by Shane “Inflating Testicles” Hnetka
Blu-ray 4K has an official title now. It’s called Ultra HD Blu-ray and it will hit stores this fall. What does this mean? Not much. The 4K discs have higher resolution than the older 2K discs. Soon there will be 8K discs, and et cetera et cetera. Meanwhile, the average person will still be watching on 2K TVs with the settings wrong.
High Def Ghibli
Disney has just released another wave of Studio Ghibli movies on blu-ray. It’s not a bad slate of three films. The best is Porco Rosso from director Hayao Miyazaki. Porco Rosso is the story of an adventurer/bounty hunter pilot who is cursed to look like a pig. This apparently makes his fight against sky pirates somewhat silly. It’s a lot of fun. The worst is Tales from Earthsea, directed by Miyazaki’s son Goro. It’s okay but the source material is so much better than what’s put on the screen. Plus they made all the brown-skinned heroes white because they’re a bunch of fucking racists.
The weirdest of the three? Definitely Pom Poko.
Director Isao Takahata won acclaim with his masterpiece Graveyard of the Fireflies about two children trying to survive the second world war and its aftermath. It’s animated, excellent and it’s a tough watch. Pom Poko is… different. It’s about a group of raccoons (raccoon dogs) living in a forest that’s slated for destruction and urbanization. These raccoons are magical and can inflate their testicles and bounce on them, thus creating the ultimate weapon. Yes this is a kid’s film. Yes, the raccoons fight the evil developer humans by bouncing on their balls. It’s one of the weirder things you’ll ever see in an animated children’s movie. What can I say, the film has balls.
Arrows Across The Atlantic
In the U.K. there’s a company called Arrow Films that release cult and foreign cinema on Blu-ray and DVD. They generally cover a lot of what companies like Shout Factory release here but they have gained a following for doing a fantastic job (not to diss Shout Factory, I think they do a pretty damn good job too). Arrow has just announced several titles for release here in North America, including Mark of the Devil, Blind Woman’s Curse, Day of Anger and Blood and Black Lace. Not a bad start: some Mario Bava, a spaghetti western, a German horror movie and a ’70s Japanese exploitation flick. The price point is a little high if Amazon is anything to go by ($35-$40 U.S.) but hopefully it will be worth it.
Shane Hnetka is a Regina film and comic book nerd. He also writes Dog Blog’s weekly “Sunday Matinee” column at prairiedogmag.com.