Blu-ray Highlights for September 11th, 2012 – Whistle While You Work

Eleven years later, and this date still feels uncomfortable to write, especially when it falls on a Tuesday. How many years’ distance will it take before we’ve fully moved on, and Hollywood can go about its business of producing an overblown epic disaster movie about a pair of star-crossed lovers (one in each of the building towers, naturally) trying to escape the World Trade Center and find each other in the chaos? You know that’s coming eventually. I predict that it will be called ‘Twin Towers’. In the meantime, it’s a Tuesday, and hopefully an uneventful one. Our Blu-ray release slate for the week offers up a promising new release, a long-awaited catalog title and perhaps a few others things of interest.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (9/11/12)?

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New Releases

I still find it perplexing that we’re meant to buy into the premise that Kristen Stewart is “the fairest of them all” in a land where Charlize Theron also exists. I don’t care if she’s evil; given the choice, I’d still take Charlize. (Not that I’ll ever be in a position to make that choice, mind you.) ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘ director Rupert Sanders obviously disagrees – a point that he went too far to prove this summer, much to the disgruntlement of his wife. Ridiculous scandal aside, this edgy, action-packed updating of the fairy tale received surprisingly favorable word of mouth and was a sleeper hit. I’m still debating whether this is worth a blind-buy, or if I should start with a rental. Best Buy’s very handsome exclusive SteelBook release may sway me in favor of a purchase.

It’s safe to say that the latest schlocky “found footage” horror flick, ‘The Devil Inside‘, will merit no consideration from me for either of those options. I realize that these movies cost next-to-nothing to make, and thus are quickly profitable for studios, but haven’t we all had enough of this genre by now?

Almost as horrific is ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting‘, which takes a couple of anecdotes from the popular pregnancy self-help manual and desperately tries to spin them into one of those generic all-star rom-coms in the vein of ‘Valentine’s Day’ or ‘New Year’s Eve’. Fortunately, the audience saw through this one, and the movie flopped. Expect it to turn up in regular rotation on the Lifetime Movies network shortly.

The rest of the week’s new releases are a bunch of independent, foreign and film festival titles. The feel-good Lebanese musical ‘Where Do We Go Now?‘ was a surprise winner at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, but never made any traction in general release. Luke reviewed the quirky coming-of-age tale ‘Goats‘ at Sundance this year and was left unimpressed. That seems to be a common sentiment. Meanwhile, indie “It Girl” Greta Gerwig headlines the offbeat rom-com ‘Lola Versus‘.

The award for strangest movie title of the week is shared by the Sean Bean spy thriller ‘Clearskin‘ (seriously, doesn’t that sound like it should be a Proactiv informercial?) and the low-budget sci-fi mystery ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow‘, in which the son of director George Cosmatos (‘Rambo: First Blood, Part II’) follows his father into the family business.

Iceberg, Right Ahead!

Realizing that it might be perceived as tacky to release a movie about a famous historical tragedy that claimed thousands of lives on today’s date, Fox wisely bumped the Blu-ray edition of James Cameron’s ‘Titanic‘ up to Monday.

The film presents an interesting conundrum. Obviously, it was wildly popular in its day, enough so that it smashed box office records and remained the highest-grossing picture of all time for 12 years, until finally being toppled by Cameron’s own ‘Avatar’. It also won a slew of Oscars, and did quite well when re-released in a new 3D conversion earlier this year. I expect that it will sell briskly on Blu-ray. Yet if you ask people what they think of it, especially home theater nerds, most will tell you that they hate the movie.

Well, I don’t hate ‘Titanic’. Sure, the characters are one-dimensional, the love story is clunky, some of the visual effects are surprisingly shoddy, and that wretched Celine Dion song is an abhorrent stain on the history of music. But if you can set some of that aside, it’s also a grand spectacle and a great example of populist filmmaking at its finest. With that said, after one viewing in theaters and one more on Laserdisc, I haven’t watched the movie in a dozen years and am not in a big hurry to do so again. I’m mildly curious about the 3D conversion, but I’m not fond of Cameron’s decision to alter the aspect ratio to 16:9 (only on the 3D version; the 2D version is fortunately preserved in it is original 2.40:1 ratio).

As a tie-in to this, Disney is rolling out a proper 3D edition of Cameron’s Titanic-themed IMAX documentary ‘Ghosts of the Abyss‘. I was never much impressed by this one, or any of the director’s attempts to play documentarian.

Other Catalog Titles

Disney continues to dump old Miramax titles into the hands of cheapo distributor Echo Bridge, which foists them onto double-feature discs with slipshod quality. This is a real shame, because some of the movies – such as the Sean Penn-directed drama ‘The Crossing Guard‘, Jim Jarmusch’s oddball Western ‘Dead Man‘ and David Twohy’s haunted submarine thriller ‘Below‘ – are genuinely interesting and deserve much better treatment than this.

Boutique label Twilight Time pairs up a couple of Southern melodramas with limited editions of the 1989 hit ‘Steel Magnolias‘ and the 1959 adaptation of William Faulkner’s ‘The Sound and the Fury‘.

