Category Archives: High Definition

Latest Blu-Ray and HD News

Brand New Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly Box Set Coming Sept 19

The folks at Fox Home video are releasing brand new box sets for Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Fans who purchase the Buffy set will receive an official “Buffy” Comic-Book With Exclusive Cover and those who get the new Firefly Blu-ray set will get a “Firefly” Poster and Collectible Cards. Sadly there’s still no Buffy Blu-ray box, which is ridiculous considering an HD version of Buffy has been airing in Syndication for the last few years so we know it exists. I just hope they improve the SD quality because the original set had a horrible, nearly unwatchable transfer.

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VIZ Media Announces Home Media Release of Ranma ½ OVA & Movie Collection!

The three Ranma ½ theatrical films and eleven episode-length Original Video Adventures that followed the original gender-bending anime series are being released on home media as part of the Ranma ½ OVA & Movie Collection.

The Blu-ray release will also contain a 32-page booklet, and clean opening and ending credits. The DVD release will only have the clean opening and ending credits.

Ranma ½ OVA & Movie Collection will be in stores on September 19th.

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Transformers: The Last Knight Gets 4K UHD Release! 5-Movie Collection Coming!

Michael Bay’s (allegedly) final entry in the Transformers series, Transformers: The Last Knight will be released in 4K UHD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D™ Combo Pack.

The Transformers movie with the unique Arthurian slant will arrive in all formats on September 26th – with the DigitalHD release date set for September 12th.

A Transformers 5-movie Blu-ray package will also be released on September 26th.

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Blu-ray Review: Shin Godzilla!

Shin Godzilla – which opens in over 400 theaters for an eight-day run beginning Tuesday, October 11th – is the 29th in the franchise’s 32 year history.

Unlike all but the first few films in the franchise, this Godzilla is not campy – Godzilla is not Japan’s champion. Instead, it’s a destructive force of nature that, like the original, echoes the dangers of the atom. This time, though, it’s not atom bombs, but the nuclear disaster at Fukushima – and its subsequent fallout – that are being obliquely referenced.

Like Gojira/Godzilla, the first film in the series, Shin Godzilla opens on a single boat – this time, though, it is deserted. Inside, on a table, are a large envelope and one piece of origami.

Suddenly the boat is rocked by an eruption of water and we cut to an outside shot showing a plume of water arising from a mass of turbulence in the water surrounding the boat. Then we cut to a traffic tunnel suddenly springing a leak and tons of water cascading down on traffic.

Then we move to scenes with government officials trying to figure out what’s going and what to do; a huge gilled creature (with familiar spines down its back but otherwise not at all familiar) moving up a river – then back to the politicians and, finally, a press conference where the speaker goes off script seconds before what he says is proven utterly incorrect.

Before long, the creature changes – instant evolution – a couple of times and now is revealed as the Godzilla we all recognize.

Again, politicians meet and meet and meet, taking forever to decide what to do – even after Godzilla begins to wreak havoc on Tokyo. In between meetings, a young pol named Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa, Attack on Titan) wonders aloud why there must be so many meetings – even to schedule a press conference.

Yaguchi soon finds himself heading up a geek squad to see if they can figure out a way to deal with the giant lizard without having to deal with red tape.

Eventually, pressure from the U.S. brings Kayoco Ann Patterson (Satomi Ishihara, Attack on Titan) into play. She has intel that she shares with Yaguchi – the envelope we saw on the boat earlier – and we learn what the writer had called a potential such creature: Godzilla (though the Japanese characters used say ‘Gojira’).

This serves two purposes – it presents a possible origin for the creature (some sea creature dined on nuclear waste and evolved) and poked a bit of fun at the arguments between fans on whether Godzilla or Gojira is the correct name for the creature (it’s both guys!).

It also suggests that bureaucracy has its limits and sometimes red tape has to be cut.

From there it’s a race – to find a way to stop Godzilla/Gojira before it lays waste to the whole of Tokyo, and before U.S. pressure can convince the U.N. that the nuclear option is the only viable one.

Written and directed by Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion)/co-directed by VFX director Shinji Higuchi (The Floating Castle), Shin Godzilla is a mix of static scenes of bureaucracy in action/inaction; more frantic sequences of Yaguchi’s geek squad (later referred to as the Special Disaster Bureau) actually getting stuff done, and sequences of mass evacuations and armed attempts to take down Godzilla.

Even at its campiest, the Godzilla movies have always been less than reverent about government than most (in one, Japanese crowds exploded into laughter when the Big Guy trampled a building that housed Japan’s equivalent of the IRS, as just one example) and Shin Godzilla is no exception.

It’s not that it pictures Japanese politicians as buffoons, exactly, but more that they are hampered by all the rules and regulations and traditions that hamstring them (though there are one or two buffoons, there are also a few very capable pols here – not the least of which is Yaguchi).

The sequences with Godzilla’s destruction and fleeing Tokyo citizens are more realistic and emotionally impactful than in many of the films since the original – the tone definitely builds audience tension and concern, while the futile attempts of Japans’ Self Defense Forces to stop the monster add to the feeling that every aspect of Japanese life is on the verge of collapse.

In the end, it comes down to a race between the special Disaster Bureau/geek squad and the U.S.-backed decision to nuke Godzilla (and render the city of Tokyo forever unlivable) – and Anno and Higuchi stage these moments well.

