If you’re eager to spend some money on Blu-rays this week, I regret to inform you that the start of August may not be much more exciting than the end of July was. Notable titles include a Melissa McCarthy comedy, some UHD upgrades of questionable merit, and a lot of TV content.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Life of the Party – I’m genuinely surprised that this is Melissa McCarthy’s first comedy since the Ghostbusters reboot in 2016. I could’ve sworn she’d released three or four since then. In any case, McCarthy once again places her trust in husband Ben Falcone (who directed her in Tammy and The Boss to mixed results). This time, she plays a middle-aged woman who goes back to college at the same school her teenage daughter is attending. While there, I assume that she joins the swim team and wows everyone by doing a Triple Lindy, because if you’re going to make a Back to School knockoff, why even bother disguising it?
Breaking In – Gabrielle Union stars in a sort-of reverse Panic Room as a desperate mother who must rescue her children being held hostage inside a house with supposedly impregnable security. The movie somehow grossed $50 million despite terrible reviews and little advertising. The Blu-ray promises an “Unrated Director’s Cut.”
Zama – Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel (La ciénaga, The Headless Woman) delivers a historical drama about an 18th Century Spanish officer posted in South America for a number of years while he waits patiently for a better assignment that may never come. Critics were over-the-moon for the film when it played various festivals last year.
Fox has treated the Arnold Schwarzenegger action classic Predator pretty shoddily on Blu-ray to date. The 2010 Ultimate Hunter Edition disc has a notoriously terrible video transfer that the later 3D conversion did nothing to rectify. Predator 2 didn’t fare much better. With a new sequel on the way, the studio tries again by upgrading the whole series to 4k, either with a standalone copy of the first film or a 3-Movie Collection. I would hope that the first two entries have finally been properly remastered and aren’t just upconverted from the crappy old masters, but I’m not sure how much faith I have in Fox to get that right. (I can’t say that I care one way or the other what happens to the pointless Predators, which I have no intention of watching again regardless.)
Perhaps hoping to piggyback off the publicity for Jason Statham’s new giant shark monster flick, Lionsgate bumps his Transporter 3 up to Ultra HD. Why just #3 without the first two? You got me.
The latest DC animated feature from Warner Bros., The Death of Superman, debuts on both Blu-ray and UHD day-and-date.
Also available in 4k are the horror thriller Marrowbone from Magnolia and a Western called Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story (featuring Country music star Trace Adkins) from Cinedigm.
I may be mistaken, but I believe that the standard Blu-ray reissues of Predator (in a hideous Pop Art SteelBook) and that series’ 3-Movie Collection are just repackages of the crummy old discs, not remastered.
Much more promising is Severin’s release of the 1980 haunted house classic The Changeling, starring George C. Scott.
Schlockier horror comes from Mill Creek in the form of a so-called Psycho Biddy Double Feature comprised of the 1964 Strait-Jacket and the 1967 Berserk, both starring Joan Crawford at a career ebb and directed by gimmick-master William Castle. Be advised that Scream Factory will issue its own release of Strait-Jacket by itself later this month. That disc will be more expensive than the double feature, but will hopefully be of better quality and include more features than the Mill Creek copy.
Shout! Factory plays hard on nostalgia with a Collector’s Edition of the notorious 1988 E.T. knockoff Mac and Me. The film may well contain Jennifer Aniston’s finest work as an actress, in the critical role of “Dancer in McDonald’s.”
Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and Peter Lawford are among the stars in John Sturges’ 1959 WWII actioner Never So Few, now making its way out of the Warner Archive.
Arrow Video continues its celebration of Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku with his 1972 yakuza thriller Street Mobster.
Despite his Oscar nomination for directing Dead Man Walking, Tim Robbin’s sprawling historical drama Cradle Will Rock was such a box office bust in 1999 that he hasn’t attempted to direct another feature film since. I saw it in the theater and was mostly positive on it, but can understand why it’s fallen into obscurity. Kino brings the film to Blu-ray.
Michelle Williams plays a struggling woman whose life falls apart when her beloved dog goes missing in Wendy and Lucy, the acclaimed 2008 drama from director Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff, Certain Women). The Blu-ray comes from Oscilloscope.
Given that the show was canceled due to low ratings five years ago, I’m (pleasantly) surprised to see the hilarious sitcom Happy Endings get a Complete Series Blu-ray release now.
Also getting a Complete Series set is Showtime’s Masters of Sex. Sadly, the show still ends without closure.
Lauren Hutton discovers that Someone’s Watching Me! in a 1978 made-for-TV thriller directed by John Carpenter, which makes its way to disc from Scream Factory.
Nicholas Meyer’s harrowing nuclear war drama The Day After traumatized an entire generation of television viewers back in 1983. With the possibility of a nuclear conflict once again on the world’s mind, Kino hopes that the telemovie retains at least a little of that power today.
More TV product includes the second season of Riverdale and what is described as a Complete Series set of Might Morphin Power Rangers. Be warned that the latter really only contains Seasons 1-3 of the cheesy kids’ show on DVD plus a Blu-ray copy of the 1995 spinoff movie.
The only disc I’m likely to pick up is The Changeling. Does anything else tempt you this week?