A pretty big selection of Blu-rays and 4k Ultra HD discs run loose this week. Do you really gotta catch ’em all, though? That seems expensive.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu – The popularity of the Pokémon Go mobile game breathed life back into the property. Even so, the prospect of a live-action Pokémovie still seemed like an eye-rollingly bad idea until Ryan Reynolds signed on to voice the adorable yellow rodent called Pikachu. His involvement brought a lot of attention to the project and even some early positive buzz that propelled it to become the highest-grossing movie (and also one of the best reviewed) based on a video game. All that said, most of the reaction to it was along the lines of “surprisingly not bad” while still acknowledging flaws such as a derivative plot. Now it’s on disc in all available formats, even 3D.
The Curse of La Llorona – For some reason, I can’t read the title of the latest spinoff from the Conjuring Cinematic Universe (the Conjurverse?) without hearing the music for “My Sharona” in my head. Anyway, this one is set in 1973 as a social worker played by Linda Cardellini investigates the famous Mexican legend of the weeping ghost woman who kills children. Like most installments in this franchise, poor reviews couldn’t stop the low-budget movie from making a huge profit at the box office.
Tolkien – Nicholas Hoult stars in a bio-pic about J.R.R. Tolkien which suggests that the author’s real-life experiences in World War I directly translated to the plot of The Lord of the Rings in a literal 1:1 fashion. This affords the film plenty of excuses to stage elaborate VFX fantasy sequences, but sounds terribly reductive to me. Critics were mixed on the picture and audiences didn’t notice it at all
Poms – Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, and some other friends form a cheerleading squad at their retirement home to prove that they can still Bring It On despite getting older. The consensus seems to be that the comedy is cute and innocuous, but also very clichéd and a waste of all the talent involved.
Girls of the Sun – A more serious form of feminism is examined in a war drama about female freedom fighters in Kurdistan. Deirdre liked the film for the most part, with some reservations.
The Outsider – Country music star Trace Adkins headlines a Western revenge thriller that Deirdre had no kind words for.
Donnybrook – Jason was equally disenchanted with an indie sports drama starring a bulked-up Jamie Bell as a former Marine turned bare-knuckle boxer. The film fizzled on the festival circuit and went nowhere afterwards.
What We Left Behind – Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – CBS Films spent a lot of money and effort restoring Star Trek: The Next Generation into lovely high-definition, but disappointing sales stopped short any plans to do the same for follow-on series Deep Space Nine or Voyager, which are equally in need. Failing a full commitment, selected scenes from DS9 have been remastered for inclusion in a crowdfunded documentary that celebrates the series. Some of the show’s original writers imagine how a hypothetical eighth season might go.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu arrives on 4k Ultra HD alongside the latest DC animated feature, Batman: Hush. Best Buy has an exclusive SteelBook for Pikachu and a gift set with action figure for Batman.
Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table joins her earlier Sweetie as part of the Criterion Collection. The 1990 film is a bio-pic of Kiwi author Janet Frame (played by three actresses at different ages), who was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, institutionalized, and nearly lobotomized before finding her voice.
Kino investigates A Foreign Affair, Billy Wilder’s cynical 1948 comedy starring Jean Arthur and Marlene Dietrich, as well as his 1974 remake of The Front Page with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
Also rediscovered by Kino is the 1992 Penelope Ann Miller comedy flop The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag.
Viggo Mortensen and Lindsay Duncan star in director Philip Ridley’s 1990 cult horror drama The Reflecting Skin, about a disturbed young Midwestern boy in the 1950s who becomes convinced that his neighbor is a vampire. The Blu-ray comes from Film Movement.
Arrow Video goes through the looking glass to find Alice, Sweet Alice, the 1976 slasher featuring a young Brooke Shields.
I’m probably not going to run out and buy anything right away, but An Angel at My Table and The Reflecting Skin will go on my wish list. That should do it for me. Does anything pique your interest this week?