Welcome back to another edition exploring the highlights of new releases arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s a busy one with a wide-ranging group of features and subject matter, meaning that there should be something for everyone. So if you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!
Big New Releases!
All the Money in the World – The Getty family are the subject of this biopic, particularly the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. After the youngster is taken in Italy, his mother is forced to ask the rather cruel and frugal family patriarch to negotiate ransom demands. Naturally, the kidnappers are less than impressed with the methods used by the clan and become violent towards their victim. Reaction to this drama was generally positive. Not everyone was impressed with the way events were condensed and found some characters superfluous, but most were impressed with the performances and found the story compelling. It stars Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer and Mark Wahlberg.
Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds – Based on a web-comic, this South Korean fantasy film involves a firefighter who is killed in the line of duty. He travels to the afterlife, where he is forced to complete a series of difficult challenges. Should he succeed, he will have proven his worthiness and be granted the opportunity to be reincarnated. This effort split the press. About half stated the plotting was a bit of a mess and the dialogue was corny in the extreme, wasting a great cast. Others felt that while melodramatic, the events were impressively mounted and enjoyable to watch. A sequel is apparently in pre-production. The cast includes Jung-woo Ha, Tae-hyun Cha and Ji-hun Ji.
Braven – Based on writing numerous plot summaries over the years, I have come to the concludions that a weekend spent at a remote cabin is always a terrible idea. In this action/thriller, a father and son head out to the backwoods for some hunting, only to discover that drug-runners are using the locale as a hiding spot for their product. The thugs arrive and the two protagonists are force to fight for their lives. This flick received reasonable notices. A small percentage thought it was run-of-the-mill, but more admired the action and photography on display, describing the final product as a solid B-movie. It features Jason Momoa, Stephen Lang and Garrett Dillahunt.
Gone Are the Days – This B-movie western involves an old and notorious outlaw who knows that his final days are near. Determined to make amends for past mistakes, he decides to attempt a reconciliation with his long lost daughter. After learning that she has been forced into prostitution by a criminal element, he sets out with his pals to confront the crooks and go out in a blaze of glory. Unfortunately, this title is debuting on disc, so there aren’t any reviews available as of yet. At least it boasts an impressive cast that includes Danny Trejo, Lance Henriksen, Tom Berenger, Steve Railsback and Lulu Wilson.
The Greatest Showman – Very, very loosely based on the real life figure of P.T. Barnum, this musical shows how he rose from poverty and opened a wax museum. After that venture, he finds massive success with a giant circus featuring incredible acts and performers. However, in an attempt to appeal to more highbrow audiences, he is forced into choosing whether or not to hire an opera singer to join the troupe. While the movie was a box office hit, the press were divided on the movie’s effectiveness. Many felt that it ignored history, telling a generic tale that was lacking in any deeper themes or meanings. The remainder enjoyed the spectacle and like the musical numbers. It stars Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson.
Mohawk – Set during the war of 1812, events follow the setting of an intense blaze at an American soldier camp. When the officers blame a young Mohawk woman and her compatriots for the act, the group must prepare to fight back using weapons and magic against a colonel determined to wipe them out. This independent film earned fairly positive reaction from reviewers. There were a few who didn’t think some of the elements of action and fantasy combined particularly well. However, the majority thought this dark and violent tale was gripping and had interesting political themes. The cast includes Kaniehtiio Horn, Ezra Buzzington and Eamon Farren.
Molly’s Game – Molly Bloom is the subject of this biopic. After being arrested at gunpoint by the FBI, she teams with a criminal defense lawyer to take on the government. Over the course of events, it details how the woman became involved in creating and maintaining an extremely high-stakes poker circuit filled with all sorts of wealthy, eccentric and dangerous characters from around the world. Critics were generally positive about the feature. There were complaints that the movie is too detail-oriented and could have done with more gripping personal drama, but most praised the performances and found the real life tale riveting. It features Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera and Jeremy Strong.
My Friend Dahmer – This biopic follows the teenage years of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, attempting to determine how he came to be and what might be the caused if his horrific behavior. While dealing with personal struggles within his family, the figure begins to act out and experiment at school, earning friends but also pushing his interests into bizarre and cruel areas. The independent drama earned strong notices. There were a few reviews that didn’t see the link between the events and what followed later in life, but most found it well acted, interesting and a fascinating look into the mind of a sociopath. Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Anne Heche and Dallas Roberts headline the feature.
Phantom Thread – Acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) is responsible for this 50s period drama and Best Picture nominee at the Academy Awards. It follows an obsessive (and not very pleasant) fashion designer who takes on a local waitress as his new muse. When she realizes that her position in the designer’s life is temporary, she works to find a way to make herself an essential part of the man’s existence. As expected, reaction to the film was very positive. It was called a low-key, slow-moving but intriguing character study with memorable performances from its stellar cast. It stars Daniel Day Lewis, Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps.
