Welcome to another installment of This Week on Blu-ray, where I tell you what the big releases are and whether they’re worth getting. It’s a glorious week for people who love nostalgia. I’m not the biggest Disney collector in the world, but I do own my fair share of their films. To cut to the point, I won’t be among the many picking up the studio’s second Blu-ray release of Beauty and the Beast. Under the Walt Disney Signature Collection, Disney is celebrating the film’s 25th anniversary with this new release. After doing some research, it seems to be that fans are a little miffed that it will be missing one cut of the film on the Blu-ray. The work-in-progress cut will be available digitally, but Disney purists are not pleased. To offset that, Disney has packed this one with special features, so maybe it’s worth the possible double dip.
And on the other side of the nostalgia train is Sony’s 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of Labyrinth. It seems to be far enough away from the death of music legend David Bowie to reissue the film. It’s safe to say that, for being a quick cash grab, they really put love into this release. Coming with some fancy artwork, the film is being released on regular Blu-ray in DigiBook packaging, and a standard 4K release with or without a sSteelBook that includes the regular Blu-ray and a special anniversary gift set. If for some reason you don’t own it, now’s the perfect time to pick it up.
The three new releases this week are stinkers, to put it as politely as I can. With unremarkable slapdash releases, we get Gary Ross’ Free State of Jones, the sequel that nobody asked for: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Under full disclosure, I have seen none of these films and have no plans to. Neither audience nor critical reception has proven to me that I made a mistake in doing so. But I could be just a tad judgmental.
I’ve gotta say it, Criterion is killing it this week. Let’s start it off with Val Lewton-produced, Jacques Tourneur-directed horror film, Cat People. This 1942 classic has been given the Criterion treatment with a film that, isn’t quite stacked but, is decently put together in terms of special features. Despite the unfortunate new cover, this release comes with a brand new 2K transfer that is sure to impress. Just in time for Halloween, I’m excited to add it to my collection, and if you’re a horror buff, it’s unmissable.
To top it off, we’ve got Joel and Ethan Coen’s debut film, Blood Simple. With this director-approved edition, Criterion and Janus Films have put together a packed edition of the breakthrough film from the distinctive filmmakers. Featuring new interviews with the filmmakers as well as the cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, Blood Simple is sure to get the definitive treatment. I had a chance to see the 4K transfer used for this on the big screen, and it looks stunning. In the audio and visual department, this one is as close to perfection as we can ever get. And the film is pretty damn close to that in quality, too.
That’s it for This Week on Blu-ray. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the Blu-ray of the week is Blood Simple. Any objections? As always, we’ll be here to read your thoughts and opinions. Next week, we’ve got a TON of genre films as well as a candidate for the worst and best movie of the year. I’ll let you take a guess as to what they are. Until next time . . .