Batman (1989)

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of June 2nd, 2019 – Never Rub Another Man’s Rhubarb

In contrast to last week, which didn’t have a single new Ultra HD disc to offer, this is a very big week for 4k upgrades of beloved movie franchises. Once again, however, catalog titles are far more interesting than the day-and-date releases.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (6/4/19)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

A Madea Family Funeral – So long as his fans keep paying to see them, Tyler Perry will once again put on the drag costume to make yet another Madea movie. I may have lost count somewhere, but I think this is something like the 57th one. As with all the others, anyone who sits down to watch it should already know what to expect.

Gloria Bell – In a remake of a 2013 Chilean movie just called Gloria (with the same director at the helm), Julianne Moore stars as a middle-aged divorcee who rediscovers her joie de vivre by going clubbing. In what was clearly intended (unsuccessfully) as another Oscar bid, Moore is said to deliver an excellent performance, but that plot description really strains the limits of my possible interest.

Knife+Heart – Vanessa Paradis plays a porn producer at the center of a murder mystery in a French thriller that heavily apes (or “homages”) Brian De Palma movies from the 1970s, which were in turn already homages to Hitchcock and Italian giallo. Jason haaaaaaaaaaaaated this when he saw it at Cannes last year. Other critics were more favorable on it.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – Back in 2002, the excellent documentary Lost in La Mancha detailed Terry Gilliam’s disaster-plagued attempt to shoot a new fantasy epic then starring Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort. The production eventually collapsed and the whole movie was scrapped. Sixteen years later, Gilliam finally tried again and completed the damn thing with Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce in the leads. This should be a major event, especially for the director’s fans. Unfortunately, it arrived with little fanfare and hardly anyone noticed. Reviews were tepid, many calling it an over-long and incoherent mess.


Get ready to Batdance! Warner Bros. has remastered all four of the Tim Burton (yay!) and Joel Schumacher (ugh!) Batman films from 1989 to 1997 into 4k HDR. Strangely, a box set bundling them together is not expected until September. I think most fans will probably appreciate the opportunity to buy the Burton movies separately right off the bat. Our reviewer E. was very impressed with the clarity and definition of the first two discs, but the screencap images in his reviews look tealified to hell and back (the shot of Michael Keaton in front of the Bat-signal in Returns is downright sickening) and he confirmed to me that they are accurate to what the video looks like.

More bat-tertainment comes in the form of the Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated movie (also now available on regular Blu-ray).

Not to be outdone, Disney has upgraded the first three Toy Story movies to Ultra HD in preparation for the upcoming new sequel. Best Buy has separate SteelBooks for all three.

If you didn’t already buy them last year, either individually, as a box set, or as a trio of SteelBooks, Best Buy has repackaged The Matrix Trilogy into a new SteelBook holding all three movies. Unfortunately, it’s just as ugly as the last batch.

The only UHD release this week that’s not part of a blockbuster franchise is Barry Levinson’s 1984 baseball classic The Natural, starring Robert Redford.

Catalog Titles

Criterion’s A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman box set contains Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1963), and The Silence (also 1963).

Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born gets born again with a so-called Special Encore Edition that adds 12 minutes of extended footage.

Flicker Alley presents restorations of two silent classics from 1928 by director Paul Leni: The Man Who Laughs and The Last Warning. The former is famous as a prominent influence on the creation of Batman villain The Joker.

New from Arrow Video are a remastered Special Edition of Robert Wise’s 1971 viral plague thriller The Andromeda Strain and the schlocky 1988 cannibal horror flick Trapped Alive.

The few Joel Schumacher fans out there not sated by his two Bat-flicks may also appreciate Kino’s release of the director’s 2003 journalism bio-pic Veronica Guerin with Cate Blanchett.

Shout! Factory breaks out a standalone edition of the 1995 Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie, previously released as part of a box set with three seasons of the TV series on DVD.

Mill Creek dives deep into the 1990s this week. First, the label expands its VHS Retro Look collection with the Jean-Claude Van Damme action-fest Double Team and the comedies Opportunity Knocks, Jury Duty, and Excess Baggage – starring Dana Carvey, Pauly Shore, and Alicia Silverstone, respectively.

Next, Mill Creek has a host of ’90s double features. Notable titles buried among them are the Damon Wayons comedy Mo’ Money (paired with Jon Lovitz’s High School High), the Julia Roberts family dramedy Stepmom (with Michelle Pfeiffer’s The Deep End of the Ocean), and writer/director David Keopp’s apocalyptic thriller The Trigger Effect. The latter, at least, deserves a little better than to be foisted onto disc with a forgotten David Caruso vehicle called Body Count.

