Blu-ray Highlights: Week of July 10th, 2016 – Green Daze

This week’s Blu-ray releases are tinged with sadness. The most promising new title available reminds us of the recent loss of its talented young star.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (7/12/16)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Green Room‘ – Anton Yelchin was poised for great things. His breakout role in the ‘Star Trek’ franchise brought him a lot of exposure, and this indie thriller from ‘Blue Ruin’ director Jeremy Saulnier was one of the best reviewed films of the year. Yelchin plays the leader of a small-time punk band that make the mistake of playing a Skinhead venue, where they witness a crime backstage and find themselves under siege from Neo-Nazis looking to tie up loose ends. At the time of its theatrical release, the film was perhaps more notable for its villainous turn from Patrick Stewart, but its video debut just a few weeks after Yelchin’s passing will, unfortunately, be viewed in an entirely different context – one of such tremendous potential cut short.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant‘ – I imagine that heads must be rolling at Lionsgate over this fiasco. Even though the first two ‘Divergent’ movies were only modest hits, the studio committed to not just adapting the final book in Veronica Roth’s trilogy, but splitting it into two movies – a strategy that was very successful for the ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Hunger Games’ franchises. Sadly, audiences finally realized that the premise of this series makes no sense at all, and the third movie was a huge box office bomb. Next year’s fourth movie will surely suffer the same fate, but it’s too late to stop it. Adding to the franchise’s woes, everyone involved in the creation of the movies seem to have given up caring about them. The cast all look visibly bored, even in the trailers, and the visual effects are almost laughably awful. How is it possible that this cost $110 million to make?

Everybody Wants Some!!‘ – Widely and incessantly described as a so-called “spiritual sequel” to ‘Dazed and Confused’, Richard Linklater’s latest follows a group of college slackers trying to navigate that awkward middle ground between high school and adulthood in the early 1980s. The title, unnecessary punctuation and all, is taken from a Van Halen song – a reference that was apparently lost on moviegoing audiences, who were turned off by the exclamation points and decided to give this one a pass.

Miracles from Heaven‘ – I have no idea what Jennifer Garner’s real-life religious beliefs are, but starring in “faith-based” religious schlock that directly advocates for parents to ignore doctors in favor of curing their deathly ill children with prayer is certainly a career low, if not a knock against her as a human being. And I liked her so much in ‘Alias’!

UHD

In addition to an Ultra High-Def edition of ‘Allegiant‘, Lionsgate also upgrades its predecessors ‘Divergent‘ and ‘Insurgent‘ to the 4k format.

Catalog Titles

Twilight Time will definitely get some money from me this week. Among the label’s latest titles are two of my favorite movies – the underrated John le Carré adaptation ‘The Russia House‘ and Woody Allen’s brilliant satirical mockumentary ‘Zelig‘. I was just contemplating recently, as I considered purchasing a streaming version of the movie on VUDU, that ‘The Russia House’ would make a great selection for Twilight Time… and then the disc was announced shortly afterwards.

Twilight Time’s other new limited editions are the family-friendly sequel ‘The Black Stallion Returns‘, the Busby Berkeley musical ‘The Gang’s All Here‘ and the Rita Hayworth musical ‘Miss Sadie Thompson‘ (restored in 3D!).

If you’re still hankering for another musical after that, the Warner Archive brings us Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in ‘Silk Stockings‘ (a remake of the non-musical Greta Garbo classic ‘Ninotchka‘).

Meanwhile, Criterion gets spooky with the low-budget B-movie chiller ‘Carnival of Souls‘.

Kino investigates ‘The Ox-Bow Incident‘, William Wellman’s powerful 1943 Western about the dangers of the lynch mob mentality.

Fans of Italian horror can look forward to Lucio Fulci’s ‘Cat in the Brain‘, now available from Grindhouse Releasing.

Amazon claims that Universal has a reissue of ‘American Graffiti‘ on tap this week, but the only thing new about it is the “pop art” cover.

Television

Warner belatedly offers the first two seasons of ‘iZombie‘ in high-def, while Scream Factory has the first season of something called ‘Slasher‘, which is apparently the first original programming for the Chiller network. I’ll be honest, I’d never even heard of the Chiller network until right now.

My $.02

As mentioned, ‘The Russia House’ and ‘Zelig’ are immediate purchases for me. I don’t expect that many of our readers will be as excited for them as I am.

‘Green Room’ seems like a strong rental candidate.

‘Carnival of Souls’ and ‘The Ox-Bow Incident’ will go on my wish list for later.

As much as I adore Richard Linklater’s ‘Before’ trilogy, I must admit that I’ve never cared for much of anything else he’s ever made (not even ‘Dazed and Confused’). As such, the ‘Dazed’ follow-up holds very little interest for me.

18 comments

  1. Csm101

    I have a five dollar reward certificate to Best Buy, so I will be blind buying Green Room this week with that coupon. Cat In the Brain should arrive at my doorstep sometime this week as well. I’m very interested in the uhd/3D combo pack for the butterfly documentary but it’ll have to wait as I think I might pick up a couple more Criterions, speaking of which, I got an email that The Graduate arrived at B&N, so I’m picking that up today. Everybody Wants Some!! is also a title of interest.

    • Deaditelord

      CSM is Cat in the Brain a good starting film for someone who has not seen any of Fulci’s films? On the fence about blind buying it.
      .

