That adorable Easter Bunny has deposited his rainbow-colored eggs and hopped away back from whence he came. With the holiday weekend over, a much darker and scarier rabbit arrives via Blu-ray this week. Let’s take a look at that and more.
‘Split‘ – 2015’s ‘The Visit’ started M. Night Shyamalan on the path to redemption, but still proved divisive among viewers. His latest thriller was more widely hailed as a return-to-form for a filmmaker who’d let his career go off the rails for far too long. James McAvoy takes on a very show-offy role as a mentally ill man who allegedly has 23 separate personalities, at least one of whom likes to kidnap young girls. Anya Taylor-Joy from ‘The Witch’ is his latest victim. Although mental health advocates didn’t much care for Shyamalan’s portrayal or demonization of a serious issue, the movie had mostly positive reviews from critics and was a huge box office hit. Let’s see if Shyamalan can keep up the momentum with his next project.
‘The Founder‘ – Michael Keaton stars in a bio-pic about Ray Kroc, the shrewd businessman who purchased a small-time hamburger chain called McDonald’s and launched it into a worldwide fast food empire. Kroc’s tactics for doing so may not have exactly been fair to the original owners. Reportedly, the script for the film about him started out as an interesting deconstruction of the bio-pic genre that attracted the attention of the Coen brothers. Unfortunately, when they proved unavailable, the eventual product was watered down by the Weinstein Company and director John Lee Hancock (of ‘The Blind Side’ and ‘Saving Mr. Banks’). Audiences had little interest.
‘Sleepless‘ – Remade from a 2011 French film called ‘Nuit blanche’ (‘Sleepless Night’), Jamie Foxx plays an undercover cop who has a very bad night when his son is kidnapped by mobsters. Despite negligible advertising, the movie somehow did $20 million at the domestic box office, which was a lot better than expected (it far outgrossed Ben Affleck’s gangster flop ‘Live by Night’) but still a failure for something that cost $30 million to make. Reviews were overwhelmingly negative.
Beware Frank the Bunny! Richard Kelly’s surreal cult gem ‘Donnie Darko‘ was released in a pretty unimpressive Blu-ray back in 2010. Arrow Video attempts to rectify that with a new 4k restoration. Like the previous disc, both the original theatrical cut and the much-inferior Director’s Cut are included, along with three audio commentaries which all suggest that Kelly didn’t much understand the movie he made. Stick with the theatrical cut.
Assuming that Amazon’s release dates are all correct, also on Arrow’s docket this week are the 1961 Italian crime thriller ‘The Assassin‘ (starring Marcello Mastroianni), as well as a pair of giallo shockers with the fanciful titles ‘The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave‘ and ‘The Red Queen Kills Seven Times‘.
The Criterion Collection brings us George Stevens’ marvelous screwball comedy ‘Woman of the Year‘, which marked the first pairing (both professionally and romantically) of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. In addition to that, Criterion reteams with director Wim Wenders on his Oscar nominated musical documentary ‘Buena Vista Social Club‘.
Sony celebrates the 25th anniversary of Penny Marshall’s period baseball dramedy ‘A League of Their Own‘
Distributing for GKIDS, Universal offers Studio Ghibli’s animated romantic drama ‘Ocean Waves‘.
Kino digs up a couple more classics with the 1957 adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Farewell to Arms‘ and the 1950 James Stewart Western ‘Broken Arrow‘.
Hoping to capitalize on the impending Hulu remake, Shout! Factory unearths the 1990 adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian drama ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘. Sadly, the story’s subject matter is relevant again in the current political climate.
The latest piece of schlock to get the Collector’s Edition treatment from Scream Factory is the 1995 horror omnibus ‘Tales from the Hood‘.
The TV scene is a little slow this week, bringing only the respective second seasons of PBS’ ‘Home Fires‘ and Syfy’s ‘Killjoys‘.
My top two titles of the week are ‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Woman of the Year’. I’ll also put ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ on my wish list for later and will rent ‘Split’ at some point.
How strong is your commitment to Sparkle Motion?
Tales From the Hood should be at my doorstep tomorrow. The Red Queen Kills Seven Times and The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave are of very high interest. The Donnie Darko remaster is a wish list item. I’d like to see Split before a purchase and am also interested in renting Sleepless.
Pre-ordered Darko when it first was announced. Can’t wait. Wish Arrow would have released it prior to Easter, however. I always enjoy a visit from Frank the Rabbit during the holiday.
Since you asked, I have an undying devotion to Sparkle Motion. I pre-ordered Donnie Darko and it should be here tommorow. Ive been stuck with a crappy old Dvd of director’s cut for a while so I’m looking forward to righting the ship.
I am interested in Sailor Moon R The Movie. I had it on VHS way back in the day. I’ll wait on a review though – Sailor Moon may have been my first anime, but it has not aged well at all for me. The movies I may pick up for nostalgia if they get good reviews, but I picked up season 1 of the first show on Blu, and I was like “Wow, even in Japanese, this show is bad. What did I see in it?”
Spencer’s Mountain is a blind buy, and has already shipped.
I was thinking I had something else shipping htis week, but checked preorders on Amazon, Amazon.co.uk, Zavvi, and Best Buy, and it looks like the only place I still have open orders at is Amazon UK, and one ships end of may, the other two ship in June. No other preorders anywhere. That just feels really weird. I think the reason is that I have a huge Blu-Ray collection now, the new stuff I am picking up on 4k, but I always wait for sales for the 4k, because Best Buy always has something on sale, and their selection rotates pretty frequently as to what is on sale.
I’ll probably rent Split and Sleepless at some point, but otherwise I plan to pick up a couple older UHD releases (John Wick and Kingsman: The Secret Service) since nothing jumps out to me as must buy.
The Handmaid’s tale is relevant again only because the author was writing about what would happen if Sharia law was to take over.
Yes, she was writing about Muslim doctrine twisting the world in a possible future.
But I’m sure that was what you were talking about. (Cuz you did your homework, right?)
I think you should have done your own homework a little better. The setting in The Handmaid’s Tale is specifically a Christian fundamentalist theocracy. Margaret Atwood has explained in numerous interviews that her primary influence was 17th Century Puritan New England. Here’s an essay she wrote for The Guardian describing the fictional government in the book:
“Like any theocracy, this one would select a few passages from the Bible to justify its actions, and it would lean heavily towards the Old Testament, not towards the New.”
At the time the book was published, it was designed as a critique of the 1980s Moral Majority movement. Citing Pat Robertson’s presidential run, Atwood gave many interviews calling her story a “logical extension of current trends.”
I picked up the Target Steelbook of ‘Teen Titans: The Judas Contract’ (Warner Bros.)
I’m also interested in picking up the classic ‘Broken Arrow’ (Kino). I’m a big fan of James Stewart.
And, the TV Series ‘Killjoys: Season 2’ (Universal)
Sleepless for me straight blind buy