Blu-ray Highlights for 7/19/11 – What Are You Buying?

While I hate to echo the same thing I’ve been saying for the past few weeks, this is yet another slow week for Blu-ray releases. However, one of my favorite movies of all time hits the format today, and that is definitely something to be excited about.

Honestly, after spending too much money last week in the big Barnes & Noble Criterion sale, I should probably be grateful that this is such a light week.

Absolutely the release of the week is Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s wonderful romantic comedy masterpiece ‘Le fabuleaux destin d’Amélie Poulain’, better known in these parts under the simplified title ‘Amélie‘. Everything about this movie makes me smile. I could watch it over and over again in a loop and never get tired of it. I already own the Australian Blu-ray release from a couple years ago and don’t necessarily see a compelling need to upgrade, but I’m certainly glad to see an official release on these shores for those who’ve waited. The movie is both intensely visual and has a stellar soundtrack. It begs for a good Blu-ray presentation.

One thing that has worried me, however, is that the old Miramax DVD release had a lousy dumbed-down English subtitle translation filled with typos, whereas the Australian and later Canadian Blu-rays use the superior theatrical subtitles. Early word has it that, at the very least, the new Lionsgate Blu-ray (licensed from Miramax) fixes some of the typos. Whether the rest of the translation has also been corrected to the theatrical version is something I’m still waiting for confirmation on.

An excellent pairing with ‘Amélie’ would be Jean Cocteau’s beautiful 1946 adaptation of ‘Beauty and the Beast‘, now available from the Criterion Collection. Criterion’s other big title of the week is ‘The Music Room‘, from legendary Indian director Satyajit Ray, whose works I have somehow never caught up with. Be sure to order both from that Barnes & Noble sale. I did.

The week’s new day-and-date titles are less exciting. Bradley Cooper takes a smart drug that allows him to mouth off to Robert De Niro, or something, in ‘Limitless‘. As I said when I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival last year, ‘Peep World‘ wastes a pretty stellar cast (including Rainn Wilson, Sarah Silverman and Michael C. Hall) in a generic sit-com plot about a dysfunctional family. The ’80s-style comedy ‘Take Me Home Tonight‘ might be the most promising of the bunch, but even that seems more like rental fodder than something to buy.

Beyond the Criterions, the only noteworthy catalog title this week would be ‘Boyz n the Hood‘, which made John Singleton the youngest director ever to be nominated for an Oscar. I’ve always felt that the movie was overrated, but it’s still probably held up as the best of the ‘hood movies from the early ’90s.

On the TV front, we have half a season of the new ‘Dr. Who‘ and the complete UK run of ‘Torchwood‘. Now would be a good time to catch up on the latter while waiting for the American spin-off to start up shortly.


  1. It’d be nice if they spread these releases out a little better. Like you said, pretty sparse few weeks, whereas I have a truckload of shit preordered for October, I have no idea how I’m going to afford them all!

  2. Jane Morgan

    Watching ‘Amelie’ in the theater, the very first time, knowing nothing about it going in, was the best cinematic experience I’ve ever had.

    Any chance you could give us a “nudge nudge wink wink” about when HDD will post the blu-ray review?

  3. EM

    I, for one, am delighted by the string of “slow weeks“—it works out very well for my budget!

    If I (eventually) get anything from the list above, it will be Beauty and the Beast. The movie is filmic poetry.

    Although I enjoyed watching Amélie, I’m more of a City of Lost Children man.