Blu-ray Highlights: Week of July 28th, 2013 – Knowing Is Half the Battle

Did I promise a small improvement in Blu-ray releases this week when I wrote last week’s Highlights post? Perhaps that was mostly wishful thinking. At least we get one major new title this week, though. No, it’s not a great title, but it’s got to count for something, right?

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (7/30/13)?

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New Releases

G.I. Joe: Retaliation‘ is a movie that benefits from reduced expectations. As I said in my Blu-ray review (yes, I wrote another one of those!), it’s a fairly mediocre, tepid PG-13 action flick. However, compared to its predecessor (the thoroughly godawful ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra‘), ‘Retaliation’ is a quantum leap improvement on every level, and marks the first time that the G.I. Joe franchise has actually appeared on screen in recognizable form. That’s a step in the right direction. I can only hope that the next step goes a little further. As a reminder, Walmart has an exclusive SteelBook edition of this, and Best Buy has something called the Extended Action Cut, which is reportedly about 13 minutes longer than the theatrical version.

Our site’s release calendar lists ‘Twixt‘ as coming out on Tuesday, but I spotted a copy in my local Best Buy over the weekend, and I believe it was actually released last week. Whatever the case, I didn’t cover it last week, so I’ll talk about it here. This is the latest movie from Francis Ford Coppola, who has shifted gears in this phase of his career to focus on small, experimental indie productions. In this sort-of horror story, Val Kilmer stars as an author who gets wrapped up in a murder investigation while on a book tour. The film was made in 2011 and played in festivals, but never secured a distributor for a full theatrical release. Originally, selected scenes switched from 2D to 3D, but that conceit has been dropped for the Blu-ray, which is 2D only. (Frankly, it was never a wise decision to ask viewers to wear 3D glasses for the entirety of a movie that’s mostly 2D.) Reviews were primarily negative, though the movie had a few defenders.

Also from the festival scene is ‘Black Rock‘, a horror thriller (!) from Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass, stars of the FX (soon FXX) sitcom ‘The League’. How odd. I don’t think I could take Aselton seriously in a movie like this. Aaron saw it at Sundance and thought it completely sucked. Too bad.

Catalog Titles

We seem to be on a horror theme this week for some reason. Is there something particularly scary about the end of July? The Criterion Collection adds Guillermo del Toro’s spooky ghost story ‘The Devil’s Backbone‘, while Scream Factory reaches back to the 1970s for ‘The Incredible Melting Man‘ and John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog‘.

On a lighter note, Fox brings us the Marilyn Monroe classics ‘Bus Stop‘ and ‘Niagara‘, as well as Elvis Presley’s ‘Love Me Tender‘.

If ‘Twixt’ doesn’t fulfill your yearning for minor Coppola, Image resurrects his 1986 fantasy rom-com ‘Peggy Sue Got Married‘.

Finally, Sony continues to give some of its most worthless titles the “Mastered in 4k” treatment as a ploy to trick people into buying them again. This week’s attempt is the moronic stoner action comedy ‘Pineapple Express‘, in which Seth Rogen and James Franco compete to see who can be the bigger dipshit asshole, and we all lose.


On the TV front, HBO Home Video rolls out the first season of its sibling network Cinemax’s ‘Banshee‘, and Paramount unveils the latest results of its ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation‘ restoration work, this time with the entirety of Season 4 or a separate release of the ‘Redemption’ two-parter.

I’ve already watched the ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ Blu-ray, but am curious enough to check out the extended cut as soon as I can get my hands on it. I’m also a big fan of ‘The Devil’s Backbone’. Will you grab anything this week?


  1. William Henley

    Star Trek for sure. GI Joe I will probably pick up in Redbox or Vudu (they should have it in 3D, but the difference in $1.50 and $4.99 is huge)

  2. Drew

    Can we just get into August and September, already?

    It’s possible that June and July of 2013 have been the two worst months for blu-ray releases, in the format’s history!

    I can’t wait for everyone to watch ‘Oblivion’ next week! It’s the reference blu-ray of 2013! It’s the first technically flawless blu-ray, in quite some time.

    I will mention that I bought the Extended Action Cut of ‘GIJ:R’. I’m really hoping that it elevates the film to beyond mediocre. Perhaps I should not get my hopes up, huh?

  3. EM

    ST:TNG season 4 for me, but I’m not in a hurry for it. I’ll be more in a hurry for seasons 5 (“Cause and Effect”, “I, Borg”…) and 6 (“Relics”, “Ship in a Bottle”, “Tapestry”, “Timescape”, “Face of the Enemy”—but ugh! not Ensign DeSeve in spandex…).

    • William Henley

      Kinda the same thing for me. Seasons 3 and 5 were certainly my favorites. The reason I am in no hurry is that I just finished TNG season 3, and am now trying to get through Enterprise Season 1. With Season 2 right around the corner, I may end up getting Enterprise before picking up Season 4 of TNG, unless I can just get a killer price. Otherwise, probably be September before I get TNG.

      • EM

        Trying to get through Enterprise?!? Good luck with that!!

        I intend to get all of TNG on Blu eventually (I have kept up with the first three seasons), but some seasons are more desirable than others, since some episodes are more desirable than others. Season 4 enjoys a good reputation, but I find it overrated, though I do find it fairly watchable (with some standout episodes such as “Qpid” and “The Drumhead”). With some other expenses concerning me—not to mention other viewing and other activities to catch up with anyway—I’m going to put it off. But seasons 5 & 6 are a little more tempting…

        • William Henley

          Enterprise is my favorite series. it is just taking longer to get through because I have watched it in HD since ’06 – between HDNet and Universal HD, the show was on for like 3 hours a day in HD, and Netflix has it in HD. So unlike TNG, Enterprise isn’t an upgrade to me. I am also taking 3 weeks of vacation this month (not back to back but over the course of the month), so don’t have time to watch anyways.

          I should be finishing with season 1 of Enterprise just in time for season 2, which comes out the end of August. Around mid-September, I will probably pick up TNG (if I don’t go broke from all the Disney releases coming out, and don’t overspend on vacation).