Another edition, another busy slate of releases on Blu-ray and DVD. Of course, we’ve got all of the highlights right here, along with some review links to full reviews. 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!
Cars 3 – The second animated sequel to Pixar’s smash hit Cars finds Lightning McQueen beginning to consider retirement. However, he hopes to make one last winning dash across the finish line and take down an arrogant young opponent. This follow-up earned decent reviews. Some complained that it will only appeal to youngsters, but others enjoyed the impressive animation and attempts at a deeper theme enough to earn it a pass. The voice talent includes Owen Wilson, Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt and Larry the Cable Guy. To read this site’s review of the film, click here.
The Glass Castle – This biopic drama is based on the memoirs of writer Jeannette Walls, who lived an unusual, nomadic and nonconformist lifestyle, traveling as a child with her alcoholic father and artist mother. The story follows the youngster and her siblings as they attempt to rise above poverty. Reaction to this independent film was split. About half didn’t think that it delved deeply enough into its characters and gave events a surface-level examination, the others felt it had good performances and some effective, emotional moments. It stars Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Sarah Snook and Max Greenfield.
Gun Shy – An aging, pampered rock star decides to vacation in Chile with his supermodel wife. When she’s kidnapped, the musician is forced to search the streets of Santiago and recover her the bad guys. Of course, he’s used to having things done for him, making his pursuit all the more comedic. This small action-comedy did not fare well with the press. They all complained it while it was an interesting idea and that the lead did his best, the screenplay was beneath him and events became loud, garish and unfunny. The cast includes Antonio Banderas, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Cura and Mark Valley.
Ingrid Goes West – This dark comedy involves a stalker who uses social media to ingratiate herself into the life of a popular Instagram celebrity. She travels to LA to meet her idol, engaging in various activities to make her mark on the personality. Apparently, things get creepy very quickly. Write-ups were very positive for this independent effort. A few commented that the movie didn’t compare to similarly-themed films like The King of Comedy, but the majority found it to be an accurate and biting attack on our obsession with social media. It features Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Wyatt Russell.
Killing Ground – A couple in Australia decide to go on a camping trip and quickly regret it in this horror/thriller. They set up digs in a remote area, but discover an abandoned child and empty campsite nearby. Reportedly, the movie unfolds out of sequence as the fates of the characters and what dangers await them are slowly revealed over multiple timelines. Notices for this indie horror picture were generally positive. Those who disliked it really disliked it, calling it hard to watch and the characters underdeveloped. However, more found the movie incredibly tense and believed that the unique and unusual plot structure earned it a recommendation. Mitzi Ruhlmann and Harriet Dyer headline the feature. For those unsure, it also will be premiering on Netflix in a few weeks.
The Limehouse Golem – This period thriller made in the UK involves a serial killer terrorizing London in the 1880s. So much so that locals believe the murderer to be an actual monster in the form of a Golem. Scotland Yard assigns a detective to the case, who is determined to prove that a human is responsible for the deaths. Critics generally gave high marks to this production. A few complained that the feature was decent but unspectacular, but many more were impressed by the lead performance, production design and atmosphere generated. It stars Bill Nighy, Douglas Booth, and Olivia Cooke.
Overdrive – Two car thieves are assigned to steal an incredibly valuable Bugatti in the south of France. Unfortunately, they’re caught by a local mob boss who threatens to do horrible things unless they nick a priceless Ferrari belonging to a rival outfit. Seems it isn’t long before the siblings have everyone chasing at their heels. Reaction was muted for this action picture. The overwhelming majority felt that while this Fast & Furious knock-off had some decent car stunts, there wasn’t much of a story to impress viewers. It features Scott Eastwood, Freddie Thorp, Ana De Armas and Gaia Weiss.
Patti Cake$ – A teenage girl from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey aspires to become a famous rapper. Despite a rough home life with a mother whose dreams didn’t work out, the girl endeavors to pursue and accomplish her goal. This drama with a heavy emphasis on music earned a great deal of positive notices on the festival circuit and during a limited release. A few thought the movie was too obvious in its emotional manipulations, but it didn’t bother the overwhelming majority. They called it an enjoyable underdog story that charmed and entertained. The cast includes Danielle MacDonald, Bridgette Everett and Cathy Moriarty.
