Christmas week may be a busy time at the theatrical box office, but the home video scene is practically dead. Barely a tiny handful of new Blu-ray releases come to market this week, and none look terribly exciting.
‘Pan‘ – With a budget of $150 million and a theatrical gross of less than $35 million, director Joe Wright’s ‘Peter Pan’ prequel was one of the biggest bombs of the year. Those awful, awful trailers and TV ads played to “Cecilia and the Satellite” certainly didn’t help, but it was also one of the worst reviewed films of the year too. Did ‘Peter Pan’ really need an origin story in the first place? The movie looks like an exhausting exercise in frantic action and obnoxious visual overkill. To make sure you’re bombarded from every possible direction, the Blu-ray is of course in 3D with Dolby Atmos sound.
‘Pawn Sacrifice‘ – Edward Zwick, Hollywood’s go-to guy for glossy, melodramatic war movies (‘Legends of the Fall’, ‘Courage Under Fire’, ‘The Last Samurai’, etc.) temporarily puts away his arsenal to deliver a bio-pic about troubled chess master Bobby Fischer (played by Tobey Maguire). But wait, the story takes place during the height of the Cold War – maybe that’s his angle. Reviews were mostly politely favorable, while also critical of the film for shoving a complex true story into a neat and conventional bio-pic template.
‘Dragon Blade‘ – What the hell is this? A Chinese historical kung-fu epic starring those renowned Asian action stars John Cusack and Adrien Brody? Is this thing for real? And is Jackie Chan seriously wearing an armor-plated boonie hat? This is bizarre on many levels. From all accounts, it’s also tedious and incoherent.
‘War Room‘ – Not to be confused with ‘The War Room‘, D.A. Pennebaker’s acclaimed documentary about the 1992 Presidential election which is already part of the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray, this ‘War Room’ is a faith-based drama from the makers of ‘Fireproof’ and ‘Courageous’. That should be enough information to let you decide whether to take this seriously or laugh it off the screen.
Scream Factory digs up some classic frights with the 1962 cheesefest ‘The Brain That Wouldn’t Die‘ and the 1983 horror anthology ‘Nightmares‘.
The only TV offerings this week are the third season of Syfy’s lame ‘Defiance‘ and the second of its even lamer ‘Dominion‘.
The studio sent me a screener copy of ‘Pan’ (2D only, unfortunately) that I have no interest in ever watching. I’d set up a contest to give it away but, frankly, I doubt we’d get enough responses this week to make that worth the effort. If anyone wants it, sound off in the Comments and we’ll work something out.
Nothing else this week inspires me to spend any money either. I’ll sit this one out. Sadly, next week doesn’t look any better.