I know, I know, you’re incredibly grateful for all the hard work we do on this site to tell you about the latest Blu-ray releases. What can I say except… you’re welcome.
‘Moana‘ – The latest evolution of the Disney Princess is a headstrong Pacific Island teenager who has adventures with a Polynesian demi-god (Dwayne Johnson) and a dippy chicken (Alan Tudyk) while belting out tunes by Broadway darling Lin-Manuel Miranda. Although highly-praised and tipped for Oscar glory, the film was ultimately overshadowed by Disney’s other major animated production of 2016, ‘Zootopia’. Nonetheless, it was still a big hit and will surely have a long shelf life on video. The Blu-ray is available in either 2D or 3D, and Best Buy allegedly carries SteelBook editions of both – though if the 3D version was ever actually opened for sale on the Best Buy web site, I must have missed the five-minute window of opportunity it was available.
‘Jackie‘ – Natalie Portman received an Oscar nomination for playing Jacqueline Kennedy in a bio-pic set during the aftermath of her husband’s assassination. In every clip I’ve seen, the actress seems to be giving a highly mannered performance with an unconvincing accent, but I suppose I shouldn’t judge without seeing it in context. Unfortunately, reaction to the movie as a whole was pretty mixed.
‘Trespass Against Us‘ – An impressive cast including Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson headline a British crime drama that is reportedly very derivative of countless other famous British crime dramas without adding anything new or finding a voice of its own.
‘Incarnate‘ – Producer Jason Blum churned out about 783 horror cheapies last year, so you’d be forgiven if you missed this one, which sounds like a mash-up of ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Dreamscape’. Aaron Eckhart plays a scientist who uses technology to enter the subconscious of a young boy possessed by a demon. Like most of Blum’s output, the movie cost almost nothing to make. (Director Brad Peyton worked with literally 1/22 the budget of the prior year’s ‘San Andreas’.) Somehow, it still lost money.
Less than a year after the movie received what I assume was probably a perfectly adequate Blu-ray release through Paramount, the Criterion Collection puts out a fancier edition of director Andrew Haigh’s ‘45 Years‘. Charlotte Rampling was Oscar nominated for the British drama about a couple whose marriage of four-and-a-half decades is shaken by the revelation of an event that happened before they met.
Back in 1988, Dennis Hopper’s police drama ‘Colors‘, in which white cops Sean Penn and Robert Duvall combat gang violence in South Central L.A., received both praise and controversy for its handling of race relation issues. I’m not sure how the movie holds up today (probably not too well, unfortunately), but Shout! Factory aims to find out with a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray.
Blake Edwards’ 1981 show-biz comedy ‘S.O.B.‘ is notable for a few things: 1) The movie was simultaneously nominated for a Golden Globe (Best Comedy or Musical), a Writers Guild Award (Best Comedy), and Razzies for both Worst Screenplay and Worst Director; 2) normally wholesome star Julie Andrews (Edwards’ wife) bares her breasts in the movie; and 3) respectable newsmagazine show ’60 Minutes’ aired an uncensored clip of that topless scene on primetime TV in 1995, scandalizing the ‘Sound of Music’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ fans who tuned in for what they assumed would be a harmless profile of Andrews. The film makes its way out of the Warner Archive this week.
Just four short years before ‘The Godfather’, burgeoning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola directed the musical ‘Finian’s Rainbow‘, starring Fred Astaire as a dancing con man who steals a pot of gold from a leprechaun in order to plant it in the ground near Fort Knox and magically grow even more gold. Yeah, really. Imagine going from this to ‘Apocalypse Now’ in one decade. Apparently, the movie (and the 1940s play it’s based on) also includes a storyline about racial strife in the Deep South, because that sounds like a great idea for a whimsical musical. The play even won some Tonys in its day, because… you know… Broadway. Anyway, this also comes out of the Warner Archive.
In what may possibly be some kind of misguided tribute to writer/star Garry Shandling, who passed away last year, Mill Creek exhumes his misbegotten 2000 sex farce ‘What Planet Are You From?‘. Shandling plays a chauvinist space alien who comes to Earth to procreate with a human woman, which he’d have better luck doing if his pickup lines weren’t so lame. Until that happens, the only way he can communicate with his home planet is to talk to Ben Kingsley through airplane toilets. If you’re wondering who could have possibly thought that was a good idea for a movie, the unfortunate answer is Mike Nichols, who really should have known better than to get roped into directing this turkey.
Hungering for some horror? Synapse dishes out ‘Popcorn‘, a 1991 slasher about a crazed killer murdering film students in an old movie theater.
The only significant TV release this week is a reissue of the complete series box set for ‘That ’70s Show‘, repackaged as a “Flashback Edition.” (The whole show was previously released on Blu-ray in 2015.)
I tried unsuccessfully to order the ‘Moana’ 3D SteelBook from Best Buy. Fortunately, the same SteelBook will be released in the UK on April 3rd. If I somehow manage to get the Best Buy copy, I’ll cancel my order for the British edition.
That’s the only thing I have my eye on. Do any Blu-rays call to you this week?