After the box office disappointments of ‘Tron: Legacy’ and 2011’s ‘The Thing’, you’d think Hollywood would learn better than to make another long-delayed sequel to a famous cult sci-fi movie from 1982.
Now we’ll never get a ‘MegaForce 2’. Bummer!
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Blade Runner 2049‘ – After threatening to do to ‘Blade Runner’ what he did to the ‘Alien’ franchise, Ridley Scott eventually stepped away and left the belated sequel in the hands of director Denis Villeneuve (‘Sicario’, ‘Arrival’). This was a wise decision and a great relief to many. Despite punishing expectations for how it could possibly live up to a classic, the film proved (at least on an artistic level) to be a very worthy extension of the original. It may not reinvent science fiction cinema the way the first one did (how could it?), but it progresses the story in a logical direction and expands nicely on its themes. Unfortunately, it also follows its predecessor’s footsteps in being a box office dud. That’s particularly problematic for co-producers Warner Bros. and Sony, who spent nearly $200 million making it and likely almost as much promoting it. Audiences may have been turned off by the 163-minute running time, or perhaps were confused at how they missed 2,047 installments in between. Whatever the case, now they have another chance to watch on video. Disc options include Blu-ray and Ultra HD, with SteelBooks for each (different art, strangely) at Best Buy. For some unknown reason, Amazon has pulled the listing for the 3D edition, but it’s still listed at other retailers including Best Buy, Walmart and DVD Empire.
‘Beyond Skyline‘ – The 2010 alien invasion flick ‘Skyline’ was a very, very dumb movie. But it was made for peanuts and easily turned a profit. I’m surprised it took this long for someone to crank out a sequel. Now that it’s here, none of the original cast or creative team returned with it. Perhaps that’s a good thing?
‘Happy Death Day‘ – A young college hottie (Jessica Rothe) gets murdered, but experiences a ‘Groundhog Day’ time loop and has to relive the last day of her life over and over again until she can find the killer. Or become a better person. Or both, maybe? The premise, if derivative, could have some potential, but Phil says the movie is an incoherent mess.
‘The Snowman‘ – What were Michael Fassbender and director Tomas Alfredson (‘Let the Right One In’, ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’) thinking with this silly thriller about a serial killer with a fetish for placing his victims’ body parts into snowmen? That sounds like a DTV ‘Silence of the Lambs’ knockoff that should’ve been produced in the mid-1990s. Further, Fassbender plays an alcoholic detective with the laughable name Harry Hole. Although based on a perplexingly popular book series by author Jo Nesbø, everything about the premise sounds utterly inane. It must read better in the original Norwegian. Alfredson spent most of his press tour complaining about a rushed editing schedule and apologizing for the story not making any sense.
‘I, Daniel Blake‘ – British social dramaturgist Ken Loach has threatened to retire almost as many times as Hayao Miyazaki. His latest alleged swan song follows an older man and a young single mother, both unable to work but neither financially secure enough not to, fighting the bureacracy of the UK welfare system. The subject matter doesn’t exactly sound cheery, and Loach has never shied away from applying a heavy hand with his political sermonizing, but the film won the top prize at Cannes.
‘Loving Vincent‘ – In a first of its kind feat, this bio-pic about Vincent van Gogh was animated from tens of thousands of hand-painted oil-on-canvas images created in the artist’s style. Reviews praised the audacity of the experiment, but were less enthused about the dramatic elements.
The only 4k release this week is ‘Blade Runner 2049‘.
Shout! Factory serves up a Collector’s Edition of Joe Dante’s underappreciated 1993 ‘Matinee‘, starring John Goodman as a William Castle-like schlock filmmaker premiering his new cheeseball monster movie during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The new batch of Studio Ghibli titles from GKIDS includes ‘My Neighbors the Yamadas‘, ‘The Cat Returns‘ and ‘Whisper of the Heart‘.
ClassicFlix offers a ‘Raw Deal‘, in the form of the 1948 film noir directed by Anthony Mann.
Exploiting the connection to the new TV reboot, Mill Creek delivers a Special Edition double-dip for the kind-of crappy 2003 ‘S.W.A.T.‘ movie with Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson.
Also from Mill Creek is ‘Yor, the Hunter from the Future‘, which Tom recently extolled the virtues for in our Guilty Pleasures Roundtable.
For a brief moment in 1991, someone thought that TV’s ‘Wiseguy’ star Ken Wahl might make a viable action hero and packaged him with ‘Iron Eagle’ (and ‘Superman IV’) director Sidney J. Furie for the cheap ‘The Taking of Beverly Hills‘. It didn’t take and the movie largely fell into obscurity. Not long afterwards, Wahl’s acting career was brought to an abrupt end when he broke his neck in an accident. Kino has dug up the movie again for a Blu-ray.
The third season of ‘Better Call Saul‘ is the most notable TV box set on tap this week.
I preordered the (now sold out) 3D SteelBook edition of ‘Blade Runner 2049’ from the UK and am awaiting that release on February 5th. I also have my eye on ‘Matinee’.
What looks good to you this week?