A disappointing entry in a faltering action franchise and a failed attempt at Oscar bait headline the latest batch of new Blu-ray releases. If you’re a fan of 1980s cult movies, however, this could be a big week for you.
‘Taken 3‘ – The name of this franchise grows increasingly inaccurate with each sequel. In the latest (and supposedly last) entry, nobody gets taken at all. Instead, Liam Neeson gets framed for his wife’s murder and has to remake ‘The Fugitive’ to clear his name – just with way more shooting and explosions. Even fans of the first two (or, more accurately, fans of the first one who tolerated the second) found Part 3 to be lazy and incoherently plotted.
‘Cake‘ – When a famously beautiful Hollywood star plays frumpy and depressed in a low-budget indie drama, you know she must be angling for an Oscar nomination. Sadly, that strategy didn’t work for Jennifer Aniston this year (though she did get a Golden Globe nod). Julianne Moore had better luck in ‘Still Alice’. From what I hear, aside from the lead performances, neither movie is particularly good.
‘Everly‘ – Salma Hayek mows down assassins with a machine gun. That’s about the extent of what I know about this thriller from ‘Knights of Badassdom’ director Joe Lynch, but he got my attention with that.
‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night‘ – Talk about high-concept. This black-and-white Iranian horror drama (actually shot in Los Angeles doubling as Tehran) follows a silent female vampire from the 1980s who feasts on the blood of men that abuse women. In his theatrical review, Phil said, “The film has an undeniable sense of cool mixed together with pain, politics, horror and humor in just the right doses.” That sounds pretty fascinating to me.
The Criterion Collection generally releases Blu-rays in twos, but this week only offers Jean Renoir’s ‘The River‘, a coming-of-age drama about a teenage British girl living in India. The film is reported to be a favorite of both Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson, one or the other of whom no doubt nudged Criterion into releasing it.
The Warner Archive busts out into song with the classic musical ‘42nd Street‘, featuring dance numbers by Busby Berkeley.
The 1994 drama ‘Blue Sky‘ was the final film by Oscar-winning director Tony Richardson (‘Tom Jones’), but actually sat on the studio shelf for three years after Richardson’s death. Scuttlebutt at the time of its release was that star Jessica Lange had feuded with the director and pressured the studio to re-edit the movie to give her character more screen time. The ploy apparently worked, as Lange eventually got a Best Actress Oscar out of it, even though the movie itself has generally been forgotten in the meantime.
MGM previously released John Carpenter’s dystopian sci-fi action classic ‘Escape from New York‘ back in 2010 in a stripped-down Blu-ray with no bonus features (even though the older DVD had a bunch) and an overly-dark video transfer. Shout! Factory promises to correct those wrongs with a new Collector’s Edition reissue that will hopefully finally put an end to fans’ grumbling.
Bust a move! Also available from Shout! Factory is a double-feature of the ’80s hip hop dance-fests ‘Breakin’‘ and ‘Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo‘. Let’s be honest here, the only reason these movies are remembered at all is for the sequel’s hilariously goofy title, which has since transcended its origin and become a meme used to refer to any pointless sequel.
Speaking of hilariously goofy, that was the stock-in-trade of schlock producer Charles Band. Shout!’s Scream Factory label gives us a double-bill of his campy tiny-demon horror comedy ‘Ghoulies‘ and its first sequel. (Four of these were made in all.)
Arrow Video treats the vintage Euro-sleaze ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne‘ with the type of loving reverence you’d expect out of a Criterion Collection or Masters of Cinema.[Looks like this has been delayed to May 12th.]
It seems that those Troma Blu-rays for ‘The Toxic Avenger II‘ and ‘Class of Nuke ‘Em High II‘ I mentioned last week were actually pushed back to this week.
Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk! Mill Creek has a couple volumes of classic ‘Three Stooges‘ features.
Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett play low-rent Indiana Jones wannabes in ‘Firewalker‘.
Just when you’d forgotten that Pauly Shore ever existed, Olive Films has to go dredge up ‘Bio-Dome‘. Yes, ‘Bio-Dome’ is really on Blu-ray now while ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ isn’t. Think about that.
From Across the Pond come the first season of the Arctic thriller ‘Fortitude‘ and the second for ‘The Musketeers‘.
HBO keeps on ‘Getting On‘ with the second season of that nursing home dramedy.
The only disc I actually plan to buy this week is the ‘Escape from New York’ reissue, though I might rent ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ someday.
What will you do with your dollars?