Thor: Ragnarok

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of March 4th, 2018 – A Sound of Thunder

The old idiom about March coming in like a lion isn’t just about weather this year. The month starts off with a ridiculously huge assortment of new Blu-ray releases, including a Marvel blockbuster, a few critical darling Oscar nominees, and a whole heap of SteelBooks.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (3/6/18)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Thor: Ragnarok‘ – Marvel’s comic book blockbusters are often accused of suffering samey-ness from one picture to another, but the studio occasionally takes big risks too. Case in point: handing the keys to the ‘Thor’ franchise over to eccentric Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi (‘What We Do in the Shadows’) and giving him $180 million to turn it into a very silly space epic comedy. This could have gone disastrously (Waititi’s biggest prior production was the $2.5 million ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’), but the movie got great reviews and made big piles of cash at the box office. I’ve heard a little bit of grumbling among Marvel fans who didn’t care for the change in tone, but most people seem to have liked it. On disc, you can get it on Blu-ray or UHD, with SteelBooks at Best Buy or a Digibook (1080p only) at Target. Per Disney’s very frustrating policy, the 3D edition is only available overseas. (Zavvi also had a 3D SteelBook for a while, but it appears to have sold out.)

Lady Bird‘ – Indie darling Greta Gerwig previously wrote a couple movies for her boyfriend Noah Baumbach and co-directed the feature ‘Nights and Weekends’ in 2008. She made her solo directorial debut last year with a coming-of-age drama about a precocious teen (Saoirse Ronan, actually 23) suffering a strained relationship with her overbearing mother (Laurie Metcalf). This sort of subject matter has of course been mined in countless other movies, but Gerwig’s treatment hit a particular chord among critics and viewers. The film was a breakout indie hit and nabbed Oscar nominations for Gerwig (both writing and directing), Ronan, and Metcalf, as well as Best Picture. I’m writing this in advance of the ceremony so I don’t know if it won any, but Metcalf seems like a strong contender in the Supporting Actress category.

Faces Places‘ – Pushing 90-years-old, legendary French filmmaker Agnès Varda (‘Cléo from 5 to 7’, ‘Vagabond’) received her first Oscar nomination this year for a playful documentary in which she and a young artist travel the rural French countryside, creating portraits of the people they meet. Regardless of whether she wins that or not (again, I’m writing this in advance), Varda was already given an honorary lifetime achievement award this year.

The Breadwinner‘ – Nominated for Best Animated Feature, the new project from ‘The Secret of Kells’ co-director Nora Twomey follows an 11-year-old girl as she struggles to support her family in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2001. That’s some weighty subject matter for a cartoon, but the story also segues into visually rich fantasy sequences. It still seems unlikely to beat ‘Coco’, though.

Wonder Wheel‘ – It looks like the world is just about done with Woody Allen. With the decades-old accusations of child molestation dredged up yet again in the wake of the MeToo movement, the prolific filmmaker couldn’t get anyone to see his latest annual effort. This one’s a period piece drama set in 1950s Coney Island, starring Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, and a bunch of other people who have since been shamed and badgered into severing ties with the director. Reviews for the movie were mostly negative, but it’s difficult to tell how much of that is a reflection of Allen’s late career artistic decline and how much is influenced by his personal toxicity in the current cultural climate.

The Man Who Invented Christmas‘ – Dan Stevens stars in a fanciful, feel-good bio-pic about Charles Dickens which posits that the author experienced real ghostly visitations that inspired him to write ‘A Christmas Carol’. Reviews were generally favorable. Phil called it “a bit of Christmassy fluff” that goes down smoothly.

Novitiate‘ – As if the Catholic Church didn’t have enough other dirty secrets to atone for, this Sundance favorite period piece set in a 1960s convent exposes some of the horrors that young girls were subjected to while training to become nuns prior to the Vatican II reforms. Melissa Leo plays the cruel Reverend Mother, which almost seems like typecasting.

Blue Planet II‘ – David Attenborough narrates another British nature documentary. This one looks at marine life and was shot in native 4k.


Best Buy carries exclusive SteelBooks for all three of this week’s Ultra HD offerings.

Of the day-and-date titles, only ‘Thor: Ragnarok‘ and ‘Blue Planet II‘ debut in UHD simultaneously with regular Blu-ray. Meanwhile, Sony upgrades Jim Henson’s ‘The Dark Crystal‘ to 4k.

Catalog Titles

Paramount is reissuing a ton of discs, some really old and some pretty recent, in new SteelBook packaging. Some of them (but not all) are quite cheap at around $10 a pop. Sadly, most of them have ugly artwork. I kind of like the ‘Barbarella’ case, but not enough to spend $17 on it when I already have that Blu-ray. Titles include: ‘13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi‘, ‘Arrival‘, ‘Aeon Flux‘, ‘Barbarella‘, ‘Death Wish‘ (1974), ‘Ghost in the Shell‘ (2017), ‘Jack Reacher‘, ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back‘, ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider‘, ‘Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life‘, ‘Pain & Gain‘, ‘Shooter‘, ‘Terminator: Genisys‘, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street‘, ‘World War Z‘, and ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage‘.

