Holmes & Watson

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of April 7th, 2019 – No Sh*t, Sherlock

A couple of the worst-reviewed movies of 2018 hit Blu-ray this week. Both were also box office duds. I suppose it’s no surprise that their respective studios aren’t even bothering to release them on Ultra HD. Let’s see if we can help clue you in on something more to your liking.

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Holmes & Watson – The prospect of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly reteaming for a Sherlock Holmes spoof in full Victorian garb sounds like it ought to have some potential. Sadly, by most accounts, the two flail and sputter dismally without Adam McKay to direct them. Reviews for the comedy were brutal. The Razzies even called it the worst picture of last year. Could it really be that bad? I can believe that maybe it’s not very good, but the trailers looked innocuous enough to me. Then again, our Tom gave the movie zero stars n his Blu-ray review. Ouch.

Welcome to Marwen – The acclaimed documentary Marwencol followed a man struggling to recover from severe PTSD by creating an elaborate miniature town using dolls and turning it into an expansive art project. Robert Zemeckis gives that true story a heavily fictionalized and Hollywoodized gloss in a sappy, feel-good, inspirational picture starring Steve Carell and a ton of CGI gimmicks. It looked awful, critics trashed it, and the movie tanked at the box office.

On the Basis of Sex – Felicity Jones plays a young, sexy Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a bio-pic about the future Supreme Court Justice and cultural icon. Judgment on the movie ruled that it’s about as conventional and formulaic as bio-pics come, but the performances are pretty good.

Mega Time Squad – A low-budget Kiwi crime spoof with an ’80s throwback vibe finds a dimwit hoodlum in possession of a magical amulet that lets him travel back in time two minutes, but has the side effect of making a copy of himself every time he does it. The premise sounds fun and the trailer looks appealingly goofy.

UHD

Failing the release of any new movies on the format, the only title to get an Ultra HD edition this week is the 2012 Sam Worthington thriller Man on a Ledge. Who even remembers this, much less was clamoring for a 4k upgrade?

Catalog Titles

While putting the finishing touches on his new zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die, Jim Jarmusch found time to work with the Criterion Collection on high-def editions of his 1984 breakout Stranger Than Paradise and his 1991 Night on Earth. (James Cameron could take some lessons from this guy. How long have we been waiting for him to approve transfers for The Abyss and True Lies?)

The largely-forgotten 2007 Don Cheadle disc jockey drama Talk to Me somehow talked its way into the Shout Select line.

Hammer Films meets the Shaw Brothers in the 1974 horror/kung-fu spectacular The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, now available from Scream Factory.

Kino digs up a pair of Charles Bronson thrillers from 1970, Cold Sweat and Rider on the Rain. The label then stays in the ’70s for the sexploitation trilogy of the first three Emmanuelle films.

Television

If Welcome to Marwen isn’t enough disappointment for you, Robert Zemeckis also produces the History network’s lame X Files knockoff Project Blue Book, the first season of which is now collected on disc.

My $.02

I’ll be down for Stranger Than Paradise and Night on Earth at some future Criterion sale.

Do you detect anything worth your time this week?

12 comments

  1. I feel like audiences have forgotten what comedy is. Most new comedies confuse improvised, vulgar, and witty dialog as the only aspect of the genre, but there’s a lot more potential to it than that. Think of Young Frankenstein. That movie played with every tool in the bag of comedy. It’s one of the best, yet none of our modern comedies come close to playing on that level.

    I say this leading into my opinion on Holmes & Watson. It may be generally crapped on by everyone (despite box office numbers showing that very few people actually watched it), but it played with more comedic tools than most other comedies. For me, it felt like a throwback to the old classics like Young Frankenstein and it made me laugh more than most comedies made in the last 10 years.

    Is it perfect? No. Is it a classic? Not even close. But I feel like the solitary reason it gets crapped on is because it doesn’t fit the boring mold of modern comedies.

    • Judas Cradle

      Modern comedies (certainly Apatow variety) leans on improv and not script.
      And improv can yield SOME funny things, but lack of script and leaning on improv only leads to disaster.
      Some Apatow movies feel like 80% (unfunny) improv.
      Young Frankenstein was a script that was honed for years before it went before the cameras.

    • Pedram

      I agree about H&W. It’s not nearly as bad as people are making it out to be. It’s not amazing or a must see, but I definitely laughed a bunch of times throughout, and I’ve definitely seen worse comedies that have done better in terms of box office and reviews. Comedies are a very subjective thing, but I think the reason people trashed it so much is that it didn’t live up to their expectations given the previous track record of the films the two have starred in. Personally I’d put it between Step Brothers and Talladega Nights myself, since I didn’t enjoy the latter all that much.
      You basically know what you’re getting into from the trailer. Granted a good portion of the funny parts are in the trailer, but there was still a decent amount left for the movie itself.

  2. Julian

    Darn, Zemeckis can’t seem to catch a break. Flop after flop, box-office wise. I loved ‘The Walk’, though. I think his last sizeable hit was ‘The Polar Express’.

      • Shannon Nutt

        FLIGHT was the last Zemeckis movie I liked. He often feels like James Cameron to me – going off doing movies that offer some sort of technological challenge he wants to tackle instead of finding scripts worth producing.

    • I’m with you on The Walk. It’s a fantastic film. My daughter was recently assigned a presentation on a famous structure. She chose the Twin Towers. One of the requirements was to find and explain an interesting fact, so we watched The Walk together. I’ve seen it three of four times now and it still 1) puts a smile on my face and 2) makes my palms sweat.

    • Judas Cradle

      It’s not about “catching a break” – he’s making bad movies.
      Barry Levinson has the same problem.

  3. Csm101

    It looks like I won’t be picking up anything this week. The more people crap on the Holmes and Watson movie, the more curious I’ve become about it. I hope it’s at redbox tomorrow. I have a slight interest in the Welcome to Marwen movie.

    • Bolo

      Negative hype is almost harder to live down to than positive hype is to live up to.

      The same thing happened to me with ‘The Love Guru’. I was probably never going to see it, but then people went on and on about how it was the worst thing ever, like it traumatized them or something. I figured it would be some sort of fascinating failure or misunderstood, but naw, it was just lame comedy movie.

      • EM

        Plan 9 From Outer Space is hardly the best film ever made, but itʼs far from the worst. Iʼve seen plenty of fare thatʼs dreadfully boring or offensive; Plan 9, by contrast, is quite entertaining, both intentionally and accidentally. If itʼs a “worst”, itʼs probably just the most ineptly made movie worth seeing again and again and again.

  4. ‘Mega Time Squad’ wasn’t on my radar, but that looks right up my alley. Thanks!

    I would’ve picked up ‘Mirai’ and maybe ‘The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire’ if I hadn’t been sent copies to review.

    Once I winnow down my backlog a bit, I’ll definitely be picking up ‘The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires’.

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