It’s time for another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. Plenty of interesting features to choose from in a wide variety of genres. As always, click on any links you see to read more about them. 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!
Asura: The City of Madness – In this South Korean action/thriller a tough cop finds himself doing favors for a corrupt local mayor. When a prosecutor arrives to clean up the city, both figures find themselves in a lot of trouble, presumably resulting in double-crosses and violence. Notices were decent overall for the flick. Some found it too bleak and nasty for their liking, but more were impressive by the elaborate action set-pieces and a dark and pulpy take on local political figures. The cast includes Jung Woo-Sung and Hwang Jung-min.
Baywatch – The cheesy 90s TV-show about lifeguards gets a big screen. Played for laughs, the main plot revolves around the group leader who clashes with a brash new recruit. They’re forced to work together and play detectives in order to take down a criminal figure out to repossess beachfront property. Reviews were quite poor. A scant few enjoyed the broad comic shenanigans on display, but the overwhelming majority felt that the capable cast couldn’t do anything with the bland and predictable screenplay. It stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, John Bass and Hannibal Buress. To read the site’s review, click here.
em>Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack – This comedy and sequel to Bring It On has nothing to do with the original series. It is a direct-to-disc production, meaning no one has seen it and probably hadn’t even heard of its existence before last week. The plot involves a team of world-champion cheerleaders who must square off against a talented rival team that threatens their standing. I wouldn’t expect too much from this feature and suggest it may be for series completists only. It features Vivica A. Fox, Christine Prosperi, Jordan Rodrigues and Sophie Vavasseur.
Dean – A father and son take different paths to dealing with the death of a family matriarch in this independent comedy/drama. The adult son and artist decides to take a job located on the other side of the country, while his dad decides to sell the house and take a more controlled approach to grief. Critics gave the feature solid reviews. A minority complained that the characters didn’t come to life as well as they could have, but most called it a truthful and at times look as how people process loss. Demetri Martin takes on the lead role (and serves as writer/director as well) along with Kevin Kline and Gillian Jacobs.
Demon – Reportedly, creepy is the optimal word to describe this Polish horror film. It’s about a man ready to walk down the aisle on his wedding day. After meeting his bride’s unusual relatives, he begins to experience strange sensations, leading him to believe that he may be possessed by a malevolent spirit. This actually may be the best reviewed movie of the week. The press were both wowed by the style on display and the heebie-jeebies created through the strange and unique events. The cast includes Itay Tiran, Agnieszka Zulewska and Andrzej Grabowski.
The Evil in Us – A group of kids decide to sail to an island off of the Washington coast in order to party. However, the new designer drug they ingest has some horrible effects – it turns the user into rage-filled cannibals. The ones who don’t take the drug must run for their lives and try to survive the onslaught. It seems that this little independent title is debuting on disc and hasn’t received many reviews yet, so it’s anybody’s guess as to how effective the feature might be. I’d be cautious of the movie. It features Debs Howard, Danny Zaporozan and Bahtash Fazlali.
Inconceivable – This thriller involves a couple who invite new arrivals to live in their guesthouse. The charity comes after they learn that the woman and her daughter are trying to escape a troubled past. However, the protagonists soon learn that their new tenants aren’t as innocent as they appear to be and find their own marriage being torn apart by the sinister pair. Notices were not good for this effort. Criticisms suggested that the story was awkwardly presented and wasted its cast, earning more chuckles than chills. It stars Nicolas Cage, Nicky Whelan, Gina Gershon, Faye Dunaway and Natalie Eva Marie.
Killing Hasseloff – A struggling nightclub owner decides to take part in a celebrity dead pool and gamble on which performers he thinks will die first. Fearful that he might lose what little money he has left, the lead sets out to murder at least one of the persons on his list. There aren’t any write-ups for this title and it is debuting on disc, so I wouldn’t expect much. However, it does have an impressive cast that includes the likes of David Hasselhoff, Rhys Darby, Carlos PenaVega, Rick Fox, Melanie Brown, Ken Jeong, Howie Mandel, Justin Bieber, Jon Lovitz, Gina Lee Nolin, Will Sasso, Michael Winslow and Jim Jeffries.
