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The Shelf: “Amazing Spider-Man,” “They Live,” Muppets and More

This week on The Shelf, our weekly look at what’s new on Blu-ray, we’re getting excited for a hi-def look at Roddy Piper’s pipes, a primary color battle for the ages, 100 years of Universal Pictures, and a heroic reboot for your home entertainment.

They Live

If you’ve ever seen an Andre the Giant “Obey” sticker or even the Obama “Hope” poster, you owe it to yourself to check out the 1988 movie that inspired both – and incidentally, is way more subversive in its context. Aliens have secretly infiltrated what we nowadays call “the 1%,” and have hidden subliminal messages throughout all media to keep the population in a subdued state, consuming more while paying less attention. It falls to a homeless drifter (Rowdy Roddy Piper, in what is widely considered to be the first truly credible lead performance by a pro wrestler in a movie) to “chew bubblegum and kick ass” on the hidden threat… and he’s all out of bubblegum. Cheekily being released on U.S. Election Day, the new Blu-ray features and old-but-good commentary track with director John Carpenter and Piper, plus new interview featurettes and a transfer with colors that really pop; aside from the old TVs, what’s most surprising is that the film barely feels dated at all, with issues like global warming front and center (note to Hollywood: re-release, don’t remake). We recently spoke with Carpenter about the movie, his pro wrestling fandom and why he’s no longer into it, and his favorite video games at the moment.

Whoever is victorious at the polls today, we know for sure that five of our readers will be winners no matter what, as we have some They Live Blu-rays to give away. Should you choose to obey and desire to consume this product (don’t worry, we’re not aliens… or are we?), you can get bonus entries on get bonus entries get bonus entries at Nerdist News’ Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.

Universal 100

To celebrate their 100th anniversary, Universal has gathered 25 of its most important films together in one box set to give the definitive Universal experience. The films included on the set are the same discs as released individually, but these classics do wonderfully show off the pedigree of Universal’s library. Except Mamma Mia! We’re not sure how that got in there. Here’s a list of the 25 movies included in the set: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), American Graffiti (1973), Apollo 13 (1995), Back to the Future (1985), The Birds (1963), The Bourne Identity (2002), The Breakfast Club (1985), Buck Privates (1941), Despicable Me (2010), Do the Right Thing (1989), Dracula (1931), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Fast and the Furious (2001), Field of Dreams (1989), Jaws (1975), Jurassic Park (1993), Mamma Mia! The Movie (2008), National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), Out of Africa (1985), Pillow Talk (1959), Scarface (1983), Spartacus (1960), The Sting (1973), and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). And for reasons unclear, Schindler’s List is included in the DVD version but not the Blu-ray box set. HD buyers are treated to the 1931 Spanish language version of Dracula instead.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

The first attempt at a Muppet feature over at Disney is finally available on Blu-ray today. The Muppet Christmas Carol is finally getting a fully packed special edition with tons of extra features including a blooper reel, a video profile of the Great Gonzo, musical interludes by the Chickens whenever you pause the movie, and new behind-the-scenes features and commentary. The holidays are officially here and it’s time to get to celebrating, so do it with Kermit, Gonzo, and Michael Caine as Scrooge in the most celebrated Charles Dickens adaptation by Muppets.

Indie Pick: Your Sister’s Sister

When Jack can’t get over the loss of his brother, his best friend Iris, who also happens to be his dead brother’s ex, sends him off to rehabilitate at her father’s cabin. What she doesn’t know is that her sister has taken refuge at the same cabin after ending a 7 year relationship with her girlfriend. When Jack and Hannah meet at the cabin drinks are shared, as well as beds. The knot that the relationships form in the film is wonderfully strange and beautifully undone as the film progresses. This is a quiet comedy with a few melancholy moments, but overall, it’s not hard to love this movie. Mark Duplass and Emily Blunt have ridiculous amounts of chemistry and the beautiful Pacific Northwest backdrop makes for a visually engaging film.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Peter Parker needed to go back to high school. Between college and his job at the Daily Bugle, we never got to really know the Peter Parker we loved from the comic books in the original trilogy of films. Did this version of Spider-Man need to retell the origin story? Absolutely. And the reality surrounding the situation was so much more engrossing that you will cry when the inevitable happens. The cast is dynamic and superb and the story is classic Spider-Man.

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  1. Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

    @ Delaney You sure are a busy tool. You have a post for every show or movie imaginable siting your “Dish” and “Hopper” and “my dish co-worker” …. just for laughs google “my dish co-worker” you can see all of this person’s post – pretty funny

  2. Delaney says:

    I absolutely love A Muppet Christmas Carol. It was one of my favorites growing up and continues to be to this day. My kids haven’t seen it yet so I added it to my Blockbuster @ Home queue which is available through DISH. The movie should be here via mail in just a few days. There’s just something about this movie that makes me feel all warm inside and full of Christmas spirit. My DISH co-worker hasn’t seen this one which really surprised me but then again maybe not everyone grew up on the Muppets. If my kids like it, it will end up as a Christmas present this year or I’ll end up buying it just for me.

  3. Matt says:

    Please don’t read my comment above as me sounding snarky I was just like oh hey that’s not right just thought I’d let you know before anyone else started sending the snarky comments.

  4. Matt says:

    It’s Daily Bugle, not Daily Planet…wrong superhero.