Proud Mary – A female assassin employed by a crime outfit in Boston sees her existence threatened after deciding to care of the young boy she leaves orphaned after a hit. More mob outfits become involves and the woman ends up having to fight battles against killers from all sides. Critics were very unimpressed with the final product. A few appreciated the work of the star and felt made up for several deficiencies, but the majority suggested that the movie was undone by a hackneyed screenplay that becomes increasingly ridiculous and poor editing that makes events difficult to follow. The movie features Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Neal McDonough and Danny Glover.
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay – This very R-rated animated feature premiered at Wondercon a few weeks ago and features the DC comic characters as they take on a new mission. The group of villains are forced into a brutal and dangerous operation that involves stealing a powerful, mystical object for government agent Amanda Waller. Since its premiere was very recent, there haven’t been enough reviews released to come to a consensus on the quality of this endeavor. The voice cast includes the likes of Tara Strong, Christian Slater, C. Thomas Howell, Dania Ramirez and Vanessa Williams.
The Tribes of Palos Verdes – A teenager is excited to move to the Los Angeles county Palos Verdes with her family. But after arriving, the youth discovers that the clan can’t run away from their problems. She must contend with the dissolution of her parent’s marriage and her brother’s addiction to drugs. The lead takes it upon herself to try and save the splintering family. Reaction to this indie film was mixed, with slightly more positive reviews than pans. The consensus was that the most was predictable and melodramatic at times, but featured a game cast and for some, a low-key feel that worked well enough to recommend.. It stars Jennifer Garner, Maika Monroe and Cody Fern.
Blasts from the Past!
It appears to be just as busy a week for catalog titles getting high definition upgrades. Arrow Video have a 2 disc Limited Edition Blu-ray of Deep Red (1975) arriving on store shelves. It’s a great little Giallo thriller from Italy starring David Hemmings as a composer wrapped up in a murder investigation. Along with Suspiria, it’s probably director Dario Argento’s best film. The release features 4K scan of the movie from the original negative, an introduction from Goblin member/composer Claudio Simonetti, a film historian audio commentary, a visual essay of on the feature, interviews with the director and crew and other bonuses.
Shout! Factory have a trio of Blu-rays as well. They include Crucible of Horror (1971), a thriller about a mother and daughter who get more than they bargained for when they try to murder the family patriarch. This release includes a new HD master from the best surviving film elements, a new interview with the assistant director and a trailer. They are also putting out Full Moon High (1981), which stars Adam Arkin as a teenage football quarterback who is bitten by a werewolf. The disc features a new audio commentary with writer/director Larry Cohen and a theatrical trailer. Finally, you can now pick up a Blu-ray of Superbeast (1972), about a mad scientist experimenting with genetic engineering.
Kino have some 90s thrillers arriving on Blu-ray. They include Bad Company (1995), Consenting Adults (1992) and Deceived (1991). The company are also putting out The Psychopath (1966). In addition to these discs, their Kino Classics line is releasing Luther (1928), Manhandled (1924) and Stage Struck (1925). Many of these titles have been updated restorations and comes with bonus features.
Paramount are distributing a 40th Anniversary Blu-ray of the Cheech & Chong comedy, Up in Smoke (1978). Fans of the comedians will find the pair playing stoners who are unwittingly smuggling a literal van of marijuana across the border and getting into humorous shenanigans along the way. Apparently, it does arrive with some extras including a commentary track, a documentary on the movie and publicity materials.
Universal is also getting in on the action by putting out new Blu-rays of some older films. This week, they are releasing Cleopatra (1934) as well as the Rock Hudson/Doris Day comedies Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964), which were previously available only as part of a box set. Now you can pick them up individually.
Umbrella are an Australian Blu-ray company who often release hard-to-find features in high definition. They are also known for some great compilations of genre film trailers. The latest is Drive-In Delirium: The New Batch which contains over six hours of previews for unusual titles from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Should be a lot of fun to watch, and the discs are said to be playable on players of all regions.
Red Rings of Fear (1978) aka Enigma Rosso aka Virgin Killer is an Italian giallo about a detective investigating murders at a girl’s school. Scorpion are putting out a Blu-ray of the feature, which will make it the first time the movie has ever been available uncut and widescreen in North America.
Finally, Warner Archive are making a series of titles which can be ordered made-on-demand. They include Alexander Hamilton (1931), The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941), The Damned Don’t Cry! (1950), Jezebel (1938) and A Lost Lady (1934).
You Know, For Kids!
It’s a slow week for kid’s titles, but you’ll find what is available listed below.
Tex Avery’s Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection (Warner Archive)
On the Tube!
And it appears there’s only one big TV-themed release coming your way.
Outlander: Season 3
And here a selection of clips from flicks you’ll find featured on the Drive-In Delirium trailer compilation release…