Blu-ray Highlights: Week of November 16th, 2014 – You’d Better Be Ready, Be Ready to Jump

Your friends will be there when your back is to the wall. You’ll find you’ll need us ’cause there’s no one else to call. When it looks hopeless, a decision’s what you need… So decide already. Which Blu-rays will you buy this week?

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (11/18/14)?

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New Releases

22 Jump Street‘ – I’ve been waiting for this to hit home video. The original ’21 Jump Street’ is the movie where I finally saw the light on Channing Tatum, an actor I couldn’t previously stand. He was hilarious in that, and this sequel (from the same creative team of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, on a hot streak after ‘The Lego Movie’) looks just as funny.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill for‘ – On the other hand, Robert Rodriguez’s much-belated sequel/prequel/side-quel to his last movie of any significance was widely panned by both critics and fans of the original. I’m inclined to believe the complaints that it’s a pointless retread, is less coherent than the first movie, and doesn’t offer anything new. And yet, the idea of seeing those striking black-and-white visuals of the ‘Sin City’ world in 3D is kind of appealing on a superficial level. Also, Eva Green as a femme fatale… yummy. (As a reminder, Best Buy has an exclusive SteelBook.)

Into the Storm‘ – Take ‘Twister’, which was already a pretty stupid movie, and remake it 18 years later as a Found-Footage flick for half the original budget and with a cast of no-name actors. Does that have any appeal for you? Me neither.

The Wind Rises‘ – By my count, this is the fifth feature film that legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has sworn will be his very last movie before wandering off into retirement. This one’s a historical drama about an aviation engineer who designed Japanese aircraft during World War II. It looks a lot more interesting than ‘Ponyo’, which is a good thing. (Not that I hated ‘Ponyo’, but it was very much a lesser effort from the director.) I look forward to Miyazaki making many more last-movie-evers in the future.

If I Stay‘ – It saddens me to see Chloe Moretz star in a sappy romance drama adapted from a YA novel. She seemed to be headed on a much more interesting career path than this.

And So It Goes‘ – What the hell happened to Rob Reiner? Remember when he used to be an important director? Did you even realize that he released a new movie starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton earlier this year? Did you ever see a trailer or an ad for it? I sure didn’t. The plot description (a curmudgeonly senior has to take care of the precocious granddaughter he never knew he had) sounds pretty horrible.

Automata‘ – Antonio Banderas stars in a low-budget sci-fi flick from a “visionary” first-time filmmaker no one has ever heard of. It looks like a retread of ‘I, Robot’ (the Will Smith movie, not the Isaac Asimov novel). On the plus side, most of the robotic characters were achieved with practical effects rather than CGI, so that part’s cool.

20,000 Days on Earth‘ – Musician, author, screenwriter and sometimes actor Nick Cave celebrates his 57th birthday (which would technically be 20,805 days on Earth) with what I guess you could call a fictional documentary about a day in the life of a person very much like himself named Nick Cave. Yeah, it’s weird, but so is he, so fans should know what they’re getting themselves into.

Catalog Titles

Now available on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection, Frank Capra’s classic romantic comedy ‘It Happened One Night‘ was the first movie to win the so-called Oscar Big Five: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert) and Best Screenplay. Only two other movies have ever repeated that achievement, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘The Silence of the Lambs’.

As a tie-in with ‘The Wind Rises’, Disney also offers up new high-def editions of two more Studio Ghibli classics: ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service‘ and ‘Princess Mononoke‘. Be warned that although both movies include both Japanese and English soundtrack options, the discs only provide English “dubtitles” (a transcription of the English dubbing script), not a true English subtitle translation of the original dialogue. That’s a pretty major screw-up considering that foreign Blu-rays have the correct subtitles, as did Disney’s prior DVD releases.

Scream Factory remembers a couple of George Romero’s lesser non-zombie horror efforts with ‘Monkey Shines‘ and ‘The Dark Half‘.

Kino reaches back to the days of silent cinema for the horror masterpiece ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari‘.

Also distributed by Kino, ‘The Bubble‘ is the latest restoration from the 3-D Film Archive. The 1966 movie (also known as ‘Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth’) is sort of a cross between ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ and, well, ‘Under the Dome’. Don’t expect much from the plot or acting quality, but these old B-movies made very aggressive and fun use of the 3D format.

Walter Koenig and Bruce Campbell battle zombie-robots from outer space in the 1989 cheesefest ‘Moontrap‘!

