Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. Between the new Oscar nominee, the latest Pixar epic, some cult horror flicks and a handful of genuine movie classics, this is a pretty busy week for new Blu-ray releases. Let’s see if we can shine a light on some titles of interest.
‘The Good Dinosaur‘ – Pixar’s second theatrical feature of 2015 was also its first outright box office disappointment. Delayed and reworked over the course of several years, the final product hardly looks like Pixar at all. It’s virtually indistinguishable from a second-tier DreamWorks production. Set in an alternate history where dinosaurs never went extinct and lived side-by-side with cavemen, if you told me this was ‘The Croods 2’, I would never question it.
‘Spotlight‘ – The story of the Boston newspaper reporters who brought the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal to light could have been made into a terribly self-important Issue movie with a capital “I.” In fact, it might have been more likely to win some of the Oscars it’s currently nominated for if it had. Instead, director Tom McCarthy (‘The Visitor‘, ‘Win Win‘) dialed down the hysterics and delivered a low-key character drama about a group of dedicated men and women who worked diligently and patiently not just to break the story before anyone else could, but to do it the right way.
‘Secret in Their Eyes‘ – The 2009 Argentinean movie of the same title won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, yet not even Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor could convince anyone to see the American remake. The trailers looked bland and forgettable, and most critics’ reviews were underwhelmed.
‘Krampus‘ – Of 2015’s two horror comedies about the demented German anti-Santa, this is the one with Adam Scott and Toni Collette, not the anthology pic with William Shatner. Movies that are produced with the specific intention of trying to be cult classics often fail miserably at the task, but this one did unexpectedly decent business and had strong word-of-mouth for what it is. [Looks like ‘Krampus’ has been delayed until April, sorry.]
‘My All-American‘ – Aaron Eckhart plays a football coach in an inspirational sports melodrama from the writer of ‘Hoosiers’ and ‘Rudy’. That may sound more exciting to fans of those earlier movies than it does to me.
‘Entertainment‘ – No doubt a disciple of Andy Kaufman, confrontational comedian Gregg Turkington commits fully to the persona of “Neil Hamburger,” the world’s worst stand-up comic, on stage. Now he brings the character to the movies with an uncomfortable dark comedy about the seedy underbelly of the show business world. Read Phil’s theatrical review for more.
‘Extraction‘ – Oh Bruce Willis, is there no depth you won’t sink to for an easy paycheck? Playing second fiddle to Kellan Lutz in a glorified cameo just so the studio can plaster your face on the cover of his generic direct-to-video action flick is pretty low, even for the guy who sleepwalked through the last ‘Die Hard, ‘RED’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ sequels.
Criterion Collection, you’re trying to seduce me. With that newly remastered and feature-packed edition of Mike Nichols’ dysfunctional youth classic ‘The Graduate‘, I have to admit that you’ve succeeded.
Criterion’s second release this week is ‘I Knew Her Well‘, a 1965 Italian drama about a naïve country girl who moves to the big city of Rome hoping to become an actress, the reality of which isn’t as glamorous as she’d dreamed.
The Warner Archive celebrates the legendary pairing of Bogie and Bacall with ‘The Big Sleep‘ and ‘Key Largo‘, two of the four movies they appeared in together.
Kino unearths a couple of Fritz Lang’s lesser-known early movies: the 1929 sci-fi opus ‘Woman in the Moon‘ and the 1930 espionage thriller ‘Spies‘. After that, Kino has a lovely day out with Eric Rohmer’s 1983 relationship drama ‘Pauline at the Beach‘.
Aficionados of cult horror have a pretty good selection this week, including Wes Craven’s ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow‘ from Scream Factory, Dario Argento’s ‘Tenebrae‘ from Synapse, Bob Clark’s ‘Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things‘ from VCI, and the exploitation spoof ‘Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death‘ from Full Moon.
TV options this week include the second season of FX’s ‘Fargo‘, a complete series collection of Syfy’s ‘Warehouse 13‘, BBC’s latest ‘Doctor Who‘ Christmas special, and Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 ‘Jesus of Nazareth‘ miniseries.
The two must-own titles for me this week are ‘The Graduate’ and ‘The Big Sleep’. Although I’m not particularly excited about it, the Pixar completist in me is compelled to buy the UK SteelBook edition of ‘The Good Dinosaur’ as well.
Meanwhile, ‘Key Largo’, ‘Woman in the Moon’ and ‘Spies’ will go on my wish list for the future. I’m also curious about ‘Tenebrae’, though I’ve never been much of a Dario Argento fan.
What do your plans look like this week?
Krampus is out this week?! This is one movie I’ve been dying to see since December. Will most likely rent it tommorow night.
I’ve always wanted to see The Big Sleep, Howard Hawks is one legendary director who’s films I’ve barely watched any of. I’ll have to see what the price is up here, I’ve noticed lately that BD distribution in Canada lately has been super shitty and resulted in some ridiculous over-charging on the part of the retailers.
I’ve never seen The Graduate, I’ve heard people rave about it but to me it just looks boooooring.
