Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of March 25th, 2018 – Let the Hate Flow Through You!

The most divisive movie of 2017 comes home to disc this week so that everyone can commence arguing about its merits (or lack thereof) all over again. In the words of Darth Vader: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (3/27/18)?

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New Releases

Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘ – I picture George Lucas, wearing a black hood and sitting with his fingers tented, cackling with evil delight. His prequel trilogy and Jar Jar are no longer the most hated things in the ‘Star Wars’ universe anymore. The funny thing is that when Lucasfilm and Disney first announced that writer/director Rian Johnson (‘Brick’, ‘Looper’) had been hired to make the next official episode in the saga, most fans greeted the news with excitement. Then the movie came out and the reaction to it was all over the place. The film received mostly favorable reviews, was the biggest domestic box office hit of last year, and even led our own poll for Favorite Blockbuster Movie of 2017. At the same time, its detractors were incredibly vocal about how much they haaaaaaated it, and the movie also led our Most Disappointing Blockbuster of 2017 poll too. I don’t expect any of that to prevent it from selling like crazy on video. To that end, Target has an exclusive Blu-ray Digibook while Best Buy carries SteelBooks for both Blu-ray and 4k options. If you’re looking for 3D, you’ll have to import from overseas.

Deliver Us from Eva‘ – L.L. Cool J and Gabrielle Union star in a rom-com about three sisters who hire a smooth-talking playboy to date their meddling older sister and distract her from interfering in their lives. Naturally, he falls in love with her for real. Yes, this sounds like another update of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, which may be a classic Shakespeare comedy, but the story’s sexual politics seem uncomfortably regressive to be regurgitated at this particular moment in time.

Last Men in Aleppo‘ – An Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature details the day-to-day hell of the first responders who pull victims and innocent bystanders from the rubble of the Syrian city’s distressingly frequent bombings and airstrikes. By all accounts, the film is very compelling, albeit harrowing.

Survivors Guide to Prison‘ – Channeling a little Morgan Spurlock, filmmaker Matthew Cooke throws together a stunt documentary in which celebrities like Susan Sarandon, Deepak Chopra and RZA prattle about the injustices of the American justice system while Danny Trejo allegedly provides a guide to surviving prison (see title) in the event that you should be wrongfully incarcerated. Phil wasn’t impressed.

Catalog Titles

The Criterion Collection presents a new restoration of the 1930 musical revue ‘King of Jazz‘, featuring an early screen appearance from Bing Crosby. The movie may be pretty obscure even by Criterion standards, but it’s notable for surviving almost fully intact in its original two-color Technicolor format. Most similar productions from the era are now either incomplete or exist only in black-and-white reduction copies. As such, this may be most film buffs’ best opportunity to see the process in as close to its original quality as is currently possible.

After that, Criterion welcomes British provocateur Ken Russell into the collection with a release of ‘Women in Love‘, his 1969 adaptation of a sexually-charged romantic novel by D.H. Lawrence. Controversial upon its release for the homoerotic undertones between characters played by Alan Bates and Oliver Reed, the film is nonetheless perhaps one of the most accessible in Russell’s oeuvre. The movie was even nominated for several Oscars, of which star Glenda Jackson won Best Actress. (Try to remember that Ken Russell was once nominated for Best Director while spinning up his campy 1988 horror flick ‘The Lair of the White Worm‘, I dare you.)

In a rare three-title week, Criterion also has a single-disc reissue of David Cronenberg’s ‘Scanners‘, which the label previously released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in 2014.

In the descriptively titled ‘Sacha Guitry: Four Films 1936-1938‘ box set, Arrow Academy assembles a quartet of classic comedies from the prolific French actor/playwright/filmmaker, whose ‘La Poison‘ recently made its way into the Criterion Collection.

As if to capitalize on last week’s Criterion release of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’, Kino resurrects the Hollywood telling of the story in 1948’s ‘Joan of Arc‘ starring Ingrid Bergman.

Scream Factory offers a Collector’s Edition of the 2006 slasher mockumentary ‘Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon‘, followed by a pair of Pop Art SteelBook reissues for John Carpenter’s 1976 ‘Assault on Precinct 13‘ and 1987 ‘Prince of Darkness‘.

Postponed since its originally announced release date last month, Fox’s 25th Anniversary Edition of ‘The Sandlot‘ finally arrives, boasting of a booklet and set of trading cards to distinguish it from the earlier 20th Anniversary Edition.


New TV box sets include the first season of FX’s crazy ‘X-Men’ spinoff ‘Legion‘ and the third season of USA’s ‘Mr. Robot‘.

There is nothing wrong with your television set! Kino delivers the first season of the classic sci-fi anthology series ‘The Outer Limits‘ promising freshly remastered video.

