New Blu-ray Releases

(Welcome to Not Dead Yet, a feature dedicated to new Blu-ray releases and what special features you should be excited about. Because yes, some of us still like to own physical copies of our movies.)

Time for another Blu-ray round-up for all you physical media fiends out there. There’s so much good stuff here, folks. Thor: Ragnarok comes home, loaded with hilarious features; the star-studded Murder on the Orient Express also arrives, bringing with it one hell of a mustache; then you have Coco, the latest from Pixar; Gary Oldman‘s Oscar reel, aka Darkest Hour; the absolutely wonderful The Florida Project; the Stephen King werewolf flick Silver Bullet; and the home invasion horror movie The Strangers.

Here are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week, and beyond.

Thor: Ragnarok
(Available March 6)

The Thor franchise has always been at the bottom-of-the-barrel for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the last thing we needed was another Thor sequel, Marvel redeemed the series with a lot of help from Taika Waititi. To be clear: Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok still has a lot of problems that plague the Thor films, but Waititi is so damn funny, and able to get such funny performances from his cast, that it almost doesn’t matter.

It certainly helps that Waititi has assembled one hell of a cast around Thor mainstays Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson and, most of all, Jeff Goldblum, shine as the new additions to the series. Blanchett’s baddie Hela is woefully underused, but she makes the most of her time. Thompson’s hard-drinking, ass-kicking Valkyrie is one of the best new characters in the MCU. And Goldblum’s Grandmaster is a wonderful study in lunacy – it’s clear that Waititi trained his cameras on Goldblum and let him do whatever the heck he wanted to do, resulting in comic gold.

In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor and Loki are out of their element as their long-lost sister Hela returns to Asgard and begins to destroy everything. Thor and Loki end up trapped on the planet Sakaar, where Thor is reunited with the Hulk, AKA Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). After recruiting the reluctant Valkyrie for back-up, Thor and company race back to Asgard to stop Hela once and for all. Along the way, there are lots of jokes.

I’m not sure there’s much room left for future Thor sequels, but if Ragnarok is to be the end of the line, it’s the perfect film to go out on.

Special Features to Note:

I was one of those weirdos who thought Thor: Ragnarok was good, not great. That said, even if you’re so-so on the film, this Blu-ray is a must-own simply because of the wealth of hilarious special features. Taika Waititi is all over the features here, giving interviews and being his usual irreverent self. Even when featurettes slip into standard making-of mode, with cast and crew giving mostly predictable answers to predictable questions, Waititi will pop-up and save the day.

The best feature here is Waititi’s commentary, which is consistently laugh-out-loud funny. When the filmmaker reveals he did the motion capture for the fire-engulfed god that Thor faces at the start of the film, he adds: “That fire is real; I was on fire when I did the motion capture for this scene.” Some other highlights from the commentary:

– “I did the motion capture for [Chris Hemsworth] as well; anytime you see him on screen, it’s me.”

– “That hammer really weighs five million pounds; that’s how strong Chris Hemsworth is.”

– “Cate Blanchett was one of the first people to sign onto the film; I tricked her into it. She took one look at me and said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it, you’re my hero.’”

– During the scene where Hela destroys Thor’s hammer: “This is a very sad scene for people who love tools.”

In between the jokes, Waititi does take time to talk about the making of the film. For instance: he has a lot to say about how the look of the movie was influenced by the art of Marvel artist Jack Kirby.

The second best feature here is “Team Darryl;”, a hilarious short in which Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster moves in with Thor’s old roommate Darryl. I could’ve honestly watched an entire feature-length film based around this premise.

