Welcome to 2017. The fate of the world may be uncertain this year, but (at least for now) new movies keep getting released on Blu-ray. Perhaps not many this week, but you can’t expect much from early January.
‘Blair Witch‘ – The original ‘Blair Witch Project’ was a box office sensation back in 1999, but (fairly or unfairly) is not remembered all that fondly by many people today. Its immediate cash-in sequel, the following year’s ‘Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2’, was considered a big dud yet still turned a fair profit (though much less than the first one). Nonetheless, it’s not terribly surprising that studio Lionsgate would eventually attempt to revive or reboot a horror franchise that still has some name recognition value. Directed by Adam Wingard of the cult hits ‘You’re Next‘ and ‘The Guest‘, the new movie is positioned as another sequel in which the brother one of the original protagonists visits the Burkittsville woods to investigate what happened to his sister, only to relive her experience. Our theatrical reviewer Phil was a big fan of this movie, but seems to have been in a minority of critics with that opinion. Because it was produced on a miniscule $5 million budget, the film’s $20 million box office gross was enough to put it in the black, but doesn’t hold a candle to the $250 million that the original made 17 years earlier.
‘Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life‘ – If your children have outgrown ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’, here’s a new attempted franchise starter pandering to the ‘tween set. Despite being based on a popular book series, the movie faltered with its target audience.
‘Denial‘ – Rachel Weisz stars in a true story bio-pic about Deborah Lipstadt, a historian who got entangled in a vicious courtroom battle against a notorious Holocaust denier. Mick Jackson, director of ‘The Bodyguard’ (yes, the Whitney Huston one), tries his hand at weightier subject matter. From all accounts, the result is a clumsy and overly self-important piece of failed Oscar bait.
After witnessing this week’s New Year’s Eve performance fiasco, perhaps you might be in the mood to revisit one of Mariah Carey’s previous disasters. Luckily for you, Mill Creek has licensed the rights to her infamous 2001 flop, ‘Glitter‘.
Other catalog titles this week are dominated by double-dip reissues. The most notable of these is a 20th Anniversary Edition for the Tom Cruise rom-com ‘Jerry Maguire‘, which is currently exclusive to the Best Buy chain. Director Cameron Crowe was closely involved with this disc’s production and has loaded it up with lots of new supplements, including almost an hour’s worth of deleted and extended scenes.
Hoping to hype its obviously doomed sequel, Universal has a new edition of the idiotic ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘.
HBO’s ‘Girls‘ will start its final season next month, which should give fans enough time to rewatch Season 5 on Blu-ray.
This isn’t a terribly exciting start for the new year, in my opinion. None of these titles do much for me. (I enjoyed ‘Jerry Maguire’ back when I saw it in the theater, but have never felt the need to own a copy.) My wallet is staying closed this week. How about yours?