ago)

        • William Henley

          It’s been an experience, that’s for sure. I thought, from reading blogs and forums, that I knew enough to avoid some pitfalls. And I believe I did avoid many. But there has been a few surprises. I may blog about it. One surprise, and I am not sure if there is a way around it, was using In-Wall Redmere cable. If I plugged it into a wall jack, I loose signal. I ordered a replacement coupler – should be in today, but yesterday I got an e-mail from Monoprice that surprised me – Redmere cables draw power from the source to power the chips in them. As such, while Redmere is great for long cable runs, you should not be attaching them to wallplates – they need to be run from source to display, otherwise you might not get power to the chips in them. It sounds like what I need is a powered coupler, which I cannot seem to find. There are powered extenders and such, but it sounds like for something like that to work, I would need to have the powered extender at the source end of my cable – that is, between the coupler and the cable, INSIDE the wall.

          So, now I got a choice – remove the wall plate and just feed the cable through a hole in the wall (best quality, but would look tacky) or to replace the HDMI cable and add an amplifier. There is also the posibility that an amplifier BEFORE the coupler may work, but from the reviews, it sounds like people aren’t having much luck with that later. It sounds like I may be fishing that cable out in any event – I bought the cable length from wall plate to wall plate, and only have about a foot of slack on either end,

          The electrical is also a nightmare. Most of the original wiring is 14 gauge or 16 gauge, but it turns out that the added plugs are litterally extension cords in the walls. Unfortunately, that is not something the inspection turned up (they test to make sure the plugs work, not how they are wired up). So I have not hooked up anything other than the television and tivo box and router out of fear that I am going to overload the electrical wiring. That is what I am going to be working on this weekend – I need to at LEAST get the living room done this weekend, as that will be the room that has the most electrical pull, with the office being second. While I am at it, I may drop a couple more runs (like in the bedrooms, there are no outlets on the walls that I most want them on), and I am going to replace the outlets in the kitchen and bathroom with outlets that are designed for wet areas (that have the on / reset switch on them). Luckily, internal electrical wiring is fairly easy, and stuff most people could probably do on their own. It does look like I am going to need to update my breaker box as well though in a few weeks, and I will have to hire an electricain for that.

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