One of the most inventive and exciting uses of animation from 2018 hits Blu-ray and Ultra HD this week. Also, the Mary Poppins reboot.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Mary Poppins Returns – More than five decades after the fact, Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda step in for Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in a very belated follow-up to Disney’s classic live action/animation hybrid, in which the magical nanny returns to London to care for the next generation of Banks children. I’m not sure why Disney chose to position this as a direct sequel rather than a remake when, from all appearances, it’s almost the exact same movie, just with less memorable songs. Most critics found it charming enough, if redundant, and the film made good money with family audiences. Now it’s on disc in 1080p or 4k, with SteelBooks for both formats at Best Buy or a Target exclusive (4k only) that comes with a photo book.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Following three live-action versions in the last 15 years and his appearances in the Avengers movies, you’d think we might have hit the point of Spider-Man oversaturation by now. Apparently not. The world just can’t get enough of the amazing web-slinger. The animated feature introduces a multiverse of new spider-folk and combines a kaleidoscopic variety of animation styles. The film was shepherded by Lego Movie masterminds Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who couldn’t direct because they were supposed to have their hands full doing Star Wars. That may not have worked out for them, but, as producers of this, they can console themselves with an Oscar win for Best Animated Feature. Beloved by critics and audiences, the movie hits disc in a host of retailer exclusives at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart – not a damn one of which offers the movie in 3D. I hear the 3D for this was really good
, but sadly, you can’t even get it in that format overseas. Strike that last part. Apparently, the movie will be released in 3D in Australia, in France (where it’s known as Spider-Man: New Generation), and in Germany (where it’s called Spider-Man: A New Universe). The French edition looks to be the most comprehensive package with Blu-ray, 3D, and UHD. (Thanks, Csm101.)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mary Poppins Returns pop onto Ultra HD at the same time as their standard Blu-ray debuts, while Lionsgate tries to sell people on the merits of upgrading the Nicolas Cage arms-dealer drama Lord of War.
Alongside the sequel, Best Buy also carries a new SteelBook for the original 1964 Mary Poppins.
Criterion takes a Detour with the 1945 film noir classic directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, then follows that with the long-unavailable 1970 indie drama Wanda.
Previously released in a Digibook by Warner Bros. proper, the 1927 talkie landmark The Jazz Singer gets reissued in a standard keepcase through the Warner Archive. As if in reaction to that movie’s notorious blackface scene, the Archive also brings out the 1973 Blaxploitation favorite Cleopatra Jones.
Sensing some newfound political timeliness, Shout! Factory adds the 1987 Cheese Marin immigration comedy Born in East L.A. to its Shout Select line. If there’s some sort of tie-in or rationale behind also picking the 2003 Australian Western Ned Kelly starring the late Heath Ledger, it escapes me.
Todd Haynes’ 2002 homage to Douglas Sirk melodramas, Far from Heaven, finally makes its high-definition debut courtesy of Kino. So does the 1983 Tom Cruise comedy Losin’ It. I guess you could argue that both of these movies deal with the consequences of discovering your sexuality, but one’s a little more nuanced about it than the other.
Arrow takes aim at the sleazy 1975 giallo Strip Nude for Your Killer.
Twilight Time brings us a pair of crime dramas (1957’s The River’s Edge with Ray Milland and 1966’s The Quiller Memorandum with George Segal) and a pair of crime comedies (1935’s The Whole Town’s Talking with Edward G. Robinson and 1978’s The Big Fix with Richard Dreyfus).
Having previously upconverted Tom Baker’s first season of Doctor Who into quasi-HD, BBC jumps forward to his seventh and final season.
I find it very frustrating that the Best Buy SteelBook for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse only includes the standard Blu-ray disc with no UHD, which means that I’ll probably wind up having to buy both.
My kids are fans of the original Mary Poppins and will surely want to see Mary Poppins Returns at some point, but I’ll try to postpone that for as long as I can.
Going onto my wish list for some future sales are Detour, Far from Heaven, and The Quiller Memorandum.
Does anything look supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to you?