Promising Blu-rays this week are mostly focused on art films, 4k upgrades and catalog releases. Sadly, the big headlining titles are pretty much a wash-out.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Geostorm‘ – Roland Emmerich’s former producing partner Dean Devlin tries his hand at directing a big, stupid disaster movie on his own. That was a mistake. For whatever faults Emmerich has as a storyteller, his movies can usually be counted on to have slick visual effects and some camp humor. This one just looks cheap and boring. Also, the plot is about a villain who controls an evil weather machine. Seriously. That trope was lame when Elizabeth Taylor did it on ‘General Hospital’ in the ’80s. Despite spending $120 million on it, Warner Bros. shelved the movie for a couple years before finally dumping it in theaters this past October. It was a massive flop at the domestic box office. It did better internationally, but not enough to turn a profit.
‘Jigsaw‘ – I called it all the way back in 2011 that ‘Saw: The Final Chapter’ would not be the final entry in the franchise. It may have taken a few years, but the series has indeed relaunched again. It’s not even accurate to call this one a reboot, since it follows the same story continuity. Even Tobin Bell, whose character died in ‘Saw III’, returns yet again. So did enough audiences to make the movie a solid financial success, even if its box office returns were down from prior installments.
‘Goodbye Christopher Robin‘ – Domhnall Gleeson stars as ‘Winnie the Pooh’ creator A.A. Milne in a bio-pic about the author. According to Milne’s son, who was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character, daddy Milne pretty much destroyed the young boy’s life by treating him as a prop and a sales tool when he should have been enjoying childhood the way his namesake character got to. That’s a pretty dark twist on the typical formula for these inspirational bio-pics, but reportedly ‘My Week with Marilyn’ director Simon Curtis can’t resist softening the blow by tacking on a fabricated happy ending. How disappointing.
‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer‘ – The latest bit of weirdness from ‘Dogtooth’ and ‘The Lobster’ director Yorgos Lanthimos follows Colin Farrell as a surgeon being blackmailed into acting as surrogate father to a teenager whose real father died in his care. That’s a simplified summary, of course. As in anything Lanthimos does, the story spirals off into bizarre realms of the surreal and absurd, this time with an even darker bent than his last few.
‘Thank You for Your Service‘ – In the directorial debut for ‘American Sniper’ screenwriter Jason Hall, Miles Teller plays a young soldier struggling with PTSD after returning home from a tour in Iraq. The brief description sounds an awful lot like Ang Lee’s 2016 ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’, but without any of the show-off technical shebang (High Frame Rate 3D) that people complained detracted from that movie. The critical response was generally stronger than Lee’s film, but still lukewarm. Audiences didn’t bother to see either one of them.
‘My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea‘ – Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham and Susan Sarandon provide voices for a quirky animated comedy about a group of students and a surly lunch lady trapped in their high school after the building collapses off a cliff and… well, sinks into the sea. (See title.) The movie had a little buzz on the festival circuit and now comes to home video through GKIDS.
The only day-and-date title to slice and dice its way onto Ultra HD is ‘Jigsaw‘.
In anticipation of the next (currently untitled again) quasi-sequel in the franchise, Paramount gives 4k upgrades to ‘Cloverfield‘ and ‘10 Cloverfield Lane‘.
I could’ve sworn that Sony already released ‘Groundhog Day‘ on UHD. I must be having a weird case of déjà vu on that.
The latest BBC nature documentary, ‘Earth: One Amazing Day‘, is only available in a 4k + Blu-ray combo release, with no separate 1080p-only edition.
Marvel at the stunning fidelity of “Puberty Love” in lossless audio! MVD pulls out all the stops for the cult classic ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!‘, loading up the disc with lots of supplements and a transfer from a new 4k film scan. Nevertheless, watching this movie in better than VHS quality feels wrong to me.
Twilight Time, which has put out a considerable number of Woody Allen movies on Blu-ray, is apparently unfazed by the latest backlash against the filmmaker, and is moving forward with its release of his 1992 ‘Husbands and Wives‘ this week. Notably, this was the first Allen film released to theaters in the wake of his break-up with Mia Farrow and the Soon-Yi scandal. As I recall, the movie’s herky-jerky handheld photography was very nearly as controversial at the time, but of course wound up heralding a style shift in the way most movies and TV would be filmed afterward.
Other new limited editions from Twilight Time include Paul Mazursky’s 1969 sex comedy ‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice‘, the 1946 gothic melodrama ‘Dragonwyck‘, and the 1952 adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘My Cousin Rachel‘ starring Olivia de Havilland.
The Warner Archive serves up Gary Cooper’s 1959 Western ‘The Hanging Tree‘.
Following on the heels of Synapse’s recent restoration for ‘Suspiria’, Scorpion Releasing offers Dario Argento’s 1987 giallo ‘Opera‘.
Wikki wikki… Shout! Factory gets ‘Rappin’‘ with Mario van Peebles. Word!
Too late to stop the show from getting canceled, BBC delivers the second and final season of ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency‘.
I’m curious enough about ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ for a rental, but my wallet will stay closed this week otherwise.
Did I fail to mention anything that interests you?
I already received Geostorm 3d last Thursday from Best Buy. I haven’t watched it yet, but I did pop it in to see how the 3d was, and it is very good. That should make it more enjoyable for me. The only other new title I’m getting this week is Opera. There’s going to be a fancier edition in a couple of months, but I’ll probably double dip on it. I’m really excited to see this new transfer. I saw Shakedown on VHS like 30 years ago and remember nothing of it. I may order it in the future. The latest Saw movie is a bit of a curiosity, but maybe I’ll Redbox it first.
I had not heard that there was going to be a 2ND deluxe edition of Opera. Is it up for preorder? I couldn’t find it on Scorpion Releasing’s website.
I don’t think it is up for pre order. I’ve heard March or April for the deluxe. I’ll be plenty happy with this one until the deluxe one comes out.
I had Goodbye Christopher Robin preordered on Vudu, so looking forward to seeing that (in fact, I bet I probably had it available for a couple of weeks now). I’ve never seen Cloverfield, but it sounds interesting. Groundhog’s Day is one of those movies I have only caught parts of here and there, so I may pick that up as well
Looks like my Vudu preorder of Goodbye Christopher Robin was a same-day release as the discs – got an e-mail that came in at midnight saying it had been unlocked