Blu-ray Highlights for 10/11/11 – In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night…

This week brings us quite an eclectic mix of new Blu-ray releases. Among them, we get a failed blockbuster, a sleeper hit comedy, the latest lazy mess from Adam Sandler’s production company, and an art film that will likely polarize audiences for decades to come.

Here’s the week’s release slate, from this past Sunday through this coming Friday:

2011 was the summer of the superhero – or at least, it was supposed to be. Theater screens saw a glut of comic book adaptations. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the bunch was ‘Green Lantern‘, which bombed with critics and disappointed at the box office. When we ran a reader poll a few months ago asking you to rank the year’s superhero movies, this one didn’t get a single vote. Ouch. Nevertheless, these types of VFX extravaganzas tend to do well on video. Warner Bros. offers it on Blu-ray this Friday in your choice of standard 2D or post-converted 3D.

2011 was also the summer of the R-rated comedy. ‘Horrible Bosses‘ managed to piggyback off the success of films like ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘The Hangover Part II’ to bring in over $117 million domestically, which is probably twice as much as even the studio expected out of it. I saw this one in theaters. It’s not a great movie – the premise is really contrived and many of the gags feel forced – but it has a likeable cast and a lot of solid laughs. Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston are especially funny as two of the bosses in question.

Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company continues to churn out lazy, totally unfunny comedies starring the actor’s friends. This summer gave us Kevin James in ‘Zookeeper‘, which for all intents and purposes should have been called ‘Paul Blart: Zoo Cop’. If you actually buy this, shame on you.

On a completely different note, ‘The Tree of Life‘ is director Terrence Malick’s latest existential meditation on… well, in this case, on the history of the universe, and also his childhood memories. The film won the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and then proceeded to divide both critics and audiences between those who proclaimed it a masterpiece and those who walked out halfway through without bothering to finish it. This sounds like my kind of movie. I didn’t get a chance to see it in theaters, but am looking forward to it on Blu-ray.

I first saw ‘Beautiful Boyat the Toronto Film Festival last year. It’s a depressing story (about parents played by Michael Sheen and Maria Bello whose teenage son went on a shooting rampage at his college), but also quite emotionally moving. I made the mistake, however, of seeing this back-to-back with the similarly-themed ‘Rabbit Hole‘. I don’t recommend it. That was too much tragedy for one day.

Also of interest is the indie comedy ‘Terri‘, starring John C. Reilly as either the best high school Assistant Principal in the world, or possibly the worst. In either case, he takes it as his personal mission to make a difference in the life of a disaffected misfit who wants nothing to do with him. The movie flittered in and out of theaters in a blink earlier this year, but received a lot of positive reviews and some good buzz from those who actually did see it. In his Blu-ray review (follow the link above), Aaron called it “a wonderful little indie film which will be hard for anyone to dislike.”

Notable catalog titles this week include the cult horror thriller ‘Maniac Cop‘, Criterion’s release of the 1939 Technicolor epic ‘The Four Feathers‘, and Albert Finney’s beloved turn in the 1970 musical adaptation of ‘Scrooge‘. Universal also repackages ‘Scarface‘ into a standard keepcase, for those who didn’t care for the Steelbook or overpriced box set released last month.

On the TV front, we get the latest seasons of ‘Bones‘ and ‘Chuck‘. PBS also offers up recent literary adaptations of ‘Mansfield Park‘, ‘Northanger Abbey‘ and ‘Wuthering Heights‘ as part of the Masterpiece Collection.

Which of this week’s releases are you buying?


  1. HuskerGuy

    Chuck, The Family Man, and Horrible Bosses should all be mine today.

    After this I think I’m done for a while.

  2. Jane Morgan

    ‘The Tree Of Life’ needed to gross $80M to break even. It only made $54.

    That’s three box office failures in a row for Terrence Malick.

    If his next movie with Ben Affleck is another derivative pastiche, how much longer is he going to be able to get this level of financing?

    The guy made ‘Badlands’ for half a million. Should he return to indie filmmaking?

    Or, at age 67, is this pretty much the end of his career?

    • Drew

      I don’t think that the studio ever thought it would break even. Sometimes a studio will intentionally take a loss, just so that they can stake claim to releasing risky high-art films like this.

      I don’t think this is the end of his career, but my guess is that he only has one more big shot left in his vast cannon. At that point, it will, indeed, be the end.

    • then they should of put it on more screens.
      if i have learned one thing in life it is never do studio math. learned that when paramount was sued over coming to america.

