With their partnership with GKids, Shout Factory has managed to obtain a remarkable chunk of Studio Ghibli’s library and have given choice titles some truly deluxe treatment. Among some of Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpieces is the incredible “Spirited Away” a film that owes a lot to “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz,” that also evokes subtle social commentary on child trafficking. In either case, “Spirited Away” is still a remarkable and stellar piece of art, with some of Miyazaki’s most memorable creations including No Face, and the Soot Sprites.
Linger on Youtube for a little while and you’ll likely find at least fifty toy collectors and or pop culture buffs that have a slew of videos looking back at classic toy lines and franchises. What makes “Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2” such a unique series is that it attempts to offer up much more than memories. Creator Brian Volk-Weiss’s series could very well have fallen back on pure nostalgia, but instead opens up the scope of these world changing toy lines. There’s deeper insight, stark truths about how and why these toys were created, and a look in to the business of it all.
One of the most influential J-Horror movie series has been compiled on to Blu-Ray for the first time in typical Arrow Video deluxe fashion for cineastes and fans alike. Anyone that loves the “Ringu” movie series will enjoy how the series is compiled in basic chronological order rather than release date order (Oddly enough the 2002 American remake and “Sadako vs. Kayako” are not included). Despite “Ringu” being one of the most influential entry of its kind (giving way to the superior remake, which rocketed the big J-Horror boom of the aughts), the movies have never really seen a Blu-Ray release. But that’s changed as Arrow has brought fans a wonderful new set.
It’s the perfect storm of fandom this year, as Batman is celebrating eighty years in pop culture, while “Batman Beyond” is celebrating its twenty year anniversary. For 2019, Warner finally unleashes their fantastic follow up “Batman Beyond” on Blu-Ray in a stellar Limited Edition box set that is also conveniently in time for Halloween and the impending holiday season. With the Limited Edition featuring an exclusive Batman Beyond Funko Pop, and the inevitably regular set coming down line, Warner will cash in for sure. “Batman Beyond” is still the juggernaut follow up to the classic Bruce Timm “Batman” series that hasn’t aged a bit, despite being conceived during a period where everything had to be futuristic, and darker.
Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont’s “The Blob” has been one of those eighties horror gems that has been for the most part a difficult title to obtain. Even through the DVD age it was out of print, hard to find, ported on to cheap movie collections and given limited printing on boutique labels. Now Shout! Factory has made the fantastic remake of the 1958 drive in monster movie available for everyone, and it’s been worth the wait. It’s a movie that’s barely shown its age, embracing what made it such a great drive in monster movie, while also injecting it with eighties style.
1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” is and is still widely considered the definitive fantasy masterpiece that has barely aged after so many decades. Even film fans that don’t care much for older films still have a hard time turning down “The Wizard of Oz” and ignoring its indefinable charm, and sense of adventure. Victor Fleming’s “The Wizard Of Oz” remains one of the most influential and engaging masterpieces, one filled with awe, surrealism, and a healthy sense of mystery, even eighty years after its initial release.
From Mill Creek Entertainment comes the perfect Halloween treat, The Complete series of “Forever Knight.” If ever there was a nineties series, it’s a show that takes a procedural cop drama and pairs it with vampires. One of the precursors to cult shows like “Angel” and “Blood Ties,” the syndicated series lasted for a total of three seasons and became obscure for many years after its run. This is shocking considering the series has its faults, but is genuinely a fun and Gothic vampire series. This was the decade where a lot of radical concepts were posed for television (Ahem—“Cop Rock”), but “Forever Knight” plays the whole premise with a straight face.
After the polarizing “adaptation” from 2007, DC and Warner take another crack at the taking one of the most controversial and news making comic book storylines of the nineties and bring it to the big screen. With a little tweaks, of course. The whole of “The Death and Return of Superman” is compact, but it takes a good effort in streamlining the entire arc for a movie. The whole epic storyline spanned a ton of DC titles from Supergirl, Green Lantern, and Justice League, so Jake Castorena and Sam Liu have to squeeze it in to two whole movies, and they do a pretty great job of it, save for glaring flaws here and there.