Blu-ray Highlights for 3/22/11. Boo! Boo!

It’s a pretty dire week for new Blu-ray releases, folks. Although there are a lot of titles hitting retailer shelves, damn few of them are worth buying. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the release list.

Honestly, what do you pick out of this?

The three major day-and-date titles coming out this week are all equally awful for different reasons.

First, there’s ‘Yogi Bear‘, available in both 2D and 3D editions. Listen, I don’t really care that you have kids. Good for you. Letting them watch crap like this constitutes reckless endangerment at best. If you love your children, protect them from this junk.

For the adults, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie stunk up cinema screens late last year with ‘The Tourist‘. I’m pretty sure that the only people who liked it were the Golden Globes voting committee, who hilariously nominated it for a Best Picture: Comedy or Musical award. As far as I’m aware, the movie is neither a musical nor a comedy (at least, not the intentional kind). Critics and audiences were otherwise universally scathing.

Even the teens have something to be disappointed in this week. ‘Skyline‘ breaks free from its one-week Best Buy exclusivity to hit general retail. We already talked about this one’s failings last week.

On the TV front, Warner Bros. crams no less than sixteen episodes of ‘The Venture Brothers‘ onto a single disc, as if to prove just how awful digital compression can be at its worst. According to Nate’s review (see link above), the results look pretty awful indeed. He’s a fan of the show, but says that Season 4 isn’t a good starting point for newbies.

What about catalog titles? Fortunately, the Criterion Collection gives us something worth buying with ‘The Times of Harvey Milk‘. That should be interesting. Although not a Criterion, Aaron says in his review that Sony’s release of the Rob Reiner classic ‘Stand by Me‘ is also a winner.

Other stuff… Well, I know people who absolutely adore ‘The Sandlot‘. I never really understood the appeal, but then I never played baseball as a kid.

Remember ‘Awakenings‘? It’s that Penny Marshall schmaltz-fest that was inexplicably nominated for a Best Picture Oscar the same year as ‘Dances with Wolves‘ (which won) and ‘Goodfellas‘ (which really deserved to win instead). What the hell was wrong with the Oscar voters that year? They also nominated ‘Ghost‘, and that’s just dire. You know, I was around in 1990. I seem to remember a lot of better movies being released that year.

If you’re wise enough to keep your kids away from ‘Yogi Bear’, I suppose you can let them watch ‘Anastasia‘ instead. Because I was never a little girl, this movie wasn’t made for me, but I understand that it’s supposed to be pretty good. I don’t get why there’s a talking bat in it, though. Is that just me?

Finally, do you remember back when Luc Besson used to be such a vital and exciting filmmaker? Well, then he had kids, and got stuck in a rut of directing terrible movies about talking troll dolls. This week, Fox gives us the second and third sequels to ‘Arthur and the Invisibles‘, even though the first one (which nobody liked in the first place anyway) still isn’t on Blu-ray. Why? Seriously, someone please explain to me who would want these?


  1. HuskerGuy

    Interested in The Sandlot, Stand By Me, and Robots, but not picking any of them up today. I’ll be waiting for price drops.

  2. Adam

    Funny, this was a better week for me than most lately. I’ll eventually pick up Stand By Me and The Sandlot. I LOVE The Sandlot, but then again, I love baseball and I’m a child of the 80’s/90’s. Like HuskerGuy though, I’ll probably wait for price drops. No sense in dropping that much on them right now.

    • “Funny, this was a better week for me than most lately.”

      Agreed, this is the best week for Blu-Ray releases in the past few months – pretty much the best since last October. I have Anastasia and Because of Winn Dixie showing up today. I would be ordering Elizabeth as well, except I already have both on HD-DVD and there is no reason to double-dip at this time, as my HD-DVD player still works.

      Robots would be great if I had little kids, but I don’t, and I just don’t find Fox’s CG movies to have all that much depth to them. Flicka, Dr Dolittle, and The Sand Lot would also be great if I had kids – I may end up renting them – IF Netflix picks them up. I swear, I am thinking of going back to Blockbuster – I am finding more movies in stores that are closing than I am finding now in Netflix. Anyways, looks like a great week if you have small kids in the house.

      • Anastasia first impressions:

        Comes in a Blu Eco case. No thrills inside the case.

        I own the movie on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD, so know it fairly well.

        Video – Outstanding! From the opening scene, colors pop off the screen! Scenes, such as Anastasia standing on the hill overlooking St Petersburg are extreamely detailed, and the CG of the palace is amazing! I even got a “Wow!” from my roommate! Seems to be presented in an aspect ratio of 2.4:1

        Audio – Disappointed. While the DTS MA track seems clear, sound seems to be centered in the front-center speaker. Even music swells fail to fill the room. The LFE channel seems to be dead, and there seems to be no use of direction at all. The sound quality is VERY similar to the Laserdisc release of this movie, and not a huge step up from the DVD. Really disappointing.

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