Blu-ray Today: Wes Craven, Batmans and Anticlimactic Fantasy Books


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Big week for Blu ray this week, but I think the biggest release has got to be the Beeb’s adaptation of Susana Clarke’s almost-universally loved fantasy story about the return of magicks to England. I say almost universally because I HAAAAAAAAAAAATED the book.

Jim’s Nerd Heresy #428: If the climax happens off-screen, you can be sure that I will complain about the book. Don’t even get me started on The Magicians, Lev Grossman’s “what if Harry Potter were actually a smarmy douchenozzle and also Ron in the context of the story” piece of crap where not-Harry actually swoons like Dante at the end of the first book. Anyway, from what I remember, the same thing pretty much happened in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which explains my trepidation at checking out the TV show. The book was really good right up until it just out of nowhere finished. But a lot of folks really enjoyed it, and it’s about half the commitment of the book, and even though it’s impossible to find out what the special features are on the Blu ray, it’s 2 discs and only $20, so you’re not going out on too thin a limb picking this up.

Person of Interest Season 4: I’ve had people whose taste I find generally impeccable tell me Person of Interest had Snowden and the NSA surveillance state nailed two years before everything came out and call it “the best Batman show on TV.” Unfortunately, as I’m under 50, the parental controls on my cable box won’t let me watch CBS. This set has four discs and includes commentary from Michael Emerson, two featurettes, last year’s SDCC panel about the show, digital comics based on the show and a gag reel.

The Serpent and the Rainbow: Now THIS is a book I liked, even though it was basically a medical journal article and the movie was only loosely based on it. It still scared the shit out of me. The movie is Wes Craven at the peak of his powers, and Bill Pullman is great in it. No big features on this, just a high definition transfer of a classic.

People Under the Stairs: OH MY GOD WHO ELSE IS CRAZY HYPED UP FOR STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON? I’m lining up for an early showing on Friday, and I hope to GOD nobody gets pissed when I Rocky Horror the whole :checks Amazon page: oh. I guess this is actually about greed-is-good slashers in gimp suits killing teenagers. Not the hip hop group from LA. Sigh.

This set has a bunch of behind the scenes features; commentary with Craven and most of the cast; interviews with Wendy Robie, the make up team and the director of photography; and trailers and tv spots.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch: PSA: DO NOT BUY. Even if you’re a huge fan of the one without Michael Myers, this is a one disc edition of a movie that had a waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better, more comprehensive collector’s edition put out recently. This is just the movie with nothing else.

A whole mess of DCAU DTV movies: Nothing really groundbreaking here, but a bunch of the DC direct-to-video adaptations of comic stories are being rereleased in multi-format sets (DVD, Blu ray and digital) along with digital copies of the comics they’re based on. So Batman: Year One comes with the original material, while Wonder Woman comes with the classic George Perez run. Also out now is Justice League: War; Batman: Gotham Knight (with the Batman: Black & White graphic novel); Superman: Doomsday; and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Except for the two Justice League movies, I liked them all.

Police Story: Lockdown: Jackie Chan should be named a UN Cultural Heritage Site. Lockdown is the 2013 feature that lets Jackie play it almost completely straight and kick the shit out of an entire nightclub. The Blu ray comes with English subs and dubs, behind the scenes features and a trailer.