Blu-ray Highlights for June 12th, 2012 – What If This Is as Good as It Gets?

I don’t believe that this is as good as the Blu-ray release schedule gets. In fact, it’s a pretty dull week on the whole. More exciting things will come eventually. However, a few titles of note are still worth taking a look at today.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (6/12/12)?

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New Releases

Did you like Guy Ritchie’s take on ‘Sherlock Holmes‘ with Robert Downey, Jr. a couple years ago? The sequel ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows‘ is basically more of the same. If you liked the first film (and honestly, I thought it was reasonably entertaining), you’ll probably find this one worth at least a rent. The plotting this time is a little needlessly convoluted and the first half is kind of dull, but it has a pretty fantastic action sequence in the second half. Jared Harris from ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Fringe’ makes a great Moriarty, and the movie has the inspired casting of Stephen Fry as Sherlock’s eccentric brother Mycroft. On the other hand, if you’re one of those who felt that Ritchie’s updating of this classic literary character into an action hero was stupid and awful (which a lot of people did, frankly), you probably won’t find this one any improvement.

Did you like the 2007 comic book adaptation of ‘Ghost Rider‘ with Nicolas Cage? Of course not. Nobody did. It sucked. Yet someone at the studio still thought it worth investing in a sequel that no one was clamoring for. Thus we have ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance‘, which was promoted almost solely on the basis of bringing on board the ‘Crank‘ directorial team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor to spice things up. By most accounts, the directors’ hands were tied and they failed at their mission. The movie is now available on Blu-ray in both 2D and post-converted 3D options.

Tyler Perry steps out of drag for a change and tries to present himself as a romantic leading man in the writer/director/producer/star’s latest film, ‘Good Deeds‘. Perry’s character is named Wesley Deeds… and he’s a good guy. Do you get it? (It’s awfully subtle, but I think you’ll figure it out.) Perry’s movies are essentially critic-proof. He has an audience, and that audience already knows whether they want to see his movies or not. Beyond that, I have nothing to add.

After all these years, Greg Kinnear is still out there trying to be a leading man. Good for him, I guess. I have no problem with the actor. I like him in supporting roles, but he has yet to convince anyone that he can headline a movie. His latest indie drama (as they mostly tend to be) is the con-man thriller ‘Thin Ice‘ (formerly known as ‘The Convincer’), which has been described as a poor man’s ‘Fargo’. Rental, maybe?

Back in the ’90s, Polish director Agnieszka Holland made a stir on the international film scene with the compelling historical drama ‘Europa Europa’, which was about a Jewish boy in Nazi Germany who tried to conceal his identity by joining the Hitler Youth. Holland later came to Hollywood and made a visually-striking adaptation of ‘The Secret Garden’. Since then, she’s mostly been toiling away on television. (She’s recently done episodes of ‘Treme’ and ‘The Killing’.) Last year, the director returned to the WWII milieu with ‘In Darkness‘, about Jewish refugees who had to hide in the sewers of Nazi-occupied Poland. The film was well-received on the festival circuit and even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film earlier this year.

Catalog Titles

Jack Nicholson scored his third Oscar for James L. Brooks’ 1997 drama ‘As Good as It Gets‘. Nicholson is often accused of only being able to play his public persona on screen, but I think this was a really strong performance that legitimately deserved the award. The film is owned by Sony, but has been licensed out to indie distributor Twilight Time for a 3,000-copy limited edition Blu-ray. Given that this is a pretty famous movie, this move has stirred some controversy among fans (who don’t want to pay Twilight Time’s higher prices) and has many worried about the future of catalog titles on the format.

Twilight Time also has the 1957 John Steinbeck adaptation ‘The Wayward Bus‘, starring Joan Collins and Jayne Mansfield, on tap this week.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate gives us a classic of a different sort with the Bill Murray summer camp comedy ‘Meatballs‘.