Universal gets in on some ’90s action as well with the Winona Ryder drama How to Make an American Quilt and the Tom Selleck rom-com Mr. Baseball.

Most of Universal’s efforts this week, however, are aimed at family films from the early 2000s. The best of them are Aardman Animations’ Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Flushed Away, though I’m sure that Shark Tale, Over the Hedge, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas probably also have some fans.


A couple of streaming series make their way to physical disc, with the first seasons of Amazon’s Jack Ryan and Netflix’s Lost in Space.

Also available is the seventh season of Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros.

Amazon claims that the fifth season of The Flash is scheduled for release this week, but that seems kind of sudden considering that the season barely ended on broadcast a couple weeks ago and I don’t see the Blu-ray listed at any other retailers. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is an error. [Update: Other retailers are now saying August 27th. This must be an Amazon mistake.]

My $.02

I would be more interested in the first two Batman UHDs if not for the teal issue, which is hugely disappointing to me.

I’m fine with the three Toy Story movies on Blu-ray and don’t feel a burning need for an upgrade.

I’m curious about The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, but the negative word-of-mouth may convince me to wait until it turns up on Netflix or Prime Video.

I recently introduced my kids to the Wallace & Gromit series with success, so The Curse of the Were-Rabbit seems like a no-brainer.

I’d also like to upgrade The Andromeda Strain to a better edition, but I can wait for a price drop on that.

What wonderful toys have your attention this week?


  1. Csm101

    I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I ordered The Power Rangers movie. I will also be picking up all the remastered Batman flicks. For a long time I’ve been curious about The Man Who Laughs and will add it to my wish list.

    • I bought the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers soundtrack at a record store back in the day. I was a little embarrassed to walk up to the counter with the CD, but the cashier looked at it and asked “They Might Be Giants fan?”, which…yup, that it was it completely.

      No need to be embarrassed about picking up the MMPR movie, though! Now, if it were Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, maybe that’d be a different story. 🙂

  2. Brian

    I would also love to have all the Batman movies in 4k but $25/ea not counting tax is a little more than I would want to pop for. I am going to take a chance and wait on the anthology to release in September. It is showing at amazon right now for $89.99. On BestBuy, the steelbook is the same price but I am not interested in steelbook. The regular non-steel version at BestBuy is $119.99 for some reason but I imagine they will have to lower that if they want to compete with amazon. My only concern is that the anthology might be missing special features that will be included with individually purchasing the titles. I would assume the releases are the same but I just don’t know. I realize I’m not saving a huge amount by waiting but every little bit helps if you’re not dying to have them right away.

  3. Lord Bowler

    I’ll be picking up The Andromeda Strain (Special Edition).

    Also, I’ll be picking up the next DCU Animated movie: Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

    For TV, I’ll pick up either one or both of these:
    Lost in Space (2018): The Complete First Season
    Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan: Season One

  4. I saw a Best Buy employee on another forum complain that a number of Warner pre-orders have had their release dates mangled in Amazon’s system. I’m not sure what other titles are affected, but, yeah, everywhere else still seems to have The Flash slated for August 27th.

    I’m grabbing both Batman vs. TMNT (on Ultra HD Blu-ray) and the latest season of The Venture Bros. I might bite on both this week, although I feel like the DC animated titles plummet so quickly in price that maybe I should wait. Definitely picking up The Venture Bros., though.

    I’m also very interested in the UHD releases of those four live-action Bat-flicks, although I’ll hold out for the collection in September.

    • If you read the full description of the Amazon page, there’s a 3rd part seller taking advantage of an exploit. Somewhere in product descriptions they say to email them (with the provided address) to pre-order.

  5. Shannon Nutt

    Jack Ryan and Lost in Space are both, in their own ways, top-notch entertainment. It’s sad though that neither is getting a 4K release, despite both airing in 4K on their respective services.

  6. Al

    Josh, what color do you think that should be, if not teal? (In Batman returns). I recently saw Batman and Batman Returns theatrically, and I certainly saw a whole ton of teal. You’re thinking that the teal should be, what, pure white? Green?

    • Josh Zyber

      The disgusting fad in modern color grading is to turn anything that used to be blue or white and add green to it, which shifts the blues to teal. This often infests the whole movie, not just areas of solid color. Look at the way everything is bathed in teal in this screencap from the first Batman:

      The theatrical screenings you recently attended were undoubtedly from DCPs using the same 4k restoration and teal-and-orange grading as these UHD discs. You’d have to watch a vintage 35mm print to get the original color timing.