Special Features Include:

  • Director’s Introduction
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes – Deleted Scenes: The Sorcerer Supreme, Skurge Finds Heimdall & Hulk Chases Thor Through Sakaar and Extended Scenes: Thor Meets the Grandmaster, Stupid Avenger vs. Tiny Avenger & Grandmaster and Topaz
  • Gag Reel – Watch a collection of goofs, gaffes and pratfalls starring the cast
  • Exclusive Short/Team Darryl – Fresh off being unseated as the ruler of Sakaar, the Grandmaster makes his way to Earth to start a new life. It’s been over a year since Thor left Australia and Darryl has been struggling to pay his rent. Now Darryl needs a new roommate to help make the monthly payments. Unfortunately for Darryl, the Grandmaster was the only one who answered Darryl’s “Roommate Needed” ad and with no viable options, the Grandmaster moves in.
  • Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years – The Evolution of Heroes – Marvel’s universe is vast and transcends both time and space. We’ll examine the Cinematic Universe as a whole and revisit each of our heroes’ current location and their place in the current MCU timeline, as it all leads up to the one culminating event: “Avengers: Infinity War.”
  • Getting in Touch with Your Inner Thor – “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi has brought his unique sensibility and sense of humor to the film in a great many ways but it is the evolution of Thor’s own sense of humor, which stands out the most in the new film. This piece explores the impact Chris Hemsworth has made on the development of his widely-loved character and celebrates the mighty cast and crew who reveal the fun and hard work that went into assembling Thor’s eccentric counterparts.
  • Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie – This piece explores the strong female characters in “Thor: Ragnarok,” their importance in the MCU, their incredible casting and their epic comic origins.
  • Finding Korg – A tongue-in-cheek interview with Taika on casting Korg. He describes the difficult search for just the right evolution of the character design, and the nuances of this instantly classic character in the MCU. This conversation will also delve into all the extraordinary visual effects that brought Korg, Sakaar and the worlds of “Thor: Ragnarok” to life.
  • Sakaar: On the Edge of the Known and Unknown – Sakaar is the collection point for all lost and unloved things. This documentary will answer all known and unknown questions while also exploring the hard work and creativity that went into creating the look and feel of Sakaar. From design inspired by Jack Kirby’s classic artwork to the dedication of the visual development team to the awe-inspiring physical and digital production, you will see this distant world come alive.
  • Journey into Mystery – A deep dive story piece with the writers, director and producer Kevin Feige about the inspirations for “Thor: Ragnarok” within the comics. Most notably, the contest of champions limited series where the Grandmaster pitted our favorite heroes against one another as he does in the film. This piece also further explores Thor’s comic book origins and classic arcs through interviews with some of the most important comic creators, such as Walt Simonson and Jack Kirby.
  • 8bit Scenes – Final Bridge Battle + Sakaar Spaceship Battle. Dive into these climactic sequences presented in retro video-game format.
  • Directors Commentary



Pixar’s latest Coco may not be one of their best films, but it certainly has a lot of charm and heart. 12-year-old Miguel lives in Mexico and dreams of becoming a famous musician, like his hero, the late Ernesto de la Cruz. Unfortunately for Miguel, he lives with a family that has a very strict “no music” policy.

A series of misadventures lands Miguel in the super-colorful, skeleton-filled Land of the Dead during Día de Muertos. Miguel’s only hope is to track down Ernesto de la Cruz. Along the way, Miguel is aided by Héctor, a dead man in danger of being forgotten forever should no one put his picture up on a ofrenda.

To be honest, Coco’s plot doesn’t make much sense, and it requires more than heavy helping of suspension of disbelief. Once you get beyond that, though, you’re treated to a bright, beautiful, often emotional film that also happens to feature a really adorable dog.

Even if you try to resist Coco’s charms, don’t be surprised if you find yourself weeping as the film comes to a close. Damn you, Pixar. You made me cry again.

