Blu-ray Highlights for 3/29/11. What Are You Buying?

If last week was a little dismal in terms of notable Blu-ray releases, this week makes up for that in a big way. We’ve got a huge release slate and a whole bunch of major titles, both new and catalog. No matter where your interests lie, you’re bound to find something to spend your money on.

Just look at this list:

The only way I can sort this out is to break it up into categories.


This week’s big guns bring us both something for the kids (‘Tangled‘) and something for the adults (‘Black Swan‘). The latter even won Natalie Portman an Oscar. While I’m sure that adults will be perfectly capable of enjoying the Disney film, I’d recommend against letting your youngsters watch ‘Black Swan’. Just a suggestion.

(If you’re of age, don’t miss out on your chance to win a copy of ‘Black Swan’ from us right here at The Bonus View!)

Another Oscar nominee (in the foreign language category) was the Greek dark comedy ‘Dogtooth‘. The plot synopsis of this one put me off seeing it in theaters, but I know people who absolutely loved it. I’ve heard it described as “the demented love child of Wes Anderson and Lars von Trier.” That sounds pretty horrifying to me, but I can’t speak from first hand experience here.

I did see ‘Made in Dagenham‘, however. It’s not a terrible movie or anything, but it’s a really formulaic, middlebrow bit of British feel-good claptrap. If you can’t get enough of movies like ‘The Full Monty’, ‘Brassed Off’, ‘Waking Ned Devine’, ‘Saving Grace’, or ‘Calendar Girls’ (the last two from ‘Dagenham’ director Nigel Cole), well, this is another one just exactly like all of those. Sally Hawkins and Bob Hoskins are pretty good in it.

I don’t even recall ‘Fair Game‘ opening in theaters. How could a movie about the Valerie Plame scandal starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, and directed by Doug Liman, fall so far off the radar? Aaron liked it well enough. (Follow the link above to his review.)


Paramount doesn’t release classic catalog titles very often, but when it does, the studio tends to do a pretty good job. This week brings us a deluxe gift set of Cecil B. DeMille’s Biblical epic ‘The Ten Commandments‘ that I’m told is a must own.

Riding the coattails of that, MGM and Warner Bros. give us their own famous Bible pictures, ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told‘ and ‘King of Kings‘ respectively.

Warner also attempts to tie-in with star Charlton Heston by giving us his cheeseball sci-fi morality play, ‘Soylent Green‘.

For the Kids

In case ‘Tangled’ isn’t enough to keep your children occupied, perhaps the ‘All Dogs Go to Heaven‘ films, ‘The Secret of NIMH‘, or ‘The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie‘ will stop their fidgeting?

Scary Stuff

Horror fans can look forward to a trio of all three ‘Scream‘ movies and Dario Argento’s ‘Inferno‘ (his semi-sequel to ‘Suspiria’). Or, if you prefer your horror watered down with campy comedy, don’t miss out on the goofy ‘Teen Wolf‘.


I didn’t get around to watching ‘Treme‘ when it aired on HBO last year. I hear that it’s excellent. If that doesn’t keep you busy, Lionsgate also gives us the fourth season of the acclaimed AMC series ‘Mad Men‘.

Criterion Collection

Finally, the Criterion Collection is working on a theme this week. The studio offers up Mike Leigh’s ‘Topsy-Turvy‘, which is about the origin of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famed musical ‘The Mikado’. To go along with that, you can also get a 1939 adaptation of ‘The Mikado‘ itself. Our reviewer E. quite liked the latter.


  1. HuskerGuy

    Just Black Swan and Tangled for today although I’ll have to keep an eye on the prices of Scream and Nimh.

  2. Well, I am going broke this week. In fact, there are so many movies coming out this week, I am splitting up my purchaces.

    Today I will be recieving The Greatest Story Ever Told, King of Kings, and Charlotte’s Web.

    I had to cancel the colector’s edition of Ten Commandments and Tangled 3D, but I will be picking these up in a week or two. It all depends when Tron is coming out – can’t remember if its next Tuesday or the Tuesday after that.

    I also plan on picking up Secret of Nimh and Evengelion 2.22 soon (BTW, that releases today as well).

    I may pick up Soylett Green – I have never seen it, but my dad loved it.

    Apocalypse: World War II also comes out today. I borrowed the DVD from my uncle, and it was REALLY good, so I may end up picking that up.

    Oh, last week, I picked up The Bible: In the Begining, which was released last Tuesday. That was not on your release schedule.

    So, in other words, I got to split up my purchaces from things that are coming out today over several weeks. I’m going to go broke!

  3. Already picked up Topsy Turvy and Mikado (I’m a huge G & S fan) Black Swan is arriving today. I already bought the Arrow release of Inferno. Eventually will pick up All Dogs, Nimh and Tangled. I’m hoping for a Scream box set at a better price point though.

    • Notes on The Mikado: I own something in the vicinity of 30 different performance of The Mikado, and this one is far and away my least favorite. The blu ray is decent enough for what it is (the audio is a bit screachy) but the hack-job they did with the narrative and song list is mind-boggling. This is definitely not the version to woo in any new fans, but it is an interesting curio for diehards. Simply seeing Martyn Green and Sydney Granville on screen is pretty amazing. Basically, I think this release works better if considered extended supplemental material for Topsy Turvy.

  4. TJ Kats

    Tangled 3D(first 3d purchase) and Mad Men Season 4. Would get more if they money was right but those will do for now.

  5. EM

    There certainly are a lot of interesting items on today’s list, though no home runs for me. I’ve been wanting Scream on Blu for some time, but I want check out more reviews before I decide whether this release is worth the upgrade.

    I was surprised to see all the Bible epics being released at once, but then I realized Easter is less than a month away.

  6. DARN IT! I just blew my movie budget – Amazon is having an Anime sale (news story on, and I just spent a good $150 on Evengelion, Full Metal Panic, Samurai 7, and FCL or something like that.

  7. Darrel Eddings

    Hi All,
    The Ten Commandments is un-freaking believable.
    every studio needs to follow what they did for this release step by step.
    if you’re looking for a definitive Demo Disc,your search is over.
    just wow.

    • King of Kings is also AMAZING, making me wish all movies were 70mm Technicolor! The amount of detail and the beautiful colors… The CLOTHING – it is like you can reach out and touch it! I cannot rave enough! Its BEAUTIFUL! Warner has given us another quality Technicolor transfer, up there with Robin Hood, Gone With The Wind and Wizard of Oz.

      Greatest Story Ever Told is HORRIBLE, and could probably be described as the worst Blu-Ray transfer ever done. They did set the expectation early, saying that the disc was authored from the best available sources, but I find it really hard to believe that the master is in that bad of shape. It looks like they took a third or 4th generation copy, didn’t even bother to give it a chemical bath, and just ran it through a 2K scanner and PRESTO – cheap blu-ray. The grain (not from the original negative but a result of being several generatiosn removed), the dirt, the noise all lead to compression issues. It looks like Paramount turned up the bitrate and did several pass encode to try to compensate and keep it from having TOO many compression artifacts, so the encode is pretty much fine. The source though – PLEASE don’t tell me that is the best available copy.

      Charlotte’s Web was another fail. The movie has DNR so high, that grain sticks on the screen, skin tone is waxy, and detail is all but non-existant. But worst of all is contrast. Night scenes disolve into blackness, and day scenes are so washed out that detail and color take a major hit. This is really inexcusable for a film this new. The audio, on the other hand, is almost refrence quality. The music fills all 5 channels, and is rich and full. Dialogue is crisp and clear, and there is an abundance of ambient sound.