The Show – In this independent drama, a television show host invents a new and horrifying concept for a game show. It involves offering a large cash sum to the family of a contestant willing to commit suicide on live TV. Naturally, the program becomes a smash hit. Unfortunately, the movie had trouble connecting with reviewers. They complained that while the concept was interesting and the material was well suited for an exploration of the dark side of reality television, it was far too clumsy and heavy-handed to make the desired impact. The movie stars Josh Duhamel, Giancarlo Esposito, Famke Janssen, Caitlin Fitzgerald and Sarah Wayne Callies.
Slamma Jamma – There isn’t much written online or elsewhere about this sports drama, but it comes from a distributor that specializes in religious films. The plot involves a basketball star who is wrongfully convicted of a crime and is sentenced to prison. After his release, he vows to rebuild his life and decides to do so by training for a national slam dunk competition. There aren’t any review links online for the feature, so if you’re interested you’ll just have to take a chance. It features Chris Staples, Michael Irvin, Jose Canseco and Ryan Gunnarson.
Your Name – This animated film from Japan follows a teenage girl living in a small mountain town. She dreams of escaping her home and moving to Tokyo. Meanwhile, a high school student and aspiring artist living in Tokyo begins to make a strange connection to the girl. The pair find themselves switching bodies regularly. They also find a way to communicate with each other by leaving notes before they switch back, helping them both comprehend what is occurring. Critics really enjoyed the feature, called it beautifully animated, quirky and sweet.
Blasts from the Past!
Plenty of interesting older features are being given the high definition treatment as well. Shout! Factory have two made for home video sequels to the theatrical hit Darkman (1990) arriving on Blu-ray. The first is Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995). The disc includes two cuts of the feature, including the original cut and TV broadcast version. This release also includes a director’s commentary track. They also have Darkman III: Die Darkman Die (1996), which features a filmmaker audio track as well. Personally, these sequels don’t shape up to the original, but will fans will at least be able to own the entire collection on disc.
Into the Night (1985) is debuting on Blu-ray in a Collector’s Edition courtesy of Shout! Factory. It’s a dark comedy from John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Coming to America, Innocent Blood) about a mild-manned engineer and insomniac who discovers that his wife is cheating on him. To calm himself, he decides to head to the airport and take a flight to Las Vegas for the night. Unfortunately, the lead witnesses a crime and a woman being chased. This leads to a night on the run in Los Angeles. This very funny feature stars Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pheiffer and features tons of familiar faces in bit parts (Dan Aykroyd, David Bowie and Richard Farnsworth to name but a few). The disc includes a new restored master of the film, a lengthy interview with John Landis and another with Jeff Goldblum, a documentary on B.B. King (who sang the title song) and a trailer. I’m looking forward to revisiting this one.
Kino have some new Blu-rays as well. They include the award-winning Farrah Fawcett TV movie The Burning Bed (1984) and the Lee Van Cleef western, Death Rides a Horse (1967). The Hot Touch (1981) is a comedy about an art forger and expert who set up a big rouse to make some money on fake versions of lost paintings. And finally, they have an Italian western in the form of The Mercenary (1968).
Paramount are releasing a classic catalogue set of films on Blu-ray to celebrate the first feature’s 45th birthday. The Godfather Collection: Anniversary Edition contains the 1972 original, along with the 1974 and 1990 sequels. These classics are always worth picking up if you don’t own them.
Criterion are delivering a classic on Blu-ray this week. The Philadelphia Story (1940) features Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and James Stewart in a romantic comedy. It won a pair of Oscars and the new Blu-ray includes a 4K restoration of the feature, a film scholar commentary, a documentary about the lead character in the movie, two episodes of The Dick Cavett Show in which he interviews Hepburn and director George Cukor, a radio theater adaptation of the story and other bonuses.
And ClassicFlix are delivering the film noir He Walked By Night (1948) on Blu-ray.
You Know, For Kids!
Here’s some entertainment that kids may appreciate.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Season 6
Speed Racer: The Complete Series
Trollhunters: Season 1
On the Tube!
And the week’s notable TV-themed releases are listed below.
19-2: Season 4
American Dad: Volume 12
Crown: Season 1
Family Guy: Season 15
The Good Karma Hospital: Series 1
Heartland: Season 8
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Season 6
Poldark: Season 3
Speed Racer: The Complete Series
Trollhunters: Season 1
Westworld: Season 1