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New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure‘ – The YA dystopian sci-fi franchise that nobody cares about closes its allegedly epic trilogy with a finale that cost more than the previous two entries and grossed a lot less in return, to few people’s surprise. The series is still pretty low-budget by the standard of these things, and the international box office was a lot stronger than North America, so the studio is probably not too disappointed. Still, was anyone really clamoring for an end to this story?
‘Paddington 2‘ – American audiences were even more disinterested in the follow-up to 2014’s family-friendly charmer based on the beloved children’s books about an adorable talking bear. This one’s something of a conundrum, because I was under the impression that most people who saw the first one liked it. Critics were also over-the-moon for the sequel, which still has a rare, perfect 100% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes. Overseas audiences loved it, especially in Europe. Are British accents really that much of a turn-off for American families? My kids don’t seem to mind them when they watch ‘Peppa Pig’.
‘Den of Thieves‘ – Gerard Butler, 50 Cent, and Ice Cube Jr. star in a generic heist thriller that looks like it ought to have gone straight to Netflix but somehow proved to be a modest hit with surprising staying power in theaters earlier this year. Reviews were mostly negative and the trailers were pretty lame, so I’m not sure what people saw in it.
‘Hostiles‘ – Christian Bale reunites with his ‘Out of the Furnace’ director Scott Cooper for a dark-and-gritty Western about a racist Army captain assigned to escort a dying Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) back to his tribal lands in Montana. Bad things happen on the journey, forcing the captain to evaluate his beliefs. Reviews and word-of-mouth were mixed, many complaining about the film’s turgid pace and excessive length even while praising its performances and strong visuals.
‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story‘ – In her heyday in the 1940s, Austrian-born actress Hedy Lamarr was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women to work in Hollywood. She was also a genius inventor whose hobby of tinkering with electronics led to the development of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Her fascinating story is told in a new documentary.
Paramount heads back to Rydell High with a 40th Anniversary remaster of ‘Grease‘ on both Blu-ray and Ultra HD. The ‘Grease Collection’ SteelBook box set doesn’t have the 4k disc, but marks the Blu-ray debuts for the unloved sequel ‘Grease 2’ and 2016’s ‘Grease Live!’ TV remake.
Fans of the original movie tend to act like ‘Grease 2’ is some sort of atrocity, which I find funny because it’s basically the same movie with a better lead actress. I’m not particularly a fan of ‘Grease’ to start, but I actually did think that the live TV musical was very well staged and entertaining.
Also arriving in 4k are ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure‘, ‘Hostiles‘, and a 25th Anniversary Edition of ‘A Few Good Men‘.
Somebody at the Criterion Collection must be in a morbid mood this week, pairing up Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Dead Man‘ with Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Virgin Suicides‘.
In addition to standalone copies for ‘The Death Cure’, Fox bundles that movie with its two predecessors in the ‘Maze Runner Trilogy‘ box set.
If you missed out on the Twilight Time limited edition of Walter Hill’s 1975 boxing drama ‘Hard Times’ before it went out of print, the film has been reissued as part of Mill Creek’s budget ‘Charles Bronson: 4- Movie Collection‘ along with 1972’s ‘The Valachi Papers’ and 1973’s ‘The Stone Killer’, which are still in print from Twilight Time for a lot more money than Mill Creek is asking. (The fourth title is 1975’s ‘Breakout’.) Whether the quality is comparable, I can’t say. I wouldn’t put it past Mill Creek to compress all four movies onto one disc.
Olive Films offers John Boorman’s Oscar nominated WWII drama ‘Hope and Glory‘.
Shout! Factory charges ahead at flank speed with the 1978 Charlton Heston naval thriller ‘Gray Lady Down‘. And yet it’s the silly 1983 Dan Aykroyd pimpin’ comedy ‘Doctor Detroit‘ that gets added to the prestige Shout Select line.
Meanwhile, the Scream Factory label goes full cheese with a Collector’s Edition of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 1989 sci-fi debacle ‘Cyborg‘.
Fans of schlock horror will delight in Arrow Video’s Special Edition of ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space‘ and Full Moon’s Limited Edition of the original ‘Puppet Master‘. The latter comes in a VHS-style box and includes an action figure toy.
Kino presents the 3-D Film Archive’s new restoration of the 1953 horror chiller ‘The Maze‘.
Finally, Disney Movie Club members have access to a Blu-ray edition of the 1998 remake of ‘The Parent Trap‘ starring Lindsay Lohan.
TV content this week includes the eighth season of Showtime’s ‘Shameless‘ and the first season of the British mystery drama ‘Unforgotten‘.
I don’t think I’ll run out to buy anything right away, but ‘Hope and Glory’, ‘Dead Man’ and ‘The Maze’ will go on my wish list for later. I’d also like to see the ‘Bombshell’ documentary if I ever run across it on Netflix or cable.
Is your money begging to be spent on anything this week?