Blu-ray Highlights: Week of March 5th, 2017 – The Light Where the Sky Meets the Sea

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Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (3/7/17)?

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New Releases

Moana‘ – The latest evolution of the Disney Princess is a headstrong Pacific Island teenager who has adventures with a Polynesian demi-god (Dwayne Johnson) and a dippy chicken (Alan Tudyk) while belting out tunes by Broadway darling Lin-Manuel Miranda. Although highly-praised and tipped for Oscar glory, the film was ultimately overshadowed by Disney’s other major animated production of 2016, ‘Zootopia’. Nonetheless, it was still a big hit and will surely have a long shelf life on video. The Blu-ray is available in either 2D or 3D, and Best Buy allegedly carries SteelBook editions of both – though if the 3D version was ever actually opened for sale on the Best Buy web site, I must have missed the five-minute window of opportunity it was available.

Jackie‘ – Natalie Portman received an Oscar nomination for playing Jacqueline Kennedy in a bio-pic set during the aftermath of her husband’s assassination. In every clip I’ve seen, the actress seems to be giving a highly mannered performance with an unconvincing accent, but I suppose I shouldn’t judge without seeing it in context. Unfortunately, reaction to the movie as a whole was pretty mixed.

Trespass Against Us‘ – An impressive cast including Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson headline a British crime drama that is reportedly very derivative of countless other famous British crime dramas without adding anything new or finding a voice of its own.

Incarnate‘ – Producer Jason Blum churned out about 783 horror cheapies last year, so you’d be forgiven if you missed this one, which sounds like a mash-up of ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Dreamscape’. Aaron Eckhart plays a scientist who uses technology to enter the subconscious of a young boy possessed by a demon. Like most of Blum’s output, the movie cost almost nothing to make. (Director Brad Peyton worked with literally 1/22 the budget of the prior year’s ‘San Andreas’.) Somehow, it still lost money.

Catalog Titles

Less than a year after the movie received what I assume was probably a perfectly adequate Blu-ray release through Paramount, the Criterion Collection puts out a fancier edition of director Andrew Haigh’s ‘45 Years‘. Charlotte Rampling was Oscar nominated for the British drama about a couple whose marriage of four-and-a-half decades is shaken by the revelation of an event that happened before they met.

Back in 1988, Dennis Hopper’s police drama ‘Colors‘, in which white cops Sean Penn and Robert Duvall combat gang violence in South Central L.A., received both praise and controversy for its handling of race relation issues. I’m not sure how the movie holds up today (probably not too well, unfortunately), but Shout! Factory aims to find out with a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray.

Blake Edwards’ 1981 show-biz comedy ‘S.O.B.‘ is notable for a few things: 1) The movie was simultaneously nominated for a Golden Globe (Best Comedy or Musical), a Writers Guild Award (Best Comedy), and Razzies for both Worst Screenplay and Worst Director; 2) normally wholesome star Julie Andrews (Edwards’ wife) bares her breasts in the movie; and 3) respectable newsmagazine show ’60 Minutes’ aired an uncensored clip of that topless scene on primetime TV in 1995, scandalizing the ‘Sound of Music’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ fans who tuned in for what they assumed would be a harmless profile of Andrews. The film makes its way out of the Warner Archive this week.

Just four short years before ‘The Godfather’, burgeoning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola directed the musical ‘Finian’s Rainbow‘, starring Fred Astaire as a dancing con man who steals a pot of gold from a leprechaun in order to plant it in the ground near Fort Knox and magically grow even more gold. Yeah, really. Imagine going from this to ‘Apocalypse Now’ in one decade. Apparently, the movie (and the 1940s play it’s based on) also includes a storyline about racial strife in the Deep South, because that sounds like a great idea for a whimsical musical. The play even won some Tonys in its day, because… you know… Broadway. Anyway, this also comes out of the Warner Archive.

In what may possibly be some kind of misguided tribute to writer/star Garry Shandling, who passed away last year, Mill Creek exhumes his misbegotten 2000 sex farce ‘What Planet Are You From?‘. Shandling plays a chauvinist space alien who comes to Earth to procreate with a human woman, which he’d have better luck doing if his pickup lines weren’t so lame. Until that happens, the only way he can communicate with his home planet is to talk to Ben Kingsley through airplane toilets. If you’re wondering who could have possibly thought that was a good idea for a movie, the unfortunate answer is Mike Nichols, who really should have known better than to get roped into directing this turkey.

