Blu-ray Highlights: Week of July 27th, 2014 – My Log Has Something to Tell You

Who needs money, right? This week brings us two huge, expensive box sets that will (hopefully) be among the best Blu-ray releases of the year.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (7/29/14)?

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The Wallet Busters

Ever since the format debuted, I’ve said that I’d be willing to pay any amount of money for the complete series of ‘Twin Peaks‘ in pristine 1080p Blu-ray quality. CBS Films and Paramount have finally decided to take me up on that. “The Entire Mystery” box set includes all 30 episodes of the TV show, the ‘Fire Walk With Me’ prequel movie (watch it last no matter what) and tons of exciting new bonus content, including the legendary never-before-released ‘Fire Walk With Me’ deleted scenes. This looks like every ‘Twin Peaks’ fan’s dream come true.

As if that weren’t enough reason to go into debt, Shout! Factory offers ‘Herzog: The Collection‘, which compiles 16 of Werner Herzog’s films, including his masterpieces ‘Aguirre: The Wrath of God’ and ‘Fitzcarraldo’, as well as my personal favorite, ‘Stroszek’. I have no doubt that these will all be broken out to separate releases eventually. (In fact, a standalone copy of ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ was released back in May.)

Note that BFI in the UK will sell its own, less expensive 18-film Werner Herzog Collection in August. Frustratingly, the line-up of films (and bonus content) is different yet the two box sets have a considerable amount of overlap. Here’s a chart that highlights the exclusives to each:

Shout! Factory (Region A) BFI (Region B)
Aguirre: The Wrath of God Aguirre: The Wrath of God
Ballad of Little Soldier
Cobre Verde Cobre Verde
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
Even Dwarfs Started Small
Fata Morgana Fata Morgana
Fitzcarraldo Fitzcarraldo
God’s Angry Man
The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner
Handicapped Future
Heart of Glass Heart of Glass
How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck
Huie’s Sermon
Land Of Silence and Darkness Land Of Silence and Darkness
Last Words
Lessons of Darkness
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
My Best Fiend
Nosferatu the Vampyre Nosferatu the Vampyre
Precautions Against Fanatics
Stroszek Stroszek
The Unprecedented Defence of the Fortress Deutschkreuz
Where the Green Ants Dream
Woyzeck Woyzeck

Personally, I feel that Shout! has a stronger selection of films. (‘Little Dieter Needs to Fly’ and ‘My Best Fiend’ should be essentials.) I also assume that the BFI set will be locked to Region B. However, comparisons between the two studios’ respective copies of ‘Nosferatu’ suggest that BFI has a better video transfer on at least that one movie, possibly others. A dedicated Herzog fan with region-free Blu-ray capability may need to buy both boxes.

New Releases

Darren Aronofsky, an averred atheist, made a big-budget Biblical epic about the story of ‘Noah‘, played out as some sort of Roland Emmerich-style CGI-fest disaster movie. The director even described it as “the least Biblical Biblical film ever made.” Did this really seem like it could work? Unsurprisingly, the religious crowd hated Aronofsky’s blasphemous treatment of a story that takes up all of a couple paragraphs in the Bible, especially its depiction of Noah as a conflicted man receiving orders from the Old Testament God, who was a downright vindictive and nasty sonofabitch. General audiences were turned off by the apparent cheesiness of the trailers. What did come as a surprise, however, was the support of a number of prominent film critics, who praised the director’s daring and his vision. Our reviewer E. was also a big fan of it. The Blu-ray is 2D only, even though the movie had a 3D post-conversion for some foreign markets and will be released on Blu-ray 3D overseas.

Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton headline ‘The Other Woman‘, a chick flick comedy about a trio of jilted women who team up for revenge on the man they share in common (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from ‘Game of Thrones’), who’d secretly been in relationships with all three of them. If this were a darker movie, I’d fear that Jaimie Lannister might lose more than his hand. In any case, shouldn’t the title of this be ‘The Other Women’ (plural)?

Do you remember that amazing four-minute long single-take fight scene in Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa’s ‘The Protector’ (a.k.a. ‘Tom Yung Goong’)? Yeah you do, ‘cuz it was freakin’ awesome.

Here’s the thing, though: Do you remember anything else about that movie? No, probably not. Because it’s otherwise terrible. Well, Jaa is back in ‘The Protector 2‘ to rescue his kidnapped elephant again. Dude really needs to keep a better eye on his pet pachyderm. This one’s in 3D and, because Jaa is a shell of his former self since returning to acting after a nervous breakdown, relies heavily on CGI and obvious wirework to sell the action scenes. Also, RZA costars in it, and that should be warning enough.

Catalog Titles

As a tie-in with ‘The Protector 2’, Magnolia tries to remind us of Tony Jaa’s better days with his ‘Ong Bak Trilogy‘.

I talked about the 1955 Oscar winner ‘Marty‘ in my Highlights post a couple weeks ago. Either we had the date wrong or Kino pushed it back. Either way, as far as I’m aware, the Blu-ray is still presented in the wrong aspect ratio.

The Criterion Collection inducts Lawrence Kasdan’s Baby Boomer gabfest ‘The Big Chill‘. Frankly, I’m with the characters in ‘High Fidelity’ in feeling that the soundtrack of vintage Motown hits is better than the movie. Maybe that’s just a generational thing.