My $.02

I didn’t bother to see ‘The Last Jedi’ in theaters. (Nor did I see ‘The Force Awakens’ theatrically, and honestly was OK with that decision.) I’ve been waiting to catch up with it on Blu-ray. I’ll try to keep my expectations as low as I can.

I have some curiosity about ‘King of Jazz’ and ‘Women in Love’, but not enough to rush out and buy them right away.

What are your plans for the week?


  1. Csm101

    Although I found the first hour of Last Jedi a total bore in theaters ( I was actually contemplating leaving and sneaking in to another auditorium to watch something else and even not coming back to the theaters for the next installment ) then the events in Snoke’s pleasure palace of love happened and the movie totally did a 180 and got interesting all the way to the end. I’ll probably pick up the 4k version and import the 3d version as I did not get to see it in 3d theatrically and that always enhances my viewing experience. I seem to enjoy movies a lot more at home anyways. I’m also very interested in Batman & Mr. Freeze : Sub-Zero. Warner seems to be whetting the appetites in anticipation for the Batman animated series and it’s working. I still haven’t picked up Scanners on blu and it’s still on my to do list.

  2. Lord Bowler

    I’ll be picking up this little independent film called ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Digibook)’!

    I also really want ‘Scanners (Single-Disc Reissue)’ (Criterion), I missed out on the original release, but I’ll wait for the next sale.

    Also, I have all of the DC Animated on Blu-Ray, so I’ll be getting ‘Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero’ (Warner Archive)

  3. Chaz Dumbaugh

    Definitely Last Jedi, going to try and snag a 4K steelbook at Best Buy tomorrow, if not, oh well, just get the 4K disc otherwise. Would like The Rise of Leslie Vernon for sure, but I’ll wait on that, but I have been waiting for it to finally get an upgrade, DVD doesnt cut it anymore for a lot of movies I have left, probably a lot will never see a Bluray upgrade either

    • William Henley

      Seconded. While I don’t always agree with Josh’s scores, he always gives excellent reasons behind them, and I don’t think I ever once faulted him (well, except for Star Trek Enterprise and the caves).

    • Timcharger

      Write it up Josh. There’s interest in this blog. Live commentary. Pause the disc, and blog about it throughout the film. And afterwards, a more thought-out write-up of your opinion.

      Not to poison the well, but I hear that like Prometheus, the Last Jedi promises all the answers to the important questions of the series.

      • K

        Ha! Prepare to be disappointed! TLJ doesn’t give satisfying answers to anything. Terrible film. Don’t buy it–give it a rent first. Or better yet, NEVER watch it.

          • K

            Why is it anyone who dislikes this movie is considered a whiner? I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing people try to defend this piece of garbage film, or call anyone who hates it a “whiner” or “butthurt fan.” Enough already.

          • William Henley

            K – He doesn’t just dislike the movie, he is on a mission to make everyone dislike it as much as he does.

            I propose Josh open a Youtube channel, called “Josh Reacts to Popular Movies”. I would watch! I just want to see his head resting in his palms saying “It’s Dances with Wolves with overgrown Smurfs! Why, James Cameron, why?”

          • Timcharger

            If the Last Jedi received critical condemnation, I would not pile on (not too much). But because the film got so much praise, especially praised for things that other films would be faulted for the exact same thing, that warrants presenting rational arguments against the Last Jedi.

            You didn’t like Justice League with a CGI villain that had no backstory? No understanding of the villain’s motivations to conquer the galaxy. How did such a powerful being come to amass this much power? But Rian sure subverted our expectations with Snoke. Pure genius, this Rian is. 4.5 stars!

          • Josh Zyber

            Tim, you are hardly some lone voice of dissent pointing out faults in the film that everyone else overlooked. The backlash against The Last Jedi has been very loud and unceasing. Listening to it is exhausting.

          • Timcharger

            But there are few rational voices. Nuanced and focused on fair criticism of the INTERNAL logic of the film and the series. Much of the screaming voices are about external, political motivations, which I try to distance myself from.

            And I suggest that the defenders are quite vocal and emotional, too.

            Why does Phil praise the Last Jedi for the same things he faults other films with? Why does M. Enois Duarte defend Canto Bight as equivalent to Cloud City? Both with super high 4.5 stars ratings. I’m not nitpicking a rating of 3 stars, that I think is more accurate at 2.5 stars. The critical praise is extreme and loud.

          • Timcharger

            And I’m having some fun with it. Not pure whining and hate. There’s evidence in this blog that I’ve made some people laugh.

      • Csm101

        Why does that scene inspire such controversy? I could understand if Luke drank directly from the space walrus teat ( which is how I pictured when I first read/heard about it) it might be a little more to get feathers ruffled over, but milking an animal is not alien. To him, that creature isn’t alien. If you look at it in the grand scheme of things, everything they eat or drink would be alien to us. Maybe they’d be grossed out if they saw us milking a cow? I’m not picking on you, K, but I just read another article where this was brought up and I honestly don’t get all the fuss. At worst, maybe a sight gag that inspired more groans than laughs, but to me it shows a more primitive life Luke is living and makes sense giving the surroundings he’s in. I suppose the scene could’ve been cut, but it was only like five seconds.

