Blu-ray Highlights: Week of July 13th, 2014 – I Think I Feel a Slight Headache Coming On

This week, the movie that spawned one of the internet’s most enduring memes comes to Blu-ray. Finally, people can update their GIFs with a higher quality source.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (7/15/14)?

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New Releases

Rio 2‘ – I don’t recall anyone actually liking the first ‘Rio’, so how is there a sequel? I’m going to have to sit through crap like this over and over again as soon as my kids get to be old enough to watch movies, aren’t I? Being a parent has its drawbacks.

Under the Skin‘ – Scarlett Johansson naked. Do you honestly want more of a review of the movie? Be honest, that’s what most of you pervs will watch it for. Many of you will come out disappointed that it’s a very arty and intentionally alienating (no pun intended) sci-fi tale in the vein of 1970s experimental fare like ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. Others will find it fascinating. If all you care about is the skin, I’m sure you’ll be able to find screengrabs on the web.

Catalog Titles

The Criterion Collection brings us David Cronenberg’s mind-blowing (sorry!) body horror thriller ‘Scanners‘. It’s a very critical developmental piece in the director’s oeuvre, and (aside from a poor central performance from the lead actor) still a pretty cool little movie. ‘Videodrome’ is a more accomplished work overall, though. I fear that the famous exploding-head scene may not hold up to scrutiny in high definition.

If you prefer it when Criterion focuses on classic movies, the label also offers Robert Bresson’s hugely influential drama ‘Pickpocket‘. I’m pretty sure that the only time I watched this was in college, via a VHS copy on a 13″ screen. I anticipate the Blu-ray being a considerable upgrade from that experience.

Ernest Borgnine won an Oscar for playing a lovelorn butcher in ‘Marty‘, which also won the Best Picture award for 1955. In licensing the title from MGM, Kino was only provided with a 4:3 aspect ratio video master with pillarbox bars on the sides. This is a problem since ‘Marty’ was composed for and originally projected at 1.85:1. The studio has attempted to make excuses for this by claiming that 4:3 could also be a valid ratio for the movie, but the historical documentation is pretty clear that it was always intended for 1.85:1. A Best Picture winner really deserves better treatment than this.


TV offerings this week include the second season of ‘Orphan Black‘, the third of ‘Hell on Wheels‘, and the first of the animated ‘Black Dynamite‘.

Both Criterion titles are essentials this week, and right now would be a good time to get them from Barnes & Noble’s Criterion sale. I wish I could recommend ‘Marty’ as well, but the aspect ratio screw-up really sours me on that release.

Will you buy anything this week?


  1. EM

    Before I read this blog entry, I was up for Under the Skin as a rental or library loan. Now I feel dirty for even considering it. Thanks a lot, Josh!

  2. Chris B

    Both Criterions will go on the wish list for the November sale, I’d love to grab em this month but I’m already tapped out from my existing B&N order….

  3. Lord Bowler

    I will certainly pick up Scanners (Criterion) during the next 50% sale.

    Hell on Wheels Season 3
    Armored Attack! (Olive Films) may be a blind buy.

    Shark 4-Pack (Starz/Anchor Bay). I’ve seen all of these movies and they’re all entertaining. Sharktopus (Roger Corman) being the best to rewatch, Bait being second followed by Jersey Shore Shark Attack and Dinoshark (Roger Corman). These are among the best of the B-Shark Movies.

  4. I listed 5 movies, the only one coming from Amazon is Rio 2-3D.
    If I stop by B&N and they have it, I will pick up scanners.
    The other 3 are simply on my ‘watch’ list.

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