Did everyone have a nice Christmas? Wedged between two holidays, the final week of the year is rarely too lively. We kick things off with a Blu-ray release list that barely has a pulse.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Flatliners‘ – Joel Schumacher’s 1990 ‘Flatliners’ was a pretty stupid movie that did not need remaking. That never stopped Hollywood from trying, of course. Ellen Page and Diego Luna take over from Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland as med students who repeatedly kill and revive each other to find out what really lies on the other side of death. The Netflix series ‘The OA’ already took this same general premise and did something halfway interesting with it. By all accounts, the movie remake brings back the stupidity in spades and is somehow even worse than the original.
‘The Mountain Between Us‘ – In the unexpected quickie sequel to the year’s earlier ‘The Space Between Us’, Idris Elba and Kate Winslet fall in love after surviving a plane crash on a mountain. How this ties in with the story of the kid from Mars in the first movie, I’m not sure. Whatever. The film was poorly reviewed and fizzled at the box office.
‘Brawl in Cell Block 99‘ – Following his stint on ‘True Detective’, Vince Vaughn seems committed to reinventing his screen image as a badass tough guy. In the prison drama from ‘Bone Tomahawk’ director S. Craig Zahler, Vaughn plays a small-time thug who winds up behind bars, and then gets blackmailed into doing very bad things in there. From the title, you can tell that some chaos might break out. A film festival hit, critics called the movie a brutal but entertaining homage to grindhouse exploitation fare.
‘Mayhem‘ – Former ‘Walking Dead’ star Steven Yeun headlines a DTV horror comedy about a man trapped in an office building under quarantine for a virus that turns its victims into uninhibited rage monsters. The premise sounds a little similar to 2016’s ‘The Belko Experiment’. Reviews seem to be favorable as far as this sort of thing goes.
The action classic ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day‘ has had a checkered history on Blu-ray, with no editions that are entirely satisfying. Unfortunately, that trend continues right into the Ultra HD realm. Our reviewer E. says that, despite coming from a new 4k master approved by James Cameron, the video suffers some distracting DNR issues and an eye-sore teal-and-orange recoloring. (Note that even though the new master was created for this year’s 3D conversion theatrical run, Lionsgate isn’t bothering to release the 3D version of the movie in North America. You’ll need to import that from overseas, but only if you’re able to play a Region B locked disc.)
Other 4k titles this week include ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99‘, ‘The Mountain Between Us‘ and ‘Mayhem‘.
MGM released Billy Wilder’s bittersweet 1960 Oscar winner ‘The Apartment‘ on Blu-ray in 2012 with a disc that was pretty good for the time. Arrow Academy has the rights now and tries to improve on that with a Limited Edition featuring a video remaster and lots of new supplements.
Cleaning its slate before the new year, Universal dumps a batch of middling comedies, including Chevy Chase in ‘Fletch Lives‘, Steve Martin in ‘Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid‘, and Tim Allen in ‘For Richer or Poorer‘.
Mixed in with these is Ron Howard’s 1994 journalism dramedy ‘The Paper‘, which I imagine is trying to piggyback off publicity for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming ‘The Post’. I saw this in the theater and found it to be one of the few Ron Howard movies I’ve ever genuinely liked. However, I haven’t seen it since, so I don’t know whether that opinion will hold.
I imported the 3D edition of ‘Terminator 2’ when that was released a few weeks ago. I’m not equipped for 4k yet, so I don’t need the UHD.
It looks like Amazon may have already sold out of the Limited Edition for ‘The Apartment’, but I’m sure that the same disc will eventually be reissued in simpler packaging. I can wait for that.
Otherwise, I’m all set. Will anything this week get you to spend a little extra money before the year runs out?