Blu-ray Highlights for 9/27/11 – Shirley, You Can’t Be Serious

After three very expensive weeks in a row, the Blu-ray release schedule takes a bit of a breather this week before gearing up for the next barrage in October. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing worth buying, of course. The studios have rolled out a bunch of interesting catalog titles, including some great classic comedies.

Here’s the list:

The late Leslie Nielsen finally gets his due on Blu-ray, as Paramount releases his two most hilarious comedies, ‘Airplane!‘ and ‘The Naked Gun‘. Although not a Nielsen film, the studio also offers up another terrific ’80s comedy with ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles‘. How much any of these movies will actually benefit from high definition remains to be seen, but I’ll take any upgrade I can get. [Note that all three of these discs are apparently Best Buy exclusives.]

If you’re in the mood for something a little more serious, Warner gives us its new 50th Anniversary restoration of ‘Ben-Hur‘ in one of those deluxe box sets that will eat up a ton of shelf space. I believe that Best Buy is getting an exclusive edition in smaller packaging.

Mimic‘ is one of the weaker movies from director Guillermo del Toro, but our reviewer Michael says that the new Director’s Cut is an improvement over the badly-compromised theatrical cut.

Conveniently timed to benefit from promotion for the new remake, the original ‘Footloose‘ is also being released today.

I used to own the 1990s ‘Gamera Trilogy‘ on DVD from ADVision, and all the discs were totally crap quality. The first movie was obviously sourced from a VHS tape. The fact that Mill Creek has crammed two of the films onto one disc doesn’t give me a lot of hope for the Blu-rays either, but anything will be an improvement over what I used to have. The films themselves are good, cheesy fun.

On the TV front, we get HBO’s ‘Bored to Death‘, which is one of my favorites, and the British production ‘The Hour‘. I saw the first episode of that one, and it was pretty intriguing.

Finally, the Criterion Collection unveils ‘Carlos‘, Olivier Assayas’ epic 5 ½ hour biopic about the notorious international terrorist, plus the 1921 Swedish silent film ‘The Phantom Carriage‘. What an odd double-bill those will make.

Which discs are you buying this week?


  1. Donat Torres

    It’s pretty hard to decide which Ben-Hur to get. There are currently 4(four) versions.) Jesus. Ad I hear the Gamera movies actually look great, even if 1 and 2 are on a single disc.

    • Josh Zyber

      Do you know where I can find a breakdown of the different Ben-Hur editions, and which ones are exclusive to which retailers? I understand that one comes with a figurine or something.

      • How about buying it from the UK? They’ve got the 3-disc version without any of the fluff in the box for £16 ($25). That way you don’t even have to support Warner’s practice of giving certain stores exclusive versions of the release.

          • Donat Torres

            Best Buy has two exclusive versions. A four disc combo pack(2 Blu-rays, 2 DVDs)that comes in a slipbox, and an Ultimate Collector’s Edition with a Roman Soldier figurine. Then Wal-mart has a 2-disc movie only edition, with no slipcover or slipbox whatsoever. Finally, there’s the regular Ultimate Collector’s Edition, available everywhere. I ended up picking up Best Buy’s combo pack.

          • Josh Zyber

            Thanks, Donat. Looks like all of these exclusives lose the third disc of extras. That’s a bummer, especially losing the 1925 silent movie. Importing from the UK may be the best option.

          • Donat Torres

            Yeah, though, if anyone still has their 2005 DVDs, the extras are the same as what was on disc 3 and 4 of that set. The only thing missing is the new Charlton Heston documentary. I like those big boxes, anyway, but I couldn’t stomach a purchase of the UCE, considering it’ll be $28 on Amazon sooner than later. Note, though, that the Best Buy exclusive UCE is almost twice as thick as the regular one.

          • I am probably going to wait until the gift set gets marked down on an Amazon deal. I’ve somehow never seen this movie, so I am in no hurry.

            Airplane sounds tempting, but I got it on the DVR in HD. There are some compression artifacts from my provider, but its not really one of those movies that it bothers me that much on. I may pick up Airplane eventually if I find it for under $10 one day.

            What gets me is that Matrix set. I honestly do not see anyone buying the second and third movies together in a set, and not getting the first. I am sure that it will sell about as well as the prequel-only release of Star Wars. In fact, I haven’t seen it (the prequels-only) for sale at a single store.

  2. Jane Morgan

    The only blu-ray that interests me this week is ‘Torso.’

    In particular, the director’s cut. Italian, with subtitles.

    I wish more Hollywood films had a giallo sensibility.

  3. Jason

    I can vouch for the first two Gamera films. They both are wonderful improvements over any previous versions available. I haven’t had a chance to watch the third movie but I’m sure it looks just as good.

    • Donat Torres

      Yeah, the quality for 1 & 2 was pretty impressive considering I was expecting Echo Bridge quality for the price the discs go for now. I’ll definitely get the trilogy box soon.

  4. paramedic0112

    I will be getting Carlos and Ben Hur in the mail today. I preordered them a while back. If anyone is a fan of Che or Mesrine, then Carlos is a must!