By the time this post is published, the Oscars should be over. (With that interminable ceremony, there’s a chance maybe not.) Some of this week’s new disc releases were nominated. Did they win anything? I’d guess no, but the nominations alone may propel them to some sales.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Ralph Breaks the Internet – I still contend that the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph ought to be called Ralph Wrecks the Internet, not Breaks the Internet, dumb reference to Kim and Kanye be damned. The original film was, if not an all-time animated classic, at least a cute and charming Disney effort. By most accounts, the follow-up is a worthy successor. It did just about as well at the box office and scored an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. On disc, Disney provides a plethora of options, including a 4k SteelBook at Best Buy and an exclusive Digipak at Target. Sadly, it appears that no 3D option is available, not even overseas.
Mary Queen of Scots – Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie star in a period costume drama that was widely criticized for its flagrant historical inaccuracies and melodrama. As helmed by theater director Josie Rourke making her film debut, all anyone liked about the movie were the look and style of the piece, which would account for its Oscar nominations in the Costume Design and Makeup/Hairstyling categories. Reviews were decidedly tepid and, though not an outright flop, it underperformed financially as well.
Border – Competing for that Makeup/Hairstyling prize is a weird Swedish film about a Customs officer (Eva Melander) who can literally smell guilt. Based on a story by Let the Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist, I’m told that it’s best to go in cold without knowing much else about the plot, and just let it take you on a very strange ride. The movie was something of a sensation at Cannes, where it won the Un Certain Regard award, which goes to productions with a distinctive personal vision.
Between Worlds – Playing directly to his cult fandom, Nicolas Cage headlines a supernatural thriller about a grubby truck driver who gets involved with a psychic woman (Franka Potente) with the power to speak to the dead – but only while she’s being choked. Designed explicitly for the midnight screening crowd at film festivals, the movie received very mixed reactions at Fantastic Fest last year, where our Deirdre hated almost everything about it.
The Possession of Hannah Grace – More supernatural shenanigans are on tap when an ex-cop (Shay Mitchell from Pretty Little Liars) takes a job working the midnight shift at a morgue where spooky things happen. Critics rolled their eyes and even horror fans didn’t seem to think much of it, but the movie was produced for such a low budget that it had no trouble turning a profit.
Arriving day-and-date with the standard Blu-ray copies are Ultra HD editions of Ralph Breaks the Internet and Mary Queen of Scots, along with the disc debut of a new David Attenborough nature documentary called Dynasties.
Making the upgrade to 4k are Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Both have SteelBook options at Best Buy, while Little Mermaid also gets a Digibook at Target.
A corresponding Blu-ray reissue of The Little Mermaid is available for those viewers not on-board with Ultra HD yet.
Director Charles Burnett’s acclaimed 1990 drama To Sleep with Anger joins the Criterion Collection. Danny Glover stars as a down-home Southern drifter who upends the lives of some old friends now living in South Central L.A.
Blake Edwards is probably the last name you’d expect to direct a Western, but he did just that in 1971 with Wild Rovers, starring William Holden and Ryan O’Neal as a couple of cowpokes turned bank robbers. Butchered by the studio upon its release, the Warner Archive Blu-ray restores Edwards’ original “roadshow” version of the film.
Joining the Shout Select line are the early Robert Zemeckis comedy Used Cars (formerly a Twilight Time exclusive) and a double feature of both Legally Blonde movies.
Paramount reissues the loverly 50th Anniversary Edition of My Fair Lady in a regular keepcase package.
The 1983 cult trashterpiece Mausoleum that Adam enjoyed so much recently moves to general retail after a period of exclusivity on the Vinegar Syndrome web site.
Discotek Media offers separate editions of the 1979 anime classic Galaxy Express 999 and its 1981 sequel Adieu, Galaxy Express 999.
I’m a little puzzled by new Complete Collection release of the anime series Kino’s Journey, which clearly states on the packaging that the episodes are standard-definition upconverts. A more expensive copy of the same series released last year made no mention of being standard-def, at least not on the front cover image available online. Were those discs true high-def while the new edition is a downgrade, or (perhaps more likely) are they all the same thing? I watched the 2003 series, a post-apocalyptic road trip fantasy about a young girl and her talking motorcycle, back when it was released on DVD, and my memory of it is that the animation had a weird, low-res style with simulated scan-line artifacts to make it look like watching an old CRT television. It’s very possible that the production was limited to standard-definition all along.
With all the Oscar buzz around Glenn Close, now might be a good time to revisit her legal thriller Damages. The Complete Series Blu-ray package includes all five seasons – the three that aired on FX as well as the two after it moved to DirecTV.
My priority this week is to get the Ralph Breaks the Internet SteelBook, which is proving to be needlessly difficult due to Best Buy’s incompetence. At present, the product is not available for shipping, only for in-store pickup, but of course not at any stores near me. I’m getting really tired of running into this problem.
Border seems like a movie I need to check out. I’ll also put To Sleep with Anger on my wish list for a future Criterion sale.
I’ve long meant to watch the Galaxy Express 999 movies, but Discotek’s asking price for both is a little too steep for me right now, so I think I’ll wait to see if they ever get a price drop.
What’s the breakdown of your plans for the week?