In addition to the UHD, Sony offers a reissue of ‘The Dark Crystal‘ on standard Blu-ray as well.

Arrow Video remastered ‘Donnie Darko‘ for a Limited Edition release last year. If you didn’t buy that one, the same disc is available now in a streamlined Special Edition package. New from Arrow is a Limited Edition of the Dario Argento giallo ‘The Cat o’ Nine Tails‘. Expect a cheaper version to follow next year.

Kino follows up on last year’s remaster of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ with another Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western, 1971’s ‘A Fistful of Dynamite‘. The film was previously issued on Blu-ray by MGM under its alternate title, ‘Duck, You Sucker!’.

Before she inflicted the first ‘Twilight’ movie on the world, Catherine Hardwicke directed Heath Ledger in the skater drama ‘Lords of Dogtown‘, now on disc from Mill Creek.

My $.02

Because it was released a little earlier in the UK, I already have the ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ 3D SteelBook in hand. I didn’t buy the Limited Edition of ‘Donnie Darko’ last year, so will prioritize the less expensive Special Edition. Beyond that, I’d like to see ‘Lady Bird’ but can probably wait for it to turn up on Netflix.

Where will your money go this week?


  1. Csm101

    I should be receiving Arrow’s version of Cat o’ Nine Tails some time tomorrow. I ordered the 3d version of Thor: Ragnarok from Amazon UK but God knows when it will arrive. I kind of wish I would’ve ordered the Zavvi version as it seems everyone got their copies really fast. I may pick up the uhd version of Thor: Ragnarok as well. I really want the remastered 4k Dark Crystal but it kind of creeped up on me. I may not be able to afford it this week. I just noticed, I keep rebuying the same movies over and over. I always vowed in the past that I would only have one copy of a movie per format. Within the last couple of years I seemed to have accumulated a considerable pile of reissues without getting rid of the old ones. This is getting out of control. I’ve never seen or owned any version of A Fistful of Dynamite, and is definitely a wish list item.

  2. William Henley

    Going to be an expensive week. In 4k, there is Blue Planet, Dark Crystal, and Thor. In HD there is Lady Bird

  3. Thanks to the link in this post, I just bought ‘Thor: Ragnarok 3D’. I already bought the digital UHD version, and I didn’t get a chance to see this one in 3D in theaters. I rarely use the 3D feature of my projector anymore, but I feel like it will really add to this movie.

  4. Timcharger

    Josh, a Ray Bradbury reference?

    Maybe instead:
    “Hammer of the Gods”
    “Ah-ahhhhhhhhhhhh, hah!”
    “More Immigrants from Norway”

  5. Judas Cradle

    -“Marvel’s comic book blockbusters are often accused of suffering samey-ness from one picture to another, but the studio occasionally takes big risks too.”
    Yes. What huge risk Making Thor 3 basically Guardians of The Galaxy 3.
    Way to stretch.

  6. Judas Cradle

    Celebrating Woody Allen being brought down by unsubstantiated ALLEGATIONS is dispicable.
    There is zero proof the man has done anything wrong.
    I suspect the movie was just subpar.

    • Josh Zyber

      I am not celebrating anything, merely pointing out that the backlash against him revived again recently.

      Personally, I have many qualms about Woody Allen as a person, but I also greatly question Mia Farrow’s actions during their breakup. I doubt that the truth about what really happened will ever be fully known by the public.

      • Josh Zyber

        Tim, you’re not helping. Soon-Yi was not his adopted daughter. Allen and Farrow were never married. Allen was never Soon-Yi’s legal guardian. Andre Previn is her adoptive father. Allen having an affair with her is still extremely gross, but the two of them have been married and in a seemingly stable relationship for over 20 years at this point. The current backlash against Allen is not about that. It’s about his alleged molestation of Dylan Farrow.

        I really do not want to have to moderate this thread all day today. If this argument continues or I don’t like the way the comments turn, I’m going to purge all of them.

    • Bolo

      I saw ‘Wonder Wheel’ and I found it subpar; and I’ve actually enjoyed a lot of the films Allen has made this century. It wasn’t completely without merit, but I spent too much time being bored by too many perfunctory scenes to make the good parts worthwhile. It was the type of old fashioned melodrama that would’ve been better in the hands of Pedro Almodóvar.

      Like you, I tend to doubt that any more of a boycott rallied against Allen for this film than any other film he’s made in the decades since the scandalous behaviour and allegations became public knowledge. He’s had his share of box office duds over most of his career.

  7. Deaditelord

    I’m in for Dark Crystal. Thor Ragnarok too, although once again I’m forced to decide if I really want to buy the movie twice to get a 3D and 4K version. So irritating. I also might be interested in Cat O’ Nine Tails but I want to see it first.

  8. Lord Bowler

    I’m picking up the Thor DigiBook from Target. I’ve already got the 13 Hours and Terminator: Genisys Steelbooks from Best Buy, and don’t like the looks of the others offered at Amazon.

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