With Pixar’s latest hit racing to video and parents everywhere bracing for the impact on their wallets, this could be a big sales week for Blu-ray. In the meantime, robot cowboys take over our television screens.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Cars 3‘ – My sons have watched Pixar’s first ‘Cars’ movie about 175 times. To date, they don’t know about the existence of the wretched ‘Cars 2’, and I’ve been trying to keep it from them. By most accounts, the third one is a return to form – that form being “lesser Pixar but mostly tolerable for adults to sit through.” If I show it to them, I just hope my boys don’t notice that the series skips from 1 to 3. They’re getting good at math, so that’s a concern. Disc options include Blu-ray or Ultra HD, with a SteelBook at Best Buy or a Digibook at Target (both 1080p). None offer 3D, which you’ll need to import from abroad.
‘The Glass Castle‘ – Brie Larson makes another bid for Oscar glory with an awards-bait drama, based on a popular memoir, about a young woman who was the product of a very dysfunctional family. (Isn’t that the plot of most awards-bait dramas?) Neither critics nor audiences were much impressed with the adaptation.
‘Ingrid Goes West‘ – Aubrey Plaza had a pretty good year in 2017, between her scene-stealing supporting role in FX’s ‘Legion’ and this indie dramedy about a vapid social media obsessive who moves to L.A. to stalk her favorite Instagram “influencer” (Elizabeth Olsen). The film made a big splash at Sundance and received mainly positive reviews. It didn’t go very far in general release, but few Sundance sensations do anymore. I suspect that it’ll probably have some shelf life on disc and streaming.
‘Patti Cake$‘ – Another Sundance breakout follows a down-on-her-luck Jersey girl (Danielle Macdonald) with big dreams of being a hip-hop star. Phil described it as “Precious meets 8 Mile with a little Rocky,” which he admits sounds insufferable but says is a lot of fun anyway.
‘Your Name‘ – Even for as little as I follow the anime market anymore, I’ve heard a lot of buzz surrounding the 2016 Japanese box office smash about a high school boy and girl from opposite ends of the country who somehow swap bodies. The film was highly acclaimed for both its animation and emotional impact.
‘Cars 3‘ zooms onto Ultra HD as well as Blu-ray. If I’m not mistaken, I believe HBO’s ‘Westworld‘ marks the first full-season television series to be released on the format. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong about that.)
Also making the upgrade to 4k are the first four ‘Harry Potter‘ movies (the last four were released back in March), and a box set bundling all eight together.
Best Buy has an exclusive release of Sony’s ‘A Few Good Men‘.
Criterion brings more classic screwball comedy into the collection with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in ‘The Philadelphia Story‘.
In addition to the UHD upgrades, Warner Bros. is happy to use any excuse to repackage all the ‘Harry Potter’ movies, this time with the first ‘Fantastic Beasts’ tacked on, into a 9-film box set called ‘J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World‘.
Out of the Warner Archive comes Robert Mulligan’s nostalgic drama ‘Summer of ’42‘.
‘The Godfather Trilogy‘ was first released on Blu-ray back in 2008. Later, the discs were broken out to standalone releases of the individual movies. Now they’re back together again in a new set called the “Omerta Collection.” As far as I can tell, all the discs are the same as before, but some trivia cards and Magnetic Poetry have been thrown into the box.
Sam Raimi’s 1990 “The Shadow meets Phantom of the Opera” superhero concoction ‘Darkman‘ was not a particularly good movie, but it somehow had enough of a cult audience to spawn two direct-to-video sequels, both of which Liam Neeson wisely avoided. Shout! Factory seems to think they’re both worthy of Collector’s Editions. Receiving the same treatment is John Landis’ 1985 comedy thriller ‘Into the Night‘, with Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfieffer.
Kino brings Farrah Fawcett’s acclaimed domestic abuse TV movie ‘The Burning Bed‘ to high-definition with a choice of watching in the original 4:3 broadcast ratio or a 16:9 transfer.
HBO’s lavish, big-budget spinoff of Michael Crichton’s amusement-park-robots-run-amok thriller ‘Westworld‘ was one of last season’s most fascinating, if sometimes frustrating, TV shows. If you’re not an HBO subscriber, the first season is now available on disc to puzzle over.
The first season of Netflix’s Emmy-winning drama about the young Queen Elizabeth II, ‘The Crown‘, is offered in both a regular box set and a fancier Platinum Edition gift set.
Lionsgate released a complete collection of the anime classic ‘Speed Racer‘ back in May of this year, but those discs only had English dub audio. Fans who desire the original Japanese versions of the episodes are expected to shell out $300 for FUNimation’s Collector’s Edition, stored inside a ridiculous character bust. One can only hope that a more sensible package will come down the road at some point.
As a Pixar completist, I preordered the Zavvi-exclusive 3D SteelBook for ‘Cars 3’, which will be released next week. Remarkably, that disc hasn’t sold out yet and is still available.
I will try to pick up ‘The Philadelphia Story’ at this month’s Criterion sale at Barnes & Noble. (Yes, that started last week. I will try to put up a post about it soon.)
‘Your Name’ also sounds pretty interesting.
Which discs this week will you gas up and drive out to the store for?