Several movies that didn’t do particularly well at the box office hit Blu-ray this week. Who’s going to take the blame for this?
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword‘ – Guy Ritchie isn’t exactly the first name that might come to mind for directing a historical fantasy epic, but the filmmaker brings his particular brawny and irreverent style to bear on the legend of Camelot and the Round Table. On its face, this sounds like a bad mix. Then again, so did ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and that somehow worked out for him. This time, however, the trailers didn’t inspire anyone to see the movie, nor did critics care much for it. Warner Bros. had planned for it to kick off a franchise of five more sequels, but it was a big dud in theaters and those plans are undoubtedly dead now. After the back-to-back big budget failures of this and ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’, don’t be surprised if Ritchie scales down and retreats back to his fan base with another of the British crime pictures that established his reputation. In the meantime, you can get ‘King Arthur’ in 2D, 3D or UHD.
‘Snatched‘ – Ha ha, it’s a double entendre. Because it’s a comedy about women who get kidnapped, but also “snatch” is another word for… Umm, you know what, never mind. Amy Schumer’s second major star vehicle had nowhere near the success or critical support of ‘Trainwreck’. Goldie Hawn (in her first movie since 2002) seems really smartly cast to play her mother, though. The movie will probably have some shelf life on streaming and cable.
‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul‘ – For the fourth entry in its moderately popular children’s franchise, Fox replaced the entire cast. I doubt that Alicia Silverstone or Tom Everett Scott (as the title kid’s mom and dad, taking over from Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn) can be held to blame so much as growing disinterest from the target audience, but the movie did significantly less business than its three predecessors.
‘Kung Fu Yoga‘ – The title alone inspires groans. Long past his prime, Jackie Chan has apparently taken up the Adam Sandler business model of making new movies in exotic locations as an excuse to take a nice trip and write off the vacation as a business expense. Here, he goes to India for an ‘Indiana Jones’ spoof that Phil said has very little action and a lot of terrible comedy.
‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword‘ and ‘Snatched‘ both get Ultra HD editions concurrent with their standard Blu-rays.
The newest addition to the Criterion catalog is Michael Curtiz’ 1950 noir ‘The Breaking Point‘, a remake of ‘To Have and Have Not’ that tries to stick a little closer to the original Ernest Hemingway novel than the previous movie with Humphrey Bogart did.
The Warner Archive goes cruising with ‘Freebie and the Bean‘, the 1974 action comedy directed by Richard Rush (who would later make ‘The Stunt Man’). James Caan and Alan Arkin play the title roles, and the movie has some memorable car chases.
Arrow Video resurrects Stuart Gordon’s gory and campy ‘Re-Animator‘, which was last released on Blu-ray by Starz/Anchor Bay back in 2012. Fans can hope that Arrow’s limited edition will improve on that reportedly middling disc.
After that, Arrow also collects a box set of Japanese cult auteur Seijun Suzuki’s ‘The Taisho Trilogy‘, a trio of supernatural dramas.
Shout! Factory has licensed the Coen brothers’ classic ‘Fargo‘ for a 20th Anniversary SteelBook edition. I’m not clear if the movie has been remastered yet again or how much the disc contents differ from the last Blu-ray release in 2014.
To honor the success of Jason Bateman’s new Netflix drama ‘Ozark’, Scream Factory bestows a Collector’s Edition upon the actor’s finest big-screen triumph, ‘Teen Wolf Too‘. For the sake of completists, the other ‘Teen Wolf‘ is available too, but that one stars somebody else.
There’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on this week at Kino, which offers the Elvis Presley musicals ‘Clambake‘ and ‘Frankie and Johnny‘.
Universal is dumping a bunch of 1990s catalog titles as Best Buy exclusives. These include ‘Problem Child‘, ‘Bowfinger‘, ‘BASEketball‘, ‘EDtv‘ and ‘For Love of the Game‘. I have some friends who swear by ‘Bowfinger’ as a comedy masterpiece, but I found it pretty mediocre back in the day.
Aside from anime, the only notable TV release this week is the second season of NBC’s ‘Blindspot‘. I gave up on that about halfway through the first season.
The ‘Fargo’ SteelBook is surprisingly reasonably priced, so I may need to check that out. I’m also interested in ‘The Breaking Point’ and ‘Freebie and the Bean’.
What do you make of this week’s selection?