Tell me somethin’, girl. Are you happy in this modern world? Or do you need more? Is there a Blu-ray you’re searchin’ for?
New Releases (Blu-ray)
A Star Is Born – Who knew Lady Gaga could sing? What a revelation! For his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper plucked this obscure young ingénue off the streets and cast her as co-lead in the umpteenth remake of the classic rags-to-riches story. Somehow, despite decades of familiarity, the formula still works. Critics swooned and box office money poured in. The film was also nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress (though, much to Cooper’s dismay, not Best Director). At the very least, it’s certain to win Best Original Song. Best Buy has SteelBook editions for both Blu-ray and Ultra HD.
Robin Hood – Speaking of properties that have been endlessly rebooted, Kingsman star Taron Egerton steals from the rich and gives to the poor as the famed bow-wielding outlaw. Jamie Foxx is his mentor and companion, while Ben Mendelsohn is the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Why Hollywood thought we needed a new Robin Hood so soon after the Russell Crowe version failed to impress anyone is puzzling. The trailers, which appeared to be set in the Middle Ages with characters wearing modern-looking clothes, were confusing and excited no one. The film was both a critical and financial flop.
Overlord – As if Nazis weren’t monstrous enough, producer J.J. Abrams makes the metaphor literal with a WWII-set supernatural horror thriller about a group of American soldiers who discover a secret lab housing the results of horrible medical experiments. I feel like I played this plot in video game form a bunch of times before anybody decided to make it into a movie. For a while, rumors swirled that this was supposed to be part of Abrams’ Cloverfield universe, but either that was a misdirect or the plans changed before release.
All three of the week’s new releases – A Star Is Born, Robin Hood, and Overlord – also debut simultaneously on Ultra HD. No catalog titles hit the format this week, unfortunately.
Criterion memorializes a Death in Venice. Euro art film icon Dirk Bogarde stars in Luchino Visconti’s 1971 adaptation of the classic Thomas Mann novella.
Twilight Time asks Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and finds an answer in the 1957 ad industry satire starring Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield. More new arrivals from Twilight Time include the shipwreck comedy The Admirable Crichton (also from 1957), the original 1967 version of Bedazzled with Dudley Moore and Raquel Welch (far superior to the Brendan Fraser/Elizabeth Hurley remake), and Oliver Stone’s 1988 adaptation of the Eric Bogosian play Talk Radio.
In 1985, director Michael Cimino attempted to recover from the industry-shattering failure of his Western Heaven’s Gate with the Chinatown-set crime epic Year of the Dragon, only to be met with highly polarized reviews and more box office disappointment. Over time, however, the film found a cult audience. Quentin Tarantino is reportedly a big fan. The Blu-ray comes from the Warner Archive.
According to Shout! Factory, all you need is love… and a copy of the young-Beatles bio-pic Backbeat, which now joins the Shout Select line.
Mill Creek beefs up its VHS Retro Look line with the ’80s classics Sheena, The Legend of Billie Jean, Neighbors, and Songwriter. Rad!
Still need more ’80s cheese? Kino has you covered with the ice hockey drama Youngblood, starring Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.
Arrow Video continues to dole out Herschell Gordon Lewis movies. This week brings the splatter auteur’s 1965 Color Me Blood Red.
The Arrow Academy label tends to be a little more high-minded, as evidenced by My Name Is Julia Ross and So Dark the Night, two noir classics from Gun Crazy director Joseph H. Lewis.
New Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker tackles her first holiday special, called Resolution.
Despite all the hype around it, I have very little interest in the new A Star Is Born. I might catch it on cable or streaming at some point, but won’t go out of my way to pay for it.
Of more interest to me are Bedazzled, Talk Radio, Death in Venice, Backbeat, and Year of the Dragon, which will all go on my wish list.
Do any of this week’s releases sing to you?