Mary Poppins Returns

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of March 17th, 2019 – Hip Hoppin’ Poppins

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.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (3/19/19)?

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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.)

UHD

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.

Catalog Titles

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).

Television

Having previously upconverted Tom Baker’s first season of Doctor Who into quasi-HD, BBC jumps forward to his seventh and final season.

My $.02

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?

9 comments

  1. Csm101

    Into the Spider-Verse should be getting 3d releases in Germany, France, Australia, and a few other countries. I believe France will have. 4k, 3d combo. Fingers crossed. I’m not sure which version of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse I’ll be getting, but I definitely hope to get it in 3d and possibly the domestic 4k version, I still haven’t decided. I already own the BU version of Strip Nude For Your Killer, but I like the movie enough to want the Arrow version and have it ordered. I never picked up the bluray for Lord of War but I’ll definitely pick up the uhd. This is one of Nic Cage’s best films and I thought it to be award worthy. Cleopatra Jones will go on my wish list. I’ll probably rent Mary Poppins Returns.

  2. Paul J Anderson

    There is a UHD Spider-verse Steelbook available in the UK through Zoom.co.uk, however they don’t ship to the US I believe. Zavvi also had a limited run, but they quickly sold out in less than 24 hrs. Can’t believe Best Buy isn’t offering one. Makes no sense.

  3. Doug

    I bought my UHD of Spider-Verse from Vudu. Josh I left a comment at the end of the review for Skyfall and wanted to know what you thought about it.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I saw a couple episodes of I Spy here and there when I was younger but am not familiar with that episode. I suppose it’s possible that one of the three writers on Skyfall may have been thinking about that, but I suspect the more likely inspiration was Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs. Or, honestly, it could have been any number of other movies or TV shows that have done that type of plot over the years.

      Personally, it doesn’t matter to me whether that scene was allegedly ripped off from something else. The Bond franchise has ripped off other movies for decades. Either it works in the film or it doesn’t. It worked for me. If it didn’t for someone else, c’est la vie.

  4. The only title I’ve ordered so far is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

    I’m sure I’ll grab Mary Poppins Returns for my wife’s birthday in a couple of weeks.

    Detour is a must-have for the next Criterion sale. I can see myself biting on Strip Nude for Your Killer in a future Arrow sale, although it’s far from a day one title for me (especially considering it’ll be my third copy of the movie, which…says a lot about me, I guess). I’m excited about The Deadly Mantis, but it’s tough for me to want to spend $25+ on it.

  5. William Henley

    I enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns. It was cute, and had some great nostalgia. Disney knew what they were doing – the movie was completely unnecessary, but it was well received. And yeah, it is a sequel, not a reboot, as it does not retell the story of the original characters, but rather the same characters 30 years later. I think the reason the studio waited so long on a sequel had to do with some legal rights that were tied up with the estate or something. Anyways, Disney seemed to do a really good job of keeping to the “look and feel” of the original, so it felt…. Good. Like seeing a girlfriend you had 20 years ago, and your relationship ended on good notes, and you get together with them and their spouse, and you have a good time talking about the old days, but in the end you are glad life turned out the way it did and you didn’t end up together. And you say that you should hang out more often, yet don’t see them again until your next class reunion 10 years later, and its the same thing, “Do you remember Mr Smith and that prank we pulled on him? Oh here are pictures of the kids! Why did we wait 10 years to hang out again?” That is what Mary Poppins Returns felt like – you have a good time, but you don’t need it.

    That Doctor Who release is weird, and they used almost the same cover art. My response when I saw it was “I have had that for a year!” Them calling it Season 7 is also confusing – I see now that it is the 7th season of that actor, but it is still confusing, as no one else except for BBC Home Video calls it the 7th season.

    I am very intrigued by Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse, and will probably do a blind buy on it.

    BTW, sorry I have been inactive lately. Life has not allowed a lot of time for reading blogs and watching movies lately. That’s fine, I kinda miss it, but I am also enjoying the change in routine.

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