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July Blu-ray Releases

July 18, 2013

July is here and with the heat comes lots of films making their high-definition video debut via the Blu-ray format. July, as usual, is a busy month so let’s go on and get to it. Here is a look at what’s coming this month. Hopefully you’ll find something to your liking, so much so that I can’t imagine anyone coming away disappointed. On we go…

Per my usual policy we’ll get things rolling with some of the recent theatrical films making their video debut. These include the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42 (***); the recent Sylvester Stallone vehicle, Bullet to the Head (**); Tyler Perry’s latest entry, Temptation (* 1/2); controversial filmmaker Harmony (Kids) Corine’s latest, Spring Breakers (**); the latest adaptation of a Stephanie Meyer (Twilight) novel, The Host (not reviewed); the remake of The Evil Dead (**), the action flick, Dead Man Down (not reviewed) and G.I. Joe: Retaliation (**).

Shout Factory and its subsidiary label, Scream Factory, continue to amaze with the list of impressive classic and cult films they choose to license and release.

Steve Martin in The Jerk, demonstrating Opti Grab glasses

July’s offerings from them include the Mel Brooks’ directing debut The Producers(***); the first project—a sketch film—to come from the ZAZ writing team (Airplane, Naked Gun), The Kentucky Fried Movie (***); director Joe Dante’s 1981 horror classic The Howling (***); the cult animated film from 1973, Heavy Traffic (***); The Incredible Melting Man (** ½), a 1977 horror opus featuring special makeup effects by Rick Baker, and a special edition of John Carpenter’s The Fog (***), which features a brand new transfer supervised by the film’s cinematographer Dean Cundey (Back to the Future, Halloween). How’s that for a lineup?

And while we’re on the subject of cult films, George A. Romero’s 1981 tale of a band of traveling motorcyclists performing stunt shows across the country, Knightriders (***) will also be issued, though not by Scream or Shout Factory.

Fans of fifties and sixties cinema will no doubt be pleased by some of the offerings turning up during the month. These include releases—both from Fox Home Video—of the Marilyn Monroe film Bus Stop (** ½) and Elvis Presley’s first foray into acting, Love Me Tender (** ½).

Tommy Lee Jones & Will Smith in MIB

Other films from those two decades that are planned for release include the limited edition pressing of Love is a Many Splendored Thing (** ½) (a Twilight Time release); God’s Little Acre (not reviewed); a Criterion special edition of the 1963 version of Lord of the Flies (***); the classic 1963 mystery-romance Charade (***); the 1961 Geraldine Page starrer Summer and Smoke (***) and the 1970 film, WUSA (not reviewed), which was released in 1970 but, it would appear, bears all the marks of a product from the late 1960s.

Universal will be in the comedy business during the month. In July, the company will be issuing the 1997 Jim Carrey comedy Liar Liar (***) and Steve Martin’s film debut The Jerk (***), in brand new Blu-ray editions. Another comedy-drama getting a release that’s worth mentioning is the 1986 film Peggy Sue Got Married (***).

Criterion continues its trend of releasing critically acclaimed product in sparkling new editions. In July the company will be issuing both director Ang Lee’s 1997 film The Ice Storm (***) and the 1987 foreign favorite, Babette’s Feast (not reviewed).

Finally, Sony is making it their policy to issue catalogue titles from their library in the new 4K resolution process, which is said to be even better than Blu-ray. Their offerings in July include the 1998 version of Godzilla, Men in Black, Moneyball, Spider Man 2 and Pineapple Express.

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