Blu-ray Highlights for 10/5/10. How Many Are You Buying?

The October onslaught begins today! As anyone who’s been paying attention to the video release schedule knows, this is going to be a very, very expensive month for Blu-ray fans and collectors. Already, this week sees the release of a huge number of day-and-date films and long-awaited catalog titles. The question isn’t “What are you buying?”, but rather “How many can you afford?”

Just take a look at this release slate:

I hardly know where to begin. I’ll try to highlight the titles that stand out to me, but I’m sure that I’ll miss something that someone finds important. Let’s start with the day-and-date releases.

Hollywood’s obsession with remakes struck gold this summer with the new version of ‘The Karate Kid‘ starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. Buoyed by better-than-expected reviews and a family-safe rating, the film was a major sleeper hit at the box office. Those who care about such things (who are probably not the target audience anyway) should be warned that – despite the title – there’s not a single moment of karate in the whole movie. The picture was originally going to be called ‘The Kung-Fu Kid’ until the studio chickened out and reverted back to the old title for its name recognition value. The decision apparently paid off.

Less successful was the revamp of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street‘, which sees Jackie Earle Haley step into the iconic Freddy Krueger role. The movie was savaged by both critics and viewers. Nevertheless, it still managed to draw $63 million in earnings, based on a budget of about half that. Sadly, this means that a sequel is probably inevitable, and we haven’t seen the last of these obnoxious horror remakes.

The other big horror flick of the week is Vincenzo Natali’s ‘Splice‘, which was a hit on the festival circuit and pulled some solid reviews. (Drew here loved it.) Ultimately, the mass audience must have felt that the trailers looked too cheesy (which, admittedly, they did), and gave it a pass. It underperformed in theaters, but may fare better on home video.

Oh, let’s not forget ‘The Human Centipede‘. Or, better yet, let’s absolutely forget it. Ewwwww. That’s all I have to say.

I have to admit that I know next to nothing about ‘The Secret of Kells‘, except that it was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar earlier this year. Did anyone see it?

On the catalog front, we have some really big guns coming out this week. First, there’s Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast‘, thus far still the onlythe first animated film to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. It’s a classic. Buy it.

Warner is releasing ‘The Exorcist‘ on Blu-ray with both the original 1973 theatrical cut (thank heavens!) and the vastly inferior Extended Director’s Cut (formerly known as “The Version You’ve Never Seen”). Just watch the theatrical cut and pretend that the other doesn’t exist. Despite some perhaps paranoid fear-mongering that I may have spread here in the blog a little while back (Whoops!), early word has it that William Friedkin has backed off his plans to goofily recolor the movie like he did to ‘The French Connection‘. So, good news all around. I’m looking forward to this now.

After seemingly endless delays, the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez ‘Grindhouse‘ double-bill is finally being released in its original theatrical form, as it was meant to be seen, complete with fake trailers between each mini-feature. Sadly, the new distributor for the film (Vivendi) is pretty incompetent at the whole Blu-ray thing and has neglected to include lossless audio. Bastards!

That wave of Lionsgate discs that were exclusive to Best Buy for a couple months are now hitting general retail. Notable titles include ‘The Blair Witch Project‘, ‘Bad Lieutenant‘, and ‘Secretary‘. I’ll continue to champion that last one, which should prove even to the haters that Maggie Gyllenhaal is indeed hot.

As if all that weren’t enough, I’m also putting ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre‘, ‘The Maltese Falcon‘, ‘The Mission‘, ‘Mad Max‘, and ‘The Last of the Mohicans‘ (the Michael Mann/Daniel Day Lewis version) on my wish list too.

This month has only just begun. There’s going to be a lot more to buy in the following few weeks.


    • Josh Zyber

      Argh, you’re right. I was confused over the whole Best Animated Feature award, and forgot that Up was nominated for both. Thanks for the correction.

      • KJR

        I was pretty surprised (but pleased) that Up was nominated in both categories. While it was cool to be able to say that B&B was the only animated film to ever get the nomination, Up was great, and I like it when animation gets more recognition in general.

        When they introduced the Best Animated category, I didn’t think we’d ever possibly see an animated film get a Best Picture nomination again. If they’d not expanded the category to 10 instead of 5, I don’t think it would’ve happened for Up, but I’m glad it did.

        Can’t wait to watch B&B on Blu, it’s one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve been waiting for years to see it arrive! Next, give me Little Mermaid!

        • Josh Zyber

          The Best Animated Feature category does have the unfortunate side effect of ghettoizing animated films, just as the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary categories do. It’s rare that you’ll see a movie from any of those subcategories nominated for Best Picture.

          And, in a case like Up where a movie gets nominated in both, you can be sure that it will win the smaller (token) award and be passed over for the bigger trophy.

          With that said, Up was probably my least favorite Pixar production after Cars. I would have rather seen Ratatouille get the recognition.

          • I agree, but that doesn’t mean that it never happens, and when a animated / foreign / documentary does win best picture or best actor, it is REALLY deserved. One that comes to mind is Life Is Beautiful.