      • Csm101

        I’ve never seen it, but from what I’ve heard about this one, I would say no. They say this one is extremely gory, and borrows footage from his other movies. Apparently he stars in it as himself and is having violent hallucinatory visions. I hear it barely makes any sense and it’s more of an acquired taste and more for Fulci fans. I personally would recommend The New York Ripper if you want to get a taste of Fulci in a nutshell, which is a super sleazy and violent giallo/ police procedural hybrid. Amazon has a Blue-Underground Fulci three pack which includes The New York Ripper, City of the Living Dead, and House By the Cemetery for 22.99. I think any of those would be a decent introduction to Fulci. Don’t Torture a Duckling is another really interesting one about an unseen killer who is targeting young orphan boys in a small village but is only available on DVD in this region. Some of his more popular flicks would include Zombi or Zombi 2, The Beyond, A Lizard In a Woman’s Skin. Grindhhouse has a really nice bluray package for The Beyond btw. Fulci’s body of work is pretty large and I haven’t seen all his films , but he’s dabbled in just about everything from drug cartel action movies (Contraband) to fantasy sword movies (Conquest) although he’s best known as a horror maestro. Fulci’s movies usually have a cheap look to them. When Argento shoots violence, it usually has a degree of finesse or theatricality to it. When Fulci shoots violence, it’s raw, nasty, and in your face. You kind of want to take a bath when it’s over. He’s pretty awesome.

  2. William Henley

    Allegiant and Rocky Mountain Express for me. Funny thing is, Insurgent is still unopened. Actually, so is Divergant – I saw the first one in the theater, but haven’t opened the disk yet. And Rocky Mountain Express is because, well, trains, mountains, Canada, Imax. I don’t need a reason other than that.

  3. Chris B

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing Green Room for a really long time and if I wasn’t working night-shift this week I’d rent it tomorrow. Alas, I will wait for the weekend as the wife wants to see it to.

    Everybody Wants Some!! looks like a fun movie, hopefully it hits Netflix later this year.

    I’m interested in The Russia House, it’s one of those films whose cover art I distinctly remember seeing countless times in the video store as a kid but have still never got around to watching. I tend to investigate films Josh speaks highly of as our tastes seem somewhat similar (I’m actually blind-buying last week’s “Suture”). TT’s regular pricing stings a bit too much though, gonna have to wait for their next sale….

  4. Bolo

    I did a blind buy on ‘Belladonna of Sadness’ because it’s the only way I’ll get to see it. If I don’t like it, I’ll sell it off.

    I will definitely rent ‘Green Room’. I enjoyed the guy’s previous film, ‘Blue Ruin’, and this one has a good cast, good buzz, and looked good from the trailers.

    Not sure if I’ll rent ‘Everybody Wants Some!’. Maybe. But no rush.

  5. Lord Bowler

    I’m a big fan of Gregory Peck, so I’ll be picking up ‘Yellow Sky’, a great western.

    I’ll be renting ‘The Russia House’, never seen it, and ‘Green Room’. RIP Anton Yelchin.

    I’ve still not seen any of the Divergent films, but do plan to watch them at some point.

  6. Al

    Josh,

    You’re wrong about Jennifer Garner/’Miracles from Heaven’. In the film, her character actually all but loses her faith, and never stops seeking proper medical treatment or exhibits any disbelief in medical science, in hopes that her daughter will be cured. As a matter of fact, even after the “miracle” occurs, her character remains somewhat dubious, and makes a return trip to Boston (the family lives in Texas), to have a specialist give her a legitimate scientific reason that her daughter was cured. It’s only after the physician can’t come up with a genuine medical explanation that her character fully buys into the “miracle.”

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      The point being that in the end, the message of the movie is that the doctors were all wrong and have no idea what happened, which ipso factor means that prayer cured her daughter. Therefore, don’t take your sick kids to the doctor. Doctors don’t know what they’re doing, and prayer will heal any illness.

      • Al

        No. You’re wrong. You need to see the film. It’s as simple as that. Until you’ve seen it, there’s no point in discussing it further.

      • Thulsadoom

        I’ve not seen the film either, but if Al’s description is accurate, it sounds more like a “Miracles can sometimes happen” movie, than a “don’t use the doctor” movie.

        If the film had a mysterious alien curing the child, would it just be a weird little movie about aliens occasionally curing humans when current human medical knowledge can’t, or would it be labelled as a film that encourages people to stop using doctors and rely on aliens for cures, because doctors couldn’t cure that one thing that the alien did? 😉

        • Al

          Exactly. The film never says that the doctors were wrong, or even implies such a thing. That’s the distinction that has to be drawn.

          • William Henley

            I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I am familar with the story its based on (as the family lives less than 60 miles from me so was featured all over the news), and agree that Josh’s synopsis couldn’t be futher from the truth. The idea to completely ignore medical doctors and science and rely solely on faith is a sub-sect in Christianity held by a few thousand people (possibly tens of thousands). This is actually a slap in the face to the over 2,200,000,000 Christians in the world, and no studio would back a movie that reaches such a small population, and insults the rest.

            That said, those people have gotten a lot of attention lately in the news for failing to take children to doctors, or getting them immunized, or etc.

            Mainstream Christianity believes in a combination of science, medicine and faith, and most Christians in their right mind would not dare to suggest ignoring medical advice or seeking medical help. Mainstream Christians believe that while God sometimes does preform miracoulous healings (not only have I seen it, but I experienced it, having been healed of a condition I suffered from for 9 years that doctors couldn’t find an explanation for), He usually works through doctors and medicine. And many who identify as Christian turn to faith and prayer as a last resort after exhausting all medical and scientific means, which, if I remember right, is what the real story that this movie is based on is about.

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