Hungering for some horror? Synapse dishes out ‘Popcorn‘, a 1991 slasher about a crazed killer murdering film students in an old movie theater.

Television

The only significant TV release this week is a reissue of the complete series box set for ‘That ’70s Show‘, repackaged as a “Flashback Edition.” (The whole show was previously released on Blu-ray in 2015.)

My $.02

I tried unsuccessfully to order the ‘Moana’ 3D SteelBook from Best Buy. Fortunately, the same SteelBook will be released in the UK on April 3rd. If I somehow manage to get the Best Buy copy, I’ll cancel my order for the British edition.

That’s the only thing I have my eye on. Do any Blu-rays call to you this week?

16 comments

      • Chris B

        Man it’s great! instead of trying to remember all the stuff you’ve watched when discussing movies it’s all right there. I don’t have a twitter ot instagram account but for movie nerds like us Letterboxd is a miracle. You should really think about opening an account, it’s a hell of a lot fun.

        • DarkMonk

          How do you forget the filmsyou’ve seen? I remember all the films I’ve seen. (Over 35 years worth).
          Don’t need an online diary.

          • Chris B

            I doubt you remember ALL the films you’ve seen, but it’s not just to keep track. It’s to rank films, write reviews and interact with people who are as movie-obsessed as we are.

    • Richard Slim

      I never heard of Letterboxd until you mentioned so I looked into it. The very first thing I saw was a pissing match between people about an actor sucking or not. Plenty of insults and foul language just like 90% of Facebook. Reminded me of the (terminated) forums on IMDB. I think I’ll pass.

  1. Nothing is a hard sell this week, but Moana is a rental. Usually I end up picking up Disney movies after seeing them, so it will probably be an eventual buy.

    I did choose other, as I picked up a few older music titles – Tosca, Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovani, Beethoven’s 9 Symphonies, and there was one other. Amazon had a good sale on classical music titles over the weekend, and I just could not pass those up

  2. Deaditelord

    Probably will pick up Moana in 3D at some point, but otherwise not much else jumps out as must own. I’m hoping Popcorn shows up on streaming somewhere so I can see if it’s worth picking up.

  3. Josh – The 3D Steelbook is now orderable via their Pick Up Today order system. Even in the hick area I live in there are copies available.

  4. Okay so for whatever reason Disney always manages to get more money from me than normal, and this is excluding their higher street prices in general. I had Moana 3D coming from DMC. Ordering that for just a couple of dollars more unlocked the 60% off other titles, saving me a fair amount of money on the whole order. Anyway, I just ordered the Steelbook on Best Buy’s site for a pick up today order as well. Just like Zavvi releases I usually get the domestic release then the Zavvi Steelbook. Other interests but not necessarily pick ups: Bunyan & Babe, Colors, Pulse and the two Yu Gi Oh releases this week.

    • That 60% off is what kept me a member for so long, however, now that my collection is built up, its not really an incentive anymore, when Disney only releases one or two titles a year now that I am interested in. I was holding out waiting on DMC exclusives, but those are far between, and as they don’t have any specials, I have taken to just ordering the movies off of iTunes (the DMC exclusive titles were all low bitrate and Dolby Digital, so pretty much the exact same quality as iTunes). I picked up off of iTunes The Parent Trap, Summer Magic, The Gnome Mobile, The Monkey’s Uncle, The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band, Freaky Friday, and The Switch – all in 1080P and all not available on Blu.

      When Zaavi releases their steelbooks at the same time (or within a month or two of the US release), I will usually pick them up. And Zaavi is ALWAYS running huge sales – I would be willing to bet that my collection of movies from Zaavi is pretty darn close to about 40% of my entire collection. I mean, they charge 0,99GBP per item to ship to the US, are always running deals like 3 movies for 15GBP (which works out to around $18.25), 3D title sales, steelbook blowouts, etc. In fact. I would say that 95% of my 3D discs and 97% of my steelbooks have come from Zaavi (Game of Thrones and Guardians of The Galaxy being the only exceptions).

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