Special Features to Note:

The bulk of the special features on the Coco Blu-ray are devoted to the exhausting amount of work that went into creating Pixar’s latest. The filmmakers and creators behind the film pop up in several featurettes to discuss how hard they worked to make Coco’s Mexican settings and traditions as authentic as possible. They tell us the film was “meant to be a love-letter to Mexico,” and that certainly comes through in all their work. The creators of the film went to Mexico for multiple research trips, and nearly everything – from the music to the costumes – is rooted in Mexican tradition,

The features I enjoyed the most was “Paths to Pixar”, in which members of the crew – artists, writers, designers, etc. –  talk about how they got into filmmaking, and how they came to work for Pixar. This is a rather touching segment, because it has a theme of realizing your dreams, even if they seem impossible.

Beyond the featurettes, there are also deleted scenes that reveal the film was originally conceived as a full-blown musical, with songs in almost every scene. The filmmakers realized that it was very hard to craft a musical around a family who shuns music, so most of the songs ended up being scrapped.

Special Features Include:

  • Deleted Scenes with Introductions – Director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina talk about the deleted scenes and the part they played in the development of “Coco.”
    • Di?a de los Muertos – In this musical extravaganza, the colors and excitement of Di?a de los Muertos come to life as we meet superstar Ernesto de la Cruz.
    • The Way of the Riveras – A musical number in which Abuelita and Miguel prepare their Di?a de los Muertos celebration while she teaches him Rivera family history and traditions.
    • Celebrity Tour – He?ctor, a Land of the Dead tour bus guide, agrees to help Miguel, revealed to be a living boy, on his quest to find de la Cruz.
    • The Bus Escape – The Rivera family catches up to Miguel and He?ctor and attempts to halt their mission to find de la Cruz.
    • Alebrije Attack – Miguel and He?ctor are interrupted on their journey to find de la Cruz by a fierce alebrije.
    • The Family Fix – After de la Cruz reveals his true colors, the Rivera family puts their dismay aside and comes together to repair the smashed guitar needed to send Miguel home.
    • To the Bridge – As the Land of the Dead counts down to the end of Di?a de los Muertos, Miguel and de la Cruz come head-to-head on the marigold bridge.
  • Filmmaker Commentary – Presented by Lee Unkrich (director), Adrian Molina (co-director) and Darla K. Anderson (producer).
  • The Music of “Coco” – Collaborating with musicians of Mexico and some unique instrumentation, this documentary explores the beautiful fusion of music essential to the story of “Coco.”
  • Paths to Pixar: “Coco” – Explore how the film crew’s personal stories resonate with the themes of the movie itself.
  • Welcome to the Fiesta – A musical exploration of the skeletons that make the Land of the Dead in “Coco” so wondrous and intriguing.
  • How to Draw a Skeleton – Pixar artist Daniel Arriaga gives a lesson on the quick and easy way to draw skeletons using simple shapes.
  • A Thousand Pictures a Day – Join the “Coco” crew on an immersive travelogue through Mexico, visiting families, artisans, cemeteries, and small villages during the Día de los Muertos holiday.
  • Mi Familia – Developing the Riveras was a labor of love that took the cast and crew on a deep dive into the meaning of family.
  • Land of Our Ancestors – Watch Pixar artists lovingly construct layer upon layer of architecture from many eras of Mexican history, bringing the Land of the Dead to life.
  • Fashion Through the Ages – The cast of characters in “Coco” are from many different eras, making for some magnificent costuming opportunities.
  • The Real Guitar – The majestic guitar that spurs Miguel on his journey through the Land of the Dead is a unique creation. Watch as it is initially designed by a Pixar artist and ultimately realized as a real instrument by a master luthier in this poetic ode to craftsmanship.
  • Dante – How the crew fell in love with the uniquely Mexican breed of Xoloitzcuintli (or “Xolo”) dogs that inspired Dante.
  • How to Make Papel Picado – Join Pixar artist Ana Rami?rez Gonza?lez as we learn how papel picado is made traditionally, and then try your own approach to this beautiful art form.
  • Un Poco “Coco” – A montage of original animated pieces used to promote “Coco.”
  • “Coco Trailers” – Trailers include “Feeling,” “Dante’s Lunch,” “Destiny,” “Journey” and “Belong.”

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