Last week’s biggest Blu-ray title was a leftover Halloween movie. At least we move up to Christmas this week. I guess that’s some sort progress, even if it makes for another unexciting batch of new discs.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘A Bad Moms Christmas‘ – The first ‘Bad Moms’ was such a sleeper hit in 2016 that the entire team behind it rushed out a quickie sequel. From the reactions of most who saw it (including my wife), the slapdash nature of the second entry is very apparent and it only lands about half as many successful jokes despite adding Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski and Cheryl Hines to the cast as Bad Grandmas.
‘Only the Brave‘ – ‘Tron: Legacy’ and ‘Oblivion’ director Joseph Kosinski moves away from sci-fi to a different kind of spectacle with a survival adventure drama about a group of Arizona firefighters (headlined by Miles Teller, Josh Brolin and Jeff Bridges) battling an uncontrollable wildfire. Based on a true story, the film received mixed but generally favorable reviews. It failed to burn up the box office, however.
‘Suburbicon‘ – George Clooney started his directorial career with such promise, but everything he’s helmed after the Oscar-nominated ‘Good Night, and Good Luck’ has been a steady downhill slide. For his latest attempt, he dusts off an old, unused Coen brothers script about murder and double-crosses and uncomfortable race relations in a seemingly picture-perfect 1950s neighborhood. With Matt Damon and Julianne Moore in the leads, that’s a lot of talent packed into one production. Unfortunately, critics weren’t at all impressed, and bad word-of-mouth from the festival circuit killed the movie’s box office chances.
‘All I See Is You‘ – Blake Lively plays a blind woman who recovers her eyesight and discovers that her husband (Jason Clarke) is a total creep who’d rather she go back to being blind – and actively tries to make that happen. Lively just came off a pretty big hit with ‘The Shallows’, and director Marc Forster has a solid track record, but neither could sell viewers on this one, which turned out to be one of the lowest-grossing movies of 2017.
‘LBJ‘ – Straining for relevance late into a faltering career, Rob Reiner tries to get back into the Oscar bait prestige picture business with a bio-pic about former President Lyndon Johnson. Woody Harrelson is said to be pretty good in the lead, but the film was otherwise met with a shrug and was accused of reducing a complex man down to a simplified caricature.
‘Tom of Finland‘ – The official Finnish submission for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar race this year (it ultimately didn’t land a nomination) is a very different sort of bio-pic, profiling Touko Laaksonen, the artist whose fetishistic drawings of musclebound, mustachioed men in tight leather biker outfits defined gay culture in the 1970s.
The only 4k release this week is the animated ‘Batman: Gotham by Gaslight‘, an Elseworlds tale that sees a 19th Century version of the Caped Crusader battle Jack the Ripper.
Criterion takes an ‘Elevator to the Gallows‘ with Louis Malle’s noir-ish 1958 crime drama that (along with works by Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut and others) helped kick off the French New Wave movement.
Paramount brought both ‘Cloverfield‘ and ‘10 Cloverfield Lane‘ to Ultra HD a couple weeks ago, and now belatedly reissues them both on regular Blu-ray as well in a double-feature package. Considering that the fate of the third movie in the franchise is currently up in the air (and may go straight to Netflix), the studio’s handling of this property is all over the place at the moment. [Look at that. Between the time I wrote this post on Friday and it published today, Netflix shockingly premiered the third movie after the Super Bowl with no advance notice. Crazy.]
To coincide with the new ‘Tom of Finland’ bio, Zeitgeist Films has dug up a 1991 documentary about the artist called ‘Daddy and the Muscle Academy‘.
GKIDS delivers a couple more Studio Ghibli reissues with ‘Pom Poko‘ and ‘Tales from Earthsea‘.
Fans of schlocky horror may wish to indulge in Jess Franco’s ‘The Diabolical Dr. Z‘ from Redemption or Herschell Gordon Lewis’ ‘The Gruesome Twosome‘ from Arrow.
Kino travels back to the 1990s to find ‘Angie‘ and ‘Boys‘, a pair of mostly-forgotten star vehicles for Gina Davis and Winona Ryder, respectively.
Fox pitches a 25th Anniversary Edition for ‘The Sandlot‘. With little information on the disc available at present, I imagine that it’s probably just a repackage of the 20th Anniversary Edition.
Notable TV product this week includes the first season of FX’s ‘Taboo‘ and the sixth season of Showtime’s ‘Homeland‘.
‘Elevator to the Gallows’ will go on my wish list for a future Criterion sale. That’s all I see this week. What do you have your eye on?