I never really got ‘The Graduate’. Maybe I was too young when I saw it. But I think a lot of its humour is mocking 1960’s American values and I probably just can’t myself into that mindset enough for it to really work for me.
Krampus was interesting. My friend enjoyed it, I still don’t know what to think. It was just a bit weird and odd to me
I originally was not going to pick up anything, but Jesus of Nazareth at $17.99 is cheap enough to give it a blind buy.
My number one title for this week is Tenebrae. One of Argento’s best giallos and one of my favorite movies, It might be delayed a bit according to Synapse. Major fucking bummer 🙁 ! I might give them a call to see where they’re at. Can not wait for this. I didn’t realize Krampus was out this week either so I think that’ll make for an exciting blind buy. As soon as Criterion have their next sale, this new and improved Graduate will definitely be in my collection. I’ve always been curious about the Curse flicks, so I’m probably picking those up as well. I forgot to vote for it, but I’m also interested in Millenium/ROTOR double feature. Never saw Millenium, but R.O.T.O.R. is a really cheap Robocop/Terminator knockoff. Looking forward to revisiting this. I would like to check out Spotlight, maybe rent it in the near future. I’m not sure if you posted this on last week’s highlights, but Pray For Death ( Sho Kosugi ninja revenge flick) from Arrow is out. It originally was dated for tomorrow’s release, but showed up at my doorstep last week. Oh I almost forgot about The Good Dinosaur 3d. Maybe Serpent and the Rainbow as well. HELLUVA week!
CSM, what did you hear about Tenebrae? While I have a greater appreciation for Argento’s Deep Red and Suspiria (dammit somebody release this on blu-ray!), Tenebrae is a damn entertaining giallo and definitely one I plan on picking up. I’m assuming this includes the unrated cut?
Well, Synapse films just updated their site on Facebook and they’re expecting it on Thursday. They will ship orders out in the order they were received. It is a three disc steelbook set. Bluray, DVD, cd soundtrack. 39.95 plus 6.00 shipping total of 45.95. 3000 copies. As far as Suspiria is concerned, they are doing a 4k scan of that one and hope to release it sometime this year. Phenomena will probably be their next one, they’re still working on it but seem to be close to finished on that one.
You just made my day with this news. Been waiting or so long for Suspiria to come out on blu-ray! Going to place my order right now for Tenebrae. Hopefully I get a copy.
I’ve never seen Curse, but I have seen Curse II: The Bite and it’s pretty bad. Well… the first 75 minutes are bad. The ending, on the other hand, is actually somewhat memorable thanks to some squirm-inducing makeup effects by Screaming Mad George. Surprisingly effective and quite disgusting, my money is on the entire production budget being used to create those effects. It would certainly explain why the rest of the film is so incredibly dull. In the end, I’m not sure it’s worth slogging through all that tedium just to get to the film’s money shots.
Hey Josh, I went on the Best Buy website to price check Krampus, and it says the release date isn’t til April. I also called Moviestop/Hastings and they’re not getting it tomorrow either.
It must have been delayed. The original press release said February 23rd, but Amazon doesn’t even have a release date on the listing anymore. A user comment there says April 26th. I will update the site’s release calendar.
The only thing I’m interested in this week is ‘Warehouse 13: The Complete Series’ on Blu-Ray.
This was a great show, reminiscent of Friday the 13th: The Series except less scary.
The Big Sleep is a must, and for whatever reason I also really enjoyed The Good Dinosaur along with my family. Does it qualify as a guilty pleasure?
Only if you feel guilty about it.
I really enjoyed Season 2 of FARGO. Would I want to sit through it again? Probably not…but it’s definitely worth a first viewing.
Wait, Tenebrae is getting released on blu-ray! I had no idea it was coming out. Definitely picking this one up the second it becomes available. The Serpent and the Rainbow, Key Largo and The Graduate are also purchases although I’ll wait until they are on sale. Spotlight is a definite rental this week and I’ll probably give The Big Sleep a shot this week too.
I’d get out of bed for The Big Sleep.
I wanted to see The Good Dinosaur in the theater, but it didn’t happen. I’ll have to borrow or rent.
Hey Josh, isn’t it a little weird to refer to ‘The Good Dinosaur’ as ‘the latest Pixar epic’ when you feel so meh about it? The word ‘epic’ implies a grand, thrilling, exciting piece of film. “It’s an epic”. Or maybe I’m mistaken.
I don’t think of “epic” as having anything to do with the quality of the film, merely its size and scope.
CRITERION FLASH SALE!!! (It ends in about 20 hours). All Criterion blu-rays are 50% off through the Criterion Store!!!
For must haves I bought Good Dinosaur 3D on Tuesday at Walmart and ordered Serpent & the Rainbow from Amazon.
Everything else goes to the wishlist pending further review, money, bargains, whatever.
My “Other” choice is Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall release on 2/26.
Curse/Curse 2, Diablo, Extraction, Frankenstein, The Graduate, Millennium/ROTOR, Racing Extinction, Whse 13 Complete Series, We are Twisted Fucking Sister. Wish The Lion Guard was available on BD, perhaps a nag message to Disney is in order.