If you only looked at the raw number of Blu-ray and Ultra HD discs being released, this week might seem like a slowdown from the last few. A title or two among them, however, might deserve a little buzz.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Bumblebee – If most reports are to be believed, the first Transformers movie not directed by Michael Bay may also be the first that’s any good. Travis Knight from Laika Animation takes over for a spinoff set during the 1980s, with Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena as human sidekicks for the endearing yellow Autobot. The movie scored great reviews, but had the unfortunate timing of being released against the monster hit Aquaman and drowned in its wake at the box office. Strong word-of-mouth should hopefully propel it to a good shelf life on video, where it’s available in 1080p or 4k. Sadly, even though it played in 3D theatrically, I don’t see any Blu-ray releases in that format anywhere.
Vice – Christian Bale dons a lot of latex to star in a bio-pic about Dick Cheney, the controversial former Vice President under George W. Bush. Talladega Nights director Adam McKay attempts to parlay his success from The Big Short into a new career phase as a serious filmmaker of serious movies about serious issues. This one didn’t go over quite as well. Reviews were largely mixed-to-negative and the film’s box office underwhelmed. Nonetheless, it somehow landed eight Oscar nominations, winning only for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
The Mule – If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Clint Eastwood vow to retire from acting after 2008’s Gran Torino to focus only on directing? A decade later and pushing 90, here he is still putting himself in front of the camera. The plot this time finds him playing an elderly horticulturist who becomes a drug mule for a Mexican cartel – when he has the time in between multiple threesomes with much younger women (really!). Like many of Eastwood’s late-career movies, critics had mixed things to say about it. However, the man’s enduring screen appeal was enough to pull in some good money with audiences. The film was a big bounce-back from last year’s flop The 15:17 to Paris.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot – The title should be enough to clue you in that this is a movie aimed directly at finding a cult audience. Recent Oscar nominee Sam Elliot stars as the title character, a veteran war hero who’s called out of retirement to stop a sasquatch from spreading a deadly plague. Jason was totally on-board with this.
Rust Creek – A young college student gets lost in the Kentucky backwoods and finds herself running from murderous yokels – praying for deliverance or perhaps a little southern comfort – in a redneck horror flick that Deirdre says is a little smarter and more throughtful than she expected going in.
Hal – Judd Apatow, Norman Jewison, Jeff Bridges, Jane Fonda, and Dustin Hoffman are among the subjects interviewed for a documentary celebrating Harold and Maude and Being There filmmaker Hal Ashby.
The Great Buster: A Celebration – If your tastes extend even further back in cinema history, the new documentary by Peter Bogdanovich (a contemporary of Ashby’s) examines the life and legacy of silent comedian Buster Keaton.
Bumblebee lands on Ultra HD video with a SteelBook at Best Buy. The Mule follows right behind. Strangely, Vice didn’t make the cut.
Building up some hype for its new franchise reboot, Lionsgate offers 4k upgrades for the two Hellboy Animated features – Storm of Storms and Blood & Iron.
Flicker Alley makes its 4k debut with the 1962 70mm travelogue Flying Clipper.
The new spinoff affords Paramount an excuse to bundle it with all the prior entries in a Bumblebee & Transformers 6-movie collection.
Japanese cult auteur Takashi Miike has put his weird spin on pretty much every genre under the sun. With 2016’s manga adaptation Terra Formars, he even went to Mars to battle mutant space cockroaches. As ever, the folks at Arrow Video remain huge fans of the director.
Kino investigates the 1989 Tom Selleck thriller An Innocent Man, then digs up the ’90s-era Andie MacDowell comedies Green Card and Unstrung Heroes.
I am very surprisingly excited to watch Bumblebee and have the SteelBook on preorder. That’s about all I need this week, though I might sit for Vice or The Mule if I run across them on cable someday.
Are you stung by the desire to pick up anything this week?