Speaking of Boomer nostalgia, Warner triple-dips the classic rock documentary ‘Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music‘ in what is bizarrely titled the 40th Anniversary Revisited: The Director’s Cut. The studio previously released a 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition, which already included the Director’s Cut, in 2009 (the 40th anniversary of the concert), and reissued it in a streamlined package one year later (the 40th anniversary of the film). As far as I can tell, 2014 is not a 40th anniversary of anything to do with this movie. Weird.

‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Twin Peaks’ will be mine. That Herzog set is also incredibly appealing, but I’ll probably wait for selected titles to be released individually.

What are you buying this week?


  1. William Henley

    I’ll pick up Noah 3D in a month when it gets released in Germany.

    The selections by Naxos all sound very interesting, and I have bought some of their material in the past. My only issue is that they are a bit on the pricey side, so I have to be cautious on which releases of theirs that I pick up. I will probably pick up the Salzburg festival disc, with the Wagner disc being a maybe, and the others being mild interest.

  2. NJScorpio

    I am currently watching Twin Peaks for the first time, via Amazon Prime. I just started watching Season 2, and I can see I’ll be buying this box set.

    Question is: Should I hold off on watching ‘Fire Walk With Me’ until I get this box set, with the “complete” version of the film?

    • Josh Zyber

      There is only one version of Fire Walk With Me. David Lynch had final cut on the film, and the theatrical cut was his Director’s Cut. The Blu-ray will provide over an hour of deleted scenes as a supplement separate from the film, much like the Blue Velvet Blu-ray.

      You definitely need to watch FWWM last. Although it’s a prequel, it assumes that you’ve seen all of the TV show and freely divulges the identity of Laura Palmer’s killer.

      • NJScorpio

        Thanks…from what I gathered, the movie was made after the series, so I was intending to watch that last (is it even available streaming on Prime/Netflix??).

        I just wasn’t clear if the added content from the movie was encorporated into the movie itself, a new cut, for the box set.

        • Josh Zyber

          Lynch has resisted recutting his old movies after-the-fact, even the one he’s unhappy with (Dune). He prefers the deleted scenes to exist separately from the film, as a window into what else was was happening in the town during the events of the movie’s narrative.

          • NJScorpio

            I respect that view a great deal, as it’s rare for a director to actually improve a film over time without damaging what made it special. Off the top of my head, the only one that really worked for may be ‘Blade Runner’. Even the Director’s Cut of ‘Aliens’, which I enjoy, I feel detracts from the suspense of the film.

    • This seems to be the most asked question for newbies to the series. The answer, as Josh said, is to watch the series first, then the movie last – just as they were released.

      The identity of Laura’s killer isn’t the only reason to watch the movie last…there’s actually some important post-series information that won’t make sense to you unless you’ve seen all the episodes first. In many ways, FWWM is as much of a sequel as it is a prequel.

  3. Timcharger

    “I’d fear that Jaimie Lannister might lose more than his hand.”

    Even in the weekly new release highlights, there are Game of Throne’s spoilers!
    Some leeches might be burned for you, Josh.

    Is the popularity of the show and that the spoiler is from season 3, make it

    Even decades later, if Twin Peak gets spoiled, that’s not right.


    Seriously Josh, pls pls pls no season 4 GoT spoilers.

      • Ah…I see you mentioned that. We should do a thread on the statute of limitations on Spoilers. TWIN PEAKS was cult-ish enough that I can understand (actually, I really can’t, but I’m playing along) that some people actually don’t know who the killer is/was.

        However, something as popular as GOT? I don’t know how long you’re expected to keep those spoilers under wraps (it’s been over a year since the body part in question was lost).

        Is it still a spoiler to reveal that Luke’s hand got cut off in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK?

        • Timcharger

          Based on your comments about Luke Skywalker’s hand
          and keeping with the spoiler theme…

          …I must conclude that in Season 4 of GoT, Jaime Lannister
          gets a new robotic hand and must duel with his father
          Darth Tywin.

          Nooooo, season 4 is ruined!!!!! By the Old Gods and New,
          Shannon, winter is coming for you. 🙂

          • William Henley

            How closely does the show follow the books? I saw about half of the first show and couldn’t stand it, but I did start the first book and really like it. I’m not that far in it, about to where I turned the show off, So don’t go spoiling the books for me!

          • Timcharger

            The show doesn’t follow the books exactly. There’s too
            many characters. Of course, the major characters and
            main plot is followed. The TV show actually created some
            new characters that aren’t in the book. They kind of
            combined some characters into 1.

            Because the show is so popular and in the Americana TV
            viewing consciousness, it’s hard to write about popular
            culture and not make some spoiling references to it. (I’ve
            actually defended Josh.)

            Didn’t you turn off the show after episode 1? There’s too
            much out there, then. Good luck avoiding spoilers. I
            think this is the 3rd or 4th time, I’ve jabbed Josh for GoT

            I envy you; you’re about to learn what happens to…
            and his family…

          • William Henley

            Yeah, they are trying to marry Danni off to some guy. I’m a slow reader, but I do love reading.

            Truthfully, if there is a Game of Thrones post I’ll skip it.

            If it makes you feel any better, I am in Season 3 of Big Love, and about to start Rome, Band of Brothers and The Soppranos. Because these shows are just now coming to a platform other than HBO / DVD, many people are just starting to see these for the first time. Truthfully, HBO should have licensed these out years ago. I mean, the option is to get cable + HBO, or torrent them before. I do think Game of Thrones is available on a $2.99 per episode fee on Vudu (not sure if they have season passes)

  4. I haven’t seen a single ‘Twin Peaks’ episode (in fact, I just know some iconic scenes through Simpsons parodies), so I hope nobody is gonna spoil anything here.

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