This Week on Blu-ray and DVD - December 11, 2012

THAT'S what I think of people who lure poor unsuspecting kids like me to the theaters by using the word "babes," when when it should have been "babies." Man, the looks I got!

James Plath's picture
James
Plath

Disney has made no announcement yet and Amazon doesn’t even list it, but the latest round of Disney Blu-rays features a teaser for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” on Blu-ray, so it can’t be long before it hits the shelves. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that title came out in high definition before Harry Reid and the U.S. Senate get approval to eat popcorn in the Capitol Visitor’s Center. According to ABC News, Reid wants to host a special screening of “Lincoln” for senators and their spouses, and there’s a long-standing rule that prohibits food or drink in the facility. He has to make a formal appeal to the Senate Rules Committee for a one-time waiver. Good luck striking a deal in Washington for even something even as insignificant as that.

That was my first thought. My second was, we keep hearing about a fiscal cliff, and lawmakers are worried about popcorn? No wonder they can’t accomplish anything. Reid has until December 19 to get permission—if, that is, no one tries to attach a rider to his request which would also allow either M&Ms or Jujubes, and there’s no concensus.

Critics agreed that Seth MacFarlane (“American Dad!”) successfully made the transition from TV to an R-rated big-screen feature with “Ted,” a wish fulfillment story about a boy-man (Mark Wahlberg) and his teddy bear, who just happened to grow up every bit as foul-mouthed and sex-obsessed (trailer). Mila Kunis also stars in this comedy-fantasy, which Movie Met’s William Lee says offers “a unique take on the buddy comedy.” It’s one of this week’s big titles, available on Blu-ray combo and DVD this week. 

From a CGI Teddy to all-CG animation it’s a short leap technically but a few epochs away to “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” which audiences seemed to think was one of the best in the series. This fourth installment (fifth, if you’re counting “Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas”) is the most far-fetched. Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo) end up on an iceberg that drifts so far away they’re captured by pirates (actually, more like mutants). Now THAT’S time travel. It’s out on 3D combo pack, no-frills Blu-ray and DVD (trailer).

The other high-profile release this week also travels back in time: “The Bourne Legacy,” starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz (who seems to turn up in a lot of cloak-and-dagger affairs) and Edward Norton. This Black Ops action-adventure is set around the same time as “The Bourne Ultimatum” but deals with the fallout after a journalist writes about Operation Treadstone and Operation Black Briar (trailer). You can get it on DVD or Blu-ray combo (review).

Meanwhile, a writer looking for inspiration ends up tailing a criminal in “Following,” a 16mm black-and-white crime drama thriller that Christopher Nolan made before he became famous (review). Criterion is releasing it on both Blu-ray and DVD this week (trailer).

After that, it’s whatever floats your boat. Ben Stiller fans may get a kick out of seeing him buff (not in the buff, but ripped) as a fitness freak who tortures kids at a fat camp in the Disney live-action comedy “Heavy Weights.” Also from Disney is the Touchstone crime-comedy “Dick Tracy,” starring Warren Beatty as the comic-book crime fighter and featuring Madonna and her songs (trailer). Director Beatty and his art designers really give this one a comic-book look. In fact, Richard Sylbert and Rick Simpson won an Oscar for their work, and it finally comes to Blu-ray (review).

If you’re into history there’s “Mankind: The Story of All of Us,” the HISTORY channel mini-series that tells the story of humankind from the very beginning until now, focusing on forces of nature to show how humans’ path on earth has been shaped by science. It’s out on Blu-ray or DVD this week.

If you shop in the high-brow aisle, you might take note that “The Qatsi Trilogy” (“Koyaanisqatsi,” “Powaqqatsi,” and the lesser-known “Naqoyqatsi”) is available as a high-def set this week, and all of the Kino Classics Blu-rays of the "Buster Keaton Collection" that they’ve produced are out this week as a 14-disc set. Readers can take delight in the fact that Wayne Wang's film adaptation of Amy Tan’s popular novel, “The Joy Luck Club,” comes to  Blu-ray for the first time this week.

Finally, in case I’m not the only one who had a crush on Disney’s first teen heartthrob, you can see Annette Funicello (and former teen idol Tommy Sands, whose career tanked after he divorced Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy . . . big surprise) in the nursery rhyme fantasy, “Babes in Toyland.” Ed Wynn also stars as The Toymaker and Ray Bolger (“The Wizard of Oz”) as the villain. In 1961, ‘tweens and teens flocked to the theaters because it starred then 19-year-old Annette, and I'm sure they assumed that “Babes in Toyland” was a little more babe-ish. But this one is really for the little kids, as it’s about Mary Mary Quite Contrary and Tom Tom the Piper’s Son trying to marry and the villain trying to steal her sheep (uh, wasn’t that a different Mary?). Characters like Simple Simon, Jack-Be-Nimble, Wee Willie Winkie, Jack and Jill, and Mother Goose also appear (clip).

