Blu-ray Highlights: Week of March 27th, 2016 – Don’t Hate the Player

Don’t you just hate returning to work after a long holiday weekend? We hope you got your fill of chocolate bunnies, Peeps and jelly beans, because it’s time to look at a new week’s worth of Blu-ray releases.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (3/29/16)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

The Hateful Eight‘ – After ‘Django Unchained’ proved to be his biggest box office hit yet, Quentin Tarantino started to fancy himself a new Sergio Leone, and immediately set to work making another Western. This time, he really pulled out all the stops, shooting the movie on the long-defunct Ultra Panavision 70 format, roping in legendary composer Ennio Morricone to do the musical score, and coercing theaters across the country to install 70mm film projectors for a special three-hour Roadshow presentation complete with overture and intermission. For all that, reviews of the movie were mixed and audiences had already lost interest in the genre. ‘Hateful’ did about 1/3 the business that ‘Django’ did. The Blu-ray contains only the 167-minute general release version of the film (the Roadshow is undoubtedly being saved for a double-dip down the line), but you can get it in a SteelBook at Best Buy if that interests you.

Concussion‘ – Will Smith angled unsuccessfully for another Oscar nomination with a very earnest bio-pic drama about the crusading doctor who uncovered the NFL’s history of downplaying and covering up the effects of head trauma injuries in professional football players. If you ask me, the fact that getting repeatedly smashed in the head might be bad for you seems like a pretty “No Frickin’ Duh!” revelation, but I suppose some people didn’t want to believe it. The movie didn’t fare too well with critics and was a box office dud, but word has it that the Ultra HD Blu-ray version is awfully pretty to look at.

Point Break‘ – The remake no one wanted starring a cast full of nobodies was one of the worst reviewed films of last year. Even with a 3D ticket surcharge, it grossed half as much money (domestically) in 2015 than the original ‘Point Break’ did back in 1991. While the remake did better overseas, it’s still decidedly a bomb.

Criterion Collection

The Criterion Collection tugs at the heart strings with Vittorio De Sica’s classic Neo-Realist drama ‘Bicycle Thieves‘.

Filmed between 1972-1974, the documentary ‘A Poem Is a Naked Person‘ about musician Leon Russell was suppressed for four decades due to a dispute between filmmaker Les Blank and his subject. The legal rights were finally cleared up in 2015, two years after Blank’s death.

Criterion’s third release this week is a reissue of Akira Kurosawa’s ‘The Hidden Fortress‘.

Other Catalog Titles

Shout! Factory resurrects a couple of notorious flops, including TV host Chuck Barris’ woefully misguided ‘The Gong Show Movie‘ and Michael Cimino’s 1987 gangster epic ‘The Sicilian‘ (based on a novel by ‘Godfather’ author Mario Puzo). The latter was the subject of much internal strife between the producers and the director, and was released to theaters in a shortened 115-minute version that was savaged by critics and made no money at the box office. The Blu-ray contains Cimino’s 146-minute Director’s Cut – which, depending on whom you listen to, is either a big improvement or an even worse disaster.


This week’s TV offerings include the sixth season of FX’s animated spy comedy ‘Archer‘ and the first season of AMC’s flawed but intriguing sci-fi drama ‘Humans‘.

My $.02

I’m both curious about and wary of ‘The Hateful Eight’. I wasn’t particularly a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s last couple of movies, and the trailers for this one frankly didn’t look very interesting to me. I’m tempted by the Best Buy SteelBook, but remain on the fence about blind-buying the movie.

The only must-buy title for me is the Criterion edition of ‘Bicycle Thieves’. (I already have the old copy of ‘The Hidden Fortress’.)

Will you shell out money for anything this week?


  1. Csm101

    Definitely picking up Hateful Eight, although I know I’ll wind up double dipping if and when the Roadshow version gets released. I’m even considering the steelbook. My 3d addiction knows no bounds as I’m blindly buying Point Break. Frightmare and Pigs seem interesting and if this were the good old days of movie shopping in which these titles were actually on the shelf, they’d of been blind buys, but for now potential wishlist items. I guess that’s it for this week.

