Blu-ray Highlights: Week of July 6th, 2014 – May I Have the Language of Origin?

Another long weekend must come to an end. I, for one, had a particularly uneventful July 4th. Most festivities here were either canceled or rescheduled due to rain. As we come back to the new work week, it’s time to dig up some new Blu-rays of note.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (7/8/14)?

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New Releases

Bad Words‘ – Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut with a dark, R-rated comedy about a spiteful adult who tries to ruin a national spelling bee competition by exploiting a loophole in its rules that would allow him to compete against children. You could watch this back-to-back with ‘Bad Santa’ and ‘Bad Teacher’ for an unofficial “authority figures behaving badly around children” trilogy. I have little doubt that this will appear on cable broadcast soon enough.

The Raid 2‘ – I still need to catch up with the original ‘The Raid’. (I’ve seen ‘Dredd’. Is that close enough?) The sequel reportedly expands the canvas to a more ambitious storyline about police corruption while still dazzling with elaborate action sequences.

Jodorowsky’s Dune‘ – I’ve been waiting to see this documentary for years since the project was first announced. Chilean surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s aborted attempted to make Frank Herbert’s novel ‘Dune’ into a movie (years before David Lynch ever got involved) would have been a terrible adaptation of the source, and quite likely a disastrous failure even on its own terms, but it certainly would have been a fascinating failure. Concept art from the production has appeared online previously, along with tantalizing tidbits about the director’s plans for the film. Finally, documentarian Frank Pavich pieces together the whole story of this movie that never was.

Nymphomaniac‘ – Lars von Trier. That name plus the movie’s title pretty much says all you need to know. The director’s provocations (I hesitate to call them “films”) are polarizing, to put it lightly. Personally, I have no patience for von Trier’s misogyny and can’t imagine sitting through even four minutes of this, much less four hours. If you have more of an open mind than I do, the two halves can be purchased either individually (Who would want them that way?) or together.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa .5‘ – As I understand it, ‘Bad Grandpa .5’ consists of a handful of unused scenes and gags from the real ‘Bad Grandpa’ feature, stitched together with other behind-the-scenes footage into a production documentary. This strikes me as something that should have been included as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray for ‘Bad Grandpa’ (which isn’t included here). Would you really pay twenty bucks for this on its own?

Le Week-End‘ – After the savaging he took for ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’, director Roger Michell (‘Notting Hill’) scored a little better with critics for this dramedy about an old married couple who return to the site of their honeymoon in Paris hoping to save their marriage. Unfortunately for Michell, audiences never got a chance to judge it, as the movie was barely released to theaters at all.

Catalog Titles

Twilight Time’s latest batch of limited editions include: ‘Born Yesterday‘ (the original 1950 Judy Holliday version, not the crappy Melanie Griffith remake), the 1975 John Wayne police thriller ‘Brannigan‘, Woody Allen’s nostalgic period piece ‘Radio Days‘, the Australian cricket comedy ‘Save Your Legs!‘, and the 1955 film noir thriller ‘Violent Saturday‘.

Lee Marvin stars in John Boorman’s 1967 thriller ‘Point Blank‘, the first screen adaptation of the Donald E. Westlake novel ‘The Hunter’. The book would later be adapted again for the Mel Gibson vehicle ‘Payback’ (which wasn’t half bad either, especially the Director’s Cut version).

On its face, Walter Hill’s 1981 ‘Southern Comfort‘ is a pretty overt rip-off of ‘Deliverance’. However, with Hill’s skill and craftsmanship, the movie holds up really well on its own.

In guilty pleasure territory are George Pal’s cheeserific 1960 adaptation of ‘The Time Machine‘ and the amusingly silly giant croc horror flick ‘Lake Placid‘.

This week, I’m all about the ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ documentary. I can’t wait for that one to come in.

Beyond that, I’ve heard great things about ‘Violent Saturday’. Since Lee Marvin is in the cast, that would make a pretty good double-feature with ‘Point Blank’. Those two will go on my wish list for later, along with ‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Radio Days’.

Does anything grab you this week?


  1. Mike

    Radio Days for me. Watched an import of Le Week-End a month ago. Hard to express just how much I despised that movie. Awful and gross.

  2. William Henley

    Jodorowsky’s Dune may be something I can see if I can Netflix at some point in the future, or rent through amazon or vudu. It seems like one of those things that I would be mildly interested in seeing once. I still haven’t seen a version of Dune that I am completely happy with. I prefer the 2000 miniseries in terms of story and screenplay, but the Lynch’s version certainly had better visuals, and seemed to create the world better.

    Other than that, its nothing this week, which is good because I just picked up a few Criterion movies, I got a couple of releases from the past couple of weeks I had to put off because of timing with paychecks, and I got a steady stream of releases the next couple of weeks that I am picking up

    • William Henley

      Oh. Apparently I had preordered the Time Machine. Glad its only $14.99. Still, I budgeted this week so that I would not be ordering anything htis week. Looks like I may have to transfer money out of the savings.

  3. Barsoom Bob

    Josh, the Dune doc played down here in Austin for a week and I saw it. You are right the moivie would have been a fascinating train wreck. He was going to change the ending to suit his artisitic vision. Best story related to the film was his negotiations to have Salvator Dali play the Emporer. There is a book in the movie that I would love to see published or at least be able to browse through. It is a fun watch, but it is really more about Jodorowsky’s passion as an artist, he is almost 80 now but his spirit is indominatable and life affirming.

      • William Henley

        Truthfully, Dune is way too complex to fit into a 3 hour movie. What you need is either a movie split into multiple parts (like The Hobbit was) or have a huge budget miniseries with a director like Lynch.

        We started watching the mini-series last night (my buddy’s first time), and even with 4 and a half hours to tell the story, I was still filling him in on backstory from the books

  4. EM

    I’m interested in seeing The Baby at some point.

    I managed to see—and judge—le Week-end in an arthouse venue. I’m not interested in seeing it encore, but it had entertainment value.

    I also had fun with Bad Words, in a regular commercial cineplex, of all places. But I’m not interested in seeing it again either.

    I’ve seen The Time Machine and Radio Days at least a couple of times each, but I’m in no hurry to revisit them.

    Slow week.

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