My Cousin Rachel – In this period drama, a young Cornish man inherits his uncle’s estate when he dies under mysterious circumstance. Certain that his new bride intentionally killed her husband, the lead seeks out to prove her guilt. However, he rather unexpectedly begins to develop feelings for her after her arrival on the estate. The press gave this feature solid marks. A few thought it too low-key to be effective, but the overall concensus was that this was a beautifully shot feature with excellent performances and plenty of intrigue. It features Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin and Iain Glen. To read a full review, just click here.
Blasts From the Past!
Arrow Video have a few interesting titles arriving this week. Erik the Conqueror (1961) arrives as a 2 disc Blu-ray/DVD combo. The movie is from Italian filmmaker Mario Bava (Black Sunday, Black Sabbath), more known for his horror films than action pictures. This historical adventure marked a surprising but well-received brief detour in his career. This release includes a new 2K transfer of the movie, a new audio commentary with an author and authority on the film’s director, the film’s original ending, a comparison between this film and The Vikings (1958) as well as other bonuses.
They are also putting out The Slayer (1982) in Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. This is a really hard-to-find horror picture that only came out on VHS in various cut forms. The movie is noted for having a similar premise to the classic A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), which arrived a couple of years afterward. The movie has been given a 4K transfer from its original negative and comes with bonuses including interviews with the cast and crew and the theatrical trailer. It’s fantastic to have this little film saved from complete obscurity and given an impressive presentation. You can read all about it here.
From Arrow Academy comes the Jack Palance thriller The Big Knife (1955). It’s about an actor whose personal life is on the rocks and a studio head who tries to manipulate the star, leading to violence. This special edition Blu-ray has also been restored and features a film critic audio commentary as well as plenty of other bonuses.
I’ll admit, I’m very amused and interesting in this release. Blue Underground is putting out the Dutch action/thriller, Amsterdamned (1988). It’s about a killer stalking the canals of Amsterdam and the cop tasked with hunting him down. This B-movie is noted for its impressive stunt work. The new Blu-ray/DVD combo includes a director audio commentary, interviews with the cast and crew, a making-of and a very funny music video made in conjunction with the film’s release.
Not to be outdone, Shout! Factory are bringing the English-language US/Japan co-production The Manster (1959) to Blu-ray. They’ve also got the cheesy sci-fi picture, Vicious Lips (1986) and the Michael Biehn thriller, Timebomb (1991). The latter title about a man who loses his memory, only to discover that he was trained as an assassin; he then sets out to stop an evil plot.
Kino are putting out The Legend of Hillbilly John (1972) as well as the mob comedy/drama Prizzi’s Honor (1985). That one was written up in a previous edition, but missed its release date. It’s finally arriving this week. They are also putting out Son of Paleface (1952) with Bob Hope.
Finally, Warner Archive are releasing Miracle in the Rain (1956), the campy, all-star drama Skyjacked (1972) and the Sidney Poitier romance A Warm December (1973) on DVD.
You Know, For Kids!
Here are some titles the kids might enjoy…
Batman & Harley Quinn
Peanuts by Schultz: School Days (29 All-New Shorts)
Sesame Street: Trick or Treat on Sesame Street
Star Wars Rebels: Season 3
Tom and Jerry: Food Fight
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Complete English-Language TV Series (1986)
On the Tube!
And listed below are the week’s TV-themed highlights.
Black Sails: Season 4
Chicago Fire: Season 5
Chicago Med: Season 2
Delicious: Series 1
Designated Survivor: Season 1
Elementary: Season 5
Gotham: Season 3
Ireland’s West Coast (PBS)
NCIS: Season 14
The Originals: Season 4
Ripper Street: Season 5
Star Wars Rebels: Season 3
The White Princess: Season 1
Will & Grace: Season 1
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Complete English-Language TV Series (1986-87)