The Criterion Collection has a very busy week with titles ranging from Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Gold Rush‘ to Hal Ashby’s unconventional romance ‘Harold and Maude‘ to Danny Boyle’s dark comedy directorial debut ‘Shallow Grave‘. All of these are worth a purchase.


Back in the early seasons, I was a big fan of ‘Entourage‘, especially during its hilarious ‘Aquaman’ arc during Seasons 2 and 3. Over time, however, the show started treading water and fell into a malaise of mediocrity. By the eighth and final season, I couldn’t bring myself to care anymore and stopped recording the HBO broadcasts. I doubt that I’ll bother to catch up with it on Blu-ray, but fans who stuck it out to the end may want to complete the collection.

Also from HBO is the financial crisis telefilm ‘Too Big to Fail‘, which features a huge cast including James Woods, William Hurt and Paul Giamatti. Although pretty acclaimed (it was nominated for a bunch of Emmys and Golden Globes), I generally find that I don’t care for HBO’s TV movies as much as I like the network’s regular series. I skipped this on broadcast and don’t have a compelling desire to buy the Blu-ray.

Vote in our poll above and tell us in the Comments about which titles interest you this week.


  1. HuskerGuy

    Just Sherlock. I enjoyed this one a lot and have no problem with the action oriented Sherlock. I get some good non-actiony Sherlock out of the BBC series.

  2. EM

    The Gold Rush definitely and emphatically—though probably not this week. But soon, very soon. That movie—at least in its reconstructed original form—is a hilarious classic.

  3. Drew

    I bought ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ from Europe about a month ago. The film is marginally better than the first, and the blu- ray features an audio track that is essentially flawless! Dimensionality and imaging are spot-on, panning effects are some of the best you will hear, the front soundstage is powerful and spacious, surround activity is constantly engaging, and LFE is earth shattering! It’s one of those lossless audio tracks that you wish you could get on every important disc.

  4. William Henley

    If we are going to start doing polls, an option for “none of the above” should be included. Even with 5 3D titles this week, nothing on tis list intrests me. Well, Sherlock Holmes may be a rental or eventually catch it on television, but I am not planing on buying anything this week.

  5. T.J. Kats

    Too Big to Fail was pretty good I thought. Not worth a purchase but if you have DVR space or just need something free on demand it’s worth it.

  6. “As Good As It Gets”!! One of my favourite movies of all time and my first Twilight Time purchase. Wallet-crippling, for sure, but totally worth it. I’ll never tire of that movie.

  7. William Henley

    Someone gave me a copy of John Carter 3D this week, so I chose other. I may also pick up some anime on Friday. I will have to look and see what’s on sale, and if there is anything I want that is not already on the streaming sites. A good portion of Funimation’s stuff is up on either Netflix or Hulu.

    I am also looking at picking up some classical music Blu-Ray probably on Friday. I have a few of these already – they are like concerts in DTS-MA or Dolby TrueHD 5.1 or 7.1, but rarely have video with them. They sound amazing. You do have to look for these discs, though, as they are not released through major distributors, and prices range anywhere from $10 to $40.

    Also, now that I have a good paying job and am getting caught up onthe backlog of bills, I plan to start picking up a few of the big releases over the last few months that I missed. It probably won’t be on this paycheck, but I plan to get Star Wars in the next month. At this point, I may just wait until Amazon puts it on a Deal of the Week.

    Lastly, I am starting to put aside money for releases next month – there are a couple of collector’s sets and boxed sets coming out that I need to start planing for now.I want to make sure I got money in the account to get Star Trek: TNG on Day one. While that is still a motnh away, I am making plans now.

    • So I am thinking about bending and going ahead and picking up 3D Mystic Mountains. Horrible name – I don’t think it really adequately describes what it is about. I thought it was going to be some CGI show with these mystical landscapes, but it looks like it is actually a 3D travel show about the Austrian Lakes district. As someone who called Austria my home for half a year, I have got to pick this title up. I am SO glad I decided to actually go and read the plot synopsis for the disc!