MGM offers fans of schlocky horror the trifecta of ‘Jeepers Creepers‘, ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space‘ and ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2‘.

Also this week, a group of Paramount titles that were formerly Best Buy exclusives hit general release. These include ‘Airplane!‘, ‘The Naked Gun‘, ‘The Firm‘, ‘The Ring‘, ‘The Score‘ and ‘Road Trip‘.


On the TV front, we get new box sets for the second season of ‘Spartacus: Vengeance‘, the third season of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘ and the fifth season of ‘The Big Bang Theory‘.

As mentioned, I haven’t made up my mind about ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ yet. I also feel like ‘Titanic’ is the sort of thing I ought to have in my collection, even if I don’t plan to watch it anytime soon. Perhaps I’ll wait for a price drop on the 3D edition of that one (but not the oversized box set, which is too much for me). How about you? What interests you this week?


  1. Drew

    Somehow, ‘Titanic 3D’, ‘Ghosts of the Abyss’, and ‘Lola Versus’ all arrived on Saturday. Shipping mistake I guess.
    ‘Titanic’ is extremely impressive disc, in both 3D and 2D, and that’s putting it very lightly. ‘Ghosts of the Abyss’ is quite pleasing. I haven’t had a chance to check out ‘Lola Versus’ yet.

    I’m going to pick up the Steelbook of ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ from Worst Never Buy today. I pre-ordered it, so it’s almost guaranteed that they won’t have it, and they’ll try to fill my order with the regular copy, and hope that I don’t notice.

  2. Drew

    Sorry, I meant ‘Ghosts of the Abyss – 3D’ in my prior post, anytime I referred to it. I don’t know if a separate 2D version was released or not, but thought I should clarify.

  3. EM

    While I haven’t planned any purchases from this week’s crop, there are a few items on the list that have caught my interest.

    Airplane! on Blu-ray has flown completely under my radar—pardon the pun. I may have to get the Blu.

    I have had high hopes for Beyond the Black Rainbow ever since I first saw the trailer online a few months ago. My hopes are not high enough for a blind purchase, however. I have a ticket for a midnight screening (surely the best way to see a flick of this sort) in late October. It’s occurred to me I could see the movie on video before then, but I’ll wait for the theatrical experience.

    While I’m not enthused for Snow White and the Huntsman, which I didn’t bother to see theatrically, I’m curious enough that I’ll see it…sometime.

    Contrary to the case with Airplane!, I did previously notice the Best Buy exclusive of The Ring on Blu, which is already in my personal library. Now, if only my phone would stop ringing when I try to watch the movie!!

    • EM

      I do wonder about the timing of Airplane!’s release, though…an airline disaster flick in which the cabin crew is disabled and the airplane grazes a skyscraper, crash-lands, and smashes into a building, all on September 11.

  4. Barsoom Bob

    Bought Snow White on a blind buy, partly from word of mouth and partly from the review here.

    Strong Recommendation : Rent first, don’t buy.

    My wife and I watched it and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Gave it to my friend and they couldn’t even get all the way through it.

    It is curious because, it is well made and everyone except Kristen Stewart gives a good performance. It is a handsomely made film, the technical aspect of the dwarfs is pretty amazing, but the film is lifeless, inert, and totally without fun. Stewart is so bad in this movie that there should be a special “Razzie” award for “most clueless expressions while trying to act.”

    • Barsoom Bob

      I have a guy in the city here, who will remain nameless, that breaks the street dates and as soon as they arrive at the distribution warehouse he sells them to his “just can’t wait” customers for a slight premium. Sometimes, I can get them as much as two to three weeks early sometimes.

  5. Drew


    Wow! Color me green!

    That’s nice! Way better than the shipping mistakes I sometimes reap the benefits of.

  6. William Henley

    Just Titanic 3D for me this week. Saw it at the theaters, and the 3D conversion is REALLY good, and brings whole new life to the movie. I would have had it Saturday as well, but had issues with my bank (identity theft). So it should be on my doorstep today when I geet home.

    As for Airplane!, I own the movie on DVD, and I paid the $5 to upgrade it to HD through Walmart / Vudu. Did that for the sequel as well. So no reason for me to buy the Blu-Ray.

  7. Drew

    I got lucky. Worst Never Buy actually had the steelbook for ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’.

    I think I went into a mild state of shock when they got it out and put it on the counter.

    It’s a very regal looking steelbook. I’m very satisfied.

  8. Jon D

    I’ll bet money that all the people wo ‘hate’ Titanic also paid money to see it, possibly more than once. Tweeners alone do not propel a movie to over 800 million in US box office alone (especially at 1997 ticket prices), neither do poor guys dragged in by their girlfriends/wives. It’s just trendy to hate it these days.

    My copy is showing up from Amazon tomorrow. And my neighbors will hear me watching it.

    They will not hear “My Heart Will Go On” though. I like the movie but that song is a real piece of shit no matter how you cut it.