  2. Picking up The H8 steelbook for sure. Cherry Falls and The Sicilian are both interesting and possible future purchases Bicycle Thieves will go on the ‘ole CC wishlist.

  3. William Henley

    Nothing this week, although I read a review of Humans on the-site-which-must-not-be-named, not knowing what it was, and it sounds interesting, so I am going to see if I can find it to stream somewhere

  4. Bolo

    I liked ‘Hateful 8’, but I don’t think I’ll want to revisit it for a few years and by then the roadshow cut will likely have become available.

    • I caught the Roadshow Edition in theaters last week. Aside from the overture opening and the intermission, I only noticed a few scenes that were extended by tens of seconds of new dialog. Even as a die-hard Tarantino fan, I don’t think I’d double-dip just for that. (To give that some scale, I DID double-dip by buying ‘Deathproof’ and ‘Grindhouse’ on Blu-ray because the earlier features a bit more than the double-feature version and the latter is more of an “experience.”)

      • Timcharger

        The 20 extra minutes includes the
        overture and intermission times? Just 10 more seconds
        of dialogue?! Elsewhere says there’s 6 more minutes of
        extra footage. Perhaps it’s just lingering landscape
        footage? Luke, you being serious it’s just 10 more
        seconds of dialogue?

        • Josh Zyber

          From what I’ve read, most of the extra footage consists of simple extensions of lingering landscape shots to emphasize the extra width of the Ultra Panavision 70 format at a more leisurely pace.

        • My estimate is that there’s no more than a total of two minutes of ACTUAL added dialog or character content. The vast majority of additional content is within the overture and intermission. In those two minutes, there are a few more great lines, but nothing worthy of a double-dip. While I liked the overture and intermission, the dialog stuff is more along the lines of what you would have seen in studio-driven “extended cut” DVDs from the early 2000s. Nothing special.

          • Bolo

            Just to be clear, I wasn’t saying I would buy the movie twice. I am passing on buying it for now in anticipation that the Roadshow cut will be available and I will buy it then for the first time. I only saw the Roadshow cut at the cinema and liked it, so I’d rather buy the cut I know I like.

  5. If you want the Best Buy steelbook of ‘The Hateful Eight,’ pre-order that thing today. It’s only available for pre-order with in-store pick-up (no shipping options) and all stores in my area are not getting it. Looks like Best Buy pulled another ‘Mad Max’ with this steelbook.

    • Chris B

      Hey Luke, the BB up here in Canada said they weren’t carrying it either, luckily HMV is selling the exact same steelbook as BB. Worth a shot anyways…

      • Josh Zyber

        From what I can tell, it looks like the Hateful Eight SteelBook is a Best Buy exclusive in the USA and an HMV exclusive in Canada.

        Are there even any HMV stores in the U.S. still? I thought they went under a few years ago.

        • Chris B

          I’m not sure, but even if that’s the case would HMV ship to the US? If someone is really desperate for the SB that could work. I actually ended up buying the regular version from BB and then returning it last night after I realized HMV had the SB. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself otherwise! 🙂

  6. CC

    It’s pretty sad that among all these movies- you give a “Oh, Hidden Fortress is coming out too” wave.
    It is better than all these movies put together – and was the blueprint for Star Wars…Another movie it is better than.

    • Josh Zyber

      I don’t typically spend a lot of time focusing on simple reissues. Criterion released The Hidden Fortress as a dual-format Blu-ray/DVD edition in 2014. The new copy is the exact same Blu-ray disc and even the same case art, just minus the DVD.

  7. EM

    I would love a Blu-ray upgrade of City of the Dead, but early word on VCI’s release is disappointing. By the way, despite some blurbs to the contrary, this isn’t the first time the British cut with the original title (as opposed to the shorter US cut Horror Hotel) has been released to home video; VCI itself put out a fine uncut City of the Dead DVD back in 2001.