Adding to the tension, Patterson refuses to evacuate with the rest of the Americans station in Japan to continue working with Yaguchi because she doesn’t want to see her grandmother’s country suffer a third nuclear bomb.

In a positive twist, Patterson and Yaguchi do not fall in love/hook up – though their political ambitions could certainly see them working together again. Another positive twist is that scientist who first theorizes Godzilla feeds nuclear power is a woman – after being derided, when it turns out she’s right, she is offered an apology!

Shin Godzilla’s biggest flaw is, perhaps, Anno’s overemphasis on the government’s being hamstrung by its own rules, regulations and traditions (and the idea of saving face in front of the international community of the U.N.).

Even with the humor in seeing government officials hurrying from one meeting to set up another to set up another and then heading off to that that meeting, some of those scenes could easily have been trimmed without losing the satirical point he’s making (again, guys, Fukushima!). Even some of the scenes with the geek squad could have been shorter.

The bits concerning the pushy Americans, unlike the rest of the political stuff, are not pushed too hard – just enough to make a point for the purpose of the story.

This Godzilla has a few surprises in regard to the Big Guy, too, that require some thinking outside the box to stop him – and the effects work is superb for the most part (the early iteration of the big lizard is a bit wonky, but that could be a subtle call back to some of the franchise’s less expensive effects work – if not an actual homage).

As it is, Shin Godzilla is still a heartbeat under two hours, so it’s not like it badly overstays its welcome. It’s not quite as good as the first film (an absolute masterwork) or as much pure fun as some of the ‘60s and ‘70s efforts, but it is very entertaining and well worth seeing.

The Blu-ray’s only bonus feature (trailers are not a bonus feature!) is Godzilla vs. Nerds – Interview, a weird  – but curiously informative discussion of the movie by three Funimation employees/Godzilla fans and the guy who draws the Godzilla comics for IDW.

Grade: Shin Godzilla – B+

Grade: Features – B

Final Grade: B+

VIZ Media Releases Limited Blu-ray Edition of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Season 1!

VIZ Media has announced the release of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Season 1 in a Limited Edition Blu-ray set.

The series follows the exploits of surrogate brothers Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando, who discover a mysterious stone mask. The mask is an artifact of an ancient Central American culture and is capable of granting its wearer eternal life, but only at a heavy price.

The set’s 26 episodes include the complete Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency story arcs.

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Bring the Beach Home In August – Baywatch Comes To Home Video with Extended Version!

The misadventures of the Baywatch team – from grounded leader Mitch to hot dogging Matt; from sympathetic nerd Ronnie to Rommie’s dreamgirl CJ – as they tackle the ‘not quite Bond’ villain Victoria are little short of genius-level silliness (with a dash of drama to keep things from drifting away).

Baywatch is coming to home video on August 15th (digital) and August 29th (Blu-ray and DVD). The Blu-ray and 4K UHD releases include an extended version of the film.

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Ghost in the Shell: Still Stunning On the Blu-ray!

Scarlett Johansson plays The Major in Ghost in the Shell from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures – now available on home video, including 4K UHD.

Ghost in the Shell is based on a Japanese manga by Masamune Shirow and a classic anime by Mamoru Oshii – both of which deal with the questions of what constitutes identity and whether humanity remains when the line between human and machine disappears.

Rupert Sanders’ live-action Ghost in the Shell touches on these ideas more I expected it would and is a cracking good science fiction-action movie as well.

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VIZ Media Releases K Return of Kings On Home Media!

‘The gripping saga of an ordinary teenager that becomes embroiled in a deadly ongoing conflict between several clans continues in the exciting second season of K.’

VIZ Media’s K Return of Kings will be available as a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack and Standard DVD Edition. Bonus features exclusive to the Blu-ray edition include clean opening and closing segments and a special Episode 13 Director’s Cut and a set of 13 full-color character art cards. 

K Return of Kings will be in stores on July 18th.

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GKIDS Acquires Home Entertainment Rights to Studio Ghibli Catalog!

GKIDS has acquired the home entertainment rights for the Studio Ghibli catalog – including such classic titles as Princess Mononke and Spirited Away.

The distributor will reissue the Studio Ghibli titles beginning with eight titles in October: Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away followed by Castle in the Sky and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

All eight titles will be in stores on October 31st.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Gets a 4K Release!

At Disney’s D23 Expo, Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer announced that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is also coming to glorious 4K UHD Blu-ray on October 3rd. In addition to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, this marks Disney’s 2nd 4k UHD Release, hopefully this is a sign that Disney is now fully aboard the 4K Bandwagon. My question and hope remains that this means Disney’s Movies Anywhere will also now stream in 4K UHD.

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FINALLY! Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 to be first 4K UHD Release from Marvel/Disney

The day has finally come when Marvel and Disney finally jump on the 4K UHD Blu-ray bandwagon! Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 will be Disney’s first official 4k UHD Blu-ray release. Sure you can purchase the Iron-Man Trilogy from some German distributor but some how I doubt that’s an official release, so I’m not going to count that. Guardians, coming out August 2nd, will be Marvel’s first official title. This is where I subtlety remind the Disney person that reads this article, that I own a really nice LG OLED 4K TV and a nice Samsung UHD player. Hint.

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