After the disastrous failure of ‘Popeye’, Robert Altman was ostracized from Hollywood and spent most of the 1980s making small independent films, many based on stage plays. ‘Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean‘ stars Cher, Karen Black and Sandy Dennis as former high school friends who reunite on the anniversary of James Dean’s death to look back on their lives.

Finally, Flicker Alley has new restorations of two more classic Cinerama travelogues, ‘Search for Paradise’ and ‘Seven Wonders of the World’, both presented in Smilebox format.

This week actually has quite a few discs that I’m interested in. ’22 Jump Street’, certainly. ‘It Happened One Night’ and ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ are both must-buys. If not for the subtitle issues, ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ and ‘Princess Mononoke’ should have been as well. I guess I’ll have to look into importing better editions from overseas. ‘The Wind Rises’ deserves at least a rental.

‘The Bubble’ sounds fun, but I don’t need to buy it right away. I’m undecided about the ‘Sin City’ sequel.

What grabs your attention this week?


  1. The UPS fairy should be bringing me The Bubble. I hear its terrible. Can’t wait! I’m starting to get interested in Christmas Evil, that’s a maybe. Moontrap at the right price would be cool. Looking for reviews on blu quality. Never seen Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but have been interested for some time. Although didn’t vote for it, it’s a strong maybe. Sin City is only 20 bucks at Moviestop, ( reserve price) so I’m definitely picking it up. Automata looks kind of cool, and is very reasonably priced, so maybe blind buy. I have a strong feeling 22 Jumpstreet will be on sale for Black Friday, so I can hold out. Actually Pumpkinhead II: Bloodwings is finally coming out after all the date changes. Saw it at Moviestop yesterday. That’s another maybe. It feels like a Halloween week.

    • Watching the Bubble right now. I got shit flyin at me from airplane wings to cancan dancers kicking at me to cheesy rubber masks in trippy sequences. Trays holding beers floating. I’m only about 40 minutes in. I’m loving this!!

  2. William Henley

    Kiki, Princess Mononoke and The Wind Rises for sure – got to check with the Disney Movie Club, I joined a few weeks ago to stock up on Studio G’s films, as well as to try to pick up a couple of DMC exclusives

    Also interested in the Cinerama discs, but not for $50. I am willing to bet most people alive now have never seen these films, and $50 is crazy expensive for a blind buy. If the price comes down to about $25 a disc, I am in.

  3. Deaditelord

    Although not entirely surprising, it’s disappointing to hear that Princess Mononoke is dubtitled. Wasn’t that an issue with Disney’s bluray release of Castle In The Sky?

    While I may pick up Kiki’s Delivery Service if it isn’t dubtitled, I do plan on buying The Dark Half this week. What can I say, I like middling Stephen King adaptations I guess. 🙂

      • William Henley

        From the link you posted, it sounds like the dub is actually pretty accurate, with just some small things like “coffee” being called “Hot chocolate” instead. If the dub is really close, does it really matter that the subtitles are to the dub?

        Truthfully, I prefer that (IF the dub is accurate). I have minor hearing loss, and generally have subtitles on when watching movies. It drives me nuts when the subtitles do not follow what is actually spoken (older movies tend to be the worst at this – not really sure why – folowed by dubbed movies).

        Ideally what I would like to see on dubbed movies is a subtitle that is a direct translation, when I am watching the show in its original language, and another english subtitle track for the dub. I tend to go back and forth as to if I watch a movie / show dubbed or subbed – a lot of it has to do with how good (or bad) the voice acting with. Like many of the older Godzilla movies are dubbed so badly, its part of the fun to watch it dubbed. Dragonball Z has a superior English and audio track than the original Japanese does. But watching something like Life Is Beautiful, you almost have to watch it in its original language, and I also tend to watch Russian and German movies in their original language. So yeah, I prefer subtitles to both language tracks.

    • EM

      Some of the worst subtitles I ever saw were the French subtitles on the DVD of the French film City of Lost Children. Rather than transcribing the original dialogue, they translated the English subtitles or dubbing or both…yes, from French to English back to French again. Just one egregious example: The original dialogue gave the Ron Perlman character the English name One for some exotic flavor, but the French subtitles called him Un. I say ugh.