I still remember the sheepish look that all the older guys in the theater had on their faces.

Here are select new releases for the week of December 11, 2012:

BLU-RAY

  • Babes in Toyland (1961 Disney live-action fantasy)
  • Baron Blood (Kino Classics’ Remastered Ed.) (1972 horror)
  • Bourne Legacy, The (+ DVD + Digital Copy + UV) (2012 action-intrigue)
  • Buster Keaton Collection (Kino, 14-disc set)
  • Collision Earth (2011 TV movie)
  • Death Valley (1982 crime-horror)
  • Dick Tracy (+ Digital Copy) (1990 live-action comic)
  • Doomsday Book (2012 fantasy-dramedy)
  • Following (Criterion) (1998 crime drama)
  • Futurama: Vol. 7
  • Girls: Season 1 (+ DVD + Digital Copy)
  • Heavy Weights (1995 Disney family comedy)
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012 animation)
  • Island, The (+ DVD) (1980 horror-thriller)
  • Joy Luck Club, The (1993 drama)
  • Kill ‘em All (2012 action)
  • Les Miserables (1998 Liam Neeson crime drama)
  • Level E: Complete Series (anime)
  • Mankind: The Story of All of Us (HISTORY channel series)
  • Miami Connection (1987 crime-action)
  • Osombie (2012 action-horror)
  • Portrait of a Lady, The (Special Ed.) (1996 drama-romance)
  • Qatsi Trilogy, The (Criterion) (Koyaanisqatsi / Powaqqatsi / Naqoyqatsi)
  • San Francisco Giants: 2012 World Series (Collector’s Edition)
  • Ted (+ DVD + Digital Copy + UV) (2012 comedy-fantasy)
  • Why Stop Now (2012 comedy)
  • Wild Geese, The (1978 war action)
  • WWE Raw 100: The Top Moments in Raw History

3D

  • Ice Age: Continental Drift (+ Blu-ray + DVD+ Digital Copy) (2012 animation)

RECENT RELEASES

  • Bourne Legacy, The (2012 action-intrigue)
  • San Francisco Giants: 2012 World Series (Collector’s Edition)
  • Ted (2012 comedy-fantasy)
  • WWE Raw 100: The Top Moments in Raw History

FAMILY/CHILDREN

  • Berenstain Bears, The: Playdates
  • Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu – Rise of the Green Ninja
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey & Donald Have a Farm
  • Thomas & Friends: Sticky Situations

TV-ON-DVD

  • Bordertown: Complete Series
  • 41 (HBO George H.W. Bush documentary)
  • Frontline: Dropout Nation
  • Futurama: Vol. 7
  • Girls: Season 1
  • Gunsmoke: Season 7, Vol. 1
  • Hazel: Season 4
  • History Detectives: Season 10
  • In Search of: Complete Series
  • Is This a Zombie? Season 1 (Ltd. Ed.)
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent – Season 9
  • Mankind: The Story of Us All (HISTORY)
  • Nova ScienceNow: Can I Eat That?
  • Omnibus: Mr. Lincoln and the Civil War (1952 mini-series)
  • Survivor: Cook Islands – Complete Season

SMALL STUDIO/INDIE/FOREIGN

  • Backwards (2012 romance)
  • Beloved (2011 musican drama-romance)
  • Black Like Me (1964 drama)
  • British Cinema Collection 2: The Inheritance / Love among the Ruins / Anna Karenina / St. Ives
  • Circle Jerks: My Career as a Jerk (2012 music documentary)
  • Django! Double Feature: A Man Called Django! / Sartana’s Showdown in the West
  • Django! Double Feature: Django Kills Silently / Django’s Cut Price Corpses
  • Falls, The (2011 gay-themed)
  • Following (Criterion) (1998 crime drama)
  • Gayby (2012 dramedy)
  • Insane Clown Posse & Twiztid’s American Psycho Tour Documentary
  • Kill ‘em All (2012 action)
  • Man Vanishes, A (1967 documentary)
  • Men Next Door, The (2012 gay-themed)
  • Miami Connection (1987 crime-action)
  • Osombie (2012 action-horror)
  • Portrait of a Lady, The (Special Ed.) (1996 drama-romance)
  • Qatsi Trilogy, The (Criterion) (Koyaanisqatsi / Powaqqatsi / Naqoyqatsi)
  • Story of Film, The: An Odyssey (2011 documentary)
  • Toxic Avenger, The (Japanese Cut) (1984 action-comedy-horror)
  • Trade of Innocents (2012 drama-thriller)
  • Why Stop Now (2012 comedy)

ANIME/MANGA

  • Bleach: Uncut Set 15
  • Ultra Seven: Complete Series