Greetings once again for another look at all the highlights coming your way on DVD and Blu-ray. It looks like there’s plenty of great stuff both new and old to check out. As always, please click on any links to read more about the features. 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!
The Handmaiden – The latest from Chan-wook Park (Stoker, Thirst, Oldboy) is a period thriller about a servant who takes a job at the estate of a wealthy heiress. However, she has alternative motives, first plotting to help a suitor seduce the aristocrat, then developing feelings for the woman herself. Reviews were quite strong. While some thought the ending didn’t quite hit the mark, most found the gorgeously-shot results either kinky, trashy, disturbing, intriguing, or all of the above. It stars Min-hee Kim, Jung-woo Ha and Jing-woong Jo.
I’m Not Ashamed – This faith-based feature is based on the true story of the first victim of the Columbine shooting, a teenage girl named Rachel Joy Scott. A plot synopsis states that the picture follows the kind-hearted teen whose beliefs and caring nature made her a target of the shooters. The press reported that the character development in the film was better-than-average, but found the attempts to mix in the Columbine attack clumsily handled and at its worst, exploitative. It resulted in generally poor notices overall. The cast includes Masey McLain, Sadie Robertson and Ben Davies.
Inferno – The third film in the Dan Brown series that began with The Da Vinci Code involves the further adventures of Robert Langdon. This time out, he must stop an evil plot to release a viral pandemic. To get to the source, the hero must analyze clues left in famous works like The Divine Comedy and Dante’s Inferno. Unfortunately, the movie bombed at the box office and fared no better with critics. They stated that while the stakes were higher this time out, the thriller was too silly and preposterous to engage or create suspense. The movie features Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy and Ben Foster. To read a full review of the feature, click here.
The Light Between Oceans – Melodrama is the name of the game in this drama from director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines). It’s a period film involving a lighthouse keeper and his wife who decide to start a family. Sadly, their attempts result in tragedy. A new arrival sparks hope, but ends up causing even greater troubles. Notices were split on this one, with a slight few more leading towards the positive. Many wrote that it was a beautifully made feature, but almost half commented that it didn’t rise about the level of a typical romance flick. It stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz and Bryan Brown. To read a review, click here.
The Monster – This small, independent horror flick comes from the man behind the 2008 chiller, The Strangers. It involves a divorced mom and her daughter who are forced to take a last minute emergency road trip. A traffic accident on a remote highway results and the pair find themselves tormented and pursued by a figure in the darkness. This scare movie actually garnered positive reaction. Reviews suggested that it was a modest and simple tale, but one that was caked in creepy atmosphere, tension and chills. The cast includes Zoe Kazan, Scott Speedman and Ella Ballentine.
USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage – The true-life story of the warship is recreated in this drama. For those who don’t know, in 1945 the vessel was torpedoed at sea, forcing those who weren’t killed immediately to survive not only exposure, but frequent shark attacks. Many will recall the tale being relayed in the 1975 Steven Spielberg movie, Jaws. This production didn’t get much of a release at theaters and reaction was less than enthusiastic. Most critiques mentioned that the screenplay struggled to tie all of its elements together and that the money spent wasn’t enough to fully convey the epic scale of disaster. Nicolas Cage headlines, along with Tom Sizemore, Thomas Jane and James Remar.
The Vessel – This independent drama from Puerto Rico involves the aftermath of a devastating tsunami in a small coastal community. A school and its students are wiped out by the tragic tidal wave. Ten years later, a local decides to build a mysterious structure on the site of the disaster, causing old feelings and emotions to bubble to the surface. Reaction was generally positive. A few complained that the movie was either too slow and muted, or too heavy-handed to really be effective, but more found it an effective if artsy contemplation on hope and faith. The cast includes Aris Mejias, Martin Sheen and Jacqueline Duprey.
Blasts From the Past!
Wow, Olive Films have a stack of interesting stuff arriving this week. Bob Hope fans can now pick up the comedy, Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966) in high definition. In it, the comedian plays a real estate agent whose life is turned upside down when he agrees to help a European movie star find a home.