  8. Deaditelord

    Interesting group of releases this week. I’m very tempted to blind buy The Hidden Fortress. How does it hold up compare to some of Kurosawa’s other great films like The Seven Samurai?

    I’m also on the fence about The Hateful Eight, but I think I’ll rent it first to see if I really want it. Archer I’ll pick up when it goes on sale. I’m pretty sure I watched Frightmare when I was a kid, but I can’t remember enough of it to decide if it is worth a purchase. Hopefully. it shows up for streaming on Netflix/Amazon.

  9. Thulsadoom

    I might grab The Hidden Fortress, but otherwise there’s not a single film in that list I’m interested in getting. Including Hateful 8. I’m a big Kurt Russel fan, and it’s good to see him having a bit of a career boost again, but I just don’t like Tarantino films. At best I find them boring, and worst quite detestable.

    On the plus side, with few interesting releases lately, I’ve been catching up on buying some old releases I hadn’t got round to purchasing yet, from The Maltese Falcon to Burton’s Batman. 🙂

    • Csm101

      Speaking of Kurt Russell, with The Hateful Eight , I also picked up Bone Tomahawk which was on sale (12.99) and Poseidon (4.99). I forgot Russell was in Poseidon. I also broke down last week and finally bought the “controversially remastered” Escape From New York. That’s a lot of Russell in one week. I totally respect that your not a Tarantino fan, but Russell chews up some scenery here and is pretty awesome.

      • Chris B

        Bone Tomahawk really disappointed me. I thought it was a great concept but the movie just doesn’t deliver. It’s almost completely devoid of music and so many scenes just lacked tension. It’s also about 20 minutes too long.

        I’ve heard a lot of criticism about Shout!’s EFNY release to, personally I think it looks great. People over on Caps-a-holic are fanatical nowadays. I’m convinced most of em don’t even like movies, they just like arguing about video quality.

        • Csm101

          Bone Tomahawk is a little too long, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Great cast. The new transfer for EFNY seems a little too bright at times, but it certainly doesnt look terrible. Still a great package. I am still holding on to my MGM copy though. Yeah sometimes movie fanatics seem like evil world dictators who know everything about everything and don’t like movies that much but love to bicker and ramble and be rude to total strangers…Again, thank the Internet for that, but on the flip side, I do find those sites very helpful when I’m trying to gauge a movie purchase that I might be unsure about.

          • Chris B

            Yeah it’s a great site for that for sure. I agree the EFNY transfer maybe a hair on the bright side in some scenes but I found the old MGM disc too dark for my liking. I’ll give up a little bit of the atmosphere of the film to actually be able to see what’s going on. Like you said though I’m still holding onto the MGM disc as well.

            Speaking of Carpenter, do you plan on Picking up Village of the Damned next month? If I’m right, that’s the second last of his movies that haven’t been released on BD in North America. Now if only Shout! or some other studio would release Memoirs of an Invisible man I could stop my OCD from gnawing at me about the gaps in his filmography in my collection…

        • Csm101

          I’ll probably pick it up eventually, but it isn’t on my top priority. I actually remember seeing it in theaters and enjoying it, but I don’t remember much else. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the complete Memoirs, but I’d probably get that too if it ever were released. I don’t think I ever asked, (if I did, forgive the poor memory) how did you like the Vampires blu? I fucking loved it. Such a nice upgrade from the DVD. I love the stylized look. Next thing I’ve been wanting to get from Caroenter is the blu for In the Mouth of Madness and Body Bags.

          • Carpenter is the only director I’m a total conpletist about, I even bought the abysmal Ghosts of Mars which I can’t stand personally but it’s in his filmography. I have all of Tarantino’s stuff just by happenstance,if the North American distributors ever get their shit together and release all of David Lynch’s stuff on BD I’d get them to as I don’t have a region free player.

            But yeah, I always scan the release announcments hoping for Memoirs…

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