Redemption, thy name is Ryan Reynolds. After several failed attempts, the actor finally headlined a successful (very successful) superhero movie this year. It hits Blu-ray and UHD this week. Beyond that… well, isn’t one big title enough to tide you over for a while?
‘Deadpool‘ – It’s neat trick Ryan Reynolds pulled off, convincing Fox studio execs to let him not only reprise his character from the disastrous ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, but base a whole movie around him. The botched misconception of Deadpool was one of the worst things about that movie (though fans never blamed Reynolds himself for that), and the further failure of ‘Green Lantern’ left the actor’s star power in much doubt. Nevertheless, he persevered and got the film made – doing it the right way with a more faithful take on the character and a hard-R rating to allow for plenty of comically gruesome violence, swearing and sex. Honestly, even with a reduced budget of only $58 million, this was a pretty big risk for the studio that could have really wrecked its future plans for the ‘X-Men’ franchise. Fortunately, the fans loved it. The movie was one of the biggest hits of the year, and set a record for the highest-grossing R-rated movie. In addition to the standard Blu-ray, it’s also now available in a SteelBook edition exclusive to Best Buy or on UHD Blu-ray.
‘The Boy‘ – Horror movies about evil dolls are a curious genre to have lasted so far into the modern age. Do kids today even play with creepy porcelain dolls anymore? Does anyone still make them? Lauren Cohan from ‘The Walking Dead’ attempts to establish a feature film career playing a woman hired as a nanny for a child that in fact turns out to be a doll. Are the parents just wackadoo, or could the doll be possessed by something supernatural? Oh, the suspense is killing me…
‘Where to Invade Next‘ – Ever since ‘Fahrenheit 911’ failed to prevent George W. Bush from getting re-elected to a second term, Michael Moore’s status as a playful troublemaker and Liberal firebrand took a steep nosedive. His last few movies have been far less successful than his early works, with declining grosses from picture to picture. Hopeful to prove his relevance, Moore’s latest provocative documentary has the audacity to suggest that perhaps the United States of America is not the most flawlessly perfect nation in the entire history of mankind, and (worse!) that other countries may actually do things differently that might be worthwhile for us to adopt. How dare he?
‘Mustang‘ – France’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year was arguably really a Turkish movie, shot in Turkey in the Turkish language with Turkish stars. (The director, though born in Turkey, was raised in France. The film was also co-written by a French woman and co-produced by the French studio Canal +.) A coming-of-age tale about five orphan girls forced into arranged marriages by their conservative Muslim guardians, the movie was both acclaimed for its naturalistic performances but also criticized for its cultural xenophobia and simplification of complex issues.
‘Regression‘ – After being accused of molesting his daughter, yet having no memory of doing such a thing, a man undergoes psychological treatment that dredges up suppressed memories related to a vast conspiracy and a Satanic cult. That sounds like quite a bummer. Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson star in this thriller from Alejandro Amenábar, the director of ‘Abre los Ojos’ (the Spanish basis for ‘Vanilla Sky’) and ‘The Others’. The movie seems to be going direct-to-video, which probably isn’t a good sign.
Twilight Time offers new limited editions for a couple of Westerns (Lee Marvin in ‘Cat Ballou‘ and Gary Cooper in ‘Garden of Evil‘), Judy Garland’s final musical ‘I Could Go On Singing‘, Nicolas Roeg’s enigmatic gold prospecting period piece ‘Eureka‘, and the 1974 Italian erotic drama ‘Appassionata‘.
The Criterion Collection visits with Humphey Bogart and Gloria Grahame ‘In a Lonely Place‘ – the 1950 noir directed by Nicholas Ray.
The Warner Archive pays due respect to the ‘Father of the Bride‘ (the original Spencer Tracy version, not the Steve Martin remake).
Hot on the rollerskate-clad heels of the ‘How Did This Get Made?‘ podcast episode about it, Kino dredges up the bizarre sci-fi debacle ‘Solarbabies‘, in which Jason Patric and Jami Gertz skate through the post-apocalyptic desert in search of a magical lacrosse ball that may be a messiah. (It makes about as much sense as that sounds.) From the same year of 1986, a high school kid builds a nuclear bomb for ‘The Manhattan Project‘ yet still barely passes the class with a C.
For TV content this week, we have the recent BBC miniseries adaptation of ‘War & Peace‘, or the first season of Syfy’s cheesy ‘Killjoys‘. I cannot imagine that these two things would have any crossover audience.
I have the SteelBook copy of ‘Deadpool’ on preorder from Best Buy. After that, I’ll add ‘In a Lonely Place’, ‘Father of the Bride’, ‘Eureka’ and ‘Cat Ballou’ to my wish list. What are you up to this week?