Last week brought us the Blu-ray release of one of the most popular and well-liked movies of the year. This week… doesn’t. But it has Michael Bay’s latest attempt to cynically exploit a 1980s children’s property. So there’s that.
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ – Michael Bay may not have directed this one himself (acting as producer, he handed directing duties to Jonathan Liebesman), but the movie has his stamp all over it, especially in the way the title characters have been made into beefier, uglier versions of their original selves for no reason. I won’t pretend to be a ‘Ninja Turtles’ superfan, but I watched a fair amount of the old cartoon series in the ’80s and kind of liked the 2007 ‘TMNT’ animated movie. Although I can’t bring myself to get worked up about Bay ruining another cherished piece of my childhood, this new live-action reboot still looks… ugh. Just ugh. Will 3D help? Probably not. The Dolby Atmos track, on the other hand, may be more enticing.
‘The Maze Runner‘ – Here’s another YA adaptation set in a dystopian future where young kids are forced to compete in a deadly contest. Since even the original book was published after the first ‘Hunger Games’ novel, I feel pretty comfortable calling this a ‘Hunger Games’ knockoff. Produced for a low budget with a no-name cast, the movie actually made some decent money, especially overseas. A sequel is in the works. Nothing about this interests me, except that a small number of theaters played the movie earlier this year in a gimmicky super-ultra-wraparound-widescreen format called Escape, which the Blu-ray will certainly not attempt to replicate.
‘Magic in the Moonlight‘ – At 79-years-old, Woody Allen is still cranking out one new film a year. Lately, he seems to have fallen into a rhythm where he alternates between good movies and duds every other year. In 2013, he gave us the acclaimed ‘Blue Jasmine’, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that his latest effort, a period comedy with Colin Firth as a stage magician and Emma Stone as the fake psychic he’s trying to debunk, would be widely panned. Better luck next year, Woody.
‘The Skeleton Twins‘ – Former ‘SNL’ castmates Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play siblings from a dysfunctional family in an indie dramedy that reportedly hits on just about every trope for such things, but is largely redeemed by the performances.
‘This Is Where I Leave You‘ – Tina Fey and Jason Bateman play siblings from a dysfunctional family in an indie dramedy that reportedly hits on just about every trope for such things, and is not redeemed by much of anything.
The Criterion Collection released Sydney Pollack’s terrific cross-dressing comedy ‘Tootsie‘ on Laserdisc back in 1993, but couldn’t get the rights for DVD until now. The title finally re-enters the Collection on both DVD and Blu-ray (in separate editions) today.
As a follow-up to its release of ‘Nightbreed’ back in October, Scream Factory gives us Clive Barker’s ‘Lord of Illusions‘ on Blu-ray now. The film is both Barker’s most ambitious but also probably the weakest of his three directorial features. Scott Bakula is terribly miscast in the lead, which makes it particularly strange that Barker claims he loved the actor so much in the role that he wrote later depictions of the character in his novels based on Bakula’s performance.
TV offerings this week include the first season (shockingly, it has been renewed for a second) of CBS’ laughably awful sci-fi drama ‘Extant‘, as well as BBC America’s unwatchably dull and confusing ‘Intruders‘.
Just last month, Warner Bros. released the campy 1960s ‘Batman‘ TV series on Blu-ray in an expensive, oversized Limited Edition box set. Barely five weeks later, the studio has already reissued it in standard packaging without the toy car or other physical swag. At current street prices, the Standard Edition is actually slightly more expensive than the Limited Edition, but that will hopefully change eventually. I’m not certain whether Warner has already issued corrected discs (as it promised to) for the episodes missing small pieces of footage, or if this new box set will still have the problem until an exchange program can be worked out.
I may not know anything about modern anime, but even I know that the space Western ‘Cowboy Bebop‘ is a classic that’s frequently hailed as one of the greatest anime series of all time.
Going on my wish list this week are ‘Tootsie’, ‘Lord of Illusions’ and ‘Cowboy Bebop’. What about yours?