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Shout Factory Best of Summer 2019 [Blu-ray Reviews]

BoJack Horseman used to be a star

BoJack Horseman: Seasons One and Two is finally getting a release from Shout Factory. While I enjoyed seeing my hometown on a show about a suicidal horse, there’s something about the show that irks me. Basically, it’s like watching a seasonally depressed take on The Far Side. The issues they tackle are amazing and it’s probably Will Arnett’s career highlight. However, it’s not something I can sit through in one sitting.

Thankfully, Shout Factory packed a ton of special features from audio commentaries to animatics to lure me back into the mix. I could’ve done without the Grouplove video.

Universal Horror Collection: Best of 2019

Universal Horror Collection: Volume 1 is one of my favorite releases of 2019. Dear Lord, I’m planning a much more in-depth piece for Year-End coverage. But, wow. The 2K restoration work is on par with what UCLA did for the old Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin movies that Criterion released. If that wasn’t enough, you get brand new audio commentaries and a ton of featurettes. Plus, you have trailers, still gallery and an audio recording or two. This is the kind of release that makes me glad that Shout Factory and Universal are working together.

Night of the Creeps raises questions

Night of the Creeps is still one of my favorite 80s horror movies. While I have the older Director’s Cut on Blu-ray, I appreciate the hell out of this disc. Especially since we get new interviews and better special features. Plus, the original cut looks just as good as the Director’s Cut on this release. Am I going crazy and imagining a different transfer? It looks like a 100% better transfer. Oh yeah, the picture below upsets me. Never before have I been reminded of my aging.

Night of the Creeps Shout Factory

Peter, Paul and Mary – Multimedia Experience

Peter, Paul and Mary – At Newport 1963-1965 gets a stunning CD and DVD release. While I wish the Newport Festival footage could have been in HD Quality, it’s still neat to see the other acts from that event. So many people just remember Dylan going electric. Honestly, it does a bit of a disservice to the other talents that took that stage. While I got inundated with this power trio as a kid, it was quite the throwback to experience Peter, Paul and Mary in this kind of double feature release. Now, I’ve got Go Tell Aunt Rhody stuck in my brain.

Penguin Highway is fun

Penguin Highway is about one young science nerd’s quest to discover why he’s finding penguins everywhere. What you’ll find is a mysterious dentist office visit and mystical science working together to make childhood special. Damn, Shout Factory is starting to make me love the oddity that is modern anime. For all the Weebs out there, hit me up if you have an English translation of the source novel.

Okko’s Inn is OK.

Okko’s Inn is another one of the Shout Factory anime discs recently released. While some of the GKids releases haven’t impressed me, I found myself gravitating to this light-hearted Ghibli style tale. Ultimately, it’s a supernatural tale about seeing ghosts and bonding with the elderly. If you like the animation style, I’d recommend researching Kitaro Kosaka. The Blu-ray comes with interviews, Q&A and trailers.

The Jungle Bunch inspires pull-quote.

The Jungle Bunch  is a fun animal adventure about animals going on an adventure. This was the explanation I got from a small child watching the film with me. Honestly, I’m cool with giving that over to Shout Factory as a pull quote. That being said, I do enjoy any film turning a Koala into a world killer.

Modest Heroes

Modest Heroes arrives from Studio Ponoc as an anthology. I truly dig Shout Factory giving anime movies like this a shot. When compared to other outlets, it’s either features or series and little deviation. While it won’t entertain every kid, it’s something for the older ones to dig. The Blu-ray comes with featurettes, interviews, trailers and TV spots.

Monolithic Monsters

The Monolith Monsters blew my mind the first time I saw it. Honestly, I don’t think people know the wide deviation among the alien invasion movies. This one is about strange rocks from outer space smashing into the Earth and warping the terrain. You’d almost think it was a movie taking a passive slam on gentrification and mass industrialization. The Blu-ray comes with a new commentary or two. Plus, you get a trailer and still gallery.

Monster on the Campus is such a bizarre film from the 1950s. The film’s central threat is the arrival of a coelacanth and its contaminated cave fish water. After a dog drinks it, it turns a wolf and bites a professor. The professor de-evolves, while it seems that everyone else in contact with the fish slides back a few evolutionary rungs. It almost feels like the subtext should become mainline text by the end of the film. It doesn’t, but you get amazing special features. Two new audio commentaries, a still gallery and a featurette are presented on disc.

Kids love Big Bad Fox, not so much Mia.

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales was a disc that I to recover from my kid. She’s not big into foreign animation, however she took to this like crazy. Breaking a kid away from a steady diet of Netflix and YouTube takes a lot. However, the smooth animation and stylistic choices produces a film that feels retro yet modern at the same time. The Blu-ray comes with a featurette, interview, Q&A and trailers.

Mia and the White Lion feels like those live-action Disney films that used to dot theaters when I was in middle school. Throughout Mia’s journey to protect her lion, I kept thinking of A Far Off Place. I love it when Shout Factory reaches out to foreign outlets for these kid friendly movies. However, they might be a little too dry for American kids. Oh well, at least they look great.

The Good Place is running thin

The Good Place: The Complete Third Season is the reason why I’m glad the show is coming to an end. While this is a series I only watch when collected into season form, it feels like the series’ creators created a very narrow focus. After all, how many times can Eleanor and company have their lives reset? The Michael McKean and Janet as Everyone episodes were fun, but the premise is reaching its natural conclusion. The DVD comes with extended episodes, gag and visual effects reel.

Ronja – Coming Soon

Ronja: The Robber’s Daughter doesn’t arrive until August 20th. However, we got a chance to check out the Blu-ray early. I think this is the first series that GKids is releasing in America. Still, it quite the treat to experience a fresh show like this. The Blu-ray comes with an interview, press conference and a featurette. Check it out if you’re a fan of Anime TV.

Shout Factory currently has all of the Blu-rays available to purchase on their shop site.

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