Blu-ray Highlights for 6/7/11 – What Are You Buying?

Looks like it’s western week on Blu-ray. Today’s release slate gives us one of the best films of last year (which just so happens to be a western) and a slew of catalog titles to tie in with it. Giddy up!

We’re not just getting westerns, of course. In fact, this week’s release list is one of the longest we’ve seen in a while.

When it was first announced that the Coen brothers would be remaking ‘True Grit‘, a lot of people approached the project with skepticism. Isn’t the original a classic? It’s the film that John Wayne won his Oscar for, after all. If the Coens are to be believed, they avoided rewatching the old film (which they regard as “cheesy”) and went straight back to the source material – the novel by author Charles Portis. Lo and behold, it turns out that they were right. Their version of the story is a big improvement in just about every respect, including Jeff Bridges’ performance as the drunken U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. Hailee Steinfeld is also a revelation as the young girl who hires the Marshal to hunt down the man who killed her daddy. She got robbed at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony in favor of a hammy, cartoonish performance from Melissa Leo in ‘The Fighter‘, a crap movie that had no business being nominated for anything.

Hoping to tie in with the western theme, MGM brings out Walter Hill’s sort-of-classic western ‘The Long Riders‘ and Mario Van Peebles’ not-at-all-classic ‘Posse‘. Warner repackages a double bill of ‘Wyatt Earp‘ and ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford‘ (both of which are very long movies, so I hope the studio hasn’t tried to cram them onto a single disc!).

Warner also gives us Clint Eastwood’s ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales‘. While they’re at it, how about tossing out a bunch of Eastwood’s other old movies in double-bills too? To that end, we get a pairing of ‘Heartbreak Ridge‘ (previously available separately on Blu-ray) and ‘Firefox‘ (new to the format), as well as ‘Every Which Way But Loose‘ (also previously available) with its sequel ‘Any Which Way You Can‘ (new). This seems like a shameless ploy to force fans to rebuy some movies they may already own in order to get some they don’t.

Back to day-and-date titles for a moment. New this week, director Mike Leigh brings us another slice of British life with ‘Another Year‘, Ben Affleck gets downsized in ‘The Company Men‘, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston ‘Just Go With It‘, and some Australian cave divers get trapped in the 3D ‘Sanctum‘. Personally, the Mike Leigh movie interests me, but the rest do not.

Other notable catalog titles include Wolfgang Petersen’s submarine thriller ‘Das Boot‘,Martin Scorsese’s one and only attempt to make a musical in ‘New York, New York‘, John Huston’s adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling novel ‘The Man Who Would Be King‘, Peter O’Toole as a megalomaniac film director in the cult classic ‘The Stunt Man‘, and guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving in drag in ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert‘. [Correction: It looks like ‘Das Boot’ has been pushed back to July.]

Finally, Warner packages up all five of the ‘Superman‘ movies together for its “Motion Picture Anthology” box set. Previously, only the Director’s Cut of the first film, the Donner Cut of the second, and the tedious ‘Superman Returns’ were available on Blu-ray. This is high-def debut of the cheesy third and godawful fourth films, plus the original theatrical cuts of ‘Superman’ and ‘Superman II’. Apparently, the first movie in the series has been remastered, but the Donner Cut of the second and ‘Returns’ have not (though they’ve been given lossless audio). The supplement package will mark the first appearance of the “Return to Krypton” deleted scene from ‘Returns’ that Bryan Singer was hoping to save for a sequel that he’ll never get to make, now that the franchise’s reigns have been handed over to Zack Snyder. [Thanks to that1guypictures for the corrections on which titles have been remastered.]


  1. Whoa, weird, DBZ Kai part 5 gets released today? I could have swore I preordered that, but nothing’s been shipped! I’ll have to head on over to Amazon and check that out!

    So, I have had nothing preordered, but I think i may pick up Sports Illustrated and some of the other 3D stuff coming out this week. I am not at true 3D yet – I can do anaglyph on Blu-Ray 3Ds with Total Media Theater 5 and outputing to my TV. Looking at actually doing a true 3D upgrade before the end of the year, depending on how my job goes.

    TO sounds interesting, and I may pick that up. I have been doing a LOT of blind-buys on anime recently – Amazon’s frequent sales on Funimation titles really make it hard to resist!

  2. that1guypictures

    According to the reviews at DigtalBits and, all the films have been remastered for this box set except for Returns, and the Donner cut of Superman 2. Superman 2, 3 and 4 are all new to Blu.

  3. Tony

    Is there a big difference between the theatrical cut of the first Superman and the previous bluray release? I’d probably pick that up standalone, but the set’s too expensive for several movies I don’t care about.

    • I’m thinking the same thing, but I think the theatrical cuts have been remastered. I have 1 and the Richard Donnar cut of 2 on Blu-Ray, and Superman Returns on HD-DVD. Might be worth picking up on a sale for the DTS-HD audio, though. I know that at least on Sumerman 1, the audio was lossy Dolby Digital.

  4. vihdeeohfieuhl

    True Grit arrived yesterday afternoon. I had the chance to watch it last night. Both the video and audio quality are near reference in my opinion for this type of a film.

    I’ll be picking up The Company Men as a blind buy.

    I wish I could rent Sanctum just to watch some new 3D material. I don’t know of any way to rent 3D blu-rays, so I might buy it, and then sell it.

    The HDD review of the new Green Lantern release was enough to make me decide to pick it up for my son today.

  5. just to have 1 and 2 in their natural cuts with dts-hd is worth it. and i might add that superman 4 is worth it too. anytime i cant sleep , i put on superman 4. boom. right to sleep. damn thing is boring.

  6. …and Josh uses yet another thread to bash the excellent THE FIGHTER. Does Mark Wahlberg owe you money or something?

    That said, it’s True Grit and the Superman Anthology for me.

      • Josh Zyber

        I really don’t understand what anyone thought was so great about it. It’s just about the most cliched and formulaic sports movie I’ve ever seen. Scrappy underdog has to overcome obstacles to make a comeback; just when he’s at his lowest point, he puts it all on the line for one big match where he (hooray!) becomes victorious and everyone gets redemption in the end. Yawn.

        Wahlberg himself already made this movie a few years earlier. Substitute football for boxing and it was called Invincible. Same damn movie. There was literally not one single scene in the film that I found interesting in any way. The script was tedious, and the direction was almost totally nondescript. David Russell absolutely phoned this one in.

        I guess Christian Bale was OK in it. I’ll agree that he was the best part of the movie. I still wouldn’t give him an Oscar for it. And Melissa Leo was just a ridiculous cartoon caricature. Her Oscar is an embarrassment.

        I just don’t get the love for this movie. What is there in it that hasn’t been done a thousand times before and better?

  7. Anthony

    Got True Grit, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Man Who Would Be King, & Every Which Way But Loose / Any Which Way You Can.