      The recent UHD of Alien restored that movie’s original colors and looks vastly superior to the Blu-ray edition, which was a big teal-fest. That made me hope that perhaps the teal fad was finally waning. Not so much, apparently.

      • Al

        No. The recent theatrical screening was a 35mm print. There was definitely a good amount of teal. I’m well aware of the teal and orange fad, but I’ve always noticed teal in Burton’s Batman films. Are you thinking that it should be blue, in that shot that you mentioned?

      • Al

        I think it’s pretty clear that you’re blindly convinced that the color teal never existed, until the recent teal and orange fad. Well, I’ve got news for you, Josh. Teal has been around just as long as any other color! And guess what that means? Yep! Teal was there in 1989! And 1992!

        • Josh Zyber

          Prior to the advent of digital color grading in the early 2000s, movies were not inundated with teal-and-orange they way they are now. That is a modern color grading fad that has been imposed retroactively on many older movies when they get remastered. Did the color teal exist before then? Yes. Was every movie drenched in teal in every scene from beginning to end, the way they are now? Certainly not.

          Was the 35mm screening you saw a vintage print, or a new print struck from the digital master?

          I’m pretty sure I had this same argument with someone when Alien came out on Blu-ray. “How do you know it wasn’t supposed to be teal all along?” Nevertheless, when the movie finally gets remastered again, the teal is gone and the colors look natural. How strange is that! It’s almost as if I was right all along and knew what I was talking about…

          • Al

            To be honest, I’m not sure if it was a vintage 35mm print. or not. And you’re right. There’s probably a good chance that the straight blue one is more accurate. However, if you think back to seeing Burton’s Batman films, doesn’t it seem like there was always teal in them? I wonder what he would say about this?

          • Josh Zyber

            I don’t know whether Burton had any involvement with these new masters or not. It’s possible that he’s one of those filmmakers, like James Cameron, who view their older movies through the lens of how they feel like grading them today, unconcerned with how they did it the first time around.

          • Shannon Nutt

            Josh is right…that screenshot of the 4K image looks hideous. It’s NEVER been that color. Teal doesn’t even make any SENSE in that shot…it should be more white than anything…blue is acceptable, but certainly not teal/almost green.

  7. Had ‘The Man Who Laughs’ on preorder since March, and it shipped today, super looking forward to this one. Have never seen a film from the 1920’s, and am stoked to find out about the Joker’s origins. With tax, shipping and customs, the disc set me back $56 to Belgium. Madness!! Sparta!!

    ‘Toy Story 3’ – Pixar’s best, one of the best movies of all time, featuring the best final scene to a franchise ever – is bound to be stunning in 4K. Might triple-dip.

  8. EM

    Iʼll have to rent or borrow The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. In April the film finally had a US theatrical début, a one‐night‐only showing via Fathom Events. I attended…and didnʼt see the movie. Our local cineplex, which has been in general decline and has sometimes started its Fathom programming a few minutes into the introduction, had “technical problems” (which I think means they started the prep far too late) and issued refunds plus free‐movie vouchers—which of course does nothing to truly compensate for a botched one‐time‐only event. Oh, well…in the end itʼs the play or the movie that’s the thing, and I knew Iʼd eventually see it one way or another. (And indeed it may turn out not to be very good anyway!)

    • Erik in Wisconsin

      Don’t be put off by the negative comments. My wife and I attended the one-night local screening in our area and really liked it a lot. Yes, it is a slow-developing story line that takes awhile to piece together and figure out what is going on. I like a well-developed plot with good characters. I don’t need a car wreck or explosion every 30 seconds to hold my attention (though I own more than my share of action movies). The movie includes many of Gilliam’s trademark visuals and absurdities, but it also contains a good bit of melancholy and wistfulness. Jonathan Pryce is absolutely superb. I preordered it as soon as it was available, and I probably will be buying copies for my grown children as Christmas presents this year.

  9. Very expensive week for me, even if I buy only a few of the titles on my wish list. With that said, I have the Toy Story 4K SteelBooks waiting to be picked up at my local Best Buy. I opted for this as they’re TERRIBLE with packing them for shipping. I also received this weeks animated Dreamworks releases. The tealified remasters of the Batman movies disappoint me too, but I still will likely get the box set (SteelBook) in September. So, more titles go to the wish list, either awaiting a moment of weakness/impulse buy or just a slow week that I choose to catch up. They are: The Natural 4K, Double Team, The Kid, Mo Money/High School High, Secret of Moonacre, Trigger Effect/Body Count, Twelve Kingdoms, Norm of the North Double Feature & The New Scooby Doo movies set. Had I not already owned them, I probably would have gotten the Matrix 4K trilogy SteelBook.

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