Blu-ray Highlights: Week of July 19th, 2015 – Shadow Play

So few new titles are being released this week, I feel like it’s barely worth the effort to write a new Blu-ray roundup post. What’s with this sudden drought? It’s not a holiday week or anything, so the studios can’t even use that as an excuse.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (7/21/15)?

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New Releases

What We Do in the Shadows‘ – Jemaine Clement from ‘Flight of the Conchords’ and his friend Taika Waititi (who directed him in ‘Eagle vs. Shark’ as well as some ‘Conchords’ episodes) mash up the vampire and mockumentary genres for a horror spoof that was very popular on the festival circuit last year. If you’re a fan of their very particular brand of surreal, deadpan humor, this could be a winner.

Wild Horses‘ – When I first skimmed over the release list, I mistook this for the 1988 Molly Ringwald romance flick ‘Fresh Horses’. Whoops. Instead, it’s the latest directorial effort from the now 84-year-old Robert Duvall, a modern-day Western co-starring himself with James Franco and Josh Hartnett as his sons. Most of the reviews and word-of-mouth on this were not very kind, unfortunately. Common complaints include its sluggish pacing, meandering plot, and a poor performance from Duvall’s wife Luciana Pedraza.

Catalog Titles

New from the Criterion Collection is ‘My Beautiful Laundrette‘, the 1985 feature that helped to launch Stephen Frears as a major director and Daniel Day-Lewis as a star to watch.

When he decided that we wanted to try his hand at directing, Kevin Spacey kept his ambitions small with the modest crime thriller ‘Albino Alligator‘, which takes some obvious cues from ‘Reservoir Dogs’ (even the title is kind of reminiscent) by mostly confining its action to a single location (in this case, a bar) while letting a bunch of talented actors bounce off each other. As a director, Spacey is no Tarantino, but he was smart enough to put together a good cast – including the likes of Gary Sinise, William Fichtner, Viggo Mortensen, Matt Dillon and Faye Dunaway.

Can a movie still be called a Spaghetti Western if it was shot in Spain and directed by a Frenchman? Arrow Video attempts to answer that question with ‘Cemetery Without Crosses‘ (a.k.a. ‘The Rope and the Colt’). Strangely, the film credits Dario Argento as screenwriter, but the director disputes that he ever wrote a word of it.

In other cult properties, the Warner Archive pits Dolph Lundgren and the ill-fated Brandon Lee against each other in a ‘Showdown in Little Tokyo‘.

Television

Your TV offerings for the week include the second season of HBO’s ‘Looking‘ or a complete collection of Showtime’s political action documentary series ‘Years of Living Dangerously‘.

My $.02

‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ is an excellent addition to the Criterion Collection and well worth a purchase. I’d also definitely like to rent ‘What We Do in the Shadows’. Otherwise, however, this is a dreary week.

Does anything catch your eye that I missed, or will you sit this week out?

10 comments

  1. William Henley

    Nothing this week. I see one anime up there, but I never got into Full Metal Alchemist (not that it is bad, I have seen a couple of episodes, it looks long and involving, and is probably quite good, I just never took the time to sit down and get involved)

  2. I’m very interested in What We Do in the Shadows. I’m strongly considering a blind buy, but still on the fence. I also marked Showdown in Little Tokyo just for the silly cheese fest that it is. I may have to turn my cheeseball action trilogy into a quadrilogy with this one. There are a few titles that interest me on this list slightly but weren’t important enought to vote for.

  3. Lord Bowler

    The only thing I’m picking up is the awesome classic ‘Showdown in Little Tokyo’ (Warner Archive).

  4. Timcharger

    In the Sunday ads, the only title that I saw promoted this week was:
    ‘Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery’

    That explains the dearth of releases this week. All the studios ceded
    to the juggernaut of Scooby and KISS?

    A cartoon for 6 year olds and most KISS fans are >46 years old. So
    this release answers the problem of that 40 year old mom who
    searched high and low for a kid friendly way to introduce KISS to her
    younglings? And let’s face it, that mother already dressed her kids
    as KISS for Halloween, so she didn’t need Scooby to expose them.

    I wonder if more grandparents would be buying this for their
    grandkids than parents.

  5. Chris B

    I’ll rent What We Do in the Shadows at some point. I’d love to pick up both Cemetary Without Crosses and Showdown in Little Tokyo. I could probably even get the wife to watch Showdown with me because she’s such a big Brandon Lee fan… Alas though, current financial circumstances are forcing me to reduce my movie purchases to almost non-existant. The slow-down in the energy sector has resulted in my overtime A.K.A. Blu-Ray money, being cut at work. Until it picks up I’ll have to forgo any non-essential purchases.

    For anybody out there with kids, do you not find it exceedingly difficult to find time to watch all these movies we buy? If it were up to me I’d watch at least one a day…as it turns out it’s more like 1-2 a week…

  6. Brett

    Yeah one a day sounds fantastic. For me it’s strictly binge-watching whenever the wife and kids go and spend the weekend at the in-laws’. I can do 5 a day easily, so on average 10 per weekend, several of those being 3-hour-plus titles. Would much prefer a more regular watching schedule but I do love me my dream weekends!

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