TV fans will be thrilled to see this arriving on DVD. Hooperman was a series that ran for two seasons from 1987-89 and received excellent reviews and Emmy nominations. It starred John Ritter as a San Francisco cop trying to juggle work with being an apartment landlord. It hasn’t been made available since its original airing, but now Olive are putting out both seasons of the program. If you’re wondering how the show holds up, we have a Hooperman: Season 1 review right here. And if you’re already a supporter of the show, you can also pick up Hooperman: Season 2.
But that’s not all; there are even more Blu-rays. The Men’s Club (1986) is a star-studded drama about a group of men who form a “discussion group” to talk about their lives and the women in it. As the night progresses, they become more open and partake in a wild night of partying. The cast includes Roy Scheider, Harvey Keitel, Craig Wasson, Frank Langella, Treat Williams, Richard Jordan, Stockard Channing and Jennifer Jason Leigh. This is a really odd one… read more about the movie right here.
Finally, Olive Films have a couple of old classics coming your way in high definition. They include Sabotage (1939), a drama about an army test pilot who is accused of working for the enemy and intentionally destroying aircraft. Wagon Tracks (1919) is a silent Western flick that has great reviews – it’s about a wagon train group traveling west who are forced to solve a murder during their journey.
Black Girl (1966) is a French/Senegalese film that tells the story of a woman from Dakar who is hired as a governess for a wealthy family in France, but is treated more like a household servant after her arrival. This very well-regarded expose of the indignities suffered by immigrants is being released by Criterion on Blu-ray. It includes a 4K restoration of the film, a short made by the director, interviews with scholars about the feature, interviews with the cast and crew from the movie’s premiere, a documentary about the director, a new interview with the actors and other bonuses.
Arrow are also good for some great little gems and B-movies. They’ve promised the slasher Blood Rage (1987) for some time, but it looks as if (after many delays) it is finally arriving. It’s about twins, one of whom is a diagnosed as a madman. When the psychologically troubled one escapes, a killing spree begins. But who is really responsible? This release includes a DVD and Blu-ray of the feature and about a gazillion other extras, including commentaries and documentaries. If you like or are interested in this feature, you’ll be impressed by this release.
Cult movie fans will also be excited to see The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) coming to Blu-ray/DVD in a Collector’s Edition combo pack from Lionsgate. This eccentric film by Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now, The Witches), stars the late, great musician David Bowie as an alien struggling to adapt to life on Earth. In particular, the greediness of the humans around him. Apparently, besides the high quality transfer, there are numerous extras included in the package. This includes a 72 page book on the film as well as some collectable art.
And that’s not all. Warner Archive have a couple of interesting titles as well. They have a high-def Blu-ray release of the classic thriller Wait Until Dark (1967), starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman whose apartment is targeted by some nasty criminals, played by Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna.
On the DVD front, they are repressing the 2009 recut of the Al Pacino film, Revolution (1985). Specifically, it’s called Revolution: Revisited and presents an altered version of the movie. Many of you might not remember, but the original was a box-office and critical dud. I’m curious to see if this revision is any sort of an improvement. Fans of the excellent sketch comedy series Mr. Show (1995-98) can how pick up the cinematic spin-off feature, Run Ronnie Run (2003), which stars series leads David Cross and Bob Odenkirk. Finally, they are also releasing the Al Pacino/Gene Hackman drama, Scarecrow (1973).
You Know, For Kids!
Here are some releases appropriate for the little tykes.
Adventure Time: Islands Miniseries (Cartoon Network)
Barney: Playground Fun
Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs
Peanuts by Schulz: Snoopy Tales
Teen Titans Go!: Season 3, Vol. 2
On the Tube!
And here are some of the TV shows arriving on disc this week.
Adventure Time: Islands Miniseries (Cartoon Network)
Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games (French TV-movie Collection)
The Code: Season 2
The Contenders: 16 for 16 (PBS)
Feral: Season 1
Hooperman: Season 1 – review link
Hooperman: Season 2
Sherlock: Series 4
Teen Titans Go!: Season 3, Vol. 2