        • Timcharger

          The scene wasn’t shot in a “documentary” way, to show the audience a better understanding of Luke’s pastoral life on Ahch-To Island. It was exhibitionist style; silly comic relief. Look at me, Rey. I’m pumping out fresh milk. Tug, tug, tug. I know you are watching me, ohhh yeahhh. Chug, chug, chug. Like my milky mustache? Why turn away, Rey? You like to watch, don’t you?

          Aside from the creepy, old man doing that in front of a young woman aspect, this is in the context of a broken man in an existential crisis who is supposed to be suicidal.

  4. Timcharger

    I can’t wait. I’ve avoided the internet since Dec 2017. Not a single spoiler. In preparation this week, I rewatched A New Hope, Empire, and Return. I did see in the trailers that Luke Skywalker is back in Star Wars once again, so I wanted a refresher on Luke’s character. I’m so looking forward to watching the Last Jedi when I buy a copy this Tuesday.

      • Csm101

        Tim’s getting EVERY version of Last Jedi. If there’s a caption contest, I’m rooting for Tim to win so that his copy will proudly be displayed in his trophy room next to his Fifty Shades Darker bluray. 😉

        • Deaditelord

          I agree. The Timcharger blu-ray shelf of fame can not be considered complete without The Last Jedi blu-ray being proudly displayed front and center. 🙂

      • Timcharger

        I can barely believe it. I’ve so far resisted the completist and Steelbook addictions of mine.

        If there was a super duper, later release version, like what they did with Force Awakens, this time with 3D and 4K combined, I don’t know if I could still resist. And if the price was good, I might cave in.


  5. theHDphantom

    Only Assault on Precinct 13 steelbook for me this week. Received it today too. Always nice to get a new release a little early.

  6. EM

    Star Time, an odd-looking movie about an axe-wielding serial killer too obsessed with TV, interests me a little. Maybe I can rent or borrow it.

  7. Deaditelord

    As much as I hate having to buy the same movie twice, no way I’m skipping out on owning The Last Jedi in 3D and 4k. Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero is a definite purchase too. I have some mild interest in Robot Carnival, but will wait for a sale.

    • Csm101

      Man, I’ve gotten to the point where double dipping blurays is like breathing. It’s a problem. I used to be very careful as to what not to rebuy or at least get rid of the old version as soon as the new version came out. I did an estimation a few weeks ago as to how many repeat buys ( not DVDs mind you ) I have and I figured it was about 20 to 30 tops. It was like 95. I miss Moviestop….

      • William Henley

        Yeah, I got quite a few doubles and triples (and quadrouple) (Blu-Ray, ultimate editions, 3D, 4k). I used to be able to sell old discs on Amazon and pick up a decent amount of change, but Amazon changed their sellers policy on discs. So now I might be able to get a buck a disc at a Movie Trading store if I am lucky. Probably cost me about as much in gas to drive over there as I would get on all my discs put together

        • Deaditelord

          I usually try to give my older versions of a movie to family first. For any remaining movies that go for almost nothing, I let them pile up and then try to sell them as a lot online or individually via a garage sale. It has not always worked, but there have been times when I made more money doing that than if I traded them in at a store/online.

  8. Yesterday morning, I noticed that my local Best Buy still had ‘The Last Jedi’ 4k Steelbooks in stock. Despite not liking the movie, I purchased a copy for pick-up and assumed that it would be a good investment for re-sell since BB usually carries limited stock in Steelbooks.

    Nope. That wasn’t the case at all. When I walked into the store last night, they had a bajillion 4k Steelbooks on the shelves. I kid you not, they had more 4k Steelbooks than they did standard Blu-ray copies. Looks like I’m stuck with this one, which I’m okay with since I’m a completest. (Yes, I even own ‘Iron Man 3’ and ‘Age of Ultron’ just to round out my Marvel collection. I don’t think I’ll ever watch them again, but they’re on the shelf.)

    • Timcharger

      The Force Awakens Steelbook was also very oversupplied too. I think Best Buy eventually cleared them out 6 months later for $10. If at that price, my completist compulsion will likely overtake my will against the Last Jedi. Resist!

  9. Timcharger

    Hey Josh, while everyone is watching the biggest thing ever this weekend, why not watch the last biggest thing ever? Your Last Jedi copy is begging for a spin. And afterwards, you are welcomed to bring the guac to the next Dark Side Club meeting.

  10. Timcharger

    “Jaaaahh-shh, Josh, Josh” that disc is calling out to you. You cannot resist its pull.
    Those other discs that are sitting on your shelves, they are not the disc you are looking for (waves hand over your face).

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