Greetings! It’s a quieter week on the Blu-ray and DVD front, mostly because the big movie arriving was one of the year’s most popular. Guess it’s scaring its competition away. However, there are a couple of quirky releases in case you’re looking for something off of the beaten track. Read below to learn more about them all. 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!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – The gang return in this blockbuster sequel to the big summer hit from three years ago. This time out, the eccentric Marvel comic book superheroes meet more strange beings from around the universe and lead Peter Quill aka Star-Lord encounters a powerful alien who claims to be his father. Reviews were generally very good. A few complained that this effort lacked the charm of the original, but most found the further adventures of these misfit characters engaging and entertaining. The cast includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan and Kurt Russell. To read this site’s review, just click here.
Kill Switch – This independent sci-fi feature involves a pilot who is tasked with saving the planet after an experimental energy force breaks free of its confines and starts attacking the world. Apparently, after setting things up, much the movie is shot from a first person perspective so viewers will experience events as if they were the lead character. Notices were pretty terrible for the experiment. A few thought it was unique enough to give a pass, but the vast majority panned it, suggesting that the slim story and minimal character development couldn’t sustain a feature length running time. Ultimately, they claimed the movie became a slog. It stars Dan Stevens, Berenice Marlohe and Tygo Germandt.
Scales: Mermaids Are Real – On the eve of her twelfth birthday, a pre-teen girl gets an incredible shock when she realizes she isn’t like other kids. In fact, she’s destined to become a mermaid the following day. Quite a life change for the youngster, who must bid farewell to all of her friends as well as avoid a group of hunters out to catch her. This one hasn’t garnered many notices and the only one I’ve been able to find calls it a fairly average and forgettable effort for anyone who isn’t a child. Now viewers can make up their own minds. It features Emmy Perry, Morgan Fairchild, Elisabeth Rohm and Nikki Hahn.
Blasts From the Past!
While there aren’t a lot of new releases, there are some interesting older titles making their high definition debuts. Arrow Academy have a Blu-ray/DVD combo of the Gallic drama, The Love of a Woman (1953). It’s about a young female doctor who takes a position on a small island just off the west coast of France and experiences prejudice from many of the male residents. The big bonus here is a feature length documentary about the movie’s director, Jean Gremillon, who has over 48 titles to his credit.
Here’s an odd one. Effects (1980) is a strange little independent picture made in Pittsburgh that features famous make-up effects man Tom Savini in a supporting role. It’s about a film crew who start to believe that they’re working on a snuff film and being picked off one by one. It’s being released by AGFA and arrives with a new 4K transfer, archival commentary track, a documentary and some short films made by the crew.
If you’re looking for cheese, then Shout! Factory have the Blu-rays for you. Lou Ferrigno stars with Sybil Danning in the Cannon feature, Hercules (1983). It’s a strange, low-budget and not-so-great take on the Greek mythological figure. To be blunt, I remember it being painfully bad. Extras include new interviews with the director and set designer. You’ll also get vintage featurettes about the making of the movie and a theatrical trailer.
And if you want to complete your collection, they’re also putting out a Blu-ray of its follow-up, The Adventures of Hercules II (1985). It’s just as bad as the original (and was shot back-to-back with its predecessor) and comes with another interview with the film’s director as well as a theatrical trailer.
Criterion have the French crime comedy La Poison (1951) arriving on Blu-ray. It has been newly restored and comes with a 60 minute documentary and well as interviews with French filmmakers on the movie’s significance. The subtitles have also been newly translated.
They also have the bio pic of Sex Pistols front man Sid Vicious. Sid and Nancy (1986) stars Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb as the pair and their tumultuous, drug-fueled relationship. If memory serves, it’s a good music biopic. The Blu-ray package comes with a new 4K restoration, two audio commentaries, an 1987 making-of documentary, real clips and interviews with the actual musician Sid Vicious and other bonuses. If you like the movie, you’ll be thrilled with this release.
Not to be outdone, Kino have a phenomenal release this week. Fans of the Coen Brothers (Fargo, The Big Lewbowski, No Country for Old Men and many more) can now pick up Barton Fink (1991) in high definition. The story follows a scribe with writer’s block who attempts to complete a screenplay before he gets fired by the studio. Things take very strange and dark turns as the deadline looms. It’s a really great little flick and the Blu-ray comes with interviews with cast and crew, numerous deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer.
They also have a pair of notable older films hitting Blu-ray. Beggars of Life (1928) is an early talkie and adventure film about a girl who kills her abusive step-father and attempts to hit the rails and escape to Canada. Variete (1925) aka Variety is a German silent film about a murder set against the backdrop of a circus.
Finally, Warner Archive are putting out a Blu-ray of the Steve Martin/Rick Moranis comedy, My Blue Heaven (1990). This one finds Martin playing a mobster who attempts to adjust to life in suburbia after turning government informant. On DVD, they have the Katharine Hepburn romantic comedy, Sylvia Scarlett (1935).
You Know, For Kids!
Here are the week’s kid-friendly releases.
Scales: Mermaids Are Real
Thomas & Friends: Journey Beyond Sodor – The Movie
On the Tube!
And TV-themed discs are starting to pick up again with September on the horizon. Here are the highlights.
Ash vs. Evil Dead: Season 2
Blue Bloods: Season 7
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 4
Daredevil: Season 2
The Great British Baking Show: Season 4
Ironside: Season 4
Jessica Jones: Season 1
Lucifer: Season 2
NCIS: Los Angeles: Season 8
Nova: Poisoned Water (PBS)
Silent Witness: Season 4 (BBC)
Supergirl: Season 2
The Walking Dead: Season 7