Welcome to Home Again, where each and every Tuesday I’ll be running down some of the best genre releases coming to home media.
All info is from the excellent Blu-ray.com. This isn’t every genre release, just the ones I find interesting. For the full list, follow that link.
Batman/Batman Returns/Batman Forever/Batman & Robin 4K (1989-1997) – Warner Bros. – Believe it or not, Tim Burton’s Michael Keaton-led Batman came out thirty years ago this month.
WB is celebrating the event by releasing it and the three films that followed in 4K with exceedingly ugly cover art. It’s like someone looked at the lousy images that Netflix uses for a lot of movies and thought, “Hey – let’s do that, but with less colors!”
For some reason each film is a separate release, with no collected box set. At least, not until Best Buy gets their Steelbook four film set in September. And those have slightly nicer cover art.
Whatever you think of the quality of each movie, these are visually stunning films that deserve the 4K treatment. I’m especially excited to see the insane vibrancy of Batman & Robin in ultra hi-def.
Toy Story/Toy Story 2/Toy Story 3 4K (1995-2010) – Disney/Buena Vista – I don’t love the third movie as much as the first two thanks to some tonal issues, but these are still some of the best animated films of all time. Like the Batman movies these are seeing individual releases rather than a box set, though I’m sure once Toy Story 4 gets a home release (probably this Christmas) there will be a set similar to the excellent Blu-ray collection we have at home.
Or they’ll just go straight to Disney+, never to be seen at retail again. Who knows?
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) – Universal Studios – I fear that this incredible franchise is now nothing more than a blip on the pop culture map.
The Wallace & Gromit shorts are some of the finest comedy around, with The Wrong Trousers being one of the funniest things I have ever seen in any medium. This feature film seemed ready to be too much of a good thing, but instead was a carefully crafted masterpiece that had all of the humor and heart of the original shorts, just expanded into a very competently told narrative. If you haven’t seen this, you owe it to yourself to give it a chance. It’s not just a movie for kids. The Claymation is dazzling and the humor is brilliant.
The Man Who Laughs (1928) – Flicker Alley – This is the film that famously inspired the creation of DC Comics’ Joker. Or more accurately, the character Gwynplaine’s appearance inspired the look of the Clown Prince of Crime.
I’ve never seen The Man Who Laughs, but I certainly want to.
The Andromeda Strain (1971) – Arrow – This is the landmark first film based on one of Michael Crichton’s novels; the first published under his name.
I watched this a number of times on weekend movie shows when I was a kid – probably on TBS or USA. It has the distinct weird flavor that so many 70s movies have. I probably haven’t watched it since then and would definitely be interested in a Crichton marathon.
The New Scooby-Doo Movies: The (Almost) Complete Collection (1972-1973) – Warner Bros. – Featuring guest stars such as the Three Stooges, Don Knotts, Sandy Duncan, the Harlem Globetrotters, and even Batman and Robin, this is my favorite version of Scooby-Doo and the episodes I remember most clearly from my youth.
Each story was produced for an hour timeslot and includes notable pop culture icons of the era. Typically they join up with the Scooby gang and are active participants in the story rather than simply introducing plotlines and vanishing for most of the episode.
Rights issue that previously prevented the inclusion of episodes featuring Batman & Robin, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Three Stooges, and Laurel & Hardy have been cleared up to allow their inclusion on this set. Unfortunately the “(Almost)” in the title refers to the absence of “Wednesday is Missing”, an episode guest-starring The Addams Family and one of my favorites of the series.
Still, this is a great set of an awesome show and I can’t wait to sit down with these classics.
Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019) – Warner Bros. – Sometimes dreams do come true.
Batman was released in 1989 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released in 1990. These were hugely formative movies for me. At the time I was deep into Playmates’ TMNT toy line, but there wasn’t a scale-appropriate Batman figure, so I made one out of a C.O.P.S figure.
The Batman/TMNT comic book series by Freddie Williams III have been excellent and what I’ve seen of this animated feature promises to be just as good. I don’t really do a Pick of the Week thing, but this is my Pick of the Week.
