Blu-ray Highlights for 11/22/11 – Production Value!

It’s a holiday week here in the United States. Have the Blu-ray studios given you anything to be thankful for?

Here’s a look at the release slate for the entire week:

J.J. Abrams’ homage to Steven Spielberg, ‘Super 8‘, was simultaneously one of the better movies of this past summer, and also one of the most overrated. Personally, I absolutely loved all of the ‘Goonies’-style kid adventure stuff, but found all of the monster stuff to be petty lame. Nevertheless, the movie struck a chord and seems to be one of the most beloved films of the year. I won’t begrudge anyone for liking it more than I did. (Don’t forget that you can win a free copy of ‘Super 8’ by entering our contest.)

On the other end of the spectrum, not too many people cared much for the new, pointless remake of ‘Conan the Barbarian‘. Not too many people bothered to go see it, for that matter. If you’re curious, Lionsgate offers the movie in standard 2D or post-converted 3D options.

Criterion blasts out a couple of great catalog titles this week. First, we have Sidney Lumet’s courtroom drama masterpiece ‘12 Angry Men‘. How is it possible that this was the man’s feature film debut? He really knocked it out of the park, and went on to a very distinguished career afterwards as well. Although not a debut feature (it was his second film), ‘Rushmore‘ put Wes Anderson on the art film map and marked him as a unique cinematic voice worth following. Both of these are must-haves, in my opinion. Too bad the Barnes & Noble sale just ended.

Meanwhile, Kino gives us D.W. Griffith’s landmark, troubling 1915 silent epic ‘The Birth of a Nation‘. This is of course a movie rightly lauded for establishing many of the building blocks of film grammar that directors would use for more than a century to come. It’s also extremely controversial for its blatantly racist depiction of black characters (white actors in blackface) and celebration of the Ku Klux Klan. A humbled Griffith followed this film up with the more progressive ‘Intolerance’ as an apology for his naïveté.

But hey, enough of this artsy fartsy crap. You want to talk about real cinema classics? How about ‘Three Amigos!‘ and ‘Frankenhooker‘? Can your Blu-ray collection possibly be complete without these essential titles?


  1. Random Commenter

    Just Super 8 for me. I have a few other titles I got on sale on the way from Amazon, so I can only afford Super 8 for now. The Birth of a Nation will be on my wishlist until a sale comes along.

  2. Drew

    Super 8! Super 8! Super 8! Super 8! Super 8!


    I also have ‘Conan 3D’, ‘The Birth of a Nation’, and ‘Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas’ arriving today.

  3. I think I am going to echo the Super 8 chant. I was pushing it off, but then there was the $5 coupon on top of Amazon reducing the price to under $20, plus giving a $3 credit for prime members for Instant Viewing, so it was a pretty good deal.

    That’s it for me this week. I got to buy and cook food, and buy a couple of tanks of gas for traveling this week.

  4. Every year, on Thanksgiving, we always watch a movie. For some odd reason, the family movie is usually “Independance Day”. I think this year, I am going to take my Blu-Ray player and we can watch Super8.

    • EM

      Good luck—maybe you’ll start a new, better tradition!

      My father considers Miracle on 34th Street Thanksgiving fare par excellence, since it begins with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (plus it’s a good movie, to boot). We’ll probably watch that today. I think of it more as a Christmas movie, but I’d rather watch it on Thanksgiving—or any day—than watch Independence Day

      • Welp, I took the Blu-Ray player over there. They had a great television and a good surround sound, but they had never seen HD. In fact, I knew he had bought an antenna about a year ago, but it turns out he hooked it up to a converter box. Everything was hooked up to the TV with RCA cables. Well, I popped in Super8 on the Blu-Ray that I hooked up with HDMI, and, you should have seen their jaws hit the ground. EVERYONE is now rushing out today to buy Blu-Ray players. On top of that, I unhooked the antenna from the converter box and plugged it straight into the TV and switched on the Cowboys game. They had been not only watching on a converter box, but stretched and zoomed. Once again, jaws were on the floor! I converted about six people today to Blu-Ray, and he said after seeing the antenna, that he is now going to call up DirectTV and change in his SD satelite box for an HD one!