Blu-ray Highlights for 10/18/11 – Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

This week sees the Blu-ray release of one of the year’s billion-dollar blockbuster hits. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. I’m more interested in the catalog titles. What grabs your attention?

Here’s the weekly release list, including a few titles that debuted on Sunday and Monday:

Audiences apparently can’t get enough of Johnny Depp’s glam-rocker pirate act. They turned out in droves once again for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides‘, propelling it to become the third highest grossing film of the year (so far). Personally, I checked out of this franchise about halfway through the second movie. If you’re still into it, Disney offers the title in both 2D or 3D options. As I understand it, the movie’s live-action photography was shot with real 3D cameras, but the CGI was rendered in 2D and then converted after-the-fact for some reason. That’s basically the opposite of how most post-converted 3D features are made. I haven’t seen it to judge the results, and honestly have little interest in doing so.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kevin Smith decided to use his new thriller ‘Red State‘ to finally break free of the Hollywood distribution model once and for all. He formed his own independent studio and distributed the film himself. It played at Sundance and on one screen in New York City, and made no basically money at all. Great job with that, Kev.

Other notable day-and-date titles include the R-rated comedy hit ‘Bad Teacher‘, Disney’s ‘tween-pandering flop ‘Monte Carlo‘, and the acclaimed documentary ‘Page One: Inside the New York Times‘.

The disc I’m most excited about this week is Martin Scorsese’s ‘Cape Fear‘. I just hope that Universal treats this one better than most of the studio’s underwhelming catalog releases.

I haven’t watched ‘The Crow‘ since its theatrical release. It’s kind of a dumb movie that’s reputation was elevated by the controversy surrounding its production. (This was the film that Brandon Lee died making.) However, it’s also very moody and stylish and kind of cool. Our reviewer Nate says that fans will be pleased with Lionsgate’s Blu-ray, which is an improvement over earlier import releases.

On the classics front, the Criterion Collection gives us the 1968 Japanese ghost story ‘Kuroneko‘ while RaroVideo offers Federico Fellini’s 1970 TV movie ‘The Clowns‘. The latter is a decidedly minor work in the artist’s career, but I’ll take any Fellini on Blu-ray that I can get.

If TV on Blu-ray is your thing, Warner has the third season of ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘ and the second (and final) season of ‘V‘ on tap. I watched all of ‘V’ and occasionally recapped the show here in the blog when it was broadcast. It’s an enormously stupid series, but often campily entertaining, and that series finale is a doozy.

Warner has also taken to repackaging some titles previously released on the format. In this case, ‘The Goonies‘ has finally broken out from that ridiculous box set into a standard Blu-ray case. Meanwhile, ‘Willy Wonka‘ goes the opposite route and is now being reissued into a ridiculous box set.

Which of this week’s releases do you plan to buy?


  1. Drew

    Cape Fear, On Stranger Tides, The Crow, and Bad Teacher for me.

    I’ve been waiting for Cape Fear for a long time. On Stranger Tides, while not great, is a big improvement over ‘At World’s End’, and I need more 3D content. If it wasn’t 3D, and I wasn’t a completist, I probably wouldn’t buy it, but it is, and I am; hence my pre-order with Amazon coupon. I’m giving The Crow another shot based on Nate’s review. Bad Teacher wasn’t superb, but it was hilarious at times, and offered enough laughs to probably be rewatchable.

  2. i have noticed in the last year that i have really stopped buying movies and really stopped blind buying movies. i was looking at my shelf the other day and noticed i have a lot of movies that i dont watch. i still love movies and there is always something new to try but a lot lately has been one and done and dont want to see it again. also i have turned my attention more to television as i feel television is telling better stories than film lately.

  3. Barsoom Bob

    What no love for “Guns of Navarone”. A terrific, suspensful, men on a mission, WWII action movie with a great cast, Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quin. Don’t confuse with a much inferior sequel. Not a modern, thrill a minute type film but an immensely enjoyable, slow burn up to the final climax. Just hope it gets a decent looking transfer.

  4. bruce

    Guns of Navarone, The Crow, Cape Fear and Pirates. Only got it because I had the $8 coupon form amazon for 3D combo..

  5. Strange! I bought ‘On Stranger Tides’ no less than three weeks ago in Belgium. Is it normal that an AMERICAN film gets released before the domestic date?

    • Drew

      It’s not normal, but it’s not abnormal either. It’s more the exception than the rule, but it definitely occurs a few times a year. Most of the time, something like this will happen when it involves a film that was more popular/successful overseas than it was domestically. That was certainly the case with ‘On Stranger Tides’, as I’m sure you are well aware of.

      • Thanks for the reply. Makes sense, indeed. More than 3/4 of ‘On Stranger Tides’ earnings were overseas, so, yeah …
        Still, it baffled me 🙂 I had to wait till August 2011 to buy “Tron” (for example).

  6. Well, I already have Willy Wonka on HD-DVD, I have all the Dragonball Z Kai that have been released so far (actually a little confused by this release, I am not sure why they are re-releasing it at this time), and I haven’t watched any of the previous 3 Pirates movies since I bought them, so I may just end up watching the fourth on Vudu. So nothing for me this week.