The Last Warning (1928) – Flicker Alley – Another film from the director of The Man Who Laughs – it’s probably smart of Flicker Alley to go ahead and get mileage out of the notoriety of that release during the anniversary of the Summer of the Bat.
The story follows the production of a play five years after an actor was murdered during a performance. The producer has reopened the theater where it happened and is mounting a new production with the same cast.
I assume this is the 2016 restoration of the film, but I can’t seem to get to Flicker Alley’s website to find out.
Trapped Alive (1988) – Arrow – Man, Arrow manages to dig up so many 80s flicks that I don’t know how I haven’t seen or heard of:
A sheriff’s deputy, some escaped prisoners and two young girls find themselves trapped in a mine shaft where a cannibalistic mutant is hunting them for food.
That sounds awesome!
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) – Screen Media – I have to admit that after thirty-ish years of troubled production, my enthusiasm for this movie has been somewhat dulled. I know our pal Arian managed to see it in the theater during its micro-run, but given that he hasn’t said a word about it I’m assuming the movie is less than incredible. I’ll still check it out at some point, but it’s not a must-own.
Lost in Space: Season One (2018) – 20th Century Fox – I thought that this Netflix Original was awesome. It wasn’t what I expected at all and I think that’s part of what made it so enjoyable. The cast is fantastic, the story is a successful update of the original, and the visuals are top-notch for the small screen. I know some folks had issues with the characters, but I was engaged by everyone. I can’t wait for season two.
Excess Baggage (1997) – Mill Creek – Mill Creek’s retro VHS slipcovers return with a forgotten late-90s Alicia Silverstone flick! But that’s not all, joining the 90s darling are Christopher Walken, Jack Thompson, Harry Connick, Jr., Nicholas Turturro, and Benicio del Toro(!)!
I know I saw this back then because I watched every trash teen flick that came out in the 90s, but I sure don’t remember it and I was surprised to see del Toro listed in the credits. For nine bucks I’ll revisit this one.
The Venture Bros. Season 7 (2018) – Warner Bros. – I’ll often cite Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Game of Thrones as the greatest TV shows of all time, but that’s because I’m usually thinking of live action shows and unfairly neglecting The Venture Bros., which is actually the greatest TV show of all time.
The home releases always include plenty of bonus features, so this is an instant buy for me.
Double Team (1997) – Mill Creek – Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman team up for crazy 90s action!
Jury Duty (1995) – Mill Creek – Mill Creek is knocking it out of the park this week! Until we get the Pauly Shore Legacy 4K mega-set, this retro VHS slipcover release of the classic Jury Duty – co-starring Tia Carrere, Stanley Tucci, Brian Doyle-Murray, Shelley Winters, and Abe Vigoda – will have to do.
Opportunity Knocks (1990) – Mill Creek – Okay, I’m legit excited for this release. I don’t know if people even remember it, but this Dana Carvey comedy is one that I quoted like crazy for years. Plus it features a performance from the powerful Robert Loggia! I’ve owned it on VHS and DVD and will absolutely be buying this Blu-ray.
We all know that your major life decisions aren’t made in the boardroom, they’re made in the bathroom.
The Matrix Trilogy 4K (1999-2003) Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook – Warner Bros. – I dig the heck out of all three of these movies and anyone who doesn’t can bite my butt. I don’t know what people expected from the sequels, but to me they delivered in weird and unexpected ways. I can’t wait to watch these insane-o stylized action-fests in glorious 4K.
Mindwarp/Brainscan Double Feature (1992/1994) – Mill Creek – Two bonkers flicks for less than the price of one! Both of these movies were bizarre footnotes of the early 90s and mainstays of the video store. Boasting performances from Bruce Campbell, Frank Langella, and Angus Scrimm, both movies are worth your time and definitely worth the $12 price tag.
Other Titles Worth Noting
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, The Natural 4K, A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season One, The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Children of the Corn (1984) Steelbook
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