Hollywood is learning a hard lesson this year that not every corny old TV series can be successfully rebooted as an R-rated comedy spoof. If you didn’t bother to see the latest attempt in theaters, will the prospect of slo-mo T&A jiggling in 4k be enough to entice you to watch it at home?
I feel like there are better outlets for that sort of thing, personally.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Baywatch‘ – Let’s not pretend that the original ‘Baywatch’ was ever some sort of pinnacle of television artistry. It was a dumb, lowbrow show, and seems ripe for parodying in the ‘Jump Street’ vein. I can also get behind casting Dwayne Johnson, a star with a good-natured approach to winking through goofy material, in the David Hasselhoff role. Unfortunately, it seems that director Seth Gordon (of the middling ‘Horrible Bosses’ and poor ‘Identity Thief’) didn’t have the chops to pull it off. Reviews and viewer word-of-mouth were scathing, and the movie flopped at the box office. (Much like the original ‘Baywatch’, it was a bigger hit overseas than at home, but probably not enough to justify sequels.) Paramount offers the movie on Blu-ray and UHD, with an allegedly collectible SteelBook at Target. Strangely, the filmmakers neglected to shoot the picture in 3D or convert it, despite the obvious benefit that might serve this material.
‘Born in China‘ – Awwwww, baby pandas are so CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE!!! DisneyNature continues its ongoing mission to compile beauty shots of adorable animals being adorably adorable in the most adorable ways. My boys are 3-years-old. That’s probably the right age for this.
‘My Cousin Rachel‘ – You’ll have to remain patient for that ‘My Cousin Vinny’ sequel you’ve been waiting for. Instead, Rachel Weisz (no doubt cast largely because her name matches the title) stars in a Daphne Du Maurier story that had previously been adapted with Olivia de Havilland in 1952 and Geraldine Chaplin in 1983. In the period piece mystery, Sam Claflin plays a young Englishman who plots revenge against the new wife he believes murdered his cousin, only to develop feelings for her instead. Critics were mostly supportive, though many criticized the plotting as too transparent.
The buxom beauties of ‘Baywatch‘ bound up the beach in the brilliant clarity of 4k resolution.
The minimalist animation style in the continuing series of DC Comics animated features hardly seems detailed enough to benefit from Ultra HD, but Warner Bros. tries out ‘Batman and Harley Quinn‘ on the format anyway.
Did you miss owning ‘The Lion King‘ the last time it was released on Blu-ray in 2011? Hakuna Matata! (It means no worries!) Disney is pulling Simba and friends out of the vault for a Signature Collection reissue. Exclusives include a SteelBook at Best Buy or a Digibook at Target. Sadly, none of them has the 3D version of the movie. The film’s two direct-to-video sequels are available again as well.
If Amazon’s release dates are accurate, Arrow Video is having an uncharacteristically busy week with four new titles. John Frankenheimer’s crime thriller classic ‘Ronin‘ was in dire need of a do-over given how poor the old MGM Blu-ray was. Alongside that are Mario Bava’s 1962 Viking swashbuckler ‘Erik the Conqueror‘, the 1982 slasher ‘The Slayer‘, and a box set of Kinji Fukasaku’s ‘New Battles without Honor and Humanity‘ trilogy.
Legendary filmmaker John Huston’s second-to-last feature, the Oscar nominated 1985 hitman comedy ‘Prizzi’s Honor‘, arrives on Blu-ray in what is unfortunately reported to be a pretty lousy disc from Kino.
Following last week’s release of ‘My Blue Heaven’, the Warner Archive serves up another middling Steve Martin comedy in the form of ‘The Man with Two Brains‘.
Olive Films caters to fans of Ang Lee with the director’s early comedy ‘The Wedding Banquet‘.
Orson Welles’ 1946 noir thriller ‘The Stranger‘ was released on Blu-ray twice before – once in 2011 by Virgil Films and then in 2013 by Kino, neither of which was said to be entirely satisfying. This time, Olive gives it a go. Whether the new copy provides any improvement remains to be seen.
We have another onslaught of TV releases this week as all the studios want to prime you for the upcoming new seasons. We get the third seasons of ‘Gotham‘ and ‘Star Wars Rebels‘, the fourth seasons of ‘Black Sails‘ and ‘The Originals‘, and the fifth season of BBC’s ‘Ripper Street‘. Additionally, Lionsgate delivers ‘The White Princess‘ (the miniseries follow-up to ‘The White Queen’), while Olive goes swimming with the first two seasons of the classic family drama ‘Flipper‘.
I’m eager to replace the cruddy old Blu-ray of ‘Ronin’. I might also put ‘The Wedding Banquet’ on my wish list.
This may be a slow week, but does anything have your attention?