Buy Me, Rent Me, Forget Me: Three New Studio Ghibli Blu-rays, ‘The Woman

Notable New Releases

The Secret World of Arrietty (Disney)
Release Date: Feb 17, 2012
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Cast: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett,David Henrie. Full cast + crew

Verdict: Buy Me
Available On: Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
Special Features: Original Japanese Storyboards, two music videos, a behind-the-scenes about the making of the music video, trailers
Additional Thoughts: Whether directed by Hayao Miyazaki or not, every Studio Ghibli film is a treasure and The Secret World of Arrietty is no different. Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s film is a wondrous, deeply cinematic film about a sickly boy and his relationship with Arrietty, a tiny person who lives with her family underneath his grandmother’s house. It may not have the wild fantasy elements you can find in Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke, but Arrietty dreams just as big– only instead of crazy creatures, it approaches our mundane, everyday world from the point of view of a girl barely bigger than a sewing pin. The result is not only a touching story, but a visual treat. Do not miss this.


The Woman in Black (CBS Films)
Release Date: Feb 03, 2012
Director: James Watkins
Cast:Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Shaun Dooley, David Burke. Full cast + crew

Verdict: Rent Me
Available On: Blu-ray, DVD
Special Features: Audio Commentary with James Watkins and screenwriter Jane Goldman, Inside the Perfect Thriller (10 minutes), No Fear: Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps (4 minutes)
Additional Thoughts: Normally when a PG-13 horror movie comes out and ends up being any decent, people add the qualifier “It’s good, for a PG-13 horror movie, at least.” In the case of The Woman in Black, the qualifier isn’t necessary; It’s just a solid horror movie regardless of the rating. It’s creepy, it’s morose, and Daniel Radcliffe capably handles it all without ever calling Harry Potter to mind. Snooty horror aficionados might turn their noses up at the number of ‘jump scares’ here, but for the most part they’re earned and fit the story. The latter, while good and with more emotional resonance than one expects from PG-13 horror, doesn’t have a ton of replay value, which holds this back from being the kind of great horror movie you’ll dust off often, but it’s certainly worth a rent.


Other New Releases

Notable Catalog Releases

The Lethal Weapon Collection (Warner Bros.)
Verdict: Buy Me
Available On: Blu-ray
Special Features: Commentary by Richard Donner on all four films, additional scenes and trailers for each, plus a new disc featuring new retrospective featurettes “I’m Too Old For This Sh*t: Lethal Weapon and the Hollywood Monster It Created”

Additional Thoughts: The first two Lethal Weapon films are already available on Blu-ray, this new Collection brings all four of them to BD for the first time. Aside from the odd cover art, which looks like a Mission: Impossible box set at a quick glance, it’s a rather nice set with some pretty hefty special features. Each film is given its own disc with their own worthy HD upgrades. There’s also a fifth disc here that has four new (and exclusive to this release) featurettes that take a look at the series and its lasting impacting on Hollywood action movies. A must own for fans of this classic series.

Whisper of the Heart and Castle in the Sky

Verdict: Buy Me
Available On: Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
Special Features: On Castle in the Sky: Behind the Studio, a look at character sketches, the creation of the score, meeting Miyazaki and more. On Whisper of the Heart: Original storyboards, Behind the Microphone with Brittany Snow, Courtney Thorne-Smith, David Gallagher and Cary Elwes
Additional Thoughts: These are two of the lesser talked about titles in Studio Ghibli’s stable, but they shouldn’t be. Whisper of the Heart, in particular, a love story that sparks when a young girl discovers that all of the books she checks out from the library have all been checked out by a mysterious boy, is one of the studio’s most emotional films (and that’s saying something). It’s an incredible, tender piece of filmmaking that has almost none of Ghibili’s traditional fantasy fare. And that’s why it makes a fine double bill with Castle in the Sky, which is packed with the kind of imagery one comes to expect from the Mouse House’s Japanese imports.

Everything Else

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