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?
‘Talk Radio’ – yes!!!! I can’t believe I missed that this was coming out. Can’t wait to get this one on blu ray! It’s often overlooked in Stone’s filmography since it is a small scale story and it was kind of a filler project for Stone, but I think it’s easily among his best outings as director.
Youngblood also has a young Keanu Reeves.
I’m definitely picking up Overlord uhd tomorrow. I’m very excited for that one. I meant to order Youngblood as well, but will wait for later since I made a few other unplanned purchases. Skinner is also on my wish list. The Robin Hood movie might make for a good rental. Same goes for A Star Is Born. Year of the Dragon is a curiosity as well.
Overlord was my favorite film of last year! Amazing sound design and Kurt Russell’s son is actually a really good actor. Sadly it did not do well, but a fun film none the less and has dolby atmos.
Looking forward to that Atmos! It keeps coming up in review and forum talks.
Overlord, Doctor Who and Billie Jean for me. Also Year of the Dragon, but Amazon don’t even have a shipping estimate yet so like a lot of Warner Archive titles it’ll probably ship late.
Robin Hood looking different actually intrigues me. It’s always annoyed me that people mostly want fantasy and sci-fi to look realistic. That said the bad reviews mean wait for a sale.
I’m with you, Josh – zero interest in A Star is Born.
Who needs Gaga when the perfect version of A Star Is Born is the ’54 version with Judy Garland!
We all do. The new one is now the definitive version of this particular story. It’s outstanding. It’s much better than the Judy Garland version.
I agree. The new version is fantastic. I can’t wait to see what Bradley Cooper directs next.