Blu-ray Today Says Hooray for the Mockingjay on Friday


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (available Friday) – I’ve seen Mockingjay Part 1 three times now, and I think it’s my favorite of the Hunger Games movies. It’s the least like Battle Royale, it’s the darkest in subject matter, and even without context, it’s a solid indictment of a political system that depends upon propaganda and media-savvy to win a war and a nation. I’m sure the inevitable series ending will be happy and triumphant, but I really hope there are still some off-notes about trading one kind of ruthless phoniness in for a newer, “better” kind.

The disc includes a commentary by director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson, most of which focuses on what changes they made to the book and why. There’s also a making-of documentary, a tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lorde’s theme-song video and a making of for that too (though the producers backed the wrong horse on that tune, as it turned out Jennifer Lawrence singing “Hanging Tree” is what people remember), deleted scenes, and an extended trailer for the Divergent sequel that actually gives some indication of a plot.

I know we’ll never see it onscreen, but a “Divergent Games” comic book in which Katniss battles Tris would probably be successful. Unless Tris won, and then it would be bullshit.

Blacula/Scream Blacula Scream – It’s like Dracula…except he’s black. See how that works? Don’t try that in real life, though, substituting the word “black” into black peoples’ names. They don’t like it.

Outlander Season 1, Volume 1 – A 1940s combat nurse goes back in time to 1700s Scotland, where she falls for a highlander and finds herself at odds with her ’40s-era husband’s evil ancestor. I hear good things, but in line with another famous Scottish franchise, I really do feel that when it comes to season sets on disc, “there should be only one” per year. That said, the franchise I’m thinking of totally ignored the rule as well.

Space Dandy Season 1 – All y’all seem to like this, and I deduce based on your conversations that it’s totally insane. Now’s the time you can own it.

Da Vinci’s Demons Season 2 – David Goyer’s rather stupid comments about Martian Manhunter and She-Hulk have made him something of a persona non grata in the superhero world, but when it comes to Leonardo Da Vinci, ignoring literal history and making him into a comic-bookish character seems to have worked out quite well. Da Vinci’s flying machine was, after all, the inspiration for Batman, so this is technically Batman Begins Begins. Keeping him in his wheelhouse works.

Unbreakable Machine Doll – There’s this mechanical doll, see, and she can’t break…aww, you got me, I’ve never seen or even heard of this anime, but I’m listing it here anyway just to get traffic from steampunk fans searching for this kind of stuff. Here’s what Amazon says: “Raishin Akabane and his beautiful companion Yaya enroll at Walpurgis Royal Academy to study Machinart: a dangerous blend of magic and technology. Raishin is a puppeteer capable of using magic to power up Yaya, his automaton, for ruthless battles no mere human could survive. In the wrong hands, Yaya is a deadly weapon, but the honorable Raishin, despite his mysterious quest for vengeance, takes no pleasure in killing for sport. Instead, he joins forces with a harem of gorgeous classmates to unmask those responsible for a rash of heinous human experimentation. If new enemies and terrible grades don’t spell doom for Raishin, he and Yaya might live long enough to conquer the school where magic meets machine.”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: 10th Anniversary Edition – Jeebus, way to make me feel old. Ghostbusters being 30 doesn’t do it, but the idea that there are teenagers today nostalgic for this…anyway. Kind of a rip-off here, really, as the only thing new is a bigger booklet with an intro by Tim Burton – the disc is the same as previous releases. As for the movie itself, I love that it’s somewhat more faithful to the book, and hate that Johnny Depp gets Willy Wonka completely wrong. I’m also still gobsmacked they didn’t try to follow it with a sequel, considering there’s been one lying around in book form for years, and it has aliens and stuff.

Exterminators of the Year 3000 – I’d ask how exactly you exterminate a year, but it would be beside the point in this low-budget Italian Road Warrior rip-off primarily known – to the extent that it is – for gory death scenes.

The Humbling – No, this is not the Iron Sheik documentary. Just Al Pacino acting his age. It isn’t very good.

Anything I missed that you’ll be picking up?