One of the few movies I saw (and loved) at the theater this year comes out on Blu-ray this week. Though I have no doubt it will be an excellent disc in all technical respects, I’m left torn about whether to buy it now or wait for the inevitable Criterion edition.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Isle of Dogs‘ – Wes Anderson returns to stop-motion animation with a fanciful tale about a dystopian future in which all dogs are exiled from Japan and abandoned on a nearby island. Anderson’s fan base, especially anyone who enjoyed his ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’, should find this utterly charming and delightful. The Blu-ray looks a little light on bonus features, no doubt because Anderson is holding back content for a Criterion Collection release in a couple years. In the meantime, Fox offers a collectible gift set with some adorable action figures. I’d say that doesn’t really look to be worth $100, but the figures have been selling for multiples of that on eBay.
‘Rampage‘ – Dwayne Johnson, playing a primatologist who of course also happens to be a Special Forces badass, fights to save Chicago from an invasion of super-sized animals created by a genetic experiment gone wrong. Loosely based on an old video game, the movie offered enough VFX destruction-porn spectacle to be a solid box office hit this spring. Disc offerings include standard Blu-ray, 3D, or UHD, with a Best Buy SteelBook for the latter.
‘I Feel Pretty‘ – Amy Schumer is still struggling to recapture the magic of her breakout hit ‘Trainwreck’. Her subsequent star vehicles haven’t exactly flopped, but also haven’t been nearly as successful with either audiences or critics. This time, Schumer plays a woman with body image insecurities, who gets conked on the head and suddenly develops extreme self-confidence, believing herself to be exceptionally beautiful and sexy. That premise might have some relevant things to say about society’s preconceptions about beauty, but the head trauma-induced personality change is a very lame old comedy trope and reviews were mixed-to-negative.
‘You Were Never Really Here‘ – An unexpected sensation at the Cannes Film Festival, the new thriller from Lynn Ramsay (‘We Need to Talk About Kevin‘) stars Joaquin Phoenix as a vigilante who rescues human trafficking victims and dishes out brutal vengeance to their captors. The plot description sounds a little rote, but critics described the film as masterfully crafted and almost unbearably intense.
‘Super Troopers 2‘ – Having failed to ever produce anything nearly as popular, the Broken Lizard comedy troupe returns to its first hit with a decade-too-late sequel that looks to simply rehash all the old jokes.
‘Truth or Dare‘ – No, not the Madonna concert film. In a Blumhouse horror cheapie, a group of idiot teens play an extreme version of the title party game to deadly results. The naysaying of critics couldn’t stop this from making money.
‘Traffik‘ – Paula Patton and Omar Epps are terrorized by evil bikers who apparently can’t spell.
‘Rampage‘ is the only day-and-date title to smash its way onto Ultra HD.
From the catalog vaults, Paramount gives a 4k upgrade to the 2014 ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘, Sony exhumes Sam Raimi’s goofy 1995 Western ‘The Quick and the Dead‘, and Lionsgate finally follows through on that overpriced “EndoArm” gift set for ‘Terminator 2‘ that it promised months ago.
Steven Soderbergh’s debut feature ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotape‘ was instrumental in kicking off the 1990s indie boom. The film now joins several of the director’s later works as part of the Criterion Collection.
Coming out of the Warner Archive this week is John Huston’s quirky 1972 Western ‘The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean‘, starring Paul Newman. Screenwriter John Milius reportedly hated what Huston did with his script.
Three years after their Oscar-winning ‘The Apartment’, director Billy Wilder reunited with stars Jack Lemmon and Shirly MacLaine for the romantic comedy ‘Irma la Douce‘, adapted from a French stage musical but without any of the songs. The Blu-ray comes from Kino.
Twilight Time’s latest limited editions put a spotlight on stars Jane Russell in ‘The Revolt of Mamie Stover‘ (1956), Omar Sharif in ‘Genghis Khan‘ (1965), James Caan in ‘Cinderella Liberty‘ (1973), and Chow Yun-fat in ‘The Children of Huang Shi‘ (2008).
Syfy may have canceled the excellent sci-fi drama ‘The Expanse‘, but Amazon rescued it and will produce new seasons soon. While waiting for that, the Blu-ray version of Season 3 should offer far better picture quality than Syfy’s broadcast, plus uncensored swearing.
Every Wes Anderson movie winds up in the Criterion Collection eventually. The more I think about it, the more likely I’ll wait for that ‘Isle of Dogs’ double-dip. For now, I’ll try to pick up ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotape’ in the Barnes & Noble Criterion sale. ‘You Were Never Really Here’ sounds worth a rental.
What will you prioritize this week?
A Programming Note
I’ll be traveling with my family this week, and as such will probably not have much time to prepare blog content for a few days or to moderate comments. Please try to behave yourselves until I get back. Thanks!