Blu-ray Highlights: Week of July 7th, 2013 – Girls Gone Wild

Welcome back from the long weekend, those of you who were lucky enough to take one. Unfortunately, even with the holiday behind us, this is another uneventful week for new Blu-ray releases.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (7/9/13)?

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New Releases

Not to be confused with the 2006 Korean monster movie of the same title, ‘The Host‘ is author Stephenie Meyer’s attempt to do for the alien invasion genre what she did for vampires with ‘Twilight’. Whether that sounds like a good thing or not is entirely up to you. Saoirse Ronan, who once seemed to have such a promising career in front of her, stars as a girl whose body is overtaken by an extraterrestrial amoeba. Naturally, coming from Stephenie Meyer, that part is less important than the teen love triangle. Between this box office dud and the idiotic ‘In Time‘, director Andrew Niccol has just about burned through the last of the good will that ‘Gattaca‘ earned him such a very long time ago.

Relative to its extremely low budget, ‘Spring Breakers‘ was a bit of a sleeper hit earlier this year, largely due to a marketing campaign that played up the perverse thrill of watching former Disney child starlets Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens play college bimbos who break very, very bad. James Franco, concurrently starring in Disney’s family-friendly ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’, appears as a gun-toting drug dealer. By most accounts, he actually put a little effort into this role, when he clearly didn’t in the other. What the audience that caught the many ads on MTV probably didn’t expect, however, was that this would turn out to be an alienating art film from controversial indie director Harmony Korine (‘Gummo’, ‘Trash Humpers’). I’m not a fan of Korine’s work, but it sounds like he was trying for something genuinely subversive here. I’d be inclined to give that some credit, but a friend of mine who was braver than I described it as “utterly incompetent on every possible level of filmmaking,” which basically sounds like every other Harmony Korine movie.

Niels Arden Oplev, director of the original Swedish ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘ movie, made his English-language debut with the Colin Farrell crime thriller ‘Dead Man Down‘. Many reviews complained that, although stylishly shot, the movie’s plot twists don’t make much sense.

Also vaguely notable this week are the Tina Fey rom-com ‘Admission‘, Tyler Perry’s latest buppie drama ‘Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor’ (a.k.a. ‘Tyler Perry’s Temptation‘), and the Oscar-nominated documentary ‘The Gatekeepers‘. I probably shouldn’t lump the latter with the other two, but I don’t know much about it or have anything else to say about it.

Catalog Titles

Universal is reissuing a bunch of titles this week. Among them is ‘Charade‘, which was previously released by Criterion but has now reverted back to the original studio. Having just watched the Criterion disc recently, I’m curious if this one will feature the same transfer or supplements. A couple of the titles, namely ‘The Jerk‘ and ‘Liar, Liar‘, are not technically reissues since they never appeared on Blu-ray before. Instead, these were formerly HD DVD exclusives that Universal finally decided to port over to the surviving format.

Criterion may have lost ‘Charade’, but adds in its place the 1952 Japanese samurai drama ‘The Life of Oharu‘.

Twilight Time gets romantic this week with ‘Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing‘ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle‘.

Shout! Factory offers up kung-fu goodness with the ‘Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection‘ box set, which contains four Blu-rays, seven DVDs and a book. Four of the DVDs are unnecessary duplicates of the Blu-rays, while the other three contain documentaries and other bonus features.

After some delays, Synapse Films is finally ready to unveil its new high-def restoration of the cult horror comedy ‘Street Trash‘. See this article for an interesting story on the pains that the studio went through to get the movie’s remastering right.


Apparently, I was premature last week in announcing Season 3 of ‘Portlandia‘. That actually hits Blu-ray this week. The show still doesn’t do much for me, personally.

I may wind up renting ‘Spring Breakers’ or ‘Dead Man Down’ at some point, but I don’t see anything that I need to run out and buy this week. Do you feel the same?


  1. I took a film reviewing class/course in April and the teaching members of the film press couldn’t stop raving about ‘Spring Breakers’. I’ll check it out, just to see if they were on the money.

    Cinematographer Benoît Debie is Belgian. Not that that’s saying much, but he did also film ‘Irreversible’, ‘The Runaways’ and ‘Get The Gringo’. He even has some lovely photos on his personal websites. The film may be ‘bleh’, but that man has a fine eye.

  2. NJScorpio

    Does this mean that the Criterion of ‘Charade’ will go out of print? Or will it remain available because when it was released, it was released as a public domain title?

    (I’m asking, should I grab up a copy before it’s too late?)

    • Josh Zyber

      I’m not sure. Universal allowed Criterion to release Brazil even though its own edition was still in print, so they may have worked something out. The studio seems to be friendlier to Criterion than, for example, Studio Canal has been.

      • NJScorpio

        Hmmm, good point about Brazil. Today started a 50% off Criterion sale at B&N, so I might just grab the Criterion of Charade while I can for $20.