            Truthfully, I think its also unfair that Child Actors do not get as much recognition they do. Shoot, I am thinking about just how many movies that Dakota Fanning was in where she got more screentime than any other actor, but is never listed first on the bill (ie Dreamer). She has never even been NOMINATED! Abigail Breslin has only been nominated for one Academy Award, and never won.

            As far as Disney Cartoons, Yes to Little Mermaid, but I am also hoping to see Aladdin soon! And would LOVE to see Emporer’s New Groove and Lilo and Stitch! But yes, deffinatley agree, I hope Little Mermaid is next!

  1. I’m holding off till November and December and then i can see some serious cash being spent! Beauty & The Beast is a must and one i’ve been eagerly waiting for! Time to start thinking about Christmas and i can see the BD department getting flooded this year especialy with record BD player sales.

  2. Beauty and the Beast was originally on my Preorder list, but I canceled it and moved it to my wish list. The reason? Christmas! I have such a bad habit of buying whatever I want, that suddenly people don’t know what to get me for Christmas. My parents are in the Disney Movie Club, so I normally get several Disney movies a year on Blu-Ray from them. I expect I will be getting this and the new Tinkerbell movie from them.

    I will probably pick up the Peanuts Collection, though.

  3. BostonMA

    i own both standalones of Grindhouse so i’m all set with that.

    today (Day 1): The Maltese Falcon. i cannot wait to get this from AMZ, since it shipped yesterday with my free year of Prime thanks to being an enrolled student. it’s my favorite noir of Classic Cinema and one of my very, very favorites of all time baby. man, can’t wait.

    when they’re nicely priced:

    Beauty and the Beast – one of Disney’s masterpieces

    The Last of the Mohicans – LOVE Mann

    Mad Max – too much of a revenge classic to pass up on, even if it is significantly flawed at times.

    The Treasure of Sierra Madre – really, just as much as a stellar, flawless picture as Falcon but the difference here is that i’ve only seen it once, on a long ago, messed up viewing so i can wait it out.

    Psycho coming soon though, which is the other Day One buy for me this month (i almost never D1 buy).

    • Josh Zyber

      Grindhouse really works better in its theatrical cut. Running the two extended cuts back to back doesn’t quite accomplish the same thing. You’re missing the fake trailers, and the added length can make it a chore to get through in one sitting.

      • BostonMA

        i agree, though i saw it in the preferred experience the first time around, faux trailers and all, which was good enough for me. of course, i’d prefer to trade in my standalones for the new one but it doesn’t change how i look at the movie/movies and youtube is great for so many reasons.

    • Isn’t that free Prime awesome? Shoot, some items I go ahead and opt for next day shipping, and I am pretty sure that the total cost of them shipping some of these is more than what I paid for the item and the $3.99 next day shipping, but hey, one of the perks of being Prime! I am definatly going to opt into getting Prime again, with as much as I order from Amazon!

      • BostonMA

        so awesome. just got back from seeing ‘The Town’ and walked up the stairs to my front door to see that my copy of ‘The Maltese Falcon’ arrived. only a few more hours to go ah yes.

  4. Adam

    I preordered Maltese Falcon from Amazon. Seriously, who doesn’t love classic Bogart movies? I’m hoping for near-Casablanca quality here, though I’m not expecting it. AMZ Prime is getting it to me two-day, so I should have it when I get home tonight. Guess I’ll have to put off finishing my Community DVDs from last week long enough to enjoy the Falcon tonight.

    I was sorely tempted to buy Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but I’ve only seen it once, and while I enjoyed it, it’s not a “must” for me. I can wait a couple of months and let it get down to that $10-12 range. Was never a big Disney movie fan as a kid, so B&B has no giant draw for me, though I might have to rent it, just to check out how it looks.

    Now if only they would release a BD version of 12 Angry Men and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, I’d be a very happy classic movie fan!!

  5. Shayne Blakeley

    Already got my copy of Human Centipede, definitely will be picking up Exorcist, Grindhouse, Hard Candy, and High Tension, but I might hold off a bit because, as you stated, this month is ridiculous. I’m on the fence about Beauty & The Beast, not sure if it’s something I’d revisit often enough to be worth it. And as much as I hate it, I sort of feel like I should buy Troll 2, maybe once it’s under a dollar.

  6. Sierra

    Splice looks intriguing if its a solid transfer with great audio.

    Other than that, Maltese Falcon, The Mission and Beauty and the Beast are the only other must haves. Hoping Mission gets the treatment it deserves….stunning views of Iguassu Falls and an all time score by Ennio Morricone.

  7. besch64

    I’m waiting for November and the next Barnes and Noble Criterion sale. Plan on picking up House, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Thin Red Line, The Magician, Paths of Glory, and maybe Cronos.

    Although I also plan on picking up The Exorcist, assuming Friedkin didn’t stop taking his meds again and used the movie as a coloring book like he did with TFC. Might also pick up American Beauty.

    • Josh Zyber

      Warner didn’t bother to send us a screener for The Exorcist, so I’ve had to order a copy. The early word from other sources is that Friedkin learned his lesson and left the colors alone for this one.