    • Donat Torres

      I’m pretty sure the studios know they won’t get their money back. I guess they just like his movies. He still gets final cut privileges and a semi-large budget, so obviously the execs must be fans.

      • Josh Zyber

        The major studios (through their specialty divisions) typically greenlight a certain percentage of modestly-budgeted “prestige” movies as awards bait each year. Even if these movies don’t make a profit during the initial theatrical release, they usually have legs on video.

        It’s also good for the company’s image to be able to say they’re the studio behind x number of Oscar winners and y number of Golden Globe winners, etc. That sort of thing pays off in the long run.

        Terrence Malick is a director with cachet. Like Stanley Kubrick, his name has a mytique around it in film circles. Studios want to be associated with him even if he doesn’t bring in big money right off the bat. Somewhere down the line, Fox will issue a “Terrence Malick Collection” box set, and it will sell well.

          • Donat Torres

            And I’m definitely in for a boxed set, even if I already own all his films on BD(except Badlands.)

        • Jane Morgan

          The “Terrence Malick Collection” box set will never happen.

          Paramount owns ‘Days Of Heaven.’ Warner Bros. owns ‘Badlands.’ New Line owns ‘The New World.’ Fox owns ‘The Thin Red Line’ and ‘The Tree Of Life.’ Who knows who owns #6.

          Will The Criterion Collection license the rights to all the films?

          And even if they did, how well would it hypothetically sell?

          The Star Wars Saga struggled to sell one million units on blu-ray.

          Is the Terrence Malick fanbase big enough to make a box set happen?

          • Josh Zyber

            You’re forgetting that Warner released a “Stanley Kubrick Collection” box set that cross-licensed titles from different studios. It happens. And we’re also not just talking about Blu-ray with this. On DVD, many directors get box set collections.

          • Jane Morgan

            ‘The Tree Of Life’ played on 200 screens.

            DVD is in a death spiral, and I can’t imagine that a Malick film would play well on television. Streaming deals aren’t paying well, and the rules in Hollywood are changing.

            Do you really think that Untitled Malick Film #7 will get a $35M budget and the full backing of the studio?

          • Drew

            I’m totally in agreement with Jane.

            A Terrence Malick collection will never happen. Especially in wake of how poorly ‘Star Wars’ fared on blu-ray.

            Way too many hurdles to clear before we could ever possibly see it.

            Josh’s Kubrick example doesn’t work for a number of reasons. Primarily, because Malick is no Kubrick.

  3. Drew

    Tree of life, Horrible Bosses, and Green Lantern 3D (Hey, I’m starved for 3D content! I’ll check it out and then sell it).

    • Drew


      Have you seen ‘Green Lantern 3D’? If so, what’d you think?

      Are you blind buying? Or buying because you actually enjoyed it, and feel like it won’t be a shelf filler?

  4. Hey, Camp Nowhere! Since its under $10, I may just have to pick that one up!It may not be one of the best movies ever made, but its a good Saturday afternoon movie to stick on when you just wanna barely pay attention to what’s on the TV.

  5. Jonas

    The only reason why The Tree of Life won at Cannes was that Robert De Niro was the president of jury and wanted an American film to win it.

  6. Drew

    When are we going to see a review for ‘The Tree of Life’?

    I am dying to see if it is given the rare “must own” status!

    I really need to know how great the A/V quality is!

    HDD Staff, does anybody know who was assigned to this review, and when it might be up on the main site?

    • Josh Zyber

      That’s a Fox disc, and Fox is notorious for not sending screener copies until street date. I expect that our reviewer has probably just received the disc, or may even still be waiting for it. A review will be forthcoming soon, I’m sure.

    • Jane Morgan

      I just saw the trailer for ‘The Tree Of Life’ on the blu-ray for ‘Win Win.’

      The video quality looked just as good as ‘The Thin Red Line.’

      Unless they somehow fucked it up, I’m expecting a 5-star video score.

      • Drew

        Jesus that gets me excited! I’m holding off on buying it until HDD puts out their review. I’ve read some reviews on other non-trusted sites, and the information about the video quality has been generic to vague, at best.

        If HDD doesn’t have the review up by EOBD tomorrow, I’ll probably just break down and buy it over the weekend, based on what you say here.

      • I’m doing the review. I just watched the movie. Yes, the video is demo quality for MOST of the movie. The creation/space scenes, however, feature slight banding during the fade-in, fade-outs.