Can you believe we’re expected to pay full price for a Blu-ray that leaves out all the movie’s colors? These Hollywood studios are getting to be real penny-pinchers. What’s next, are they going to forget the sound too?
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Logan‘ – Despite having neither ‘X-Men’ nor ‘Wolverine’ in the title, Hugh Jackman’s third solo outing as the indestructible mutant struck gold with both critics and audiences, becoming one of the biggest box office hits of the year. It’s also reportedly Jackman’s final appearance as the character (and Patrick Stewart’s as Professor Xavier as well). On disc, you have a choice of Blu-ray, UHD, and a host of retailer exclusives, including SteelBooks for both formats at Best Buy. (Sadly, the cover is ugly Pop Art garbage.) All of them include ‘Logan Noir’, a special black-and-white version of the movie that director James Mangold created because he saw George Miller do it for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and wanted to jump on that bandwagon early. Yes, don’t worry, the original color version is there too.
‘Get Out‘ – Perhaps the most surprising success story of the year comes from comedian Jordan Peele, who made his directorial debut with a legit horror movie that is not a spoof. A mixture of ‘Stepford Wives’ and ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ laced with race relations satire, the film was beloved by critics and, with a gross of almost $175 million against a tiny budget of just $5 million, is easily one of the most profitable pictures of the year.
‘The Great Wall‘ – Do you remember when Zhang Yimou was known primarily for delicate, humanist dramas like ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ and ‘Ju Dou’? Now he’s responsible for a bloated fantasy epic in which white savior Matt Damon protects medieval China from dragons. This seems like a terrible idea on many levels. Audiences in most parts of the world agreed, leaving it a terrible flop. On the other hand, the movie was a pretty big hit in China itself, where viewers were apparently less bothered by the accusations of whitewashing. In any case, it still lost a lot of money for the multiple studios that co-produced it. Universal is stuck distributing it on home video, and offers it on Blu-ray and UHD, but decided to skip 3D even though it played that way theatrically.
‘My Life as a Zucchini‘ – The whimsical title and cute stop-motion animation mask a dark story about a young boy who accidentally kills his drunken mother and winds up in an orphanage. But it’s also a comedy. The Swiss film was very acclaimed and even made the Oscar shortlist for Best Animated Feature this year. It doesn’t sound like it’s meant for kids, though.
‘XX‘ – A quartet of women directors contribute short films to an anthology horror picture with a female slant. I support the idea of this, but the execution is said to be a mixed bag.
‘Rock Dog‘ – He’s a dog. He plays rock music. The animated kids’ movie was produced by a couple of Chinese studios trying to break into the English-speaking market. Nobody was buying. It tanked in both in its home country and abroad. Do you really need to know any more about this?
‘I Am Heath Ledger‘ – The latest in a series of morbid TV documentaries profiling dead celebrities integrates extensive video footage the ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and ‘Dark Knight’ star shot of himself. The piece already aired on the Spike network, but also had a brief theatrical run and now a video release. Reviews called it poignant but superficial.
As mentioned above, ‘Logan‘ and ‘The Great Wall‘ premiere in 4k simultaneously with regular Blu-ray.
It turns out that Amazon listed a wrong date for the Ultra HD copy of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar winner ‘Unforgiven‘ last week. That disc actually comes out this week.
The Criterion Collection’s latest acquisition is ‘Dheepan‘, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The drama from French filmmaker Jacques Audiard (‘A Prophet’, ‘Rust and Bone’) explores themes of race, culture clash, and PTSD as a former child soldier from Sri Lanka seeks refuge in a Paris suburb, only to land in the middle of a different kind of war involving gangs and drugs.
Arrow Video describes the horror/action cult oddity ‘Wolf Guy‘ thusly: “Wolf Guy truly is one-of-a-kind, with [Sonny] Chiba in full effect as the part-man, part-wolf, all-karate action hero.” Umm… awesome? After that, Arrow stays in 1975 Japan for Kinji Fukasaku’s yakuza thriller ‘Cops vs. Thugs‘.
The Arrow Academy label is where Arrow delivers its more high-minded offerings. This week brings us the 6-disc ‘The Jacques Rivette Collection‘, containing several films from the French auteur. The contest listing is a little unclear on exactly how many or which movies are included, but the American edition seems to be pared down from a 16-disc (8 Blu-rays and 8 DVDs) copy released in the UK last year.
Members of the Disney Movie Club get exclusive access to ‘The Mighty Ducks‘ and its two sequels. Somehow, this doesn’t inspire me to join.
If you’ve got a hankerin’ to watch some old-fashioned dance hall girls kick their heels out over your head, the 3-D Film Archive has restored the 1953 musical Western ‘Those Redheads from Seattle‘ to its original three-dimensional glory.
I would be very inclined to buy a SteelBook copy of ‘Logan’ if only the artwork on the SteelBooks wasn’t so hideous. As it is, I think I’ll wait until the title gets reissued in a better-looking SteelBook at some point in the future, even if it has to come from overseas. That will happen eventually, I guarantee it. In the meantime, I can suffice with a streaming rental. I’m also pretty eager to rent ‘Get Out’.
Are you more tolerant of this endless Pop Art fad than I am? What other titles will you get out to a store to buy this week?