Don’t let the lack of major new Blu-rays this week stress you out. Take a deep breath and center yourself. Repeat after me: It’s going to be all right… all right… all… right…
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Serenity – In what must surely be the weirdest possible remake of Joss Whedon’s 2005 sci-fi cult favorite, Matthew McConaughey plays a fishing boat captain named Baker Dill (really, that’s the name) who gets embroiled in a noirish mystery involving Anne Hathaway while also obsessing over the giant tuna that got away. If you haven’t already read any of the spoilers, I highly recommend you do, because the movie’s got a doozy of a plot twist that will leave you questioning how two Oscar winners could possibly have fallen for this script. One of the worst reviewed movies of the year, it’s very likely to receive some more attention come Razzie season.
Arctic – Not to be confused with his recent Netflix film Polar, which has a very different plot, Mads Mikkelsen plays a man stranded in the middle of a vast frozen tundra after a plane crash. Although it may not do much to reinvent the genre, the survival drama scored strong notices for the star’s performance and some harrowing thrills.
Miss Bala – Gina Rodriguez headlines the English-language remake of a 2011 Mexican action flick about a beauty queen (weirdly, changed in this version to be the friend of a beauty queen) trapped in the crossfire between the American DEA and a Tijuana gang. Catherine “Twilight” Hardwicke directs. Deirdre agreed with the critical consensus that the movie sucks and Rodriguez deserves a better showcase for her talents.
Dragged Across Concrete – In the latest ultra-violent exploitation B-movie from director S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99), Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn play dirty cops who try to rip off an underworld crime ring after getting suspended from the police force for being abusive assholes.
Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki – The legendary animator and head of Japan’s Studio Ghibli has threatened to retire at least half a dozen times over the past 20 years, none of his breaks lasting long before his workaholic compulsions drive him to the next project. A documentary catches him at work on his first all-CGI animated short, called Boro the Caterpillar.
Kino makes its first entry into the Ultra HD field by licensing Ridley Scott’s Hannibal from MGM. (A reissue on Blu-ray is also available.) I’m skeptical that 4k resolution will make the movie any better.
Jackie Chan joins the Criterion Collection with a double-feature pairing of his goofy but wildly entertaining 1980s action classics Police Story and Police Story 2. From all appearances, the set looks to be a direct port of a comparable edition released by Eureka! in the UK last year. Sadly, the best entry in the franchise, 1993’s Police Story 3: Super Cop, could not be included due to rights issues.
Director Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career might be considered more traditional Criterion fare. A very young Judy Davis and Sam Neill star in the 1979 Australian period piece drama.
Pushed back several times already this year, David Mamet’s 1997 con artist caper The Spanish Prisoner finally looks to be on track for release this week from a label called Ammo Content.
The Warner Archive gathers the gang together and puts on a big show with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in the 1950 Technicolor musical extravaganza Summer Stock.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays a former member of the Irish Republican Army trying to go straight after being released from prison in the acclaimed 1997 drama The Boxer, the actor’s third collaboration with director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father).
That film enters the Shout Select line this week, next to the much less respectable 1992 Christian Slater action comedy Kuffs.
Scream Factory unleashes the 1955 giant monster B-movie Tarantula!.
John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles turns 35 this year, and Universal celebrates with a Digibook reissue.
Fox repackages the X-Men films into two “Trilogy” bundles. Vol. 1 contains X-Men, X2, and The Last Stand, while Vol. 2 contains First Class, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse. For some reason, Best Buy only offers a SteelBook for Vol. 1 but not the second one.
I imported the Police Story set from the UK last year, which should suffice me until the rights get sorted out for Super Cop.
Assuming it actually gets released this week, I’m excited to revisit The Spanish Prisoner. Meanwhile, My Brilliant Career will go on my ever-expanding Criterion wish list.
Does anything capture your attention this week?