  4. Chris B

    I saw The Wind Rises in the theatre and i was one of the few who was actually underwhelmed by the film. The movie is supposedly a biography but the subject’s personal life is completely fictionalized. Not to mention the moral conflict of celebrating the construction of warplanes for the Axis during WW2. Maybe next time pick a better subject.

    Princess Mononoke is a movie I’ve meant to watch for years, I was all set to attend a screening in the theatre last boxing day but the Mrs’ shopping plans resulted in me missing it, will be renting it for sure even with the dissapoiting dubtitles.

    Loved the first Jump Street but never got a chance to catch 22 when it came out, will be renting it for sure.

    It Happenned One Night will be going on my Criterion wishlist for July.

    Never even heard of Moontrap but consdering how awesome Bruce Campbell is I’m definitely going to look into it.

  5. Chris B

    Hey Josh,

    Not sure of the actual release date, but I just read that The Twilight Samurai is now available under the Twilight Time label…I don’t recall hearing anything about it until now, have you?

    • Josh Zyber

      According to the Screen Archives site, Twilight Time has six releases this month with a tentative release date of November 11th. I’m not sure if they made that street date or have been delayed. The site doesn’t say anything about them shipping yet.

      I’ll notify the people who create the disc listing pages for our site, thanks.

      • Chris B

        Cool, it’s one of my all time favorite movies and the only copy I have is a shit-tastic standard def DVD that looks soft as hell, I’d love an upgrade…

      • Chris B

        Ok so as someone not that familiar with Twilight Time, does that mean it could sell out pretty soon? Is there a counter on their website that lists how many copies are still available?

        • Josh Zyber

          Very few of Twilight Time’s discs have actually sold out, and most of those that have were horror titles. The Screen Archives site generally issues low quantity warnings on the main page when discs are running out, but the site is poorly designed and it’s easy to miss that unless you check regularly.

          I could be wrong, but I doubt a movie like Twilight Samurai will sell out quickly. However, if you’re a fan and are concerned about it, you should probably buy it while you know it’s available. Screen Archives very rarely runs sales, so there’s little point in waiting for a price drop.

          • Chris B

            Thanks for the quick reply Josh, I’m actually wanting to pick up Used Cars and The Driver as well (mostly as a homework project to see how much of it was actually stolen for Drive). It’s just a crazy expensive time of year right now as everybody knows and those 3 discs would total over a hundred bucks with the extra shipping charges 🙁 Hopefully a copy is still available after Christmas and I can snag one. I implore anyone unfamiliar with The Twilight Samurai to seek it out, it’s an amazing film.

          • Josh Zyber

            Screen Archives did issue a low quantity alert for The Driver. However, they made that announcement a couple months ago and they still have copies left, so it must be trickling out slowly.

          • Chris B

            Really? Shit. Ok in that case I may have to buy sooner rather than later. I’m actually meeting up with a guy tommorow night to sell hom one of my LD players, the proceeds of which I was hoping to put in the bank but now I’m not so sure..damn this can be expensive hobby/addiction..

          • Josh Zyber

            Received an email newsletter from Twilight Time this evening which says that “Fewer than 350 remain” of The Driver. How long it will take to sell 350 copies, I don’t know.

  6. NJScorpio

    I saw ‘Automata’ on Xbox’s free movie weekend recently, and I liked it much more than I expected I would. It’s my kind of movie, but I expected it to be more heavy handed than it was.

    It was like ‘Blade Runner’ meets ‘Wall-E’.

  7. EM

    Quite a few interesting selections this week.

    I am definitely down for Caligari. I decided to put it on my Christmas list.

    That’s my only must-have, but several other titles interest me. I have heard of and wanted to see Moontrap, and I am already on my library’s waiting list. Thanks, Josh, for posting the link to that madcap trailer!

    Automata is news to me. After reading about it here I found a trailer online (, and after that I got on the library’s waiting list for it as well.

    I looked for The Wind Rises in theaters, but apparently it never blew into town. I’ve been meaning to try Mononoke as well.

    This week’s list also includes some movies which I am less enthused for yet am curious about, such as The Bubble (huh, it’s from Arch Oboler of radio’s Lights Out) and the Cinerama-rama.

  8. Any idea if the previous U.S. dvd release of Princess Mononoke had the same dubtitle issue? How major is this issue?

    Releases this week that I voted for but opted for imports/steelbooks:
    22 Jump Street
    Sin City 2

    Will still likely get the Ghibli titles.
    Ragnarok looked interesting too, maybe not (?)

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