Blu-ray Highlights for 5/10/11. What Are You Buying?

While this week isn’t quite the dead zone that last week was, today’s Blu-ray release schedule is once again filled with a lot of reissued or repackaged titles previously available on the format. However, if we dig in, we might find a few things of interest.

Here’s the full release slate:

Perhaps the biggest day-and-date title of the week is the Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman rom-com ‘No Strings Attached‘. If you remember, this is the one in which the characters are what’s commonly known in the popular culture as “friends with benefits,” but tin-eared director Ivan Reitman instead calls “sex friends,” a phrase that no one in real life has ever used. By most accounts, the movie isn’t quite as horrible as it looks (which is quite horrible indeed). Even so, this seems much more suited to a date night rental than a purchase.

Of a lot more interest (at least to me) is ‘The Illusionist‘. No, this isn’t the Edward Norton movie from a few years ago. It’s a new animated feature from Sylvain Chomet, director of ‘The Triplets of Belleville’, which is based on an unproduced screenplay from Jacques Tati. I didn’t have a chance to see this in theaters, and look forward to catching up with it on video.

Don’t be misled by the “Uncut and Uncensored” marketing hoopla surrounding ‘Blue Valentine‘ into believing that it’s some sleazy ‘9 ½ Weeks’ knock-off. The movie is actually a quite good, though extremely depressing, story about the dissolution of a couple’s marriage. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are both excellent in it. However, the much-ballyhooed sex scenes are not nearly as graphic as the studio for some reason really wants you to believe. There’s a small amount of nudity, but absolutely nothing that would push the movie beyond an R rating. Your average ‘American Pie’ sequel is about ten times more explicit than anything seen here.

On a completely different note, if hardcore violence is your thing, try the Korean revenge flick ‘I Saw the Devil‘, which is said to be heavy on the gruesome gore. This is what the success of ‘Oldboy’ has wrought, I guess.

Let’s shift over to catalog titles now. Between MGM and Fox, we’re getting two Marilyn Monroe classics this week: ‘Some Like It Hot‘ and her final film, ‘The Misfits‘. Sign me up for both.

The Criterion Collection gives us Jonathan Demme’s screwball comedy ‘Something Wild‘. I haven’t seen this movie in forever and a day. I remember liking it, but Aaron wasn’t a fan when he wrote up his Blu-ray review (follow the link above).

Having acquired distribution rights to a large number of third- and fourth-tier movies that Disney/Buena Vista didn’t want anymore, Mill Creek continues to dump on the market a lot of bargain bin fodder such as ‘Another Stakeout‘ (not ‘Stakeout’, mind you, but ‘Another Stakeout’), ‘Straight Talk‘, and ‘V.I. Warshawski‘. Who’s going to buy these?

As far as the week’s repackaged titles go, I’m sure that a lot of people have been waiting for Fox to break out the ‘Alien‘ franchise into standalone releases for each movie. I happen to like all four movies, but I know that haters of the third and fourth entries have been clamoring to be able to buy the first two individually outside the box set.

It’s also worth noting that Fox and MGM have reissued a bunch of titles into nicer Digibook packaging. This week’s offerings include ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid‘, ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World‘, ‘Patton‘, ‘Rocky‘, ‘The Terminator‘, and ‘The Usual Suspects‘. The movies have not been remastered, unfortunately, even though most of them could use it. These are just straight up repackagings. I’d kind of like to have ‘Master and Commander’ in a Digibook, but I doubt that I’d spend the money to rebuy the title just for that.

I’d advise skipping ‘Patton’ and ‘The Terminator’. Rumor has it that both titles have true remasters in the works for some (as yet undetermined) future release dates.


  1. vihdeeohfieuhl

    Blue Valentine is easily the one I am most excited about adding to my collection. However, I suppose I feel almost obligated to also pick up The Illusionist. Every single person on HDD, as well as any other site that I have visited sing its praises up and down. I hate to buy Some Like it Hot or The Misfits without reading HDD’s review first. I’m worried about potential subpar audio tracks on both of them. And I’m also — albeit much less — worried about the video not being up to par. I guess I’ll take a leap and buy both of them. Hopefully the studio will do both of them justice.

  2. CHOBITS!!!!! It is only finances that kept me from getting it today! Debating on if I will order tomorrow, or wait until Amazon puts it on sale! This is like one of my favorite Animes!

    Also, really need to pick up Alien and Aliens, but may pick it up from the UK. I could care less about the third and fourth movie.

    There are a few movies up there that I may add to my Netflix / Blockbuster que (probably the latter as Netflix refuses to stock catalogue Blu-Rays)

  3. not counting ones i already have: VI Warshawski, Chobits, I Saw the Devil (at 15 or less), An Innocent Man, Something Wild (at B&N sale), and Illusionist (when 15 bucks or less).

    already have quite a few of them.

    the Almighty Thor release got bumped to end of the month. sadly. i want to see Thor with an Uzi, god damn it!

  4. Saw on another site that a reissue of My Sister’s Keeper is coming out (but I bought mine used from Blockbuster), and it looks like some AC/DC concert is coming out.

    This finally came in the mail yesterday – and so I am thinking of getting volume 2 now – I LOVED this!

    While these were released in the past couple of weeks, I am also looking at the Beethoven Symphonies and for the 7.1 Music Classical Collection. Although on the latter, I may wait and see if I can get it used – $88 is a bit steep, no matter how many discs it includes. Wish they sold the discs seperately.

  5. EM

    Alien is preordered and should arrive soon. I tend to enjoy Aliens even more, but I’ve had concerns about the Blu-ray’s quality and am holding off, at least for now. Still, I’m excited about finally having Alien, at least, in high-def.

    I think The Illusionist actually played in my town, but I didn’t know what it was until later. I would have wanted to see it in the theater if I had known. My Netflix rental copy should arrive today.