Some weeks, deciding which new Blu-rays to prioritize feels like an impossible task. This week, however, the choice looks pretty clear.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout – Six installments in, the M:I series keeps getting bigger and more successful. That’s a pretty remarkable achievement for an action franchise that has kept the same star over a 22-year run. In a first for the franchise, this one is positioned as a direct follow-up to the last entry and even carries over the same director. The movie was widely praised for the quality of its action set-pieces and stunt work, and seems to have left most fans satisfied and eager for yet another sequel. On disc, Best Buy has SteelBooks for both Blu-ray and Ultra HD. Sadly, even though a 3D version of the movie played theatrically, Paramount isn’t bothering with that format on home video.
The Happytime Murders – This really should have been great. Brian Henson, son of the legendary Jim Henson and a key player in keeping the Muppets franchise alive for the past couple decades, parodies his father’s work with a raunchy, R-rated comedy about a foul-mouthed detective investigating a string of murders in a world where puppets co-exist with humans. It looks sort of like a Muppet version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit with a South Park level of sex jokes and other obscenities. Melissa McCarthy is the primary human star. How could this go wrong? Well, apparently, it did. The movie received terrible reviews complaining about stale, lazy jokes, and was a box office bomb. It will probably end up being the only venture from the adult-oriented Henson Alternatives banner.
The Nun – As if the Catholic Church didn’t have enough else to apologize for, Taissa Farmiga stars as a young nun terrorized by spooky things in a haunted convent. If I have it right, this is another spinoff from the cinematic universe of The Conjuring and Annabelle, telling the origin story of an evil nun character from The Conjuring 2. Horror fans ate it up to the series’ best box office returns yet.
Operation Finale – American Pie and The Twilight Saga: New Moon director Chris Weitz makes a play for awards attention with a historical thriller about a team of Israeli spies (led by Oscar Isaac) hunting for notorious Nazi mastermind Adolph Eichmann (Ben Kingsley). The reaction from both critics and audiences was mixed.
Support the Girls – Regina Hall just became the first black woman to win a Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle (how sad that it took this long) for playing the manager of a Hooters-style chain restaurant in a workplace dramedy from indie filmmaker Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha, Computer Chess). Hopefully that recognition plus other acclaim for Hall’s performance will bring a little attention to a movie that, while seemingly well-liked, flew under the radar this year.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Chloë Moretz is one of those actresses (much like Saoirse Ronan) who’s been in the spotlight for so long that I often forget how young she still is. When I see her playing a teenager in a new high school drama, my immediate reaction is that she should have outgrown these types of roles a long time ago, until I look up the details and realize that she’s actually just 21-years-old and is perfectly in the casting range for something like this. In the film, she plays a gay teen whose strict, religious parents ship her off to gay conversion therapy, where, needless to say, she isn’t treated too well. The movie won a major prize at Sundance, but didn’t get much of a release outside the festival circuit. I’m not 100% certain that it’s really coming out on Blu-ray this week, as the Amazon listing has no cover art or other details and a second listing for a “Special Edition” is dated for March 12th, 2019.
In addition to the standalone editions of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Paramount also boxes up the entire series into a 6-Movie Collection on Ultra HD.
Meanwhile, The Nun prays for her own success on UHD.
Can you feel the love tonight? Just as the first trailer for the live-action remake gets the internet abuzz, Disney upgrades its animated classic The Lion King to 4k HDR, with a SteelBook at Best Buy and a different exclusive at Target.
Best Buy has another SteelBook for the second season of HBO’s Westworld.
Did you already buy a 4k copy of Superman: The Movie when it was released last month? If only you’ held out, you could have gotten one packaged with a Funko Pop! bobblehead, should that appeal to you at all.
If you’re not yet equipped for 4k, Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – 6-Movie Collection gets a regular Blu-ray counterpart too, but be warned that it only contains the very old, unremastered discs for the first three films with lossy audio and a really crappy video transfer on M:I-2.
Was that massive Ingmar Bergman box set from Criterion a couple weeks ago just too much for you to spring for? Arrow Academy has separate rights to the Swedish master’s depressing 1977 drama about alcoholism and suidice, The Serpent’s Egg.
Is Kino’s release of The Puppet Masters intended as a sly tie-in with The Happytime Murders, or am I reading too much into that synchronicity? The 1994 sci-fi flick doesn’t actually have anything to do with puppets, but rather is a body-snatchers tale loosely adapted from a story by Robert Heinlein.
Also from Kino is the 1982 cult documentary The Atomic Cafe, which compiles clips from 1940s and 1950s “Duck and Cover” propaganda films about the nuclear arms race.
Do people really like Pop Art SteelBooks? They must, or Best Buy wouldn’t keep stocking them. Newly desecrated this week are Baby Driver and Spider-Man: Homecoming, plus a double feature SteelBook of the two Jumanji movies that lazily recycles the poster art for the second one.
Now available for bingeing are the respective first seasons of the Paramount Network’s Yellowstone and Netflix’s animated Castlevania, the second season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and a Doctor Who collection of episodes from 1982 featuring the Fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison.
I have all the other Mission: Impossible movies in SteelBooks and am not about to miss Fallout. A part of me is debating whether to buy the basic Blu-ray SteelBook (for consistency) and then also purchase the 6-movie UHD box set as well.
I’m also curious enough to watch Happytime Murders when it eventually hits cable, but I’m not going to pay for it.
What’s your shopping mission this week?