This week’s edition of The Digital Wire Blu-ray Releases is pretty like every week’s edition – a hearty roundup of home video release announcements for titles both vintage and recent. From outer space to the streets of Baltimore, from Miyazaki to Mann, there’s bound to be something of interest to you. So dig in and don’t forget to wear a bib.
Below you’ll find info on several future home video releases complete with technical specs, release dates, and links to pre-order at Amazon, as well as a list of titles coming out this week.
We would greatly appreciate it if you use those links to order because a small percentage of each order helps keep this website running at max power. The cover art for certain titles has yet to be finalized.
A harrowing true life adventure of survival through smarts and teamwork, Ron Howard‘s timeless drama Apollo 13 is being re-released on Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment on June 2, 2015 in time for the film’s 20th anniversary. Outside of a new retrospective documentary the extra features will be similar to those found on previous DVD and Blu-ray editions:
NEW – Apollo 13: Twenty Years Later
Lost Moon: The Triumph of Apollo 13
Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond
Lucky 13: The Astronaut’s Story
U-Control: The Apollo Era
Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard
Feature Commentary with Jim and Marilyn Lovell
Digital HD Digital Copy
If you already own Apollo 13 on Blu-ray this anniversary edition doesn’t appear worthy of a double dip. But since I have yet to add this astonishing classic to my collection this might be a day one purchase.
Speaking of beloved cinematic wonders preparing to celebrate a birthday, Discotek Media will release Hayao Miyazaki‘s debut animated feature The Castle of Cagliostro for the first time on Blu-ray in the U.S. in a lavish 35th Anniversary edition on April 28, 2015. This edition boasts a fine selection of supplements sure to please the film’s devoted fans:
Audio commentary track by Reed Nelson of Lupinthe3rd.com
Three English dubs: the Streamline Pictures dub (Mono) of 1992, the Manga Entertainment dub of 2000 (5.1 Surround), as well as cleaned-up “family-friendly” version of the Manga dub (5.1 Surround)
Interview with Lupin voice actor Bob Bergen (1992 dub)
Interview with Lupin voice actor David B Hayter (2000 dub)
Original Japanese audio (Mono)
Newly translated English subtitles
Every once in a while a movie comes along bearing a synopsis that demands you drop everything you’re doing in that moment and give it a shot. Today that particular piece of celluloid is Play Motel, a deranged slice of obscure Italian exploitation that is coming very soon to Blu-ray from Raro Video. Although it has a release date of March 30, 2015 no Amazon pre-order links exist as of yet, but please just check out this inspired plot breakdown that wastes no time in selling Play Motel as anything resembling high art:
“A milestone production from Mario Gariazzo, notorious for his tasteless sexploitation epics such as The Sexorcist /LOssessa. Assembling here one of the worlds finest trash film collectives and eschewing all correct agendas, the director punctuates his fleshy tapestry with incredibly sleazy imagery involving Marina Hedmann/Frajese and Patrizia Di Rossi/Webley, the sluttiest actresses in Italian cinema. At the garishly lit Play Motel, these two warhorses and other bleached blondes are first seen being secretly photographed while having kinky sex. As the film serves also as a giallo, they are later stabbed to death by an assassin dressed in black. Conveying a sense of mad comedy, this inexhaustible supply of indignities and leopard skin underwear should be sought out at all costs.”
“The Midas touch” by Nocturno Video audio Italian with English subtitles
“Cut scenes” (7 minutes)
Fully illustrated booklet curated by Nocturno Video
Bear in mind, this flick could be a complete piece of crap, but history has shown again and again that even the worse Italian schlock offers some shameless entertainment value. Approach this one with caution.
Though I consider myself a huge admirer of filmmaker Michael Mann I just couldn’t bring myself to check out his latest film Blackhat during its brief theatrical run over the winter. Maybe it’s because nothing about the globe-trotting cyber terrorism thriller revealed in the marketing campaign captured my imagination. I wasn’t alone as the $70 million feature, Mann’s first since 2009’s Public Enemies, was rejected by a majority of the viewing public and became possibly the biggest box office flop of its brilliant but polarizing director’s career. Opening against the likes of American Sniper and Taken 3 certainly didn’t help its cause one bit. Universal Studios Home Entertainment will give Mann’s troubled endeavor a shot at expanding its minuscule fan base at home when Blackhat comes to Blu-ray and DVD on May 12, 2015. It’s look like the studio is dumping this disappointing title onto home video as quickly as possible because the extra features are pretty scant, and that’s being generous:
The Cyber Threat
On Location Around the World
I’ll cop right now to have never watched a single episode of The Wire, the critically-acclaimed ensemble crime drama series and one of the finest programs ever aired on HBO. Maybe when HBO Home Entertainment brings The Wire: The Complete Series to Blu-ray early this summer I’ll get my chance to catch up. Allow this press release to elaborate further on what we can expect from this collection:
The 20-disc box set featuring all 60 episodes of the hit series in a stunningly re-mastered 16×9 full-screen HD format is showcased with newly redesigned box art. The Wire: The Complete Series on Blu-ray with Digital HD ($199.99) is loaded with an exciting slate of bonus materials, including four behind-the-scenes documentaries, three prequels that explore life before The Wire, and an all-new cast and crew Q&A from the Paley Center for Media’s The Wire reunion event. The Wire: The Complete Series on Blu-ray with Digital HD will be in stores June 2, 2015 – just in time for Father’s Day and summer binge watching – and is a must-have for all TV connoisseurs!
Every episode the classic series that ran from 2002-2008 has been remastered in high-definition and reformatted from 4×3 to 16×9 for this set. This decision by HBO was controversial given that the show’s cinematography and composition were designed to utilize the limitations of the 4×3 format, but at least the reformatting was done in consultation with creator David Simon. Simon wrote extensively about the format alteration at his blog and included standard and high-definition video clips for purposes of comparison. You can read the entire story here.
In news that will surprise no one, The Terminator is getting yet another Blu-ray from MGM Home Entertainment on May 5, 2015. No doubt intended to capitalize on this summer’s Terminator: Genisys, this latest edition looks to be a repackaging of the excellent 2012 Blu-ray that featured beautifully remastered video and audio but only a handful of the great extra features from MGM’s 2001 special edition DVD. If you haven’t seen the original before this is the perfect time to add James Cameron‘s sci-fi action masterpiece to your collection. Plus check out that snazzy new cover art.
Out This Week
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: Blu-ray|Blu-ray 3D|DVD
The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy: Blu-ray|Blu-ray 3D|DVD
Into the Woods: Blu-ray|DVD
The Beyond: Blu-ray
Fast & Furious 1-6 Collection: Limited Edition: Blu-ray|DVD
Those are the highlights of this week. Come back same time next week for more of the coolest home video news tidbits on the web.