Are any exciting new Blu-rays headed our way this week? My spidey sense is tingling…
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming‘ – People complained when Spider-Man got rebooted with Andrew Garfield just five years after Tobey Maguire, yet he’s already been rebooted again just three years since Garfield’s last movie and everyone seems fine with it. Maybe the takeaway here is that superhero fans really don’t like Andrew Garfield. In any case, following up on his appearance in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, the character is now fully integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Tony Stark/Iron Man has a prominent role in this alleged standalone story, which puts Peter Parker (Tom Holland now) back in high school. Both Marvel fans and Spidey fans were pleased with the results, driving the movie to be one of the biggest box office hits of the year. On disc, you can get it in 2D, 3D or Ultra HD, with a SteelBook at Best Buy or a goofy “Mask Case” your kids can wear at Halloween.
‘Girls Trip‘ – Audiences had no interest in watching Scarlett Johansson and friends go wild through Miami in ‘Rough Night’ earlier this year, but put Queen Latifah and Regina Hall in a very similar scenario in New Orleans and apparently you’ve got a big sleeper hit on your hands.
Sony floods the Ultra HD market with as much Spider-Man as it possibly can. In addition to the new ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming‘, all the old Spidey flicks also get upgraded to 4k in “Limited Edition Collections” containing, respectively, the three Tobey Maguire movies or the two Andrew Garfield movies. The Maguire set even includes a new so-called “Editor’s Cut” for the much-maligned ‘Spider-Man 3’, which is actually a couple minutes shorter than the theatrical cut. If you’re a dedicated web-head, the Best Buy “Legacy Collection” SteelBook has all five movies (minus ‘Homecoming’, which you must buy separately).
After that, Universal puts a coat of HDR polish on Joss Whedon’s ‘Serenity‘ as well as Ron Howard’s ‘Apollo 13‘ and (ick!) ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas‘.
Criterion has opted not to send us a review screener for its new edition of David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me‘, perhaps out of fear that we’ll point out how much the disc is redundant to the copy of the movie in the ‘Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery‘ box set from 2014 (also repackaged in 2016), which most fans of ‘Twin Peaks’ surely already own. Aside from a couple of new interviews, the Criterion copy appears to feature the same video master and other supplements, and likely only exists to further the label’s working relationship with the director.
More in need of Criterion attention is Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon‘, the prior Blu-ray for which was fairly underwhelming and made a controversial change to the director’s intended aspect ratio. Criterion fixes that issue with a new 4k remaster and plies the movie with a wealth of new bonus features. Unfortunately, as much as I’m a fan of Kubrick’s other films, I’ve found this one deadly dull every time I’ve tried to watch it.
As far as I can tell, Universal’s 17-disc ‘Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection‘ box set seems to be a repackaging of the 15-disc ‘Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection‘ from 2012, with the addition of ten episodes from the ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ and ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’ TV series. Sadly, photos on the Amazon listing page suggest that the TV episodes are on DVDs, not Blu-rays.
In anticipation of ‘Justice League’, Warner’s ‘Batman / Superman Anthology‘ box set bundles the four ‘Batman’ movies between 1989 and 1997 (from Michael Keaton to George Clooney) with the five ‘Superman’ movies between 1978 and 2006 (from Christopher Reeve to Brandon Routh). Note that ‘Superman: The Movie’ is only the Special Edition cut from 2006, while ‘Superman II’ is only the Donner Cut.
North American distribution rights for the Studio Ghibli animation catalog have shifted from Disney to GKIDS, which is rolling out reissues of the Hayao Miyazaki classics ‘My Neighbor Totoro‘, ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service‘, ‘Princess Mononoke‘, ‘Spirited Away‘, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle‘ and ‘Ponyo‘. Early reports suggest that the discs are largely similar to the prior Disney editions, with some corrections to the movies that previously only had lossy Japanese audio or “dubtitles.” Whether that’s worth the high asking price ($29.95 MSRP each) may be a tough sell for fans who already bought the movies in the first round.
New limited editions from Twilight Time include Tyrone Power in the 1947 swashbuckler ‘Captain from Castile‘, Christopher Lee in the 1962 ‘The Pirates of Blood River‘, Michael Caine in the 1969 WWII adventure ‘Play Dirty‘, and Jeff Bridges in Walter Hill’s 1995 Western ‘Wild Bill‘.
Mill Creek pushed back Stephen Frears’ 1996 Jekyll & Hyde riff ‘Mary Reilly‘ (in which Julia Roberts plays Dr. Jekyll’s housemaid) from a couple weeks ago. Also on tap from the label this week is the 1988 Fred Savage/Judge Reinhold body-swapping comedy ‘Vice Versa‘.
Another ’80s comedy comes from Shout! Factory, which gives a Collector’s Edition of ‘Three O’Clock High‘.
Kino swings wildly from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 political satire ‘La chinoise‘ to the schlocky 1986 Clive Barker horror flick ‘Rawhead Rex‘.
Rumored on the web for a couple weeks but only officially confirmed on the retailer’s web site yesterday, Target will carry an exclusive edition of ‘Stranger Things‘ Season 1 in a gimmicky VHS-style package. Weirdly, Netflix has still made no formal announcement about this, and there does not seem to be a standard edition in regular Blu-ray packaging anywhere else. It seems damned peculiar that such a high-interest title would be released with no promotion, on absurdly short notice and in such a limited fashion, but I suppose that… yes, groan… stranger things have happened.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate pays deference to the first season of the Starz network’s ‘American Gods‘, and Warner Bros. slashes through the belated fifth season of ‘Samurai Jack‘ (also bundled into a Complete Series box set).
I’m not a fan of the cartoony art on the ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ SteelBook, but lacking any better alternatives overseas, I preordered it anyway. As a completist, I also needed the Criterion copy of ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me’.
Even though I don’t really enjoy ‘Barry Lyndon’ very much, it’s the type of movie I feel like I’m supposed to appreciate. I suppose I’ll probably give it another shot at some point in the future.
I wish I could afford all the Miyazaki reissues. I may have to evaluate which of those I’m in most need of replacing.
Which of this week’s releases will get entangled in your web?